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First language Spoken - Introduction
To meet these data needs, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has incorporated language questions into a range of social statistical collections. ABS has developed standards for a number of language variables for use when collecting language data both within and outside the ABS.
The purpose of this First Language Spoken variable is to measure the language a person first spoke rather than the language they could first read or write. To ensure that all relevant languages can be measured, the variable includes sign languages.
Program providers have identified that disadvantage in access and equity to government and community programs and services may be experienced by people in Australia whose first language is not English. Data relating to First Language Spoken may aid as an indicator of deficiency in English language competency and other factors associated with cultural background.
The variable First Language Spoken is one of the standard set of indicators for use in measuring cultural and linguistic diversity. It can be used in conjunction with others in the set to understand cultural and ethnic diversity within Australia. Its implementation in administrative and service settings enables the provision of relevant data to assess, measure and monitor service needs, including access and equity requirements.