4720.0 - National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey: User Guide, 2014-15  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/2016   
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LANGUAGE AND CULTURE


Overview

This chapter provides information on the following topics:


Language

The 2014–15 NATSISS collected information on language around four main themes:
  • Main language spoken at home;
  • Difficulty communicating in English;
  • Speakers of an Indigenous language; and
  • Learning an Indigenous language.

Main language spoken at home

People aged three years and over were asked which of the following languages they mainly spoke at home:
  • English;
  • Aboriginal language;
  • Torres Strait Islander language; or
  • other language.

If a person spoke more than one language at home, they were prompted to respond based on the language most often spoken. For children aged 3–14 years, a response was provided by their proxy. For children aged 3–5 years, an additional response category was available for those 'not yet speaking'.

In the 2014–15 NATSISS, if a person said they spoke a Kriol language, they were classified as speaking a Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language dependant on how the individual identifies. Where a respondent spoke a Pidgin language, they was classified as speaking an 'other language'.

Difficulty communicating in English

People aged 15 years and over whose main language spoken at home was an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language were also asked about any difficulties they may have had when they went places where only English was spoken. The types of places provided as examples included Centrelink, the post office, banks or shops. Responses were based on experience of the following problematic situations:
  • understanding people there;
  • people there understanding them;
  • both; and
  • neither/can speak English.

Speakers of an Indigenous language

People aged three years and over who identified English or an 'other language' as their main language at home were asked about their ability to speak an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language. For children aged 3–14 years, a response was provided by their proxy.

People were asked whether they spoke any Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander languages, with the following responses available:
  • yes;
  • yes, some words only; and
  • no.

People who said they did not speak, or speak any words of, an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language were subsequently asked whether they would understand what was being said if someone were to speak to them in an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language. Responses could be provided based on the following:
  • yes;
  • yes, some words only; and
  • no.

Learning an Indigenous language

People aged three years and over, who either spoke, or spoke some words of, an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language were asked whether they were currently learning an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language. If they were currently learning an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander language they were then asked to provide the place this was being taught or who was teaching them the language from the following list of responses:
  • parent;
  • brother/sister;
  • partner/husband/wife;
  • other relative (eg Auntie, grandfather);
  • community elder;
  • neighbour, friend or other community member;
  • volunteer organisation or community group;
  • school;
  • TAFE/university;
  • adult learning centre/community centre/library; and
  • other.

More than one response was able to be provided. For children aged 3–14 years, the response was provided by their proxy.

Comparison to the 2008 NATSISS

In 2008, the question about difficulties when going to places where only English is spoken had separate response categories for 'neither' and 'can speak English'. In the 2014–15 NATSISS, these were combined to create a single category.

Cultural identification

People aged three years and over were asked whether they identified with any of the following groups:
  • a tribal group;
  • a language group;
  • a clan;
  • a mission;
  • an Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander regional group; or
  • none of the above.

More than one response was able to be provided. For children aged 3–14 years, the response was provided by their proxy.

Recognition of homelands or traditional country

People aged 3 years and over were asked whether they recognise an area as their homelands or traditional country. For children aged 3–14 years, the response was provided by their proxy.

People aged 15 and over who said that they recognised an area as their homelands or traditional country were asked if they currently live there. If they did, they were not asked any further questions in this module. If a person did recognise an area as their homelands or traditional country, but did not currently live there, they were asked whether they were allowed to visit the area. If a person was not allowed to or did not know if they could visit the area, they were not asked any further questions. If a person was allowed to visit the area, they were asked how often they visited. Responses were based on the following:
  • at least once a week;
  • at least once a fortnight;
  • at least once a month;
  • several times per year;
  • once per year;
  • less frequently than once per year; and
  • never.

People who visited once per year or more frequently were also asked to provide the longest time they had spent in their homelands or traditional country in the 12 months prior to interview. Responses could be provided in days, weeks or months, or a person may have spent no time during the period specified. Responses were compiled and then output numerically as a day value, ranging from 0 to 365 days.

Comparison to the 2008 NATSISS

In 2014–15, the response category, 'never', was added to the question about frequency of visits to homelands or traditional country.

Cultural participation

A range of questions related to participation in cultural activities were asked in the 2014–15 NATSISS to assess the extent to which people were involved in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander events, ceremonies or organisations.

Involvement in cultural events, ceremonies or organisations

People aged three years and over were asked whether they had been involved in the following types of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander cultural activities or ceremonies in the 12 months prior to interview:
  • ceremonies;
  • funerals/Sorry Business;
  • NAIDOC week activities;
  • sports carnivals (excluding NAIDOC week activities);
  • festivals or carnivals involving arts, craft, music or dance (excluding NAIDOC week activities);
  • been involved with any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander organisations; or
  • none of the above.

More than one response was able to be provided. For children aged 3–14 years, the response was provided by their proxy.

Involvement in selected cultural activities

People aged three years and over were also asked whether they had done (including as part of a job) any of the following activities:
  • fished;
  • hunted;
  • gathered wild plants/berries;
  • made Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander arts or crafts;
  • performed any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander music, dance or theatre;
  • written or told any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander stories; or
  • none of the above.

More than one response was able to be provided. For children aged 3–14 years, the response was provided by their proxy.

Where a child aged 3–14 years answered 'none of the above' they were sequenced to later questions on their participation in social activities. The proxies of children who had participated in the above activities were also asked who teaches the child or where the child goes to learn the listed activities. Responses were based on the following:
  • parent;
  • brother/sister;
  • partner/husband/wife;
  • other relative (eg Auntie, grandfather);
  • community elder;
  • neighbour, friend or other community member;
  • volunteer organisation or community group;
  • school;
  • TAFE/university;
  • adult learning centre/community centre/library; or
  • other.

More than one response was able to be provided. Children were then sequenced to later questions on their participation in social activities.

Attendance or participation in cultural events or activities

People age 15 years and over were asked if they were always able to attend or participate in cultural activities whenever or as often as they wanted to. If they were not able to, people were asked what makes it difficult to participate, with the following response options:
  • can't afford;
  • too far away;
  • caring commitments;
  • work commitments;
  • health issues;
  • transport problems;
  • school/study commitments; and
  • other.

Income received from cultural activities

People age 15 years and over were asked whether they currently receive income from selected cultural activities. Responses were based on the following options:
  • sales of paintings and art works;
  • sale of weaving, dyed cloth, sculptures, pottery, wooden art and craft;
  • growing, collecting, making native fruits or herbs into food or ointments;
  • arranging or participating in cultural dancing or performances;
  • providing or participating in cultural tourism ventures/ activities;
  • payment for interpreting or translating from or into Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages; or
  • none of these sources.

More than one response was able to be provided.

Comparison to the 2008 NATSISS

Information about income received from cultural activities was collected for the first time in the 2014–15 NATSISS, and data is unable to be compared to 2008.

The following information was collected in 2008, but was not collected in 2014–15:
  • Reasons for participating in selected cultural activities in last 12 months;
  • Whether child participated in selected cultural activities with main carer in last week;
  • Importance of attending selected cultural events; and
  • How often attends selected cultural events.

Cultural education

The proxies of children aged 2–14 years who usually attended school were asked whether the child had been taught anything about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander culture at preschool or school (including homeschool). The response could be yes, no or don't know.

People aged 15 years and over who had attended or were currently attending school, or who had undertaken further studies, were also asked whether they had been taught anything about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander culture as part of their schooling or further studies.

If a person had been taught about Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander culture, they were asked where they received their cultural education. Responses could be provided based on the following:
  • primary school;
  • secondary school;
  • university/other higher education;
  • TAFE/technical college;
  • business college;
  • adult or community education centre;
  • industry skills centre;
  • other organisation; or
  • none of the above.

More than one response was able to be provided.

People who had earlier said they identified with a tribal, language, clan, mission or Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander regional group were also asked whether they learnt anything about the group they identified with in their cultural education.

Comparison to the 2008 NATSISS

The following information was collected in 2008, but was not collected in 2014–15:
  • Level of accuracy of cultural education.