International Day of Sign Language

23 September 2021

Recognition of International Day of Sign Languages

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed today International Day of Sign Languages to celebrate and preserve the linguistic identity of the global Deaf and hard of hearing community. There are over 300 Sign Languages in the world.

Auslan (Australian Sign Language) is the native language of the Australian Deaf Community. Auslan was first recognised by the Commonwealth Government as a community language in 1989 and can be traced back to its roots in British Sign Language.

Australian Indigenous Sign Languages are also a part of the language landscape in Australia. There are 60 Indigenous Sign Langauges currently in use around Australia. They’re much older than Auslan – by about 65,000 years. However, there is so little known about Australian Indigenous Sign Languages; they deserve to be recognised.

Auslan Anywhere, an app that engages members of the Deaf community to teach Auslan signs and popular phrases on demand has recently won Gold at the Melbourne Design Awards. Since 1884, Expression Australia has been working with the Deaf community and has co-designed Auslan Anywhere with community members and a generous grant from the Telstra Foundation.

Expression Australia CEO, Nicky Long says Auslan Anywhere is a game changer in providing accessibility to learning and understanding Auslan. "Auslan Anywhere” allows people to make requests for short phases and sentences, which are answered by Deaf people. Making the effort to learn a few a few phrases to communicate with a Deaf person in your work environment or social setting goes a long way towards genuine inclusion."

Auslan Anywhere is FREE and can be accessed at