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Language spoken

Codes and Frequencies

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LANGUAGE describes the language a person spoke at home. If people specified two languages, only the first one (the mother tongue) was coded.


Information about language in the Norway censuses is only included in the most ethnically diverse areas of Norway, mainly the three northernmost provinces (Nordland, Troms and Finnmark). In addition to these three provinces, the Norway 1910 census also included information about language from some southern ethnically diverse municipalities.

Users should be aware that the language category that includes Lapp, Inari, Kola, Lule, Pite, Ruija, Skolt, Ume is only available for Norway 1865, 1875 and 1900, but not 1910. In addition, Sami is an available language category for 1910 but not before.

United States:
For the United States 1910, the question for the variable LANGUAGE was aimed primarily at identifying English speakers. All persons able to speak English were to respond "English", even if they usually spoke another language. Only persons who could not speak English were to respond with a non-English language. (The census did not indicate how well a person had to speak English to be considered "able to speak English"). Non-English-speaking respondents who spoke more than one language were to report the mother tongue (MTONGUE).

For the Great British samples in 1891 (Scotland only) and 1901, there is information collected about if individuals spoke Gaelic. These variables include information about if English was also spoken, but these variables (GB1891B_0439, GB1901A_0439, , and GB1901B_0439) have a large number of unknown cases and are thus not integrated into LANGUAGE.


  • Canada 1911: All persons
  • Norway 1865: All persons
  • Norway 1875: All persons
  • Norway 1900: All persons
  • Norway 1910: All persons
  • United States 1910: Persons age 10+


  • Canada: 1911
  • Norway: 1865, 1875, 1900, 1910
  • United States: 1910