All the Colours

When I think of rainbows, my hands begin to sign. One of my first lessons in sign language was to learn that Rainbow Song.

Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue, I can sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow, sing a rainbow too.

I first learnt it in Signed English which was taught in Australia up until the late 1980s. After that date,  Australian Sign Language came to the fore. AUSLAN is more difficult to learn than signed English and I have struggled to make the shift. 

Some people ask me why sign language isn’t international. That question seems rather odd: it’s a bit like asking why English isn’t international. Each country’s own sign language evolved in the same way as spoken language, influenced by different cultural roots and traditions. At last there is an online signed AUSLAN dictionary with video representations of 4515 words. Try this dictionary, pick any word and you could begin to learn Auslan today.

This post was inspired by the Daily Post’s photographic prompt, ROY. G. BIV, a strange acronym which stands for the colours of the rainbow. My rainbow-hued photos were taken in a trinket shop in Sanur, Bali then in Pemuteran, Bali For my son Jack.

26 thoughts on “All the Colours”

  1. I love this post, Fra! Thank you for the glorious colourful start to my weekend. This was one of the first songs Small Man learnt at preschool too – in the end of year concert, he had to shake red streamers when they sang the word.

    This will make you laugh. I’ve wanted to learn Auslan forever. I always thought it was fascinating to watch. Then one day Pete said, “babe, you just want to learn that so you can eavesdrop..” Dammit, he’s probably right, when we went out to dinner, there was often a table of deaf people next to us, signing like mad, and I was dying to know what they were talking about.. 😉

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The other bonus is you can sign in loud pubs when the music is playing, sign in busy trams, yell in sign across a crowded room, swear without causing offence to those around. ( My daughter and I love using the sign for bullshit but there are other lovely crude signs, which were so important to teach Jack when he was young- imagine growing up deaf without expressing frustration). Sometimes my signing is so crazy- I sign petrol but it comes out as the ‘F’ word!!! They are so similar. Everyone laughs.
      Try the dictionary for a few basic words, its fun too and useful.
      Oh and I can never keep up with a table of deaf adults- I would be so lost. Imagine deaf parties- full on!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You must have a talent for languages of all types, Francesca. Much as my husband reminds me that I am unable to talk without using my hands, I don’t think I would have much aptitude for Auslan. My hands just GO. Lovely use of colour and linking it with another very interesting aspect of our culture. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ardy I can relate well to the crazy hand gesture thing. My hands go flat out when I am talking, although I have tried to tame them down lately. Hands- get back in your lap!
    My signing has become worse over the years. Like any language, it needs daily practice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It will be hilarious if the 3 of us ever get together… I had no idea how much I wave my hands around until someone captured me full conversation in a wedding video.
      Rainbow is my favourite colour. I’d love to be able to sign the rainbow song 🙂


  4. Great post. I love the photos and the story. During the past few years I have worked with a couple of hearing impaired children learning English as a second language and AUSLAN at the same time and feel nothing but admiration for them. Sadly my signing is at the complete beginners level. My favourite is clapping in assembly and I think the whole school learnt and love that one.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’d actually forgotten about signing, isn;t that terrible! When I was in primary school I had a close friend with both parents being deaf and I became quite good at communicating with them. They also taught me about understanding and picking up changes in vibrations through the floor etc. Might just revisit and have a look at the auslan info. Lovely colours!


    1. You might enjoy that new dictionary- I love it. Of course the deaf are so much better off today- at least communication wise, with mobile phones and facebook. Sadly though, job prospects for the deaf in Australia are always poor. Most struggle financially.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I lost my hearing suddenly when I turned 40. It has been 20 years now and I wear hearing aids but I still miss a lot. I don’t know sign as I chose to live in the hearing world and none of my family/friends sign.


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