Home language

Part A - Short definition:

Not applicable

Part B - Detailed definition:

Refers to the language spoken most often or on a regular basis at home by the individual on May 10, 2011.

Reported in:


Reported for:

Population in private households

Question number(s):

Direct variable: Question 15, part (a) and (b)


See Figures 1.7, 1.7A, 1.7B, 1.7C, 1.7D, 1.7E and 1.7F.

See Appendix 1.3: NHS classification of mother tongue, home language and language of work.


In the 2011 NHS, Question 15 (a) asked 'What language does this person speak most often at home?' and Question 15 (b) asked 'Does this person speak any other languages on a regular basis at home?'

Instructions were provided to respondents in the 2011 NHS guide:

Part (a)

Report the language spoken most often at home. Report more than one language only if all languages are spoken equally often.

For a person who lives alone:

  • report the language in which you feel most comfortable.

For a child who has not yet learned to speak:

  • report the language spoken most often to this child at home. If two languages are spoken, report the language spoken most often. If both languages are used equally often, report both languages.

Part (b)

Report any other languages that the person speaks at home on a regular basis, but not as often as the language reported in part (a).

The order of response options in language questions which have mark-ins for 'English' and 'French' is different depending on the language of the questionnaire. On English questionnaires, 'English' is listed before 'French.' On French questionnaires, 'French' is listed before English. In a similar way, the language of the questionnaire is the language mentioned first in the actual wording of the questions on knowledge of official and non-official languages.

For additional information on the collection and dissemination of data on language, refer to the Languages Reference Guide, National Household Survey, 2011.

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