A multitude of languages are used in Canada. According to the 2011 census, English and French are the mother tongues of 56.9% and 21.3% of Canadians respectively. In total 85.6% of Canadians have working knowledge of English while 30.1% have a working knowledge of French. Under the Official Languages Act of 1969, both English and French have official federal status throughout Canada, in respect of all government services, including the courts, and all federal legislation is enacted bilingually. New Brunswick is the only Canadian province that has both English and French as its official languages to the same extent, with constitutional entrenchment. Quebec's official language is French, although, in that province, the Constitution requires that all legislation be enacted in both French and English, and court proceedings may be conducted in either language. Similar constitutional protections are in place in Manitoba.
Canada's Official Languages Commissioner (the federal government official charged with monitoring the two languages) has stated, "[I]n the same way that race is at the core of what it means to be American and at the core of an American experience and class is at the core of British experience, I think that language is at the core of Canadian experience."
To assist in more accurately monitoring the two official languages, Canada's census collects a number of demolinguistic descriptors not enumerated in the censuses of most other countries, including home language, mother tongue, first official language and language of work.
Canada's linguistic diversity extends beyond the two official languages. "In Canada, 4.7 million people (14.2% of the population) reported speaking a language other than English or French most often at home and 1.9 million people (5.8%) reported speaking such a language on a regular basis as a second language (in addition to their main home language, English or French). In all, 20.0% of Canada's population reported speaking a language other than English or French at home. For roughly 6.4 million people, the other language was an immigrant language, spoken most often or on a regular basis at home, alone or together with English or French whereas for more than 213,000 people, the other language was an Aboriginal language. Finally, the number of people reporting sign languages as the languages spoken at home was nearly 25,000 people (15,000 most often and 9,800 on a regular basis)."[nb 1]
Canada is also home to many indigenous languages. Taken together, these are spoken by less than one percent of the population. About 0.6% Canadians (or 200,725 people) report an Indigenous language as their mother tongue.[nb 2]
|Languages of Canada|
|Official||English and French|
|Main||English and French|
|Immigrant||English, French, Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagalog (Filipino), Arabic, German, Italian, Portuguese|
|Signed||American Sign Language (ASL), |
Quebec Sign Language (LSQ),
Maritime Sign Language,
Plains Sign Talk,
Plateau Sign Language
The following table details the population of each province and territory, with summary national totals, by mother tongue as reported in the Canada 2016 Census.
|Province/territory||Total population||English||%||French||%||Other languages||%||Official language(s)|
|British Columbia||4,598,415||3,271,425||71.14%||71,705||1.56%||1,360,815||29.59%||English (de facto)|
|Nova Scotia||912,300||838,055||91.86%||33,345||3.66%||49,165||5.39%||English (de facto)|
|New Brunswick||736,280||481,690||65.42%||238,865||32.44%||25,165||3.42%||English, French|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||515,680||501,350||97.22%||3,020||0.59%||13,035||2.53%||English (de facto)|
|Prince Edward Island||141,020||128,975||91.46%||5,395||3.83%||7,670||5.44%||English (de facto)|
|Northwest Territories||41,380||32,545||78.65%||1,365||3.30%||8,295||20.05%||Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, Tłįchǫ|
|Nunavut||35,695||11,745||32.90%||640||1.79%||24,050||67.38%||Inuit Language (Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun), English, French|
The percentage of the population speaking English, French or both languages most often at home has declined since 1986; the decline has been greatest for French. The proportion of the population who speak neither English nor French in the home has increased. Geographically, this trend remains constant, as usage of English and French have declined in both English and French speaking regions of the country, but French has declined more rapidly both inside and outside of Quebec. The table below shows the percentage of the total Canadian population who speak Canada's official languages most often at home from 1971–2006. Note that there are nuances between "language most spoken at home", "mother-language" and "first official language": data is collected for all three, which together provide a more detailed and complete picture of language-use in Canada.
In 2011, just under 21.5 million Canadians, representing 65% of the population, spoke English most of the time at home, while 58% declared it their mother language. English is the major language everywhere in Canada except Quebec and Nunavut, and most Canadians (85%) can speak English. While English is not the preferred language in Quebec, 36.1% of Québécois can speak English. Nationally, Francophones are five times more likely to speak English than Anglophones are to speak French – 44% and 9% respectively. Only 3.2% of Canada's English-speaking population resides in Quebec—mostly in Montreal.[nb 3]
In 2011, just over 7.1 million Canadians spoke French most often at home, this was a rise of 4.2%, although the proportion of people in Canada who spoke French "most often" at home fell slightly from 21.7% to 21.5% . Of these, about 6.1 million or 85% resided in Quebec. Outside Quebec, the largest French-speaking populations are found in New Brunswick (which is home to 3.1% of Canada's Francophones) and Ontario (4.2%, residing primarily in the eastern and northeastern parts of the province and in Toronto and Ottawa). Overall, 22% of people in Canada declare French to be their mother language, while one in three Canadians speak French and 70% are unilingual Anglophones.[nb 4] Smaller indigenous French-speaking communities exist in some other provinces. For example, a vestigial community exists on Newfoundland's Port au Port Peninsula; a remnant of the "French Shore" along the island's west coast.
The percentage of the population who speak French both by mother tongue and home language has decreased over the past three decades. Whereas the number of those who speak English at home is higher than the number of people whose mother tongue is English, the opposite is true for Francophones. There are fewer people who speak French at home, than learned French after birth.
Ethnic diversity is growing in French Canada but still lags behind the English-speaking parts of the country. In 2006, 91.5% of Quebecers considered themselves to be of either "French" or "Canadian" origin. As a result of the growth in immigration, since the 1970s, from countries in which French is a widely used language, 3.4% of Quebecers indicated that they were of Haitian, Belgian, Swiss, Lebanese or Moroccan origin. Other groups of non-francophone immigrants (Irish Catholics, Italian, Portuguese, etc.) have also assimilated into French over the generations. The Irish, who started arriving in large numbers in Quebec in the 1830s, were the first such group, which explains why it has been possible for Quebec to have had five premiers of Irish ethnic origin: John Jones Ross (1884–87), Edmund James Flynn (1896–97), Daniel Johnson Sr. (1966–68), Pierre-Marc Johnson (1985), and Daniel Johnson Jr. (1994).
In 1991, due to linguistic assimilation of Francophones outside Quebec, over one million Canadians who claimed English as their mother tongue were of French ethnic origin (1991 Census).
According to the 2011 census, 98.2% of Canadian residents have knowledge of one or both of the country's two official languages, Between 2006 and 2011, the number of persons who reported being able to conduct a conversation in both of Canada's official languages increased by nearly 350,000 to 5.8 million. The bilingualism rate of the Canadian population edged up from 17.4% in 2006 to 17.5% in 2011. This growth of English-French bilingualism in Canada was mainly due to the increased number of Quebecers who reported being able to conduct a conversation in English and French.
Bilingualism with regard to nonofficial languages also increased, most individuals speaking English plus an immigrant language such as Punjabi or Mandarin.
|Year||# Bilingual Canadians||% Quebec||% Rest of Canada||Total # Canadians||% Quebec||% Rest of Canada|
According to the 2011 census, 94.3% of Quebecers have knowledge of French, and 47.2% have knowledge of English. Bilingualism (of the two official languages) is largely limited to Quebec itself, and to a strip of territory sometimes referred to as the "bilingual belt", that stretches east from Quebec into northern New Brunswick and west into parts of Ottawa and northeastern Ontario. 85% of bilingual Canadians live within Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick. A majority of all bilingual Canadians, (57.4%) are themselves Quebecers, and a high percentage of the bilingual population in the rest of Canada resides in close proximity to the Quebec border.
Similarly, the rate of bilingualism in Quebec has risen higher, and more quickly than in the rest of Canada. In Quebec, the rate of bilingualism has increased from 26% of the population being able to speak English and French in 1951 to 42.5% in 2011. As of 2011, in the rest of Canada (excluding Quebec) the rate of bilingualism was 7.5%.
English–French bilingualism is highest among members of local linguistic minorities. It is very uncommon for Canadians to be capable of speaking only the minority official language of their region (French outside of Quebec or English in Quebec). Only 1.5% of Canadians are able to speak only the minority official language, and of these most (90%) live in the bilingual belt.
As the table below shows, rates of bilingualism are much higher among individuals who belong to the linguistic minority group for their region of Canada, than among members of the local linguistic majority. For example, within Quebec around 37% of bilingual Canadians are Francophones, whereas Francophones only represent 4.5% of the population outside of Quebec.
|Rest of Canada||7.1%||85.1%||5.7%|
French-Speaking Canadians from outside of Quebec and English-Speaking Quebecers are, together, the Official Language Minority Communities. These communities are:
The language continuity index represents the relationship between the number of people who speak French most often at home and the number for whom French is their mother tongue. A continuity index of less than one indicates that French has more losses than gains – that more people with French as a mother tongue speak another language at home. Outside of Quebec, New Brunswick has the highest French language continuity ratio. British Columbia and Saskatchewan have the lowest French language continuity ratio and thus the lowest retention of French. From 1971 to 2011, the overall ratio for French language continuity outside of Quebec declined from 0.73 to 0.45. Declines were the greatest for Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland.
|Prince Edward Island||0.60||0.64||0.53||0.53||0.48||0.49||0.47|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||0.63||0.72||0.47||0.42||0.42||0.36||0.46|
Canada is home to a rich variety of indigenous languages that are spoken nowhere else. There are 12 Indigenous language groups in Canada, made up of more than 65 distinct languages and dialects, including many sign languages. Of these, only Cree, Inuktitut, and Ojibway have a large enough population of fluent speakers to be considered viable to survive in the long term. Prior to colonization, multilingualism was common among indigenous bands, which were often temporary and nomadic. However, the reserve system has created more permanent stationary bands, which have generally selected only one of their various ancestral languages to try to preserve in the face of increasing Anglicization.
Two of Canada's territories give official status to native languages. In Nunavut, Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun, known collectively as the Inuit Language, are official languages alongside the national languages of English and French, and Inuktitut is a common vehicular language in territorial government. In the Northwest Territories, the Official Languages Act declares that there are eleven different languages: Chipewyan, Cree, English, French, Gwich’in, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, North Slavey, South Slavey, and Tłįchǫ. Besides English and French, these languages are not vehicular in government; official status entitles citizens to receive services in them on request and to deal with the government in them.
According to the 2011 census, less than one percent of Canadians (213,485) reported an Indigenous language as their mother tongue, and less than one percent of Canadians (132,920) reported an Indigenous language as their home language.
|Indigenous languages||No. of speakers||Mother tongue||Home language|
|Siouan languages (Dakota/Sioux)||6,495||5,585||3,780|
|Tłįchǫ or Dogrib||2,645||2,015||1,110|
|North Slave (Hare)||1,235||650||650|
In Canada, as elsewhere in the world of European colonization, the frontier of European exploration and settlement tended to be a linguistically diverse and fluid place, as cultures using different languages met and interacted. The need for a common means of communication between the indigenous inhabitants and new arrivals for the purposes of trade and (in some cases) intermarriage led to the development of hybrid languages. These languages tended to be highly localized, were often spoken by only a small number of individuals who were frequently capable of speaking another language, and often persisted only briefly, before being wiped out by the arrival of a large population of permanent settlers, speaking either English or French.
Michif (also known as Mitchif, Mechif, Michif-Cree, Métif, Métchif, and French Cree) is a mixed language which evolved within the Prairie Métis community. It is based on elements of Cree, Ojibwa, Assiniboine, and French. Michif is today spoken by less than 1,000 individuals in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and North Dakota. At its peak, around 1900, Michif was understood by perhaps three times this number.
Algonquian–Basque pidgin is a pidgin that developed in the 16th century from Basque in coastal areas along the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Strait of Belle Isle as the result of contact between Basque whalers and local Algonquian peoples.
In British Columbia, Yukon and throughout the Pacific Northwest a pidgin language known as the Chinook Jargon emerged in the early 19th century which was a combination of Chinookan, Nootka, Chehalis, French and English, with a smattering of words from other languages including Hawaiian and Spanish. Certain words and expressions remain current in local use, such as skookum, tyee, and saltchuck, while a few have become part of worldwide English ("high mucketymuck" or "high muckamuck" for a high-ranking and perhaps self-important official).
Alongside the numerous and varied oral languages, Canada also boasts several sign languages. Currently, Canada is home to some five or more sign languages (that number rising with the probability that Plains Sign Talk is actually a language family with several languages under its umbrella), belonging to four distinct language families, those being: French Sign Language language family, BANZSL family and two isolates (Inuiuuk and Plains Sign Talk).
As with all sign languages around the world that developed naturally, these are natural, human languages distinct from any oral language. As such, American Sign Language (unlike Signed English) is no more a derivation of English than Russian is, all being distinct languages from one another. Some languages present here were trade pidgins which were used first as a system of communication across national and linguistic boundaries of First Nations, however, they have since developed into mature languages as children learned them as a first language.
The sign languages of Canada share extremely limited rights within the country in large due to the general population's misinformation on the subject. Ontario is the only province or territory to formally make legal any sign language, enabling the use of American Sign Language, Quebec Sign Language (LSQ) and "First Nation Sign Language" (which could refer to Plains Sign Talk or any other language) in only the domains of education, legislation and judiciary proceedings. The only other language afforded any other rights is Inuiuuk which sees interpretation in the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut. There have been efforts to make LSQ an official language of Quebec, but all efforts have failed.
The most spoken sign language in Canada, American Sign Language or ASL can be found across the country in mostly anglophone regions. The ties with Anglophone Canada are not due to ASL and English's similarity, they have to do with cultural similarities and linguistic history (as several ASL words are borrowed from English). As such, ASL can be found in areas where English is not the primary language, such as Montreal or Nunavut. ASL is part of the French Sign Language family, originating on the East Coast of the United States States from a mix of Langue des signes françaises (LSF) and other local languages.
Alongside ASL, Quebec Sign Language or LSQ (Langue des signes québécoise) is the second most spoken sign language in the country. Centred mainly around and within Quebec, LSQ can also be found in Ontario, New Brunswick and various other parts of the country, generally around francophone communities due to historical ties to the French language. Although approximately 10% of the population of Quebec is deaf or hard-of-hearing, it is estimated that only 50,000 to 60,000 children use LSQ as their native language. LSQ is part of the Francosign family with ASL. As such, both languages are mutually intelligible.
Maritime Sign Language is a BANZSL language. It was used as the language of education for Deaf populations in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island before ASL became available in the mid-20th century. It is still remembered by some elderly people but is moribund. The language, living alongside ASL, has produced a unique dialect of ASL in The Maritimes due to mixing of the languages. The exact number of speakers is unknown.
Inuit Sign Language, also known as Inuiuuk (Inuktitut syllabics ᐃᓄᐃᐆᒃ), is a critically endangered language with some 50 speakers remaining. It is a language isolate and has only be found by researchers in Nunavut, however, there are theories it extends across the Arctic Circle. Little is known about its history, but efforts are being made to document and revitalize the language.
Originally a trade pidgin, Plains Sign Talk, also known as Plains Standard or Prairie Sign Language, became a full language after children began to learn the language as a first language across many Nations. From "HANDS" and "TO TALK TO," Hand Talk was used as a lingua franca across linguistic and national boundaries across the continent and the language stretched across the provinces down through Mexico. As Plains Sign Talk was so widespread and was a spectrum of dialects and accents, it probably hosted several languages under its umbrella. One is potentially Navajo Sign Language which is in use by a sole Navajo clan.
Another trade pidgin that may have become a separate language, Plateau Sign Language replaced Plains Sign Talk in the Columbia Plateau and surrounding regions of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. It is now extinct.
Scottish Gaelic was spoken by many immigrants who settled in Glengarry County, Ontario and the Maritimes — predominantly in New Brunswick's Restigouche River valley, central and southeastern Prince Edward Island, and across the whole of northern Nova Scotia — particularly Cape Breton. While the Canadian Gaelic dialect has mostly disappeared, regional pockets persist. These are mostly centred on families deeply committed to their Celtic traditions. Nova Scotia currently has 500–1,000 fluent speakers, mostly in northwestern Cape Breton. There have been attempts in Nova Scotia to institute Gaelic immersion on the model of French immersion. As well, formal post-secondary studies in Gaelic language and culture are available through St. Francis Xavier University, Saint Mary's University, and Cape Breton University
A portmanteau language which is said to combine English and French syntax, grammar and lexicons to form a unique interlanguage, is sometimes ascribed to mandatory basic French education in the Canadian anglophone school systems. While many Canadians are barely conversant in French they will often borrow French words into their sentences. Simple words and phrases like "c'est quoi ça?" (what is that?) or words like "arrête" (stop) can alternate with their English counterparts. This phenomenon is more common in the eastern half of the country where there is a greater density of Francophone populations. Franglais can also refer to the supposed degradation of the French language thanks to the overwhelming impact Canadian English has on the country's Francophone inhabitants, though many linguists would argue that while English vocabulary can be freely borrowed as a stylistic device, the grammar of French has been resistant to influences from English and the same conservatism holds true in Canadian English grammar, even in Quebec City.
One interesting example of is Chiac, popularly a combination of Acadian French and Canadian English, but actually an unmistakable variety of French, which is native to the Maritimes (particularly New Brunswick which has a large Acadian population).
Ottawa Valley Twang is the accent, sometimes referred to as a dialect of English, that is spoken in the Ottawa Valley, in Ontario. The Ottawa Valley is considered to be a linguistic enclave within Ontario.
The initial European settlers to Newfoundland were fishermen from the various coastal villages of the English West Country of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, and Wiltshire beginning in the 1500s (previously they visited in summer and returned). This set the basic speech patterns for those settlers who fanned out into isolated coves and bays along the island's 6,000 mi (9,700 km) of coastline to take advantage of the scattered off-shore fishing areas. Labrador, today the greater part of "Newfoundland", was then sparsely settled. The West Country dialects continued to be spoken in isolated coves and fjords of the island thus preserving varied dialects of what is today referred to as Newfoundland English.
It was not until the 1700s that social disruptions in Ireland sent thousands of Irish from the southeastern counties of Waterford, Wexford, Kilkenny, and Cork and to the Avalon peninsula in the eastern part of Newfoundland where significant Irish influence on the Newfoundland dialects may still be heard.
Some of the Irish immigrants to Newfoundland were native speakers of Irish making Newfoundland the only place outside Europe to have its own Irish dialect. Newfoundland was also the only place outside Europe to have its own distinct name in Irish: Talamh an Éisc, which means 'land of the fish'. The Irish language is now extinct in Newfoundland.
After 400 years, much of the dialectal differences between the isolated settlements has leveled out beginning in the 20th century when faster boats (using gas engines instead of oars or sails), and improved road connections provided easier social contact. As well, influences from mainland North America began to affect the local dialects beginning during WWII when US and Canadian servicemen were stationed in Newfoundland and accelerating after Newfoundland became a Canadian province in 1949. Lack of an official orthography, publications in dialect, speaker attrition and official disinterest in promoting the language has been contributing factors towards a decline of speakers of the older, traditional Newfoundland English in the original settlements.
Some Welsh is found in Newfoundland. In part, this is as a result of Welsh settlement since the 17th century. Also, there was an influx of about 1,000 Patagonian Welsh migrated to Canada from Argentina after the 1982 Falklands War. Welsh-Argentines are fluent in Spanish as well as English and Welsh.
Acadian French is a unique form of Canadian French which incorporates not only distinctly Canadian phrases but also nautical terms, English loanwords, linguistic features found only in older forms of French as well as ones found in the Maritimer English dialect.
Canada is also home to Canadian Ukrainian, a distinct dialect of the Ukrainian language, spoken mostly in Western Canada by the descendants of first two waves of Ukrainian settlement in Canada who developed in a degree of isolation from their cousins in what was then Austria-Hungary, the Russian Empire, Poland, and the Soviet Union.
Canada's Doukhobor community, especially in Grand Forks and Castlegar, British Columbia, has kept its distinct dialect of Russian. It has a lot in common with South Russian dialects, showing some common features with Ukrainian. This dialect's versions are becoming extinct in their home regions of Georgia and Russia where the Doukhobors have split into smaller groups.
The meagerly documented Bungi Creole (also known as Bungy, Bungie, Bungay, and as the Red River Dialect) is a dialect of English which evolved within the Prairie Métis community. It is influenced by Cree and Scots Gaelic. Bungee was spoken in the Red River area of Manitoba. In 1989, at the time of the only academic study ever undertaken on the language, only six speakers of Bungee were known to still be alive.
English and French have equal status in federal courts, Parliament of Canada, and in all federal institutions.
The public has the right, where there is sufficient demand, to receive federal government services in either English or French. Immigrants who are applying for Canadian citizenship must normally be able to speak either English or French.
Canada's Official Languages Act, first adopted in 1969 and updated in 1988, gives English and French equal status throughout federal institutions.
New Brunswick and Canada's three territories have all given official status to more than one language. In the case of New Brunswick, this means perfect equality. In the other cases, the recognition sometimes amounts to a formal recognition of official languages, but limited services in official languages other than English.
The official languages are:
Until 1969, Quebec was the only officially bilingual province in Canada and most public institutions functioned in both languages. English was also used in the legislature, government commissions and courts. With the adoption of the Charter of the French Language (also known as "Bill 101") by Quebec's National Assembly in August 1977, however, French became Quebec's sole official language. However, the Charter of the French Language enumerates a defined set of language rights for the English language and for Aboriginal languages, and government services are available, to certain citizens and in certain regions, in English. As well, a series of court decisions have forced the Quebec government to increase its English-language services beyond those provided for under the original terms of the Charter of the French Language. Regional institutions in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec offer services in Inuktitut and Cree.
Most provinces have laws that make either English or both English and French the official language(s) of the legislature and the courts but may also have separate policies in regards to education and the bureaucracy.
For example, in Alberta, English and French are both official languages of debate in the Legislative Assembly, but laws are drafted solely in English and there is no legal requirement that they be translated into French. French can be used in some lower courts and education is offered in both languages, but the bureaucracy functions almost solely in English. Therefore, although Alberta is not officially an English-only province, English has a higher de facto status than French. Ontario and Manitoba are similar but allow for more services in French at the local level.
|First language||Population (2016)||% of total population (2016)||Population (2011)||% of total population (2011)||Population (2006)||% of total population (2006)||Notes|
|Single language responses||33,947,610||97.64%||32,481,635||98.07%||30,848,270||98.74%|
|Combined Chinese Responses||1,227,680||3.53%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||Combined responses of Mandarin, Cantonese, Chinese n.o.s. and Min Nan|
|Mandarin (Standard Chinese)||592,035||1.7%||248,705||0.75%||170,950||0.55%|
|Hindustani||321,465||0.92%||263,345||0.8%||224,045||0.72%||Combined responses of Hindi and Urdu|
|Tamil||140,720||0.4%||131,265||0.4%||115,880||0.37%||Most of the Canadian Tamils live in Toronto.|
|Cree, n.o.s.[nb 5]||64,045||0.18%||77,900||0.24%||78,855||0.25%||In the 2006 Census, this language was referred to simply as 'Cree'.|
|Hungarian||61,235||0.18%||67,920||0.21%||73,335||0.23%||The majority of Hungarian speakers in Canada live in Ontario. A community of Hungarian speakers is found within a part of Windsor, Ontario.|
|Berber languages (Kabyle)||n/a||n/a||57,855||0.17%||25,578||0.08%|
|Chinese, n.o.s.[nb 5]||38,575||0.11%||425,210||1.28%||456,705||1.46%|
|Inuktitut||35,215||0.1%||33,500||0.1%||32,015||0.1%||In the 2006 Census, this language was referred to as 'Inuktitut, n.i.e.'.[nb 6]|
|Semitic languages, n.i.e.[nb 6]||2,155||0.01%||16,970||0.05%||n/a||n/a|
|Niger–Congo languages, n.i.e.[nb 5]||19,140||0.06%||14,075||0.04%||n/a||n/a|
|Montagnais (Innu)||10,230||0.03%||10,785||0.03%||10,975||0.04%||In the 2006 Census, this language was referred to as 'Montagnais-Naskapi'.|
|Min Nan (Chaochow, Teochow, Fukien, Taiwanese)||31,795||0.09%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|African languages, n.i.e.[nb 6]||n/a||n/a||9,125||0.03%||n/a||n/a|
|Bantu languages, n.i.e.[nb 6]||n/a||n/a||7,150||0.02%||n/a||n/a|
|Celtic languages, n.i.e.[nb 6]||530||<0.01%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Fukien (Fuzhou dialect)||n/a||n/a||5,925||0.02%||n/a||n/a|
|Indo-Iranian languages, n.i.e.[nb 6]||5,180||0.01%||5,255||0.02%||n/a||n/a|
|Sino-Tibetan languages, n.i.e.[nb 6]||n/a||n/a||4,360||0.01%||n/a||n/a|
|Tibeto-Burman languages, n.i.e.[nb 6]||1,405||<0.01%||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Sign languages, n.i.e.[nb 6]||4,125||0.01%||3,815||0.01%||n/a||n/a|
|Slavic languages, n.i.e.[nb 6]||2,420||0.01%||3,630||0.01%||n/a||n/a|
|Siouan languages (Dakota/Sioux)||1,265||<0.01%||n/a||n/a||5,585||0.02%|
|North Slave (Hare)||765||<0.01%||n/a||n/a||1,065||<0.01%|
|Multiple language responses||818,640||2.35%||639,540||1.9%||392,760||1.26%|
|English and French||165,335||0.48%||144,685||0.4%||98,630||0.32%|
|English and a non-official language||533,260||1.53%||396,330||1.2%||240,005||0.77%|
|French and a non-official language||86,145||0.25%||74,430||0.2%||43,335||0.14%|
|English, French, and a non-official language||33,900||0.1%||24,095||0.07%||10,790||0.03%|
African Nova Scotian English (ANSE) is a variety of the English language spoken by descendants of Black Canadian slaves, refugees and slaves from the United States and of Jamaican Maroons who live in Nova Scotia, Canada. Members of these communities are collectively known as Black Nova Scotians.Though most African American freedom seekers to Canada ended up in Ontario through the Underground Railroad, only the dialect of African Nova Scotians retains the influence of West African pidgin. In the 19th century, African Nova Scotian English would have been indistinguishable from English spoken in Jamaica or Suriname. However, it has been increasingly de-creolized since this time, due to interaction and influence from the white Nova Scotian population, who mostly hail from the British Isles. Desegregation of the province's school boards in 1964 further accelerated the process of de-creolization.
The language is a relative of the African-American Vernacular English, with significant variations unique to the group's history in the area. There are noted differences in the dialects of those from Guysborough County (Black Loyalists), and those from North Preston (Black Refugees), the Guysborough group having been in the province three generations earlier.Howe & Walker (2000) use data from early recordings of African Nova Scotian English, Samaná English, and the recordings of former slaves to demonstrate that speech patterns were inherited from nonstandard colonial English. The dialect was extensively studied in 1992 by Shana Poplack and Sali Tagliamonte from the University of Ottawa.A commonality between African Nova Scotian English and African American Vernacular English is (r)-deletion. This rate of deletion is 57% among Black Nova Scotians, and 60% among African Americans in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, in the surrounding mostly white communities of Nova Scotia, (r)-deletion does not occur. The exception to this is the non-rhotic dialect of Lunenburg English.Allophone (Canada)
In Canada, an allophone is a resident whose mother tongue or home language is neither French nor English. The term parallels anglophone and francophone, which designate people whose mother tongues are English and French, respectively. Native speakers of aboriginal languages are generally not treated as allophones.Bungi Creole
Bungi (also Bungee, Bungie, Bungay, or the Red River Dialect) is a creole language of Scottish English, the Orcadian dialect of Scots, Scottish Gaelic, Cree, and Ojibwe. It is spoken by the Red River Métis in present-day Manitoba, Canada.
Bungi has been categorized as a post-creole, with the distinctive features of the language gradually abandoned by successive generations of speakers in favour of standard Canadian English. Today, the creole mostly survives in the speech of a few elders, and the use of non-standard pronunciations and terminology by a wider population.Canadian French
Canadian French (French: français canadien) is the French language spoken in Canada. It includes the varieties of French used in Canada such as Quebec French. Formerly Canadian French referred solely to Quebec French and the closely related varieties of Ontario (Franco-Ontarian) and Western Canada—in contrast with Acadian French, which is spoken in some areas of eastern Quebec, New Brunswick (including the Chiac dialect), and some areas of Nova Scotia (including the dialect St. Marys Bay French). PEI and Newfoundland & Labrador have Newfoundland French.
In 2011, the total number of native French speakers in Canada was around 7.3 million (22% of the entire population), while another 2 million spoke it as a second language. At the federal level, it has official status alongside English. At the provincial level, French is the sole official language of Quebec as well as one of two official languages of New Brunswick, and jointly official (derived from its federal legal status) in Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. Government services are offered in French at select localities in Manitoba and Ontario (through the French Language Services Act) and, to a lesser extent, elsewhere in the country, depending largely on the proximity to Quebec and/or French Canadian influence on any given region.
New England French (a dialect spoken in northern New England) is essentially a variety of Canadian French and exhibits no particular differences from the Canadian dialects, unlike Louisiana French and Louisiana Creole.Canadian Ukrainian
Canadian Ukrainian (Ukrainian: кана́дсько-украї́нська мо́ва, romanized: kanadsko-ukrainska mova, [kɐˈnɑtsʲsʲko ukrɐˈjinsʲkɐ ˈmɔβɐ]) is a dialect of the Ukrainian language specific to the Ukrainian Canadian community descended from the first two waves of historical Ukrainian emigration to Western Canada.
Canadian Ukrainian was widely spoken from the beginning of Ukrainian settlement in Canada in 1892 until the mid-20th century. Because Ukrainian Canadians are largely descended from emigrants from the Austro-Hungarian provinces of Galicia and Bukovina, where some self-identified as Rusyns or Ruthenians rather than Ukrainians proper, it is most similar to the dialects spoken in these areas, not in the Russian Empire- administered areas where Ukrainian was spoken. As such Canadian Ukrainian contains many more loanwords from Polish, German, and Romanian, and fewer from Russian, than does modern standard Ukrainian, which is mostly based on the dialect spoken in central Ukraine, particularly in the Cherkasy, Poltava and Kiev areas.
The first two waves of immigrants (1882—1914, 1918—1939) spoke the dialects of what is now western Ukraine, but they were cut off from their co-linguists by wars and social changes, and half the globe. Ukrainophones in Canada were also exposed to speakers of many other languages in Canada, especially English. As well, the mostly impoverished peasants were introduced to many new technologies and concepts, for which they had no words. Consequently, Canadian Ukrainian began to develop in new directions from the language in the "Old Country".Chiac
Chiac is a vernacular Acadian French language with influences from English and to a lesser extent from various Canadian aboriginal languages. It is spoken by many Acadians in southeast New Brunswick, especially among youth near Moncton, Dieppe, Memramcook and Shediac, and is becoming increasingly popular among the youth in the area. Chiac is a relatively recent development of the French language whose growth was spurred in the 1960s by the dominance of English-language media in Canada, the lack of French-language primary and secondary education, increased urbanization of Moncton, and contact with the dominant Anglophone community in the area. The word 'Chiac' is believed to be derived from "Shediac". University of Orléans linguist Marie‑Ève Perrot describes Chiac as "the integration and transformation of English lexical, syntactic, morphological, and phonetic forms into French structures".The roots and base of Chiac are Acadian French, a spoken French often tinged with nautical terms (e.g., haler, embarquer), reflecting the historical importance of the sea to the local economy and culture. Chiac also contains many older French words (e.g., bailler, quérir, hucher, gosier) which are now deemed archaic by the Académie Française, as well as aboriginal-derived terms, notably from Mi'kmaq, evident in words such as matues, meaning 'porcupine'. Chiac uses primarily French syntax with French-English vocabulary and phrase forms (see below). It is often deprecated by both French and English speakers as an ill-conceived hybrid language — either "bad" French or "bad" English. See franglais for a wider discussion of this phenomenon. The collected works of Goncourt prize-winner Antonine Maillet, and her play La Sagouine in particular illustrate this variation of French very well.
Chiac has been embraced in recent years by some Acadian groups as a living and evolving language, and part of their collective culture. Acadian writers, poets and musicians such as France Daigle, Cayouche, Zero Celsius, Radio Radio, Paul Bossé, Fayo, Lisa LeBlanc, and 1755 have produced works in Chiac. Recently, Chiac has also made its way onto a local television station with Acadieman, a comedy about "The world's first Acadian Superhero" by Dano Leblanc. The animated series, also a comic book, contains a mixture of Anglophone, Francophone, and "Chiacophone" characters. The popular Acadian rap group Radio Radio have also raised the profile of Chiac by rapping almost exclusively in that language. "Acadian" French has been greatly influenced by Chiac as it has spread among the younger generations.Gujarati language
Gujarati (; ગુજરાતી gujarātī [ɡudʒəˈɾɑtiː]) is an Indo-Aryan language native to the Indian state of Gujarat and spoken predominantly by the Gujarati people. Gujarati is part of the greater Indo-European language family. Gujarati is descended from Old Gujarati (circa 1100–1500 AD). In India, it is the official language in the state of Gujarat, as well as an official language in the union territories of Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli. As of 2011, Gujarati is the 6th most widely spoken language in India by number of native speakers, spoken by 55.5 million speakers which amounts to about 4.5% of the total Indian population. It is the 26th most widely spoken language in the world by number of native speakers as of 2007.The Gujarati language is more than 700 years old and is spoken by more than 55 million people worldwide. Outside of Gujarat, Gujarati is spoken in many other parts of South Asia by Gujarati migrants, especially in Mumbai and Pakistan (mainly in Karachi). Gujarati is also widely spoken in many countries outside South Asia by the Gujarati diaspora. In North America, Gujarati is one of the fastest growing and most widely-spoken Indian languages in the United States and Canada. In Europe, Gujaratis form the second largest of the British South Asian speech communities, and Gujarati is the fourth most commonly spoken language in the U.K.'s capital London. Gujarati is also spoken in Southeast Africa, particularly in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, and South Africa. Elsewhere, Gujarati is spoken to a lesser extent in China (particularly Hong Kong), Indonesia, Singapore, Australia, and Middle Eastern countries such as Bahrain. Gujarati was the mother tongue of Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.Hutterite German
Hutterite German (German: Hutterisch) is an Upper German dialect of the Bavarian variety of the German language, which is spoken by Hutterite communities in Canada and the United States. Hutterite is also called Tirolean, but this is an anachronism.Inuit Sign Language
Inuit Sign Language (IUR, Inuktitut: Uukturausingit ᐆᒃᑐᕋᐅᓯᖏᑦ or Atgangmuurngniq ᐊᒼᖕᒨᕐᓂᖅ) is an Indigenous sign language isolate native to Inuit communities of the Canadian Arctic. It is currently only attested within certain communities in Nunavut, particularly around Baker Lake and Rankin Inlet. Although there is a possibility that it may be used in other places where Inuit people live in the Arctic, this has not been confirmed.Of the estimated 155 deaf residents of Nunavut in 2000, around 47 were thought to use IUR, while the rest use ASL due to schooling. It is unknown how many hearing people use the language nor how many people are monolingual. As it is a highly endangered and relatively hidden language, it has no protection under the federal or territorial governments of Canada. However, IUR exists alongside ASL interpretation within the Nunavut Legislative Assembly as of 2008. Recently, there has been increased interest in the documentation of the language which would be done through the Nunavut Council for People with Disabilities and the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC). As well, there is push to expand the interpretation/translation programme through Arctic College to include IUR.Irish language in Newfoundland
The Irish language was once widely spoken on the island of Newfoundland before largely disappearing there by the early 20th century. The language was introduced through mass immigration by Irish speakers, chiefly from Counties Waterford, Tipperary and Cork, and Newfoundland subsequently became the only place to have a distinct Irish-language name outside Europe: Talamh an Éisc ("Land of the (One) Fish"). The Irish spoken in Newfoundland was said to resemble the dialect spoken in Munster in the eighteenth century.Labrador Inuit Pidgin French
Labrador Inuit Pidgin French, also called Belle Isle Pidgin, was a French-lexified pidgin spoken between Breton and Basque fishermen and the Inuit of Labrador from the late 17th century until about 1760.Maritime Sign Language
Maritime Sign Language (MSL), is a sign language descended from British Sign Language and used in Canada's Atlantic provinces. It was created through the convergence of deaf communities from the Northeastern United States and the United Kingdom immigrating to Canada throughout the 1700s and 1800s. It is unknown the extent to which this language is spoken today, though there are linguistic communities found across the Atlantic provinces. MSL is being supplanted by American Sign Language (ASL) resulting in fewer MSL speakers and a lack of resources (education, interpretation, etc.) for MSL speakers.
The dialect of ASL currently used in the Maritimes exhibits some lexical influence from MSL. ASL is now the main language that is used by the Deaf community in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Due to the expansion of ASL, there are fewer than 100 MSL users.Métis French
Métis French (French: français métis), along with Michif and Bungi, is one of the traditional languages of the Métis people, and the French-dialect source of Michif.Nisga'a language
Nisga’a (also Nass, Nisgha, Nisg̱a’a, Nishka, Niska, Nishga, Nisqa’a) is a Tsimshianic language of the Nisga'a people of northwestern British Columbia. Nisga'a people, however, dislike the term Tshimshianic as they feel that it gives precedence to Coast Tsimshian. Nisga’a is very closely related to Gitxsan. Indeed, many linguists regard Nisga’a and Gitksan as dialects of a single Nass–Gitksan language. The two are generally treated as distinct languages out of deference to the political separation of the two groups.Pacific Northwest English
Pacific Northwest English (also known, in American linguistics, as Northwest English) is a variety of North American English spoken in the U.S. states of Washington and Oregon, sometimes also including Idaho and the Canadian province of British Columbia. Current studies remain inconclusive about whether Pacific Northwest English is a dialect of its own, separate from Western American English or even California English or Standard Canadian English, with which it shares its major phonological features. The dialect region contains a highly diverse and mobile population, which is reflected in the historical and continuing development of the variety.Plains Indian Sign Language
Plains Indian Sign Language (PISL), also known as Plains Sign Talk, Plains Sign Language and First Nation Sign Language, is a trade language (or international auxiliary language), formerly trade pidgin, that was once the lingua franca across what is now central Canada, central and western United States and northern Mexico, used among the various Plains Nations. It was also used for story-telling, oratory, various ceremonies, and by deaf people for ordinary daily use. It is falsely believed to be a manually coded language or languages; however, there is not substantive evidence establishing a connection between any spoken language and Plains Sign Talk.
The name 'Plains Sign Talk' is preferred in Canada, with 'Indian' being considered pejorative by many. Hence, publications and reports on the language vary in naming conventions according to origin.Plateau Sign Language
Plateau Sign Language, or Old Plateau Sign Language, is a poorly attested, extinct sign language historically used across the Columbian Plateau. The Crow Nation introduced Plains Sign Talk, which replaced Plateau Sign Language among the eastern nations that used it (the Coeur d’Alene, Sanpoil, Okanagan, Thompson, Lakes, Shuswap, and Coleville), with western nations shifting instead to Chinook Jargon.Quebec Sign Language
Quebec Sign Language, known in French as Langue des signes québécoise or Langue des signes du Québec (LSQ), is the predominant sign language of deaf communities used in francophone Canada, primarily in Quebec. Although named Quebec sign, LSQ can be found within communities in Ontario and New Brunswick as well as certain other regions across Canada. Being a member of the French Sign Language family, it is most closely related to French Sign Language (LSF), being a result of mixing between American Sign Language (ASL) and LSF. As LSQ can be found near and within francophone communities, there is a high level of borrowing of words and phrases from French, but it is far from creating a creole language. However, alongside LSQ, signed French and Pidgin LSQ French exist, where both mix LSQ and French more heavily to varying degrees.
LSQ was developed around 1850 by certain religious communities to help teach children and adolescents in Quebec from a situation of language contact. Since then, after a period of forced oralism, LSQ has become a strong language amongst Deaf communities within Quebec and across Canada. However, due to the glossing of LSQ in French and a lack of curriculum within hearing primary and secondary education, there still exist large misconceptions amongst hearing communities about the nature of LSQ and sign languages as a whole, which negatively impacts policy making on a larger scale.Western Armenian
Western Armenian (Classical spelling: արեւմտահայերէն, arevmdahayerēn) is one of the two standardized forms of Modern Armenian, the other being Eastern Armenian. Until the early 20th century, various Western Armenian dialects were spoken in the Ottoman Empire, especially in the eastern regions historically populated by Armenians known as Western Armenia. The spoken or dialectal varieties of Western Armenian currently in use include Homshetsi, spoken by the Hemshin peoples; the dialects of Armenians of Kessab, Latakia and Jisr al-Shughur of Syria, Anjar of Lebanon, and Vakıflı, of Turkey (part of the "Sueidia" dialect.
Forms of the Karin dialect of Western Armenian are spoken by several hundred thousand people in Northern Armenia, mostly in Gyumri, Artik, Akhuryan, and around 130 villages in the Shirak province, and by Armenians in Samtskhe–Javakheti province of Georgia (Akhalkalaki, Akhaltsikhe).As mostly a diasporic language, and as a language that is not an official language of any state, Western Armenian faces extinction as its native speakers lose fluency in Western Armenian amid pressures to assimilate into their host countries. Estimates place the number of fluent speakers of Western Armenian outside Armenia and Georgia at less than one million.
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