Talk:Languages of Canada

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"Language in Canada"?[edit]

This article is written in parts in an extraordinarily biased and some could say racist way. Some corrections have been made. Does anyone mind if I rename this article "Language in Canada"? The current title is a little too academic for an encyclopedia aimed at a wide audience. Kevintoronto 21:25, 6 Mar 2005 (UTC)

    • It's not really the subject of the article, although perhaps it should be mentioned; it's incidental to the Language in Canada's article content, though.
    • What isn't incidental that I think should be in the article is some discussion of the "national languages" as opposed to "official languages" - Inuktitut, the First Nations language, Michif, Chinook - languages which have historical and cultural importance which are part of the linguistic history of the country, and in some areas of the milieu. Also, anyone who's followed my rants on Talk:Canadian English knows I have pretty strong opinions on the nature of "anglophone" society in British Columbia, i.e. the diversity within English itself. The current Language in Canada article seems written from the usual two-solitudes premise, with a dose of official census-multiculturalism. The evolution of non-official languages in North America might be worth a bit; the peculiarities that have arisen in Canadian versions of languages such as Norwegian, Chinese, German and so on, that are not found in the home country (Norwegian's particularly famous for this).Skookum1 19:01, 13 December 2005 (UTC)
While it is interesting to read about these hybrid dialects and whatnot, it's a shame in this article that the big "minority" languages in Canada (Mandarin/Cantonese, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, German,etc) get only a passing mention while those more obscure ones get their own headers--even this Basque Pidgin? thanks, Dan Carkner 01:53, 15 August 2006 (UTC)
  • The article of Spanish language says that Spanish is spoken in Canada by 900.000 people, that means the 3%. Can anybody say that it is true? And, if it ir, could you mind change the percents of the language that are spoken in Canada?. Thanks in advance.
The article about the German language says that, according to the most recent census of 2006, in Canada there are 622,650 speakers of German. Therefore it would be useful to change your figures accordingly. Many thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 93.131.191.55 (talk) 12:22, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Gaelic languages in CND[edit]

What about the content of these articles?

194.114.62.34 13:32, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

Data on bilingualism?[edit]

It'd be interesting to see some data on what proportion of Canadians are competent in both French and English. Twinxor t 16:05, 28 January 2006 (UTC)

There is map of Canada showing it very well here: http://atlas.gc.ca/site/english/maps/peopleandsociety/lang/officiallanguages/englishfrenchbilingualism -- Mathieugp 17:27, 28 January 2006 (UTC)
Done. Data on English/French bilingualism in Quebec and in English Canada has been added to article. Makes the text more readable (and much better than Bilingualism in Canada, which goes every which way. Exact references to Statistics Canada catalogues is nevertheless missing. --Joseph B 01:46, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Improved. A table has been added with statistics on the subject. --Deragon (talk) 15:54, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Chinook pare-down welcome[edit]

In the last couple of days I've created and augmented the Hybrid Languages section, but because of my specialist interest in the Jargon I'm aware I've rambled in that section. My purpose was to try and cover the different aspects of the Jargon's relevance and multi-ethnic scope/identity and its role in the history of BC (the McBride nomination, for example, and Kamloops Wawa and the residential schools situation) but I'm naturally profuse with the wordings; edit-downs pls; anything lengthy being cut out can possibly be moved/merged to Chinook Jargon or at least please transfer and note to Talk:Chinook Jargon.Skookum1 21:03, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

  • Cut and pasted the Chinook material in the article Chinook Jargon (hidden text) since it is off-topic here. And the Chinook article needs an edit! --Joseph B 00:25, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was move. —Mets501 (talk) 03:39, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Language of CanadaLanguages of Canada – Naming conventions, consistency -Justin (koavf)·T·C·M 15:01, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

Add "* Support" or "* Oppose" followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your opinion with ~~~~

  • Sure, why not, better title, there's more than one language. I personally would prefer "Languages in Canada", but it's not a big deal. Luigizanasi 02:21, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Discussion[edit]

Add any additional comments

  • Can you give examples that this is per a "naming convention"? -Royalguard11(Talk·Desk) 03:00, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
    Sure Here, for instance. Also see Special:Allpages, and start at "Languages" to see how this is already applied in most circumstances. -Justin (koavf)·T·C·M 04:43, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Rename to "Spoken Languages of Canada"?[edit]

A question on the Reference Desk made me realize that the article Languages of Canada contains no information on the sign languages used in Canada (primarily Quebec Sign Language and American Sign Language but also Maritime Sign Language). Therefore the article should be renamed "Spoken Languages of Canada". --Mathew5000 20:09, 26 March 2007 (UTC)

Uh, I see your point, but the implication of your proposed title would preclude extinct languages such as Stuwix and Pentlatch; and also would imply that Chinese, German, Punjabi, et al. would be eligible. The solution is to include Quebec Sign Language and American Sign Language andMaritime Sign Language) in this article, wouldn't it?Skookum1 00:56, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that solution would be good, but I don't think renaming the article to Spoken languages of Canada would preclude extinct langauges. The term "spoken language" is not the same as "currently spoken language". Stuwix and Pentlatch are "spoken languages" despite being extinct. (Just like the dodo can still be described as a bird, even though it is not an extant bird.) --Mathew5000 03:01, 27 March 2007 (UTC)
It has been seven months since I raised the issue and nobody added info on sign languages to this article, so I went ahead and renamed it for the sake of accuracy and NPOV. --Mathew5000 02:10, 6 November 2007 (UTC)

I consulted with Mathew5000 just now and got a go-ahead to rename the article back to its original title after writing a section on the Deaf Sign Languages used in Canada. - Working for Him (talk) 03:17, 30 December 2009 (UTC)

Selective POV[edit]

I'm a bit frustrated to not find "Mother Tongue" as well as "Home Language" (and also "Language used at Work") in this section. I've been hunting the linked sources but actually finding tables in StatsCan is not as easy as you'd expect it to be. As with ethnic tables, I think you'll find that German ranks a lot higher as mother tongue than as "home language".....Skookum1 (talk) 19:01, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Francophones of the rest of Canada (Canada not including Quebec)[edit]

How is it that 85% of Canadians not living in Quebec are Francophones? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.225.114.225 (talk) 00:46, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Home Language 1971-2006 (Official languages only)[edit]

Home Language 1971-2006 (Official languages only)
1971[1] 1981[2] 1986[3] 1991[4] 1996 [5] 2001[6] 2006[7]
Language Quebec ROC Quebec ROC Quebec ROC Quebec ROC Quebec ROC Quebec ROC Quebec ROC
French 17.01% 0.98% 23.43% 1.33% 21.03% 2.31% 20.87% 2.26% 20.39% 2.06% 19.59% 1.96% 19.47% 1.87%
English 2.93% 64.15% 2.99% 65.69% 2.88% 66.29% 2.75% 65.91% 2.60% 65.52% 2.41% 64.37% 2.47% 63.14%
Both n/a n/a n/a n/a 0.78% 0.81% 0.25% 0.21% 0.27% 0.20% 0.24% 0.17% 0.21% 0.15%
Neither 0.29% 1.19% 1.52% 5.03% 1.10% 4.79% 1.38% 6.37% 1.44% 7.52% 1.40% 9.87% 1.66% 9.63%


The table seems very wrong. The home language of only about 20% of Quebecers would be French? Shouldn't all columns add to 100%? I will delete it for now because data doesn't match with the rest of the article. --zorxd (talk) 15:09, 15 June 2009 (UTC)


I agree that the table was confusing. I looked up the sources, and realized that the data adds up to the total in Canada, so for 1971 for example 18% of Canadians speak French and live in Quebec, rather than 18% of Quebecers speak French. I added a third column with the total for Canada which should clear it up, and a brief explanation in the text of the article. The chart below also shows the same trends, but for Canada only, without breaking up into regions. Spicy Mayan Chocolate (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:46, 14 July 2010 (UTC).

aboriginal language tables[edit]

I was a bit stunned to see Tlingit on there and not Coast Tsimshian, Gitxsan language or Nisga'a language; there's about 200, 1000 and 700 speakers respectively though the Tsimshianic languages article says 2100 in total; apparently Statistics Canada doesn't keep the same statistics as the linguistics community; I'm also surprsed to not see Kwak'wala on the list....among others....Skookum1 (talk) 13:45, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

One issue that should be taken under serious consideration is that many reserves are not included in the census. A particular example of note would be the Mohawk, who are well-known for opting out of many government activities, and have one of the lowest voter turnout rates in federal elections. I would even go so far as to venture a guess that the majority of the 615 Mohawk language speakers reported in the census do not live on a Mohawk reserve. The census figures probably represent only a small fraction of the true number. Arcticmohawk (talk) 11:32, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

Yeah, I've been aware of that with census figures re populations in BC; I see the logic of the mis-representation of language numbers resulting from the same lack of counting. Unfortunately I don't have a cite saying "many bands and their members refuse to be counted in the census, and in many cases census takers are refused access to reserves" because of all the population figures on various pages, including the proportion of FN people at the provincial and federal levels in some articles. As it is, IR populations are counted separately from regional districts, which are census areas; "data apartheid" I call it, such that the true population goes unrepresnted in Wikipedia, or anywhere else; the number of towns and regions in BC where aboriginal populations are in the majority, especially if non-status are counted, is really staggering; but politically inconvenient to both central governments (Victoria, Ottawa) and the resource sector; many band councils could get better funding if their true numbers were known/published, but they don't. Conversely there are TV networks for northern languages like Inuktitut and Cree where the head-count is known; but none for the perhaps-more-populous potential viewership for speakers of Carrier, Thompson, Shuswap, Tsimshian, even Halkomelem....Skookum1 (talk) 14:13, 16 March 2010 (UTC)

How many speak Punjabi language in Canada?[edit]

Sorry! I don't speak english.

0.9% or 1.0%. But, if 500.000 speakers (fourth more spoken) is 1.6%

--Rocalpi (talk) 12:57, 15 January 2010 (UTC)

Language composition by Home language[edit]

I found a number of problems with the list of languages under "Language composition by Home language". It seemed odd that the list of the "top twenty languages" had 21 languages in it. Well, it turns out that the list has bounced back and forth between 20 and 21 entries many times. It has been vandalized over and over again, and on many occasions the vandalism has not been caught.

Berber was added (25,000 speakers rather than 570), then knocked off the bottom of the list when someone else added Ukrainian (148,090 rather than 28,055). Punjab was boosted from 278,500 to 500,000. Dutch was added (159,400 speakers rather than 14,235). Romanian was dropped from the list. Hindi was replaced by Tagalog without changing the number of speakers.

I am reverting the list back to what it looked like when it was originally created.

-- JPMcGrath (talk) 04:25, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

An excellent course of action. Looking at the source, it appears that the percentages aren't given in the source, but instead were calculated by a wikipedia editor - perhaps we should go through and check their accuracy at some point? Regards, ClovisPt (talk) 12:19, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Those percentages are a bit of a problem — they are accurate, but a little misleading.
The census takers asked what language was spoken most often in the home, and about 2% of the people answered that two languages were used equally. The editor who came up with the percentages excluded the "multiple primary home language" from the calculations. Also excluded are those who speak a language at home regularly, but it is not the primary language spoken.
BTW, the erroneous figure for people who speak more than one language at home only counted people with "multiple primary home languages" and not those where two languages are spoken regularly, but one more often than others. The correct figure for people who speak more than one language at home is 12.5%.
-- JPMcGrath (talk) 01:21, 17 January 2010 (UTC)

Geographic distribution of French-English bilingualism[edit]

Although I updated the section concerning Stephen Harper's quote in order to maintain objectivity, it would be logical to exclude the quote entirely as it is an incorrect statement and adds prejudice to the article. Stephen Harper is incorrect in stating Canada is not a bilingual country. It is a bilingual country, it's citizens are not necessarily so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Habitant (talkcontribs) 21:29, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Harper bloat removed entirely[edit]

I removed that passage, as having no real relevance to either language policy or the overall meaning of this article; unless other PMs views are included, those of the current minority-government PM are entirely unnecessary and highly irrelevant, as well as "pushing" that particular PM's views; "soft spam". Harper mentions are all over Wikipedia in articles in which his presence is WP:Undue weight and "political spam". he's only a minority prime minister, not the messiah....Skookum1 (talk) 22:44, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

Proposed fork for "Demolinguistic descriptors"=[edit]

I've just come across a book, published by Statscan, that lists all the demolinguistic descriptors that the agency uses. What I'd like to do is to create an article containing this information, and link it to this page---but also, to remove the "Demolinguistic descriptors" from this page, since it is a section that is (a) technical and too detailed for most readers; (b) easily dealt with via another article which can be linked to this one; and (c) kinda stuck in the middle of this article with no relationship to the rest of the article.

The quality of the Wikipedia articles dealing with definitions of terms like "mother tongue" and "home language" is improving all the time. Making the link from those pages (and from "Languages of Canada") to a page on the Statscan definitions that are peculiar to our own census would be helpful, I think.

But the real question is: Does anybody have concerns about me removing the text that is under "Demolinguistic descriptors" right now, as long as a suitable link is made to the new page? If so, just make a note here. If I haven't heard from anybody for a month or so, I'll go ahead and make the change.

Flint and Fire (talk) 20:44, 29 March 2010 (UTC)

I already have two drafts on this:
fr:Utilisateur:Mathieugp/Brouillons/Liste des indicateurs linguistiques élaborés par Statistique Canada
fr:Utilisateur:Mathieugp/Brouillons/Liste des indicateurs linguistiques élaborés par l'Office québécois de la langue française
-- Mathieugp (talk) 05:15, 30 March 2010 (UTC)

Aboriginal languages[edit]

There is a big problem with using the census as the sole source of statistics for Aboriginal languages. In the census, there are regularly what Statistics Canada calls "incompletely enumerated" Indian reserves and settlements. As a result, some languages are much less represented than they should be in the census. This needs to be taken into account, both by warning the reader of this problem and where possible by appealing to other sources. 82.124.227.214 (talk) 10:09, 17 April 2010 (UTC)

Data for charts[edit]

The data and detailed information on sources for all of the charts is included on each chart's description page in the Commons. Spicy Mayan Chocolate (talk) 16:01, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Canadian Hungarian (Kanadai Magyarok)[edit]

I missed this in the list, although there are many of these people in Canada. For example, there is a forum especially for them under canadahun dot com, which is very busy daily. So it can't be just a marginal thing. Yet they didn't even seem to bother mentioning the percentual share of Canadian Hungarians in the Canada article. [edit] Ah found it, it was well hidden. (whoever invented this highly-complicated and puzzling structure!!) It's under Ethnic origins of people in Canada -andy 217.50.50.187 (talk) 15:17, 16 August 2010 (UTC)

First Paragraph[edit]

First paragraph needs a minor cleanup - typos and grammar, etc. --62.255.194.126 (talk) 14:28, 7 April 2011 (UTC)

Dene Suline and Chipewyan[edit]

The Dene Suline and Chipewyan language(s) in the table of Aboriginal languages section; Is it the same ??? I think, the Dene Suline is Dene languages and the Chipewyan is Dene Suline language --Kmoksy (talk) 19:18, 19 November 2012 (UTC)

Keyboards[edit]

There's US and Canadian French, what happened to Canadian Multilingual? Most of my keyboards have been that. -- 70.24.250.103 (talk) 05:58, 18 April 2013 (UTC)

over languages of canada[edit]

Abenaki, Algonquin, Babine-Witsuwit'en, Beothuk, Blackfoot, Broken Slavey, Bungee, Carrier, Cayuga, Chiac, Chilcotin, Chinook Jargon, Coast Tsimshian, Comox, Cree, Dene Suline, Dogrib, Gwich’in, Haida, Haisla, Halkomelem, Hän, Heiltsuk-Oowekyala, Innu-aimun, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut, Inupiaq, Inuvialuktun, Kaska, Kutenai, Kwak'wala, Labrador Inuit Pidgin French, Malecite-Passamaquoddy, Michif, Mi'kmaq, Mohawk, Munsee, Naskapi, Nicola, Nitinaht, Nlaka'pamuctsin, Nuu-chah-nulth, Nuxálk, Ojibwe, Okanagan, Oneida, Onondaga, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Saanich, Saulteaux, Sekani, Seneca, Sháshíshálh, Shuswap, Slavey, Squamish, St'at'imcets, Tagish, Tahltan, Tlingit, Tsuut’ina, Tuscarora, Tutchone, Western Abnaki, Wyandot

Page Structure[edit]

As I see it, the most important take-away a reader should be able to glean quickly from this article is “Which Languages are Canadian?" The tables and provincial breakdowns are interesting, but they delve too deeply too quickly into deep information at the expense of the broader summary view.

I think the page should be structured like this:

LANGUAGES OF CANADA
1) Indigenous Languages (Native Languages spoken in present-day Canadian territory at time of Western Contact)
  1.1 Linguistic Family A
        Family A Language 1
        Family A Language 2
  1.2 Linguistic Family B
        Family B Language 1
        Family B Language 2
2) Languages of Settlement (Immigrant languages with robust language communities at Confederation)
  2.1 Official Languages
        French
        English
  2.2 Unofficial 
        Gaelic
        Ukrainian
        German
        Italian
        Cantonese  
           ...etc
3) Languages of Urban Immigration (Essentially any language spoken today in Canada that resists mapping)
        Punjabi
        Mandarin
        Spanish
        Portuguese
        Tagalog
           ...etc
4) Extinct Languages
  4.1 Extinct proper languages
  4.2 Extinct Creoles, Pidgins, Jargons and Trade languages

Shoot me a message if you think this can be refined. — Muckapedia (talk) 12e avr. 2014 0h56 (−4h)

Confusing table[edit]

I'm trying to wrap my mind around what this table (posted in the "The two official languages" section) means and just can't do it.

Rates of French-English bilingualism among linguistic groups.[8]
Anglophones Francophones Allophones
Rest of Canada 66.1% 36.6% 50.4%
Quebec 7.1% 85.1% 5.7%

Can someone explain exactly what these figures represent? It looks like it's saying that 66% of anglophones in the rest of Canada are bilingual and only 7% in Quebec are? That can't possibly be right but it sure looks that way. It doesn't help that the link to the reference doesn't work. 108.254.160.23 (talk) 01:50, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Really confusing. I think that the chart refers to people who are bilingual in French/English. 66.1% of bilingual people in English Canada are Anglophones (with English as mother tongue) while 36.6% are Francophones (with French as mother tongue) and 50.4% are Allophones (mother tongue is neither English or French).-- Kayoty (talk) 07:34, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

The chart was apparently intended to say this instead:

Rates of French-English bilingualism among linguistic groups.[8]
Anglophones Francophones Allophones
Quebec 66.1% 36.6% 50.4%
Rest of Canada 7.1% 85.1% 5.7%

In which case, it means that in Quebec, 66% of the native English speakers are bilingual in English and French, as are 37% of the native French speakers and about half of the allophones (native speakers of other languages). But in the rest of Canada, the vast majority (85%) of native French speakers are bilingual, but very few of the native English speakers (7%) or allophones (5%) are. This goes with the statement in the article that relatively few Canadians are monolingual in the minority language of their region. If someone is a native French speaker in English Canada, they are very likely to speak English too. And if someone is a native English speaker in Quebec, they are likely to speak French too albeit somewhat less likely. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 05:43, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

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Non-official languages that are unique to Canada?[edit]

Currently there is a section called "Non-official languages that are unique to Canada". It begins, "Canada is home to a rich variety of indigenous languages that are spoken nowhere else. There are 11 Aboriginal language groups in Canada, made up of more than 65 distinct languages and dialects.[44] 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.[45] "

The problem is that several of the languages listed in this section to are not unique to Canada: they are shared with the United States. This includes Cree, Ojibway, Mi'kmaq, Sioux, Blackfoot and Mohawk.

It would be better to rename this to "Native languages of Canada" or "Non-official languages that are unique to North America", and change some of the other wording. I'll leave this here for a month for discussion: if there's no objection I'll make the changes myself. Ordinary Person (talk) 03:14, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

Fukien?[edit]

Does anybody know whether the language called "Fukien" refers only to Hokkien and specifically excludes Fuzhounese and Eastern Min?--Prisencolin (talk) 19:51, 28 April 2016 (UTC)

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Tautology removed[edit]

I removed the sentence that said "More Canadians know how to speak English than speak it at home" and replaced it with the statistic that it was based on. After all, a person can't speak English at home if they don't know how to speak English, so it would be impossible for fewer Canadians to know how to speak English than speak it at home. And the only other possibility would be for exactly the same number of Canadians to know how to speak English as to speak it at home, which is obviously implausible. --Metropolitan90 (talk) 05:32, 17 May 2017 (UTC)

Sign Languages[edit]

Please explain: Are these languages for the deaf/hearing impaired, or are they used by other people, such as First Nations/Native Canadians? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.162.253.101 (talk) 20:55, 10 January 2018 (UTC)

  1. ^ ” Population by (A) Official Language, (B) Language Most Often Spoken at Home, And Sex for Canada and Provinces, 1971” Statistics Canada, 1971 Census of Population.
  2. ^ ” Population by Home Language and Sex for Canada and Provinces, 1981” Statistics Canada, 1981 Census of Population.
  3. ^ ” Population by Home Language and Sex, for Canada and Provinces 1986 Census – 20% sample Data,” Statistics Canada, 1986 Census of Population.
  4. ^ ""1991 2B Profile, Provinces and Territories in Canada,"". Statistics Canada, 1991 (2B) detailed questionnaire, Provinces to Municipalities (database), Using E-STAT (distributor). Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  5. ^ ""Mother Tounge, Home Languages, Official and Non-official languages, 1996 – Provinces and Territories in Canada,"". Statistics Canada, 1996 Census of Population (Provinces, Census Divisions, Municipalities), (database), Using E-STAT (distributor). Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
  6. ^ ""2001 Languages, Mobility and Migration, Provinces and Territories of Canada"". Statistics Canada, 2001 Census of Population (Provinces, Census Divisions, Municipalities) (database), Using E-STAT (distributor). Retrieved 2009-01-22. 
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