Languages ​​of Canada

Canada's flag

Canada is a country that belongs to North America and whose capital is Ottawa (and not Toronto as many people believe). It is the 2nd largest country in the world (9,984,670 km 2), only behind Russia. In terms of population, it drops to 38th place, with some 36 million inhabitants. Its human development index is very high (ranked 10th) and its official currency is the Canadian dollar. And what language is spoken in Canada?

What language do they speak in Canada?

The state of Canada has had two official languages ​​since 1969, which are the following:

  • English , which is spoken by 85.6% of the population (~30.8 million inhabitants).
  • French , which is spoken by 30.1% of Canadians (~10.8 million).

However, each province has its own official languages. New Brunswick is the only Canadian province that has both languages ​​as official languages ​​at the same level. Quebec is the only province that has only French as its official language, although its enacted legislation must be in both languages, and court proceedings may also be in English.The rest of the provinces adopt English as the only official language, with the exception of two provinces that also support Eskimo languages:

  • Northwest Territories – English, French, Chipewyan, Cree, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slave, South Slave, and Tłįchǫ
  • Nunavut – Inuit languages ​​(Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun), English, and French. The Inuit languages ​​are the native languages ​​of the Eskimos.

The most common foreign languages ​​are: Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog, Arabic, German, Italian and Portuguese.

Bilingualism in Canada

The bilingual belt (bilingual belt / ceinture bilingue) is a term used to describe regions of Canada in which both English and French are spoken. To the east of the country, and from the north, it begins in New Brunswick and extends to the south in Manitoba. This belt crosses major cities such as Quebec and Ontario, as can be seen on the map.

what language do they speak in canadaRegions in which ① English, ② bilingual regions, and ③ French are spoken.

  • New Brunswick – In seven counties, French is the mother tongue of 59% of the population. The rate of bilingualism is high among Francophones, while English speakers barely know French.
  • Quebec: French is the mother tongue of 70% of the population, while the remaining 30% speak English. 40% of these Francophones are bilingual, and in the case of the English-speaking population the figure is less than a third.
  • Ontario – In eleven counties, 30% of the population have French as their mother tongue.
canada bilingual traffic sign

In general, more than 35% of Canadians speak more than one language (although only half of these, those languages ​​are English and French). On the other hand, less than 2% of the population speak neither English nor French. Among the policies of Canada is to promote the bilingualism of its inhabitants. The cities with the highest rate of bilingualism are:

  1. Montreal (58%)
  2. Ottawa (37%)
  3. Quebec (28%)
  4. Winnipeg (11%)
  5. Toronto (8%)
  6. Edmonton (8%)
  7. Vancouver (7%)
  8. Calgary (7%)
  9. Hamilton (7%)
  10. London (6%)
evolution of the knowledge of the official languages ​​in canada

The English language

English (English) is spoken in Canada by more than 30 million people (only 75% use it at home), of which 19.4 million speak the Canadian variety, a variation more similar to American English than to British in terms of linguistic distance.

writing differences in the different varieties of english

The French language

French (français) is spoken by more than 10 million inhabitants, of whom 7.2 million are native speakers. The majority of this population lives in Quebec, where French is the only official language. 77% of Quebecers are native Francophones, and 95% speak it as their first or second language. Additionally, one million natives live in other provinces. Furthermore, it is the only independent country in the Americas, along with Haiti, that has French as its official language.

Other unofficial languages

Canada is home to a large number of languages ​​that are not spoken anywhere else. There are 11 indigenous language groups, grouping up to 65 different languages ​​and dialects. Of these, only Cree (~100,000), Inuit (~36,000), and Ojibwa (~32,000) have a sufficient population of native speakers to consider long-term survival viable. There are only two states that have any of these indigenous languages ​​official: Nunavut and the Northern Territories.

In the 2011 census, some ~ 210,000 Canadians indicated an indigenous language as their mother tongue, and some ~130,000 of them use it at home.

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