2901.0 - Census of Population and Housing: Census Dictionary, 2016
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/08/2016
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Language Spoken at Home (LANP)
This variable records the main language other than English spoken at home, if any, and is coded using the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), 2016 (cat. no. 1267.0).
The 'language spoken at home' Census question is designed to find out which languages other than English are spoken by people at home. This question only allows for one answer and therefore the number of responses shown in the category '1201 English' is not all persons who speak English, but specifically persons who speak only English at home. Persons who report a language other than English to the 'language spoken at home' question are then asked in the following question 'How well does the person speak English?'. Responses to this question are coded to the variable Proficiency in Spoken English (ENGP).
A question on language has been included in eleven Censuses. The 1921 Census question sought a person's ability to read and write, and listed a choice of responses, two of which related specifically to foreign languages. The language itself was not required to be stated. In 1933, the question asked people who could not read and write in English, but were able to read and write in a foreign language, to state that language. A question on language was not included again until 1976 when people were asked for all languages spoken. In 1981 and 1986, all people were asked if they spoke a language other than English at home and, if so, how well they spoke English. In addition to this, since 1991 people have been asked to name their non-English language.
See also Proficiency in Spoken English (ENGP), Proficiency in Spoken English/Language (ENGLP).