Adapting sign languages for use by deafblind people

This project intends to investigate tactile Australian Sign Language (Auslan), the sign language of deafblind Australians. People who are both deaf and blind are at high risk of social isolation and often have only a limited number of people with whom they can communicate fluently. Those who were born deaf and lose vision as adults often use a tactile form of sign language, but how visual sign languages are modified for tactile delivery is poorly understood. Drawing on conversational data from experienced tactile signers, the project will use conversation analysis to document and describe tactile Auslan. This analysis aims to inform interpreter and case worker training and to contribute to our understanding of touch as a previously underexplored language modality.

Australian Research Council Discovery Project

Louisa Willoughby; Shimako Iwasaki; Howard Manns; Mayumi Bono; David McKee
Linguistics, School of Languages Literature Cultures & Linguistics
2015-2019