1200.0.55.005 - Language Standards, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/08/2016   
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PROFICIENCY IN SPOKEN ENGLISH

BACKGROUND

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has developed standards for a number of language variables for use when collecting language data.

Australia's main language is English. However, in 2011, nearly one in five Australians over the age of five spoke a language other than English at home.

The Proficiency in Spoken English variable is used to measure a person's self-assessed ability to speak English. The variable applies to people:

  • whose first language spoken is a language other than English, or
  • who speak a language other than English at home.

The language a person can speak may be an important part of their culture, identity and well-being. However, for people living in Australia a lack of proficiency in spoken English may impact a person's access to employment, education and other government and non-government services.