Fingerspelling and new signs

When you are starting off in an Auslan or sign language course. Fingerspelling is something you’ll be practicing and finding opportunities to spell is encouraged. You have to make time to keep improving your skills.

Some of the things I’ve had to work on is posture, clarity, confidence and taking time to get it right. Fingerspelling your own name, for example is a great starting point. Then see if you can do it well with a flow.

I’ve found it a great way to get my head around complicated names, work on spelling and absorb and take in words. Because I’m HH – hard of hearing – I need to check on words and fingerspelling is one of my strategies.

My favourite resource for learning new signs is Auslan Signbank. Signbank is a language resources site for Auslan (Australian Sign Language). Auslan is the language of the deaf community in Australia. Here you will find:

  • a dictionary
  • ability to search for signs related to medical and health topics
  • ability to search for signs related to educational and teaching topics
  • videos of deaf people using the listed Auslan signs
  • information on the deaf community in Australia
  • links to Auslan classes

There is a terrific feature on Signbank for working on your fingerspelling.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Cheers, Massiel

Massiel Barros-Torning
I studied signed English, and then moved onto Auslan in my 20s. Last year was inspired by the amount of early childhood teachers attending a refresher course in our community for Auslan run by a local Deaf Teacher. I’m a teacher and facilitator involved in ICT Education, as well as areas involving music, language, Spanish, HSIE (society and culture). Some days I feel like the grown-up version of my inner child. Because I enjoy learning through play. And as a lifelong learner I hope to play for a very long time.

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