The first edition of the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) (ABS Cat. No. 1267.0) was published in 1997 to meet a statistical and administrative need for a classification of languages. It was designed for use in the collection, aggregation and dissemination of data relating to languages spoken in Australia and used to classify language use associated with the language variables, ‘First Language Spoken’, ‘Languages Spoken at Home’, ‘Main Language Spoken’ and ‘Main Language Other than English Spoken at Home’. The ASCL has been widely used within the ABS and by other organisations, with health, community services, and education organisations adopting the ASCL in a number of their administrative and service delivery collections.
The classification was developed through extensive research, stakeholder consultation and data analysis. Census Population and Housing data were used to separately identify languages spoken in Australia by a significant number of speakers. At the time of publication, it was thought that the language profile of Australia would alter over time due to changing migration patterns and that it may be necessary to add languages to the classification. Consequently, a second edition of the ASCL was published in 2005.
Since the review of the ASCL in 2005, some languages within Australia have emerged, undergone name changes or experienced an increase or reduction in their numbers. Examination of the 2006 Census data and information from stakeholders and external sources indicated that some aspects of the classification required additions, removals or changes to improve its accuracy and applicability. As a result a minor review of the Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) was undertaken. This review aims to maintain the ASCL’s relevance and usability, and to provide a more comprehensive representation of languages in Australian society.
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics