The Auslan Corpus

The Auslan Corpus consists of the movies in the Auslan Archive together with linked linguistic annotation files. The Auslan Archive was deposited at the Endangered Languages Archive (ELAR) in 2008 and has been openly accessible since 2012. It was funded by a grant to Trevor Johnston from the The Hans Rausing Endangered Languages Project. Johnston's aims for the Australian project were two-fold: first, to create and secure a reference archive of Auslan which is an endangered language because of decreasing numbers of deaf sign language users (a decrease which is projected to accelerate in coming decades); and, second, to create a linguistic corpus (i.e., a collection of texts or recordings in a language that have been transcribed or transcribed) which can be used as a resource for students to learn Auslan and for others to research the language.

The creation of the archive involved recording, collating and describing a set of naturalistic, controlled and elicited signed language samples from 100 deaf native and near-native signers across Australia. Fifty three-hour language-use sessions, each with two participants, were recorded on 300 hours of digital videotape. The archive also includes annotations of a small subset of the recordings using multi-media annotation software. This represents the first step in the longer-term aim of transforming the archive into a large machine-readable corpus.

The Auslan Corpus also includes video research data collected as part of the Sociolinguistic Variation in Auslan linkage research project jointly funded by the Australian Research Council and the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (#LP0346973) conducted by Adam Schembri and Trevor Johnston (2003-2005). From 2008-2010 Adam Schembri lead the project that created the British Sign Language (BSL) Corpus.

Click here for detailed information about the contents Auslan Archive & Corpus.

Click here for information about how the Auslan Corpus is being annotated.

Recent research on the grammar of Auslan using the Auslan Corpus

Click here for supplementary Rbrul datatables to support the publication:

Johnston, T., Cresdee, D., Schembri, A., & Woll, B. (2015). FINISH variation and grammaticalization in a signed language: how far down this well-trodden pathway is Auslan (Australian sign language)? Language Variation and Change. DOI: