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Identifying and Definitional Attributes
QH 041586 v3
Data Element
Data Element
Information Management Strategic Governance Committee (IMSGC), Queensland Health
The language (including sign language) most preferred by the person for communication.
Health and welfare services
Preferred language (4-digit)
Representational Attributes
Numeric Character
Permissible Values


A valid code from the current Corporate Reference Data System (CRDS) Language (ASCL 4 digit) data set maintained by Statistical Standards & Strategies, Statistical Services Branch (SSB).
Supplementary Values


Collection and Usage Attributes
Preferred language for communication may be a language other than English even where the person can speak fluent English.

The Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) is an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) classification that includes:
- Those which are universally recognised as distinct and separate languages,
- Separately identified dialects,
- Creoles and pidgins,
- A group of linguistically distinct languages (American languages),
- Australian indigenous languages, and
- Sign languages.

Supplementary Codes For Inadequate Data:
These codes commence with 000 and facilitate the coding of data such as inadequately described languages, etc., which contain insufficient information in that a language code cannot be allocated.

0000 Inadequately Described
To be used when insufficient preferred language information is provided or the information is unknown (e.g. when a person is unconscious).

0001 Non Verbal, so described
To be used when communication is by other than verbal means (e.g. facial expression, body language, gesture). Does not include sign language.

0002 Not Stated
To be used when no preferred language information is provided (e.g. when a person refuses to provide the information).

Supplementary Codes To Preserve Data That Might Otherwise Be Lost:
These codes commence with 000 and are used to preserve data relating to meaningful data that would otherwise be lost (that is, they would be allocated other incoherent or inadequately described codes).
0003 Swiss, so described
0004 Cypriot, so described
0005 Creole, nfd
0006 French Creole, nfd
0007 Spanish Creole, nfd
0008 Portuguese Creole, nfd
0009 Pidgin, nfd
Should not be blank.
The question that should be asked is 'What is your preferred language for communicating when receiving health care services?'

The reference to 'receiving heath care services' will assist in advising that the question relates to their preferred language for communicating in a health setting as opposed to at home or any other general social interaction.

PREMs and PROMs Data Set-Definitions - Payload:
PREMs and PROMs payload files include the Preferred language description rather than the code in Questionnaire Manager.
This data element is an important indicator of ethnicity, especially for persons born in non-English-speaking countries. Its collection will assist in the planning and provision of multilingual services and facilitate program and service delivery for migrants and other non-English speakers.
Relational Attributes
Related Metadata References

Related Metadata References_IR

  • 1 - 4
ViewRelationshipMetadata Item TypeMetadata Item SubtypeNameIdentifier & VersionApproval Status
SupersedesData ElementData ElementPerson-preferred language (ASCL 2011)QH 041586 Version 2Superseded
Is used in the derivation ofData ElementData ElementPerson-preferred language (ASCL 2016 Index)QH 040722 Version 3Current
Relates toData ElementData ElementPerson-country of birth (SACC 2016)QH 040161 Version 9Superseded
Relates toData ElementData ElementPerson-main language other than English spoken at home (ASCL 2016)QH 040848 Version 2Current
Implementation in Metadata Sets


  • 1 - 1
ViewMetadata Item TypeMetadata Item SubtypeNameIdentifer & VersionObligationApproval StatusEffective FromEffective To
Data Supply RequirementHHS Service AgreementOral Health Data Supply Requirement (DSR)QH 020579 Version 1MandatoryCurrent01-Jul-2017
Source and Reference Attributes
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australian Bureau of Statistics
METeOR data element: Person-preferred language, code (ASCL 2016) NN{NN}, identifier 659407, Health standard 08/11/2016 https://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/659407/meteorItemView/long
ABS cat. no. 1267.0. Australian Standard Classification of Languages (ASCL) 2016