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This variable identifies the language spoken at home. The classification contains the languages and groups of languages most likely to be used in Australia.
A question on language has been included in seven 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).