Publication Details

Angelo, D. & McIntosh, S. (2014). Anomalous data about Aboriginal and torres strait islander language ecologies. In E. Stracke (Eds.), Intersections: Applied Linguistics as a Meeting Place (pp. 270-293). United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.


This chapter presents in-depth case studies that reveal the skewed nature of Census data collected or reported about the vernaculars of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in remote Queensland communities. It is argued that issues relating to inconsistent and inaccurate data have arisen largely due to complexities surrounding widespread language shift towards contact languages. In such contexts, collected language data can be misunderstood and miscoded, because naming and classifying a "language spoken at home" is predicated on (preexisting) language awareness and recognition, as well as standardized- or at least well-recognized- nomenclature. The chapter also shows that Census categories for contact languages- and the compilations drawing on them- require considered attention to ensure greater validity. This is particularly pertinent at the present time, as data-driven government reforms for improving Indigenous outcomes require data of the highest quality to be effective.