Comparing signers and speakers: Building a directly comparable corpus of Auslan and Australian English

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • UCL
  • Keio University
  • Macquarie University


The Auslan and Australian English archive and corpus is the first bilingual, multi-modal documentation of a deaf signed language (Auslan, the language of the Australian deaf community) and its ambient spoken language (Australian English). It aims to facilitate the direct comparison of face-to-face, multi-modal talk produced by deaf signers and hearing speakers from the same city. Here, we describe the documentation of the bilingual, multi-modal archive and outline its development pathway into a directly comparable corpus of a signed language and spoken language. We differentiate it from existing bilingual corpora and offer some research questions which the resulting corpus may be best placed to answer. The Auslan and Australian English corpus has the potential to redress several significant misunderstandings in the comparison of signed and spoken languages, especially those that follow from misapplications of the paradigm that multi-modal signed languages are used and structured in ways that are parallel to the uni-modal spoken or written conventions of spoken languages.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-76
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Comparable corpora, Deaf, Multi-modal, Sign language, Spoken language