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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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Contents >> Main Language Spoken at Home (MLSH) >> Underlying Concepts - MLSH

Main Language Spoken at Home - Underlying Concepts




Name of variable

The name of the variable is Main Language Spoken at Home.

Definition of variable

Nominal definition

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

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

Operational definition

Operationally, Main Language Spoken at Home is defined as the main language reported by a person as being spoken in the home. If the person speaks more than one language at home, 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

The variable provides data about the languages spoken most frequently or commonly in Australian homes. It does not collect data about the full range of languages spoken by a person in the home. The full range of languages spoken in the home can be collected using the variable "Languages Spoken at Home".

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


The Main Language 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.


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