Hundreds of sign languages exist around the world, and are used by those who cannot hear - as well as those who can hear but cannot speak. Contrary to popular belief, there is no international sign language; each country has its own language. Auslan (short for Australian Sign Language) is the sign language used by the Australian deaf community. It is developed from the signed language used by deaf individuals who arrived as convicts and free settlers from 1819, which means it is historically related to British Sign Language. Auslan, therefore, is not an invented language, but one which has developed naturally over time and is quite distinct from English in many aspects of its vocabulary and grammar. Auslan is taught at a number of Australian schools and universities. It is the only signed language which is taught in Australia.
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