Glossing in Auslan

Conventions for glossing (sign notation) and notes regarding them
General notationSpecific exampleNotesSIGNDOGWritten in small capital letters. The English gloss is the closest match to the sign, or the English word most commonly-associated with the sign – this association may be influenced by context.SIGN-SIGNLINE-UPA sign glossed with more than one English word. In the example, the English phrase ‘line up’ is a single sign. This is depicted as a hyphenated phrase to indicate this – in much the same way a compound noun might be hyphenated in English to indicate it counts as a single word.PRO-numberPRO-1 (I, me)
PRO-2 (you)
PRO-3(he/him, she/her, it)Personal pronouns, with the number indicating ‘personness’ – e.g. PRO-1 indicates the first-person pronoun (in English this would be ‘I’ or ‘me’), PRO-2 indicates the second-person pronoun (‘you’ – singular or plural).Example: PRO-2 LINE-UP would be an instruction in English for you (either an individual or group) to line up.POSS-numberPOSS-1
POSS-3Possessive pronouns, with the number indicating ‘personness’ – e.g. POSS-1 indicates first-person possessive (in English this would be ‘my’ or ‘mine’).Example: POSS-1 DOG NAME K-I-N-G would mean, in English, ‘My dog’s name is King.’PT+specification+f (forward/front)+c (centre)+lf (left)+rt (right)+dn (down)Pointing signs, indicating a location – e.g. LINE-UP PT+lf could mean, in English, ‘Line up to the left.’SIGN+specificationspec+SIGN+specAs above, also:+rept (repeated)
+exh (exhaustive)
+mult (multiple)
+holdA manual modification to a sign. For example, signing ASK+lf would indicate that the signer signed ‘ask’, but signed it to their left, likely indicating an instruction to ask the person to their left.
These modifications can reflect location, direction, or manner of movement.SIGN+specification+gen (genitive)Indicating the possessive affix (‘s).A-B-CA-D-R-I-A-NFingerspelled signs, e.g. proper nouns. SIGN^SIGNMOTHER^FATHERCompounds show both signs separated by a character. For example, the English word ‘parents’ is represented by the Auslan sign MOTHER followed by FATHER; there is no ‘parents’ sign. Example: POSS-2 MOTHER^FATHER HAPPY could mean, in English, ‘Your parents are happy.’ POSS-2 PARENTS HAPPY would be without meaning, as PARENTS is not an Auslan sign.expression
SIGNVarious.Labels written at the right-hand end of the bar, above a sign, to indicate expression or non-manual features which influence meaning. For example, ‘br’ would indicate a raised eyebrow, which could turn the phrase into a question.CA:NODIndicating constructed action. CA: followed by a description of the action.
These are not the only glossing conventions. There are three other main ones, but they exceed the scope of the primary level. These include glosses indicating the use of dominant and subordinate hands (or as we tend to call them at WVPS, ‘pen’ and ‘paper’ hands), classifiers and handshape references. While students approaching the Level 5 and 6 standard would likely be developing some awareness of handshape and classifiers, the expectation is not that these can be glossed or ‘read’ as a glossed text until Level 9 and 10.

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