1200.0.55.005 - Language Standards, 2012, Version 1.1  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/09/2012  First Issue
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Contents >> Languages Spoken at Home (LSH) >> Underlying Concepts - LSH

Languages Spoken at Home - Underlying Concepts

Name of variable

The name for the variable is Languages Spoken at Home.

Definition of variable

Nominal definition

Languages Spoken at Home is defined as the language or languages spoken by a person in the home, on a regular basis, to communicate with other residents of the home and regular visitors to the home.

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

Operational definition

Operationally, Languages Spoken at Home is defined as the language or languages reported by a person as being spoken in the home. There is no restriction on the number of languages reported by the respondent as being spoken in the home.

The definition of language is provided in the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), 2011(ABS cat. no. 1267.0)

Discussion of conceptual issues

Languages Spoken at Home identifies all languages spoken within the home. This variable provides data on the range of languages spoken in Australian homes.

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

The 'Languages 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.

Languages Spoken at Home should be used in preference to other language variables when the aim is to collect data on the full range of languages used in the home.

The variable has some limitations as it may not reflect complete language use, for example

  • if a particular language is spoken in the home but another language is spoken outside the home, within a person's ethnic community group or
  • the variable does not collect data on the frequency that any language is spoken.

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