1267.0 - Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/07/2016   
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ABOUT CODES

CODE SCHEME

The Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) coding scheme, with examples, is as follows:

Non-Indigenous languages


Code lengthHierarchical levelExample

1-digitBroad group1 Northern European Languages
2-digitNarrow group11 Celtic
4-digitLanguage1101 Gaelic (Scotland)


Australian Indigenous Languages

To accommodate the large number of Australian Indigenous languages, and to facilitate greater analysis, three narrow groups within broad group 8 Australian Indigenous Languages have been subdivided into 3-digit categories.


Code lengthHierarchical levelExample

1-digitBroad group8 Australian Indigenous Languages
2-digitNarrow group (2-digit)81 Arnhem Land and Daly River Region Languages
3-digitNarrow group (3-digit)817 Kunwinjkuan
4-digitLanguage8171 Gundjeihmi


The three narrow groups which have been divided into 3-digit categories are:
  • narrow group 81 Arnhem Land and Daly River Region Languages
  • narrow group 82 Yolngu Matha and
  • narrow group 86 Arandic

The ASCL code scheme is devised so that any future changes to the classification structure are easily accommodated. For example, when a language is added to ASCL it is allocated a previously unused code, and when a language is deleted from ASCL its code is retired and not used again.


CODES FOR RESIDUAL CATEGORIES

Not Elsewhere Classified (nec)

Any language which is not separately identified in the classification (because it does not meet the threshold for the minimum number of speakers) is included in the residual 'nec' category of the narrow group to which it belongs. NEC categories are easily identified as 4-digit codes ending with 99. Examples include: 1599 Scandinavian nec, 4299 Middle Eastern Semitic Languages nec, and 6199 Burmese and Related Languages nec. ASCL contains 44 "nec" categories.

'Other' narrow group categories

Special codes are also reserved for residual categories at the narrow group level for separately identified languages which do not fit into any of the narrow groups within the broad group. They are termed 'Other' and are identified by the broad group code followed by '9'. ASCL contains seven such residual categories. Examples include: Narrow Group 39 Other Eastern European Languages (which includes Albanian and Romanian), and Narrow Group 49 Other Southwest and Central Asian Languages (which includes Armenian and Georgian). ASCL contains seven 'Other' categories.

Residual categories are part of the ASCL structure and should not be created or used to 'dump' responses which contain insufficient information to code to a separately identified category of the classification (see Supplementary Codes).


SUPPLEMENTARY CODES

Supplementary codes are used to process inadequately described responses in statistical collections. There are two types of supplementary codes:
  • 'Not further defined' ('nfd') codes are four-digit codes ending with either one, two or three zeros and are used to classify responses to questions about language which cannot be coded to the detailed four-digit language level of the classification but which clearly belong to a higher level category of the classification. For example, responses which do not relate directly to a detailed language category, but which are within the range of languages relating to a particular narrow group, are coded to that narrow group. Such responses are allocated a 'nfd' code consisting of the two digit code of the narrow group followed by 00. Examples of responses and their relevant nfd codes include: "China", which is coded to 7100 Chinese nfd, and "African", which is coded to 9200 African Languages nfd.

    Language responses which do not relate directly to a particular narrow group or language category, but are within the range of languages relating to a particular broad group, are coded to that broad group. These responses are allocated a 'nfd' code consisting of the one digit code of the broad group followed by the digits '000'. Examples of such responses and their relevant nfd codes include: "Indian", which is coded to 5000 Southern Asian Languages nfd, and "Aboriginal", which is coded to 8000 Australian Indigenous Languages nfd.

    'Not further defined' codes allow language responses which can be coded only at the broad or narrow group levels of the classification to be stored and processed within a collection coded at the four-digit level.

  • 'Operational' codes are four-digit codes commencing with three zeros. These are used to code responses which contain minimal or vague information which cannot be coded to a language, a narrow group or even a broad group code. Examples of such responses and the relevant operational codes include: "many" or "multilingual" which are coded to 0000 Inadequately described, and "baby" and "not speaking yet" which are coded to 0001 Non-verbal so described.

    The code 0002 Not Stated is used when no response is given.