1200.0.55.005 - Language Standards, 2016  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/08/2016   
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This document was added 15/06/2018.

COLLECTION OF VARIABLE DATA

SCOPE

Statistical units

First Language Spoken is an attribute of the statistical unit 'person'. The variable First Language Spoken applies to all persons.


QUESTION MODULES

There are three standard question modules for collecting First Language Spoken:

  • detailed question modules (alternative one and alternative two), and
  • minimum question module.

The choice of module may be informed by the following factors:
  • information needs
  • cost of processing the data
  • space available in the collection instrument, and
  • respondent burden.

Each alternative to the question modules may be accompanied by a brief explanatory note about why First Language Spoken is collected, including instructions about how to answer the question. The explanatory note can be included with the chosen question module or in supplementary documentation. The recommended text for the explanatory note is in Appendix A.

Detailed question modules

The detailed question modules for First Language Spoken are recommended when extensive data on first language spoken is needed.

There are two alternative detailed question modules which may be used, depending on space and cost considerations.

Detailed question module - Alternative one


Q.
Which language [did you] [did the person] [did (name)] [will (name of child under two years)] first speak as a child?


Englishq
Mandarinq
Arabicq
Cantoneseq
Vietnameseq
Italianq
Greekq
Hindiq
Spanishq
Punjabiq
Other – please specify..........


For self-enumerated questionnaires, respondents should be instructed to select one option only.

The option list for this question module includes languages according to their statistical frequency in Australia, based on data from the Census of Population and Housing.

The option list can be extended to enable longer lists to be displayed such as in electronic collection drop down lists. If there are space constraints on paper forms, the option list can be reduced.

The 'Other – please specify' category is included to enable respondents, whose first language spoken is not listed, to enter/write their first language spoken in the field/space provided.

Detailed question module - Alternative two


This question uses only the options for 'English' and 'Other – please specify' enabling respondents to enter/write their first language spoken. In comparison to Alternative one, this module will use less space in the collection instrument and may increase respondent burden and coding costs.

Q.
Which language [did you] [did the person] [did (name)] [will (name of child under two years)] first speak as a child?


Englishq
Other – please specify..........

Minimum question module

The minimum question module is suitable where there is no requirement for detailed language data.

Q.
Which language [did you] [did the person] [did (name)] [will (name of child under two years)] first speak as a child?


Englishq
Otherq