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1200.0.55.005 - Language Standards, 2012, Version 1.1  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/09/2012  First Issue
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Main Language Other than English Spoken at Home - Underlying Concepts





Underlying Concepts

Name of variable

The name for the variable is Main Language Other Than English Spoken at Home.

    Definition of variable

    Nominal definition

    Main Language Other Than English Spoken at Home is the main language, other than English, spoken by a person in the home, on a regular basis, to communicate with other residents and regular visitors to the home.

    Main Language Other Than English Spoken at Home is an attribute of the counting unit 'person'.

    Operational definition

    Operationally, Main Language Other Than English Spoken at Home is defined as the main language, other than English, reported by a person as being spoken in the home. If the person speaks more than one language at home (not including English), they are asked to report the language spoken most often.

    The definition of language is provided in the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), 2011 (ABS cat. no. 1267.0)

      Discussion of conceptual issues

      Main Language Other Than English Spoken at Home identifies languages other than English that people speak within the home environment and in family interactions. If more than one language is spoken in the home, respondents are asked to report the language spoken most often.

      This variable provides detailed data about the language background of the Australian population where the main language spoken outside the home is English but a language other than English is mainly spoken at home. It can also assist in measuring possible disadvantage experienced by persons whose usual language is not English.

      When used in conjunction with other variables, such as County of Birth, the combined data may identify language usage in first and second generation Australians.

      The 'Main Language Other Than English Spoken at Home' variable and the ASCL recognise that approximately one percent of the Australian population use non verbal forms of communication. For coding purposes Auslan and similar sign languages are recognised as separate languages. However Signed English/finger spelling is considered to be another form of English and is coded against English.

      The variable has some limitations as it may not reflect complete language use, for example:

      • this measure may record those people who mainly speak English at home, but outside the home the person may speak the language of their ethnic community
      • the variable may record those people who mainly speak English at home, but who have learnt another language which is occasionally, but not normally, spoken at home.

      Main Language Other Than English Spoken at Home is one of five language variables. The other language variables are First Language Spoken, Main Language Spoken at Home, Languages Spoken at Home and Proficiency in Spoken English.


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