1267.0 - Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL), 2011  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/08/2011   
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Responses provided in statistical and administrative collections are not always identical to the recognised names of the classification categories. A coding index is therefore required to link responses to the classification so that they can be coded to an appropriate category. The coding index contains a comprehensive list of the most likely responses to questions relating to language and their correct classification codes. (See the coding index in alphabetical and numerical code order in the ASCL data cube)


The coding index was developed through literature research, consultation with stakeholders, and analysis of existing ABS data, including responses obtained in ABS statistical collections. It is used to code responses to questions such as, 'First Language Spoken', 'Languages Spoken at Home' and 'Main Language Spoken'.

As well as the actual language, a number of categories cover dialects and regional language varieties not separately identified in the classification. In addition to its coding function, this numerical index can be used to clarify the nature, extent and varietal content of each language category.


When coding responses in statistical or administrative collections, the following rules apply:
  • Responses which match exactly with an entry in the coding index are assigned the code allocated to that index entry.
  • Responses which relate directly to a language category are coded to that language category. Such instances include responses which are an exact match with the language category title except in terms of alternative spelling, the use of abbreviations, or the use of foreign or idiosyncratic words, etc., and responses which match the title in terms of the fundamental or basic words of the title and differ only in terms of qualifying or extraneous words.
  • Responses which relate directly to a language category because they describe a variety, dialect or geographic variation of the language are coded directly to that language category.
  • Responses which cannot be identified as relating to a separately identified language in the classification are assigned a residual category code, or a supplementary code.

A response should only be coded to a residual category if it is clear that it belongs in that category. Responses which are not precise enough to be coded to any category should be assigned the appropriate supplementary code.