Australian Government: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare METeOR Home Page

Person—first language spoken, code (ASCL 2005) NN{NN}

Identifying and definitional attributes

Metadata item type:Help on this termData Element
Short name:Help on this termFirst language spoken
METeOR identifier:Help on this term304131
Registration status:Help on this termHousing assistance, Superseded 30/05/2013
Health, Superseded 13/10/2011
Community Services (retired), Superseded 13/10/2011
Definition:Help on this termThe language the person identifies as being the first language that they could understand to the extent of being able to conduct a conversation, as represented by a code.
Data Element Concept:Person—first language spoken

Value domain attributes

Representational attributes

Classification scheme:Australian Standard Classification of Languages 2005
Representation class:Help on this termCode
Data type:Help on this termNumber
Format:Help on this termNN{NN}
Maximum character length:Help on this term4

Collection and usage attributes

Guide for use:Help on this term

The Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) has a three- level hierarchical structure. The most detailed level of the classification consists of base units (languages) which are represented by four-digit codes. The second level of the classification comprises narrow groups of languages (the Narrow Group level), identified by the first two digits. The most general level of the classification consists of broad groups of languages (the Broad Group level) and is identified by the first digit. The classification includes Australian Indigenous languages and sign languages.

For example, the Lithuanian language has a code of 3102. In this case 3 denote that it is an Eastern European language, while 31 denote that it is a Baltic language. The Pintupi Aboriginal language is coded as 8713. In this case 8 denote that it is an Australian Indigenous language and 87 denote that the language is Western Desert language.

Language data may be output at the Broad Group level, Narrow Group level or base level of the classification. If necessary significant Languages within a Narrow Group can be presented separately while the remaining Languages in the Narrow Group are aggregated. The same principle can be adopted to highlight significant Narrow Groups within a Broad Group.

Data element attributes

Collection and usage attributes

Collection methods:Help on this term

Data should be captured, classified and stored at the base level of the classification wherever possible as this allows the greatest flexibility for output.

Recommended question:

Which language did you/the person/name first speak as a child?

Other (please specify)

While agencies are encouraged to use the recommended question described above, it is acknowledged that this is not always possible in practice. For example, where the data collection is a by-product of the provision of a health or community service, the information may be ascertained using different means. However, this standard should be used wherever practically possible.

Comments:Help on this termPersons whose first language is not English have been identified by service providers as a population group that may experience disadvantage when seeking to obtain equal access to government and community programs and services in Australia. Data relating to 'First language spoken' may thus provide a surrogate indicator of disadvantage potentially associated with a lack of English competence or with other factors associated with cultural background.

Source and reference attributes

Origin:Help on this termAustralian Bureau of Statistics 2005. Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) 2005. Cat. no. 1267.0. 2nd Edition, Canberra: ABS. Viewed 29 July 2005.

Relational attributes

Related metadata references:Help on this term

See also Person—country of birth, code (SACC 1998) NNNN Housing assistance, Superseded 24/11/2008, Health, Superseded 01/10/2008, Community Services (retired), Superseded 02/06/2008

Supersedes Person—first language spoken, code (ASCL 1997) N[NNN] Housing assistance, Superseded 10/02/2006, Community Services (retired), Superseded 29/04/2006

Has been superseded by Person—first language spoken, code (ASCL 2011) NN{NN} Housing assistance, Standard 13/10/2011, Health, Standard 13/10/2011, Homelessness, Superseded 10/08/2018, Disability, Standard 13/08/2015, Community Services (retired), Standard 13/10/2011

See also Person—main language other than English spoken at home, code (ASCL 2005) NN{NN} Housing assistance, Superseded 30/05/2013, Health, Superseded 13/10/2011, Community Services (retired), Superseded 13/10/2011

See also Person—proficiency in spoken English, code N Housing assistance, Standard 10/02/2006, Health, Standard 01/03/2005, Disability, Standard 13/08/2015, Community Services (retired), Standard 01/03/2005

My items Help on this term
Download Help on this term