Learn Auslan Level 2

Welcome to Auslan Level 2

Welcome to level 2 of my online Auslan course for beginners. If you have made it this far, and can remember most of the vocab from level 1, then you are acing out and can probably already have some pretty good conversations with Deaf people. The signs you learn here will fill in some gaps and help bring your signing up a notch.

If you haven’t studied level 1 yet, head there to start learning Auslan and to find out answers to frequently asked questions such as which hand to use when signing.

Please remember that the signs I’m teaching you are the signs I used in Melbourne, Australia. Signs vary a lot around Australia, so people will be sure to tell you that some of the signs I’ve shown you are ‘wrong’. But my aim here is to help you communicate effectively with Deaf people, and if you use a sign from another state, or a sign they don’t usually use, chances are they’ll still understand you.

You’ll notice a dramatic change in the videos for Level 2. You asked me to sign slower (I hope I did that!) and to repeat my signs. I’ve signed each word twice, so you can watch the first time, and do it with me the second time. I hope that makes it easier for you. If they are still too quick, watch the video on YouTube and use the settings cog to change the speed to 0.25.

The other big change in the videos is how amazingly professional they look.  This is thanks to Joanne Donahoe-Beckwith, who kindly volunteered to film the videos for me. She’s a pro, as you can see, and even created a studio set up with beautiful lighting to make the videos the best they can be. She also subtitled and formatted all the videos for me, saving heaps of time. Many, many thanks to Joanne for her generosity.

Now.. let’s get started. Here are some signs that will be useful in conversation:

  • alive
  • live (e.g. to live in a house)
  • dead
  • sick
  • cuddle/hug
  • important
  • true
  • shh
  • quiet
  • sit
  • stand
  • trouble

Learn Auslan – Role Shift

Role shift is used to describe interactions between two or more people or animals.

Its most common use is when describing a conversation you have overseen between two other people, or a conversation you have had with someone previously. The idea is that you become one speaker, and adopt their position, facial expression and energy, then you say what they were saying, then you change to become the other speaker, with a different position and facial expression, and sign as if you were them.

There are a number of rules associated with the use of role shift, and these may seem very unnatural at first, but become easier with practise.

Warning: role shift is an advanced concept and takes a lot of practise. Here are some rules:

Identify each person first – use classifiers to locate the people in space and say who they each are.

Move shoulders – after you have identified the people, shift your shoulders to “become” each person as they speak.

Use eye gaze – when you are speaking as one of the people you have identified, show them looking at the other person. If the other person is taller, look up, if the other person is lying on the floor, look down.

Use facial expression – show the expression on the faces of each of the people who are talking. Make the contrast between the two people as clear as possible.

Using role shift, you should never use the signs for “he said” and “she asked”. Identify the people you are talking about and then become them, as they converse.

Watch the video to see the following conversation between a mother and her daughter who has just arrived home late.

Mother: (angrily) Where have you been?

Daughter: (defensive) Out.

Mother: I’ve been waiting up for you, worrying! It’s after twelve o’clock!

Daughter: It wasn’t my fault. I rang for a taxi but it didn’t come. I had to wait for another one.

Mother: Well next time, ring me!

Daughter: (as if her mother is being over protective) Alright.

Now have a go at it yourself. Try using role shift to describe a conversation. Then look over the rules and ask yourself whether you remembered to follow all of them.

Chances are, the first few times you’ll forget at least one rule, if not most of them. Try the conversation again, this time with the rules added.

Practise practise practise – that’s the only way you’ll get the hang of role shift.

Learn Auslan – Phrases

Signs in Auslan don’t always correspond directly with English words. This video contains useful Auslan signs that encompass a whole English phrase.

  • finally – notice the lip pattern here: ‘pah.’ This sign is used frequently – if someone is late and has just arrived, you could sign ‘pah’.
  • now I get it – the lip pattern here is also ‘pah.’ This sign is used for a moment of enlightenment, when you have suddenly understood something.
  • good riddance – the lip pattern here is ‘sha.’ You can do this sign in the direction of the thing that you are glad to be rid of.
  • responsibility – notice the American letter ‘R’ is the basis for this sign. This sign has been borrowed from ASL – American sign language. The borrowing of signs is very common and it’s helpful to know the American alphabet for this reason.
  • not my responsibility,
  • not yet. In English we often separate the ‘yet’ and put it at the end of the sentence. Eg, ‘I haven’t eaten yet.’ In Auslan, you cannot separate the ‘yet’ from the not’. You might say: EAT ME NOT-YET.
  • poor you. Add an expression of sympathy to your face for this sign!
  • go to bed. One hand forms the bed covers, while the other hand represents the legs of a person going under the covers.
  • get up. Completing the idea of the previous sign, one hand represents the doona while the other one shows a person standing up.
  • stuffed. This sign is used when something is completely exhausted, or ‘fucked’. But it’s not rude, the way ‘fucked’ is in English. You use it for an appliance that is damaged beyond repair, or for a person who is exhausted. In the video, I also demonstrate changing the direction of this sign to show myself as exhausted.
  • day off. It’s easy to think of this sign as starting with a nose-blow, an illness that can lead to a day off.

Learn Auslan – Frequently used little words #2

Here are some more signs that are commonly used in conversation in Auslan:

  • nice
  • better
  • best
  • brilliant
  • outstanding
  • terrible
  • professional
  • address
  • letter

Sign singing with my homeschool community

Even though our son Jesse has enrolled in school for the first time this year, our homeschool community remains a big and important part of our lives. They have become a kind of family to us, and one of the things that has really stunned me personally, is the number of people who have made the effort to learn enough signs to communicate with me. I felt a part of the group because there was almost always someone there who could sign, and if not, they have been happy to chat with me by writing in my Talking Book.

Here’s a video from one of our camps. After several Auslan lessons at which huge numbers of participants learnt basic signs, I taught a group how to sign along to My Island Home.

Learn Auslan – Computers

With the advent of technology, signs have arisen to help us talk about computers, internet and social media. Some of these signs, such as Glide, Instagram and Skype, are newer, so there has been less standardisation across Australia. You may well encounter other signs for the same word, or you may need to fingerspell a word the first time you use its sign, to ensure the person you are speaking with understands you.

  • computer
  • internet
  • text message (2 signs)
  • facebook
  • instagram
  • iPhone
  • Skype
  • email
  • Glide (this is a video messaging app frequently used by Deaf)
  • video game
  • video
  • movie

How to write about people who are Deaf or have a disability

I have three folders filled with press clippings from my past. That’s a lot of newspaper and magazine articles. Every time a new one comes out, I hold my breath, wondering how the journalist has dealt with my Deafness this time.

There are tacky titles like, ‘A world of silence’ (for the record, my world is anything but silent – there is tinnitus when I’m not wearing my hearing aids, and the constant blare of white noise when I am, music I listen to), ‘Here to be heard’ and ‘Breaking the sound barrier.’ All these were articles about theatre shows I’d created, not Deafness, but for the journalist, my Deafness was the most interesting thing about me, and therefore had to be headlined. I have been described as ‘hearing impaired’ and ‘hard of hearing’ even though I have made absolutely certain to let the journalist know that my preferred term is ‘Deaf’.

My Deafness is often sensationalised – how incredible that someone so afflicted could actually do this amazing thing: make and tour a theatre show. Well I think that making and touring a successful show IS amazing, and it’s true that I face additional challenges in achieving that because I’m Deaf, but the point of the articles was to promote my shows, not to fixate on my disability.

I still remember the first article that came out which didn’t mention my Deafness. I was stunned. It was well into folder number three. The article was about my mediaeval-peasant lifestyle, and for some reason the journalist didn’t think my Deafness was relevant. It wasn’t. And it hasn’t been. But wow.

This really highlighted for me the need for journalists and other writers to learn how to write respectfully and appropriately about disability. I was thrilled to see that some guidelines have now been published.

I was a little alarmed at the section on Deafness though as I felt it was incomplete. However, at the end is ‘A Few Exceptions’ and that covered it better.

Let me add in one more tip: use the terminology that the person themselves uses. If you aren’t sure, check with them. And then use it (I had one journalist email me after the interview to ask what term to use to describe my ‘defect’ and I said ‘Deaf’. The article came out describing me as ‘hearing impaired.’)

You might be interested to learn more about issues that can come up when writing about people who are Deaf or have a disability by reading my review of Boy. Also check out the #OwnVoices movement which values writing about people from marginalised groups by members of the marginalised group.

Learn Auslan – Thoughts and feelings

Here are some Auslan signs to help you express thoughts and feelings:

  • think
  • know
  • knowledge
  • pretend
  • believe
  • experience
  • opinion
  • hate
  • funny
  • bored
  • alone

Learn Auslan – Australia

Auslan was brought to Australia with Deaf convict, Betty Steele, who used British Sign Language (BSL). Over time, and with separation from England, our sign language has evolved to be a separate, but similar language. Presumably it was Betty Steele or one of her friends who made up the sign for ‘Australia’ – you can think of the sign as picking up people in England and disposing of them by dropping them down in Australia.

This video shows signs for the name of our country, Australia, and our states. Notice that several of them are simply letters of the alphabet.

  • Australia
  • Melbourne
  • Brisbane
  • Adelaide
  • Perth
  • Darwin
  • Sydney
  • Victoria
  • New South Wales
  • Queensland
  • Northern Territory
  • South Australia
  • Western Australia

My apologies, but the video omits a few places. Here’s a description for how to sign them:

  • Tasmania – fingerspell T A S
  • Hobart – fingerspell H and point down
  • Australia Capitol Territory – fingerspell A C T
  • Canberra – With your non-dominant hand, form a ’1’ with the pointer finger. With your dominant hand, create the letter C. Rest the letter C on top of the pointer finger.

Learn Auslan – Clothes

Here are some useful signs to help you talk about clothing:

This is the vocab I’ve shown you:

  • clothes
  • dress
  • shirt
  • skirt
  • pants
  • jeans
  • socks
  • shoes
  • boots
  • coat
  • bag
  • hat
  • wardrobe

Learn Auslan – Family

We covered some family signs earlier. Here are a few more that will be useful:

  • partner
  • family
  • husband/wife
  • grandma
  • grandpa
  • cousin
  • niece
  • nephew
  • married
  • baby

Learn Auslan – Around the House

Here are some Auslan signs for items you will find around the house:

  • cup
  • plate
  • knife
  • fork
  • bowl
  • tap
  • bottle
  • towel
  • brick
  • doll
  • teddybear

Read Future Girl to learn more about Deafness and Deaf Culture

Auslan cannot be separated from the Deaf community. To understand Auslan properly, and to use it appropriately and effectively, you need to understand what it really means to be Deaf, and the issues d/Deaf people face in everyday life. My novel, Future Girl, provides detailed insight into Deaf culture and what it feels like to be d/Deaf.

As well as being an exploration into d/Deaf identity, Future Girl is a captivating own-voice coming-of-age novel set in near future Melbourne, that bursts with passion, resilience, optimism and joie-de-vivre. An instructional environmental call-to-arms, it is also an utterly gorgeous art journal – 384 pages, no less, of full-colour art.

Piper’s mum wants her to be ‘normal’, to pass as hearing and get a good job. But when peak oil hits and Melbourne lurches towards environmental catastrophe, Piper has more important things to worry about, such as how to get food. When she meets Marley, a CODA (child of Deaf adult), a door opens into a new world – where Deafness is something to celebrate rather than hide, and where resilience is created through growing your own food rather than it being delivered on a truck. As she dives into learning Auslan, sign language that is exquisitely beautiful and expressive, Piper finds herself falling hard for Marley. But Marley, who has grown up in the Deaf community yet is not Deaf, is struggling to find his place in the hearing world. How can they be together?

In Future Girl, I made Piper d/Deaf because I realised how little the average hearing person knows about d/Deafness. When I first tried to write about Piper’s experience, I found myself stuck, because for me, being Deaf is an ordinary part of my existence – something I take for granted and don’t think about a lot. I found I didn’t know how to articulate it. So I started jotting down my experiences with Deafness every day – the little annoyances, the benefits, confusing moments, the irritating things people say and do, and the subtle but complex feelings that arose when someone has tried to provide access but missed the mark. I began to articulate aspects of Deafness I had never seen described before. For example:

A Deaf dilemma: if you’re standing with a group of hearing people who are laughing, but you have no idea what they are laughing about, should you laugh along to be friendly (and if you do, are you somehow ‘lying’ about having understood?), or stand there with a stony face even though it could seem rude and unfriendly?

I had never realised I was making these difficult decisions on the fly, every day, without analysing how I wanted to approach them. My responses were automatic: I laughed along. But did I really want to do this? Perhaps it would be better to let people know that I felt left out. I have woven many dilemmas and insights such as this into Future Girl.

I began posting on Facebook and my blog about my discoveries. Every single post I made went viral, such is the public hunger for this information. Hearing people thanked me for the insight and told me they had never realised we had such difficult decisions to make. Deaf people told me they felt validated, to see their experiences laid out so clearly, and in a form that they could easily share with others. This is how I became a Deaf activist.

‘Future Girl is a must-read for Deaf people, who will identify with Piper, and for those who are hearing, offering an understanding of what it’s like to be Deaf. It takes me back to my own struggle to fit in and my transformation into loving myself as I am: a signing Deaf woman with a place in both the Deaf and hearing worlds.’

DRISANA LEVITZKE-GRAY, Young Australian of the Year, 2015

You might wonder why I write ‘d/D’ when I refer to d/Deafness. A lower case ‘d’ refers to deafness as a medical condition – the simple fact of being unable to hear fully. A capital ‘D’ refers to Deaf people who are members of the Deaf community – a cultural group, similar to ‘Italians’ and ‘Greeks’. In Future Girl, Piper starts out oral (which means she lipreads and communicates verbally) and considers herself to be ‘deaf’. By the end of the book, she has discovered Deafness and is working out to what extent she wants to embrace Deaf culture and identity, and to what extent she wishes to retain her oral deaf upbringing.

I hope that Future Girl will inspire d/Deaf people on all parts of the spectrum from ‘deaf’ to ‘Deaf’ to make conscious choices about how they respond to life as a d/Deaf person in a hearing world. I hope that hearing people will become more aware of the complex challenges we face and become more supportive and understanding about the multitude of ways we might respond and not expect us to handle our d/Deafness in ways they might formerly have felt most appropriate.

A note to hearing parents of deaf children

It may be your goal for your child to grow up to be as normal as possible. You might not realise that this can put a huge pressure on us. While some people who are d/Deaf or have a disability do put a high value on ‘passing as normal’, many of us would rather take a different approach: that of accepting that we are different and asking for our needs to be met. Piper’s experience of growing up oral and then discovering and choosing to embrace aspects of Deaf experience is very common. She feels guilt for breaking away from what her mother believes is best for her, resulting in a complex and tumultuous relationship with her mother. Your child may eventually undertake a similar journey. I urge you to read Future Girl so that you can understand and support this journey as early as possible, sidestepping the conflict.

Learn Auslan – Transport and machines

This video shows Auslan signs for some transport modes and machines. Kids, especially boys, tend to enjoy using these signs, so they are good ones to share if you want to encourage the young people in your life to sign.

  • skateboard
  • scooter
  • truck
  • rocket
  • helicopter
  • truck
  • engine
  • robot
  • sword
  • gun

Learn Auslan – Countries

Here are some signs for other countries. Note that these are Auslan signs – sign language users in these countries often have their own, different, signs for their country.

  • England
  • America
  • Germany
  • India
  • China
  • Japan
  • Russia
  • Norway
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • France
  • Poland
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Spain

How do you communicate with a Deaf person?

How do you communicate with a deaf person_-1

If I tell you I’m deaf, that doesn’t actually tell you anything about me. For instance, it doesn’t tell you how I communicate. Maybe I use Auslan (Australian sign language). Maybe I can’t sign at all. Maybe I lipread well. Maybe lipreading stresses the hell out of me and I’d rather not. Maybe I can talk on the phone and enjoy music. Maybe I can’t or don’t.

So how do you know the best way to communicate with a deaf person?  Follow their cues.

Notice how they communicate with you, and respond in kind. If I speak to you, speak back.

  • Face me.
  • Open your mouth when you speak, without over-enunciating or going too slowly.
  • Don’t shout. If I don’t understand, try rephrasing.
  • Add visual clues such as indicating the thing/person you are talking about.
  • Watch my facial expression to see if I understand, and if I don’t, find another way to communicate until it works.

If I indicate my deafness by pointing to my ears, and miming that I’d like to write with pen and paper, don’t respond by speaking and expecting me to lipread you. Find a pen and paper and write instead, or use your phone.

While you’re at it, act normal. Don’t tell me about every deaf encounter you’ve ever had, or make me sit through a demonstration of the fingerspelling you learnt at school, or assume that I’m not intelligent. Don’t share your heartbreak that I will never hear the birds twittering nor the patter-patter of rain. And definitely don’t suggest that I undergo surgical intervention.

When referring to someone’s deafness, use the same terms as they use. If they say ‘hard of hearing’, don’t call them ‘deaf’. If you’re not sure, ask. In fact, just about everything can be clarified with a simple question. Before you ask, though, think in terms of basic courtesy that you would extend to anyone. For instance, don’t ask overly probing or personal questions if you are strangers.

If you’d like to do your bit to raise awareness about d/Deafness, feel free to share this post. Thanks!

Learn Auslan – Activities

Here are some Auslan signs for activities – school subjects and music:

  • game
  • play
  • music
  • science
  • maths
  • English
  • sport
  • guitar
  • drum
  • violin

Learn Auslan – Cities and weather

This week’s Auslan signs are a mixed bag. We’ve got some major international cities, and some signs to help you communicate about the weather.

  • Paris
  • New York
  • London
  • Rome
  • nature
  • snow
  • rain
  • wind
  • storm
  • sun
  • wet
  • dry

Just another day battling Deaf discrimination

Hello M,

I was disappointed by your email. Do you know what it’s like for me, as a Deaf person, to repeatedly ask to join courses, retreats, programmes, seminars, conferences, and schools, only to be told, ‘We do not have a programme to suit your particular needs’?

Of course you don’t have a programme to suit my needs! Our society is not encouraged to think about access. Organisations don’t routinely think about how they can ensure their programme will be accessible to everyone. No. It’s up to us to ask. That’s why I emailed you instead of just enrolling and showing up like others have the privilege of doing. Although the law specifies that you are obliged to provide me with access, at your own cost, in reality, that rarely happens. I understand this. So instead of asking you to provide access, I made up some solutions for you.

I suggested that I bring along a friend who would interpret for me (at my own cost, not yours – the only inconvenience to you would be that she’d be standing in the room waving her arms about), and that to ensure the trip was worth her while, I’d miss out on half the sessions being interpreted. For these sessions I asked you for a print-out of the guided meditations. I figured you’d probably already have a script for this so it might not be too hard for you.

Knowing that you have probably never considered how to accomodate a Deaf person before, I made it easy for you. The single thing you needed to do to accomodate me was provide a print-out. Other than that, you would need to tolerate the annoyingness of me and my Deafness.

However, even that was too much for you. You graciously conceded that I might come for ONE NIGHT (you will be kind enough to put up with me for that long), and pay $95 for the privilege of doing so, unlike the rate that my friend Rose pays you when she attends, which she tells me is $35 per night.

I’m glad to hear that you are happy to ‘assist in any way that we can’. How about assisting in the very way that I asked you to? By tolerating the inconvenience of my Deafness (which is somewhat more inconvenient to me than to you, I might point out), and providing a print-out? Oh, and welcoming me for as long as I would like to stay, at the rate others pay?

Yours sincerely,

(Thank you for your blessings of peace, joy and inspiration. Right now I’m not feeling especially blessed, peaceful, joyful nor inspired, as I write yet another email to yet another person who has routinely excluded me because I am Deaf.)

Learn Auslan – Nature

These Auslan signs will help you communicate about gardening, nature and the great outdoors:

  • nature
  • flower
  • garden
  • plant
  • tree
  • grow
  • seed
  • watering
  • grass
  • environment
  • sustainable
  • stars
  • moon

Learn Auslan – Days and Months

In Auslan, to talk about the days of the week and the months of the year, we fingerspell abbreviations for the words. While most of them are obvious, there are still correct and incorrect ways to spell them. For example, we spell FR for Friday, not FRI. Sunday has its own sign, and Thursday, strangely, can be signed with the middle finger representing the T, rather than the pointer finger that is usually used. If you use the pointer finger, though, it’s still correct.

Watch the video to learn the correct ways to show months and days of the week.

  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • MAY
  • JUNE
  • JULY
  • AUG
  • SEPT
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
  • MON
  • TUES
  • WED
  • TH
  • FR
  • SAT
  • (SUNDAY)

Learn Auslan – Body and hygiene

Here are some Auslan signs you can use to talk about your body and personal hygiene:

  • brush teeth
  • brush hair
  • bath
  • shower
  • bed
  • feet
  • hands
  • head
  • eyes
  • nose
  • mouth

Learn Auslan – Animals

I’ve already covered Auslan signs for common animals. Here are some more signs for animals and insects. Kids love animal and insect signs so these are a good way to help get kids interested in signing.

  • dragon
  • bat
  • butterfly
  • turtle
  • spider
  • mosquito
  • duck
  • goose
  • snail

Learn Auslan – Answering questions

In English, it’s common to answer questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. In Auslan, answering questions with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ often earmarks you as a beginner. It’s not wrong, exactly, but the custom is to answer with an appropriate verb if possible.

For example, if someone asks me, do I have my toothbrush with me, I would answer ‘HAVE’.

If someone asks, do I have a warm jumper they can borrow, I would sign, ‘DON’T-HAVE, SORRY’.

If someone asks whether I can play the piano, my answer would be ‘CAN’.

If someone asks whether I’m planning to clean the house before my guests arrive, I would answer ‘WILL’.

If they ask if I’d like a cup of tea, I would sign ‘WANT’ or ‘DON’T-WANT’, and add the sign for THANK-YOU.

Watch the video for common answers to questions:

  • have
  • don’t have
  • can
  • can’t
  • will
  • want
  • don’t want

You can also answer with other words, such as ‘NOT-YET’ or ‘LATER’ or anything that suits the context of the question.

Enjoying this course? Make a donation

This course started as a few quick videos to help a friend learn Auslan. is course is free because I want Auslan to be easily accessible to everyone, and I want to improve the lives of Deaf people who will benefit as more hearing people learn Auslan. I also want to make Auslan accessible to deaf people who are interested in learning to sign, as learning Auslan was life-changing for me.

However, the course takes up a lot of my time. Students email with questions, technical problems happen constantly, and there is a significant overhead involved in managing a course/site with so many students. It costs me money as I pay people to help sort out all the issues that come up. I have resisted the suggestion that I monetise it through advertising, because I am philosophically opposed to living in a world full of ads.

So… if you are benefitting from this course, if you want to help this endeavour to create a world that is more accessible for Deaf people, and support my mission to make Auslan available to everyone for free, I would really appreciate a donation.

Think about what you’d pay to attend a live course of a similar quality and content. VicDeaf charges $235 for their six week live course. I’m not saying you should pay that to me. Pay what you can afford and what you feel it’s worth. Your dollars will be well spent, I promise.

If you’re happy to make a contribution, you can do so right here:

Thank you so very much,



Here’s a few Auslan signs to help you discuss social situations and community:

  • social/socialise
  • party
  • hang out
  • indigenous
  • community
  • culture


Say you’re in the car with a Deaf person, the Deaf person is driving, and you need to communicate where to go. How do you do it? This video shows Auslan signs for giving directions:

  • Straight ahead
  • at the traffic lights turn left
  • go all the way to the end
  • take the next street on the right
  • take the third street on the left
  • at the roundabout, turn right
  • change lanes to the left
  • change lanes to the right
  • soon stop
  • this is it! 

Many hearing people aren’t sure whether it’s safe to talk to a Deaf person while they are driving or whether this could cause a crash. Most Deaf drivers can take in some conversation while driving, but prefer to save the bigger stuff for when they can give it their full attention. Our ability to converse while driving can vary wildly depending on the conditions and how tired we are. Most Deaf people do, however, find it easy to talk while driving. If I’m in the car with a Deaf friend, if she’s driving I’ll get her to tell me about herself, and when we arrive at our destination, I’ll fill her in on my life.

But is it safe for Deaf people to sign while driving? I can’t speak for everyone, but I believe that for me it’s no more distracting than it would be to have a spoken conversation. When I first got my drivers’ licence, I spent my early driving hours teaching myself how to drive with my knee. Having done this for over twenty five years now, it feels seamless to switch between my knee and either of my hands, as the conversation requires. I pause conversation at difficult moments such as when I need to concentrate to find a gap in traffic. That said, if you are in a car with a Deaf person and it’s alarming you that they sign while driving, you could suggest postponing your conversation until you arrive at your destination. Deaf culture is pretty blunt, so feel free to let on that you feel scared/unsafe – this wouldn’t be impolite.

And.. just in case you have come this far in my Auslan course and are still feeling the need to ask, ‘can Deaf people drive?’ the answer is, obviously, yes. It’s no less safe than hearing drivers who turn up the music to a high volume – they too are relying solely on visual cues and not on the sound of traffic around them.

Food, materials and religion

These Auslan signs are a funny mix. Usually i try to group them by topic but that didn’t work this time. It doesn’t mean I believe that praying and sausages go together!!

Here’s a video of mixed signs:

  • bbq
  • sausage
  • hamburger
  • plastic
  • metal
  • wood
  • fabric
  • god
  • heaven
  • pray
  • church 

Frequently used little words 3

This video is another funny mix of signs I realised I should have taught you earlier, such as ‘bullshit’ with the impolite stuff, and ‘brown’ with the colours. Oh well – better late than never.

  • light,
  • dark,
  • fix, 
  • bullshit, 
  • hero, 
  • war, 
  • brown.

Enjoying this course? Make a donation

This course started as a few quick videos to help a friend learn Auslan. is course is free because I want Auslan to be easily accessible to everyone, and I want to improve the lives of Deaf people who will benefit as more hearing people learn Auslan. I also want to make Auslan accessible to deaf people who are interested in learning to sign, as learning Auslan was life-changing for me.

However, the course takes up a lot of my time. Students email with questions, technical problems happen constantly, and there is a significant overhead involved in managing a course/site with so many students. It costs me money as I pay people to help sort out all the issues that come up. I have resisted the suggestion that I monetise it through advertising, because I am philosophically opposed to living in a world full of ads.

So… if you are benefitting from this course, if you want to help this endeavour to create a world that is more accessible for Deaf people, and support my mission to make Auslan available to everyone for free, I would really appreciate a donation.

Think about what you’d pay to attend a live course of a similar quality and content. VicDeaf charges $235 for their six week live course. I’m not saying you should pay that to me. Pay what you can afford and what you feel it’s worth. Your dollars will be well spent, I promise.

If you’re happy to make a contribution, you can do so right here:

Thank you so very much,



You have now finished Auslan Level 2! I hope you will practise your new knowledge regularly so you can communicate with the Deaf people already in your life and any who come into it in the future.

Please now check out Level 3 – phrases for medical staff and paramedics.

If you haven’t already, sign up for my newsletter to receive updates about future additions to this Auslan course, Deaf insights and my other projects.

If you’ve made it this far and you haven’t read my novel, Future Girl, yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. It provides valuable insights into d/Deaf experience, issues faced by d/Deaf people, and the process of learning Auslan. Find out more about the book here.

Thanks for studying with me!