Glossing in Auslan

This post is split into multiple pages.

Auslan is typically not written down; it is expressed ‘through the air’ (VCASFU138). However, there are times where transcription is appropriate. The transcription of Auslan signs is called glossing.

Defining glossing
In linguistics generally, a gloss is an explanatory note between the lines or in the margins of a text, often to explain or provide an equivalent to a foreign or difficult word in the text. I employ glossing frequently when subtitling texts which feature words or phrases with no direct English equivalent. There are other examples which are frequently encountered, such as Japanese furigana (small writing above kanji which is likely to be difficult for the target audience, depicting the word in kana).

There are conventions for glossing in Auslan. Glossing forms a significant part of my planning, however I have found that I occasionally deviate from Auslan glossing conventions and default to more generic glossing conventions used for other languages. I also frequently make an error with ‘POSS-’ glosses, using them to note possibilities rather than possessive noun concepts.

The goal is to be more consistent when using glossing in my planning, so that anyone else teaching from my planning would not need to decipher idiosyncrasies in my writing.