Why Indigenous Languages Should Be Taught Alongside French and English

Chelsea Vowel makes the case (the practicalities will be a challenge):

There are constitutional protections and billions of dollars of funding for Canada’s two official languages, but what of the languages of the original peoples on these lands? I’m not suggesting that all 70 Indigenous languages be made mandatory and offered in every corner of this country. Instead, we need to be looking at supporting these languages where they exist, on the lands whence they originate. In Iqaluit, that would be Inuktitut, while in Halifax it would be Mi’kmaq. Each province and territory should pass an Official Languages Act recognizing the Indigenous languages that originate in those areas, and bolster this recognition with funding to ensure language transmission continues in schools, workplaces, and government. Incentivizing second-language learning in an Indigenous language could be done by hiring speakers in daycares, schools, and public service positions.

It often feels as though we are being asked to justify the continuing existence of our languages to a Canadian audience who may not value them. I believe we need to remind Canada that Indigenous languages are an Aboriginal right, enshrined in section 35 of the Constitution, as well as an inherent right — to speak and pass on our languages — that is recognized internationally by the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which Canada has officially adopted. What we need now is an implementation of those rights, supported with adequate funding.

Everyone stands to gain. Embedded within our languages are cultural concepts that have the potential to give all Canadians a deeper understanding of our place in relation to the world around us. Our languages have been systematically devalued for generations out of a misplaced sense of their inferiority. Yet many of the concepts currently being explored by Western medicine, environmentalism, and the humanities are foundational within Indigenous cultures and languages. Holistic health and teachings, understandings of interconnectedness with human and non-human beings, and ways of being in good relation with one another are all described in our various Indigenous languages.

Public perception has a powerful impact on policy, and when Canadians are told that Indigenous languages are on the rise, this obscures just how desperate the situation is. Twenty-four of the Indigenous languages listed in the census have less than 200 speakers each, and if what we truly need are highly fluent speakers, then even these numbers are likely inflated. Even among the so-called robust languages — Cree, Inuktitut, and Ojibway — language loss is speeding up.

We can and must start planning to offer these languages alongside English and French throughout the country. Don’t let a rosy reading of the statistics lull you into a false sense of security. In 10 years, we will once again count the number of speakers of Indigenous languages in Canada. Without immediate, robust, and heartfelt intervention, language decline will be irreversible. As someone who has fought hard to access and reclaim her own Cree language, I am asking Canadians to recognize that we are at a tipping point. Please, support us, and come learn with us.

via Why Indigenous Languages Should Be Taught Alongside French and English – Chatelaine

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Erreur dans le recensement linguistique: Statistique Canada s’explique

Not an easy time before parliamentarians:

Statistique Canada avait «détecté certains changements» dans les données sur la langue à l’étape de la validation, mais «n’a pas, à ce moment-là, capté» qu’il aurait fallu procéder à une révision avant de diffuser les données linguistiques qui ont provoqué un tollé au Québec.

«Je sais ce qui s’est produit. Mais comment on a manqué cette erreur-là, c’est cette partie que je ne sais pas encore», a lâché devant les députés du comité permanent sur les langues officielles Marc Hamel, directeur général du programme du recensement.

L’agence fédérale avait déjà fait son mea culpa en août dernier, expliquant que l’erreur avait été causée par le logiciel de compilation de données. Celui-ci a inversé les réponses dans des formulaires en français d’environ 61 000 personnes, dont environ 57 000 au Québec.

La bourde avait eu pour conséquence de surestimer la croissance de l’anglais dans la province et dans certaines de ses régions, tant pour la langue maternelle que pour la langue parlée à la maison, ce qui avait inquiété politiciens et défenseurs de la langue française.

«Ce n’est pas le système qui n’a pas détecté (l’erreur). Ce sont les gens qui ont testé le système qui n’ont pas détecté que le système ne lisait pas le questionnaire de façon conforme», a spécifié Marc Hamel aux élus.

Le député conservateur Alupa Clarke lui a demandé si des têtes allaient rouler chez Statistique Canada, déplorant que «de plus en plus, aujourd’hui, on vit dans une société où on ne met jamais au banc des accusés les responsables».

«Dans un cas comme celui-là, on ne parle pas des individus, on parle des processus. Si à chaque fois que quelqu’un faisait une erreur, il était congédié, on en congédierait peut-être plusieurs. Les erreurs sont rares», lui a répondu M. Hamel.

«On a fait les correctifs appropriés pour éviter que ce genre de situation comme ça se reproduise encore. Est-ce que je peux vous dire aujourd’hui que dans les 100 prochaines années, ça n’arrivera pas encore? Absolument pas. L’erreur est humaine», a-t-il ajouté.

Au haut fonctionnaire, qui s’est défendu de «prêcher par nonchalance», Alupe Clarke a suggéré d’envoyer une «lettre diplomate» aux 5000 employés de l’agence pour leur dire de faire gaffe à l’avenir, établissant un parallèle avec son expérience dans les Forces armées.

«Moi, j’ai fait l’armée, puis nous, ça ne niaise pas, là. Il y a une discipline (…) puis quand on fait la guerre, ça marche», a-t-il lâché.

Un peu plus tôt, son collègue néo-démocrate François Choquette s’était étonné que l’agence ait diffusé les données linguistiques alors que certaines d’entre elles, en particulier dans certaines villes à forte majorité francophone, étaient clairement suspectes.

«Attendez que je comprenne comme il faut: 164 pour cent d’augmentation de la population anglophone à Rimouski, 115 à Saguenay, 110 à Drummondville. Vous avez eu ces chiffres-là, qui n’étaient pas normaux, et vous avez quand même décidé de les sortir?», a-t-il questionné.

Le directeur adjoint de la division de la statistique sociale, Jean-Pierre Corbeil, a répondu que ce n’était «pas aussi simple» et qu’il «fallait être prudent quand on faisait des comparaisons historiques», surtout compte tenu des changements survenus sous les conservateurs en 2011.

Ces données contenues dans la livraison initiale de données du 2 août dernier étaient passées sous le radar jusqu’à ce que le président de l’Association d’études canadiennes, Jack Jedwab, lève un drapeau rouge après avoir passé les chiffres au peigne fin.

Les données revues et corrigées publiées quelques jours après ont confirmé que le français avait effectivement perdu du terrain au Québec, mais moins qu’annoncé initialement, et que l’anglais n’avait pas progressé, mais plutôt reculé, dans la province.

En présentant les nouveaux chiffres, l’agence fédérale avait fait acte de contrition et reconnu que cette erreur était d’autant plus regrettable qu’elle concernait un enjeu fort délicat au Québec.

«Nous sommes très conscients de l’aspect très sensible de cette question, de ces enjeux, et Statistique Canada va corriger le tir, simplement», affirmait Jean-Pierre Corbeil, directeur adjoint de la division de la statistique sociale et autochtone, qui était aussi au comité, mardi.

Source: Erreur dans le recensement linguistique: Statistique Canada s’explique | Mélanie Marquis | National

New figures show just how big Canada’s immigrant wage gap is

One of the first deeper looks at Census data, looking at immigrant status, language and income by Arvind Magesan of U of Calgary. The November release of language at work, education etc will further enrich this analysis:

The first thing that surprised me is the gap has not changed much over the past 10 years. Census data from 2006 showed, at a national level, first-generation immigrants earned wages 12.6 per cent less than the average wage of native Canadians. In 2011, the gap dropped slightly to 10 per cent, but the new census data shows it’s climbed significantly to 16 per cent.

wagegap1

Importantly, the gap is a countrywide phenomenon. Looking at the three of the most popular destinations for immigrants in the past decade — Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary — the gap in 2016 sits at 25, 17 and 23 per cent respectively.

Interestingly, the gap doesn’t only exist for first-generation immigrants, but also for the children of immigrants (second generation, i.e. Canadians born to immigrant parents). The new data shows at the national level, second-generation immigrants earn 5.4 per cent less than natives.

Understanding the wage gap

The obvious question that follows then is: What is the source of these gaps?

Canada is an especially interesting case given the “points” system used to screen potential immigrants, where language, education and job skills are key determinants. And for the first time, the census has reported that about six out 10 new immigrants came here under the so-called economic admission category, meaning they have the skills “to enhance and promote economic development.”

Given the way immigrants are screened before entry, one would expect relatively quick integration into the Canadian economy and a convergence in wages. But this is clearly not the case.

The reasons put forward to explain the wage gap range from employer difficulty in assessing immigrant education credentials to outright discrimination. Economists refer to two types of “discrimination” in the labour market context, “statistical discrimination” and “taste-based discrimination.”

In the former, employers use observable traits (such as race) to make inferences about something like productivity. For example, an employer sees a job applicant with brown skin. The employer isn’t prejudiced towards brown people, but is worried (stereotypically) the employee is going to want to take trips “home” to Sri Lanka and would need a lot of vacation time. So the employer hires someone else equally qualified. Taste-based discrimination is more what we think of as prejudice — not wanting to hire someone purely because of skin colour.

Identifying causal factors that explain the wage gap is a difficult task – individuals who immigrate to Canada do so by choice. These choices are a function of a host of factors that could potentially jointly explain the decision to immigrate and labour market outcomes, including personal characteristics, job experience and education, to name just a few. Identifying discrimination in the labour market, and separating between taste-based and statistical discrimination, is even harder.

However, a 2011 study by University of Toronto economist Phil Oreopolous takes an important step in this direction.

In the study, thousands of computer-generated resumes were mailed out to companies that had posted ads searching for employees. The resumes were randomly assigned either a foreign or a “white” sounding last name, and were otherwise identical. The result: The resumes where the applicant had a foreign-sounding last name were less likely to receive a call back than identical looking resumes with a “white” last name.

When the author followed up with some of the recruiters, the overwhelming reason given for overlooking resumes with a foreign-sounding name was that they anticipated difficulty with language. Specifically, recruiters expected a lack of fluency in English, problems with communicating at work and difficulty for customers and co-workers in understanding a foreign accent. In other words, recruiters were statistically discriminating between job candidates based on their names.

Can language proficiency close the gap?

The census presents an opportunity to study the importance of English proficiency for the gap in labour market earnings between immigrants and native Canadians in 2016. The census provides information on wages, immigrant (and generation) status, as well as the language most commonly spoken at home.

Specifically, guided by the findings in Oreopolous’s study, I looked at how the gap in average wages changes when English is spoken at home. (For the purpose of this study, I looked at communities outside of Quebec, where French is the dominant language.) In 2016, 63 per cent of new immigrants living outside of Quebec most often spoke a language other than English or French while at home.

The latest census data says the native-first generation immigrant wage gap is 16 per cent at the national level. Once we examine whether immigrants speak English at home, things change — the wage difference is just 5.8 per cent. But for first-generation immigrants who don’t speak English at home, the gap jumps to 27.3 per cent.

For second-generation immigrants, there is barely any gap for those who speak English at home (0.7 per cent) but it’s still a significant gap for those who don’t speak English at home (a whopping 45.7 per cent).

This pattern also holds in the major metropolitan centres in the English-speaking parts of the country, which attract the most immigrants.

Interestingly, at almost 25 per cent, Toronto has one of the largest city level wage gaps in the country, explained at least in part by the fact that new immigrants tend to land in Toronto first and are more likely to be unemployed for a period of time. The three largest cities in English-speaking Canada, which also attract the most immigrants, also have gaps larger than the national average.

In Ottawa, immigrants of either generation who speak English at home actually earn more than natives on average. While it may be tempting to attribute the major differences across the cities to differences in culture, they are more likely due to regional differences in industrial composition and attendant labour demand.

The wage gap for immigrants who don’t speak English at home is very large. In Toronto and Calgary, first-generation immigrants who don’t speak English at home can expect to earn 37 per cent less than natives. Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the gap across all cities for is larger for second generation immigrants who don’t speak English at home.

wagegap2

Though these patterns are striking, they should not be interpreted as causal – immigrants can’t necessarily start speaking English at home and expect to see their future earnings increase. There are unobserved qualities of individuals that may correlate both with the tendency to speak English at home as well as with labour market earnings potential. Without holding these fixed in some way, we can’t say whether there is a causal relationship between English skills and the gap in labour market outcomes.

But supposing that the findings here are suggestive of a causal relationship, why does speaking English at home matter so much?

One obvious answer is that individuals who speak English at home speak better English in general — and this would mean better communication at work. This would be consistent with the worries that the recruiters in Oreopolous’s study had when deciding who to call back. Or perhaps individuals of foreign descent that speak English at home tend to have other important skills on average.

The ConversationBut another possibility is the labour market discriminates against individuals with weaker English skills even when English is not important for productivity. Sorting between these different explanations (and others) will require more data and a deeper look.

Source: New figures show just how big Canada’s immigrant wage gap is – Macleans.ca

Douglas Todd: Chinese languages gain ground in Metro Vancouver

Further to the StatsCan release (see An increasingly diverse linguistic profile: Corrected data from the 2016 Census Text), Todd delves more deeply into Vancouver data and issues (the Canadian approach has been based upon integration, rather than assimilation, enunciated as early as 1959 – maintaining mother tongues, while knowing one of the official languages, reflects that approach):

Chinese languages are becoming more predominant in Metro Vancouver and across Canada, according to newly released 2016 census figures.

The proportion of Metro Vancouver residents who speak Chinese dialects continues to rise and is now more than double those who speak Punjabi.

With almost one third of new arrivals to Metro Vancouver since 2011 speaking a Chinese language, the total number of residents who have Mandarin or Cantonese as their mother tongue has swelled to 373,000.

That dwarfs the 163,000 residents whose mother tongue is Punjabi, which Statistics Canada says is the second largest “immigrant language” in Metro Vancouver.

An analysis of data released last week from the 2016 Canadian census shows the country’s major cities are developing different characters based on languages spoken — Arabic is the leading immigrant language in Montreal, Tagalog (Filipino) leads in Calgary, and Chinese leads in Toronto and Metro Vancouver.

Of Canada’s major cities, Metro Vancouver has the biggest proportion of residents — 25 per cent — who speak neither English nor French in their homes, with the largest group of them speaking a Chinese “immigrant language,” a term that Statistics Canada uses to distinguishes them from English or French, the languages of the early settlers who established Canada’s public institutions.

Across Canada more than 1.2 million people have either Mandarin or Cantonese as their mother tongue (an increase of 18 per cent in five years), while 543,000 have Punjabi, 510,000 have Tagalog, 495,000 have Spanish and 486,000 have Arabic.

The 13 per cent overall increase in the use of immigrant languages across Canada — to the point where 7.7 million people (22 per cent) speak a language other than English or French in their homes — illustrates how public officials are moving away from expecting immigrants to “assimilate,” says Vancouver statistician Jens Von Bergmann.

“Parents are being encouraged to pass on their mother tongue to their children. Generally, it’s considered great to have a language other than English or French,” said Von Bergmann, who speaks to his young child in his native tongue of German, while his wife talks with their son in her native Mandarin.

Von Bergmann, who has created interactive online maps based on census language data, says that immigrants are more likely to hold onto their mother tongues if they live in places such as Vancouver or Toronto, where large numbers of people speak the same language.

The 2016 census data shows that 1.1 million out of Metro Vancouver’s population of 2.44 million (44 per cent) have a mother tongue other than English or French, though most are able to communicate in English.

However, Metro Vancouver also has the highest proportion of residents who acknowledge they cannot carry on a conversation in either English or French (5.6 per cent of the region’s population, or 138,000 people).

The proportion who can’t speak English or French rises to 11.2 per cent in the City of Richmond, which is the highest ratio of any municipality in the country.

Richmond has for years been the centre of controversy over the expansion of Chinese-language signs, as well as over Chinese-language condo meetings.

While University of B.C. linguist Bonny Norton says Canadians value multilingualism, she cautions that people who do not learn one of Canada’s two official languages are unable to take part in important public “conversations.”

In addition, studies by Canada’s immigration department found that newcomers who cannot speak English or French struggle, with one-third lower earnings than other Canadians.

A Statistics Canada study by Edward Ng also discovered that immigrants with poor skills in English or French are three times more likely to report poor health.

Source: Douglas Todd: Chinese languages gain ground in Metro Vancouver | Vancouver Sun

When words become weapons, repression follows: Paris

Good column by Erna Paris – words matter:

It appears we can become accustomed to anything, provided it’s repeated often enough. What may have appalled us last year, or the year before, eventually loses its edge and is rendered normal. Think of the way highway speeding ratchets up as drivers accelerate to maintain the faster flow of traffic.

Something similar happens with language. Words accelerate. Without thoughtful restraint, they are like speeding cars, prone to accident.

Before Sept. 11, 2001, there existed a tacit consensus in Western pluralist societies that generalizations about race and religion might be destructive to the public good: the living memory of 20th-century atrocities largely sufficed to keep the most extreme animosities in check. These unspoken taboos were frequently breached, but racist speech was ordinarily frowned upon and usually did not sink deep roots. When the protective umbrella of taboo failed, as in the former Yugoslavia after the death of Josip Tito, for example, predictable violence ensued. Words matter, especially when they emanate from people in high places.

Since 9/11 and the advent of “the war on terror,” open, or dog-whistle, anti-Muslim rhetoric has increased exponentially as taboos have loosened. In the immediate aftermath, governments in Russia, China and elsewhere were happy to label their troublesome minorities “terrorists,” thus whitewashing repression. It became common to hear insinuating generalizations about Muslims.

Just last month, Statistics Canada reported that hate crimes against Muslims rose 60 per cent in 2015, alone. This is not surprising. That year encompassed Stephen Harper’s niqab and “barbaric cultural practices” initiatives. It was also the year of the failed Quebec Charter of Values that directly targeted Muslims.

With his darkly nativist rhetoric, U.S. President Donald Trump has upped the ante. He need not attack directly; in order to communicate his discriminatory message, he need only exact a travel ban on people from six predominately Muslim countries, or make atavistic speeches about the decline of Western civilization, as he recently did in Poland. We don’t yet know where his unfettered rhetoric will lead. What we do know is that he has opened Pandora’s Box – the place where we have historically guarded our protective taboos. From his White House perch, he has liberated people who used to keep their prejudices to themselves, if only for fear of social reprobation.

Citizens in liberal democracies expect their leaders to wield power responsibly and – excepting the rhetorical opportunism of Mr. Harper and others, such as Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch – Canadians in high places usually do. That’s why it was particularly troubling to see Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard fall into a trap last month when he said, with regard to a terrorist act perpetrated by a Quebecois: “Unfortunately, you cannot disconnect this type of event – terrorism – from Islam in general.” Since Mr. Couillard is said to be a history buff, it is odd that he did not understand the import of language that conflated the entirety of Islam with the acts of a few. Wouldn’t he have known that the biblical texts of all three Mosaic religions contain writings in support of both war and peace, depending on one’s preference? It is not a defence of violence to note that, across history, all three religions have traversed periods of extremism, such as the Spanish Inquisition (Christianity) and, more recently, the fanatic Jewish settlers in Israel’s Occupied Territories whose religious claims to the land eschew the rights of others.

Mr. Couillard claimed to be echoing a speech made by French President Emmanuel Macron, but the situation in France is not comparable. France has miles to go before there is trust enough to enable co-operation between its Muslim population and the country’s political leadership, while in Canada, mutual co-operation already exists to a high degree. When Mr. Couillard held Islam and the Muslim community responsible for the acts of some of its members, he accelerated the traffic on the rhetorical highway, encouraging bigotry.

My husband, Tom, likes to rail about the damage that’s been done across time by the little word “all” – as in “all Muslims are ‘X’” or “all Jews are ‘Y.’” He’s right; words are not innocent. We are each responsible for maintaining the civility of public discourse, but people in positions of leadership hold a special trust. They set the rhetorical standard. And they must be held accountable.

Source: When words become weapons, repression follows – The Globe and Mail

Mississauga woman’s demand for English-speaking doctor spoke volumes: Paradkar 

Interesting reflections on perceived micro-agressions following the open aggression displayed by the woman asking for a white doctor at a clinic.

My mother bristled at the same question – “where do you come from” – given her slight Russian accent.

Since them, I have been particularly sensitive in not asking that question whenever being served by medical professionals, despite my curiosity in terms of how easy or how hard it was for them to become certified and practice in Canada:

The woman’s behaviour comes as a surprise to some because it shatters the delicate veneer of equality that surrounds the idea of multiculturalism.

While her demand for a “white doctor” has received the most attention, it’s her insistence on one who speaks English — in a clinic where everybody clearly speaks it — that interests me because it sheds light on a language-specific “micro aggression”— a term used to describe seemingly inconsequential offences that stem from deeply biased attitudes.

The most commonly known micro aggression is the otherization implicit in “Where do you come from,” invariably asked to people of colour.

Another — and this one also raises the hackles of some white people — takes the form of a compliment: “How articulate you are. How well-spoken.”

So colonized was I that it took me a while to comprehend the offensiveness behind what I thought was essentially a handshake between two equals.

It was also slow to dawn on me because — confession alert — I was busy turning up my nose at the grammar deficiencies of spoken Canadian English, with dropped g’s and h’s, or mispronunciations; “pome,” for poem, airplane for “aeroplane,” all-timers for “Alzheimers,” or missing prepositions; “He wrote me” as opposed to “He wrote to me” or mistaken tenses; “I wrote him” instead of “I have written to him,” among countless others.

How fuddy-duddy of me, you say?

Very.

Urban Indians, who speak English with varying degrees of fluency, are brought up being constantly upbraided on the “proper” way to speak it. The ultimate authority of “propah” were the old men from the upper ranks of the army, navy and air force. Men who would say things like “brolleh” for umbrella, and whose penchant for propriety would have made the Mississauga woman feel considerably provincial.

While I love the English language and try not to see evolution as transgressions, I see the condescension now, and how it cuts across colonial and class lines.

I understand now that when people tell me, “How well you speak!” it’s an expression of surprise at how fluent I am in the Queen’s language, despite my accent, despite where I come from.

My colleague, feature writer Jim Coyle, has experienced this micro-aggression, too.

“As a son of immigrants whose own parents didn’t go past Grade 7, I have an acute ear for the veiled slurs of my betters,” he once told me. “As I moved up in social class, it was often remarked on with surprise how “well-spoken” I was. As if this was remarkable in an Irish Catholic from the wrong side of the tracks.”

It’s a way of patting you on the head for aspiring towards a benchmark modelled on upper-class English ideals.

The establishment of a narrow expression of English as the standard has come at the cost of suppression and erasure of native languages across this land and world over.

The English spoken in the Mississauga clinic wasn’t the woman’s kind of English. Ergo, it was faulty and invited contempt.

The ranter said what many unconsciously feel but don’t express.

When we judge as unintellectual or uneducated someone who speaks differently, we give meritocracy a sucker punch and place mediocrity with the “right” voice above brilliance with the alternative one.

Linguistic bias blinds us to great ideas, gifted stories and scientific advances. It further marginalizes and silences women who, having faced barriers to English education, are now rejected from the simplest of jobs. This hurts our productivity and leaves us culturally impoverished.

In the end, it leaves us well beneath the promise of the potential true multiculturalism holds.

Source: Mississauga woman’s demand for English-speaking doctor spoke volumes: Paradkar | Toronto Star

To Honor Canadian Natives, a Lawmaker Speaks in Mohawk – The New York Times

Nice:

Cultural appropriation is a touchy topic in Canada these days, with the recent controversy in Canadian media over whether it is appropriate for nonindigenous writers to take on a native voice for artistic expression. But Marc Miller, a member of Canada’s Parliament, decided he was on solid ground in giving a speech in Kanyen’kéha, the language of the Mohawks, in the House of Commons on Thursday.

“Language is one of those things that, if you apply the appropriation rule, would die faster,” Mr. Miller said in a telephone interview. He said he was inspired to learn the language because the district he represents in Quebec covers traditional Mohawk land.

“I stand here to honor the Mohawk language, and I pay my respects to their people,” Mr. Miller said in Kanyen’kéha to mark the beginning of Canada’s National Aboriginal History Month. He said in the short speech that he hoped to hear the language more often in Parliament, and that more Canadians would “be proud to use it to speak to one another.”

Marc Miller delivers a statement in Kanyen’kéha, the language of the Mohawks. Video by CBC News

Indigenous languages are dying in Canada, as they are in much of the industrialized world, largely as a consequence of past government efforts to stamp out their use and force assimilation into the larger population. In Canada, that was accomplished through residential boarding schools where indigenous students were forbidden to speak their native tongues.

The government has tried to make amends for this history in recent years, after a wrenching Truth and Reconciliation Commission laid bare the amount of abuse some 150,000 indigenous students experienced at the government-financed schools over more than a century. The former prime minister, Stephen Harper, apologized on behalf of the government. His successor, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, followed up with a vow to adopt all 94 recommendations from the commission, known in Canada as calls to action.

The government has promised to spend about $90 million Canadian (in United States currency, about $67 million) over the next three years to support indigenous languages and culture, including $69 million Canadian for such things as classes to keep alive native languages.

It has also committed to work with the indigenous population to codevelop an Indigenous Languages Act that will help ensure the preservation and revitalization of indigenous languages.

Fewer than 600 people in Canada cited Kanyen’kéha as their mother tongue in the country’s 2011 census. All but a few of the 60 indigenous languages that still exist in the country are expected to disappear within the next generation.

ICYMI: Les allophones fréquentent les écoles francophones au Québec: From 15 percent in 1971 to 89 percent

A dramatic shift:

La très grande majorité des élèves dont la langue maternelle est autre que le français ou l’anglais fréquentent les écoles francophones au Québec: au primaire et au secondaire, ils sont passés de 15 à 89 % entre 1971 et 2015, rapporte l’Office québécois de la langue française (OQLF).

«Une progression très marquée», soit six fois plus d’élèves, note l’Office, qui a publié deux rapports vendredi, soit un sur l’enseignement collégial et un autre sur les établissements préscolaires, primaires et secondaires.

L’OQLF relève aussi une hausse importante de près de 20 points de pourcentage depuis 1976 du nombre d’anglophones qui fréquentent l’école en français, cette proportion atteignant même 28 % en 2015.

D’ailleurs, cette année-là, la très grande majorité des élèves du Québec – toutes langues maternelles confondues – apprenaient leur alphabet à l’école en français, soit 90 % de ceux du préscolaire, primaire et secondaire.

Mais cette fréquentation accrue de l’école française n’est pas toujours un choix: ces chiffres s’expliquent en partie par l’adoption par le gouvernement du Québec en 1977 de la Charte de la langue française qui oblige certaines catégories d’enfants à fréquenter l’école en français au primaire et au secondaire. Au niveau collégial toutefois, ils ont la liberté de choisir.

«C’est sûr que le fait que la Charte a été adoptée, et les nouvelles normes pour l’inscription à l’école de la langue française, cela peut être un des facteurs qui a joué», a souligné en entrevue le porte-parole de l’OQLF, Jean-Pierre Le Blanc.

Il est ainsi à noter qu’entre 1986 et 2015, la proportion d’élèves admissibles à l’école anglaise a chuté chez les anglophones et les allophones, respectivement de 12 et de 26 %.

Chez ceux ayant une langue maternelle tierce, la plus grande portion de la hausse de fréquentation de l’école en français est survenue dans les années suivant l’adoption de la Charte, entre 1976 et 1991, est-il noté dans le rapport.

Source: Les allophones fréquentent les écoles francophones au Québec | Stéphanie Marin | Éducation

Michael J. Donnelly and Peter Loewen: Canadians’ feelings about immigration are mixed at best

Interesting new study by political scientists and Peter Loewen, reinforcing in part some of the conclusions of the earlier Angus Reid poll (CBC-Angus Reid poll: Canadians want minorities to do more to ‘fit in’) and subject to some of the same critiques (Angus Reid’s survey actually shows high level of support for our diverse society: CardozoHow Angus Reid, CBC got it wrong about multiculturalism: Jedwab).

That being said, their policy conclusions – our political system reduces the risk, politicians and others should avoid pandering or cultivating xenophobic attitudes – are sound:

Our core conclusion:? Canadian attitudes are not exceptionally pro-immigrant or racially enlightened. Instead, Canadian society contains the potential for the same kinds of hate that we see elsewhere.

One question we asked was whether respondents would support, oppose, or neither support nor oppose cutting off all immigration to Canada. Not surprisingly, only 19 per cent of respondents supported such a step. However, only 46 per cent expressed opposition, with the rest on the fence. How does this compare to our southern neighbours? In 2010, the same question was asked of the American public. There, a similar 42 per cent expressed opposition. When asked about allowing immigrants from poor countries, the Canadian public answered more positively than 9 and less positively than 11 European countries where the same question was asked in 2014 and 2015. In other words, Canadian attitudes are normal for a developed country. Canada is not exceptional on that score.

The study, a project of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC), also found that while attitudes among Canadians towards refugees and immigrants range largely from positive to benign, those views are not necessarily strongly held.

Study author Michael Donnelly, a political science professor at the University of Toronto, concludes that, as a result, there is potential for intolerant, anti-immigrant, and anti-refugee sentiment to increase.

None of this means that Canadian politics will inevitably go the way of populist rhetoric and action. Canadian institutions and — especially — Canadian leaders have the ability to guide politics, to maintain the norms of non-racism and to pursue policies of inclusion and cooperation. Attitudes do not lead inexorably to policies or even to politics. As two of the three largest Canadian political parties choose new leaders, those party elites and activists who have a say in the process have a duty to avoid the mistakes of the U.S. Republican Party. There, a fractured elite and the use of primary elections meant that Donald Trump could use racist demagoguery to capture the leadership of a party that contains many for whom such rhetoric was not attractive. That, in turn, meant that when the normal processes of partisanship and retrospective voting took over in the general election, he had a roughly 50/50 chance of capturing the presidency.

To see if this could happen in Canada, we asked respondents who expressed support for one of the four largest parties to choose between hypothetical candidates for leadership, based only on their names, ages, province of residence and positions on the CPP, immigration and refugees. What we found is, in some ways encouraging, but contains hints of danger for the Canadian model of openness and multiculturalism. We saw no evidence of discrimination against candidates with Indian or Francophone names, and no evidence of discrimination against female names. However, among none of the parties was there clear evidence of an electoral benefit to more open immigration or refugee policies. Indeed, among Conservatives, accepting zero Syrian refugees is a “winning” strategy, and among NDP partisans, a candidate that called for increasing economic immigration appears to suffer a large electoral penalty.

We do not write this to encourage candidates to pursue such policies in their respective leadership contests. After all, public surveys offer little insight into the opinions of the small slice of Canadians who will select leaders in both parties. Rather we offer this as evidence of two claims. First, Canadian institutions of leader selection may lead to better, less divisive leaders. Second, politicians and those selecting them have a responsibility to avoid xenophobic pandering and to reinforce the norms of behavior that have allowed the Canadian model, for all its faults, to create the open, exciting and peaceful society we enjoy.

Source: Michael J. Donnelly and Peter Loewen: Canadians’ feelings about immigration are mixed at best | National Post

Another poll from Pew provides a slightly different picture:

Most Canadians don’t care where residents are born, but they do care about whether they speak English or French.

A global study of national identity by Pew Research has discovered that Canadians are among the least inclined to think place of birth defines whether someone is an authentic citizen.

Only 21 per cent of Canadians said place of birth is important. That compares to 32 per cent of those in the U.S. and more than 50 per cent of the population in Greece and Japan who believe birthplace is crucial to national identity.

The Pew Research study was done in the wake of growing concerns in the U.S. and Europe about globalization, high migration rates and protectionism, factors that have contributed to the rise of Donald Trump and immigration-skeptic parties.

pew-graph-identity-place-of-birth

Canada under the Liberals has gone a different direction, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talking about this being the world’s “first post-national country.”

Even though Canadians did not emphasize place of birth in the Pew poll, they did care about whether residents can speak English or French, the official languages.

Three in five Canadians agreed that “being able to speak our national language(s) is very important for being truly Canadian.”

Canadians’ language expectations, however, were still quite a bit lower than they are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan and the U.S. (See chart below.)

In Canada, one out of five people do not have English or French as their mother tongue.

Source: ‘True’ Canadians don’t need to be born here, but language matters: Poll

‘Th’ sound to vanish from English language by 2066 because of multiculturalism, say linguists 

Languages either evolve or they decline. Fascinating:

By 2066, linguists are predicting that the “th” sound will vanish completely in the capital because there are so many foreigners who struggle to pronounce interdental consonants – the term for a sound created by pushing the tongue against the upper teeth.

Already Estuary English – a hybrid of Cockney and received pronunciation (RP) which is prevalent in the South East – is being replaced by Multicultural London English (MLE) which is heavily influenced by Caribbean, West African and Asian Communities.

But within the next few decades immigration will have fundamentally altered the language, according to experts at the University of York.

We can expect to see significant changes between now and the middle of the century.Dr Dominic Watt, University of York

The “th” sound – also called the voiced dental nonsibliant fricative – is likely to change to be replaced an “f”, “d”, or “v” meaning “mother” will be pronounced “muvver” and “thick” will be voiced as “fick”.

However the ‘h’ that fell silent in Cockney dialect is set to return allowing ‘ere’ to become ‘here’ once more.

Dr Dominic Watt, a sociolinguistics expert from the University of York, said: “Given the status of London as the linguistically most influential city in the English-speaking world, we can expect to see significant changes between now and the middle of the century.

“The major changes in the way we speak over the next 50 years will involve a simplification of the sound structure of words, they’ll become shorter probably

“By looking at how English has changed over the last 50 years we can identify patterns that seem to repeat. British accents seem to be less based on class these days.

“Languages also change when they come into contact with one another. English has borrowed thousands of words from other languages: mainly French, Latin and Greek, but there are ‘loan words’ from dozens of other languages in the mix.”

The Sounds of The Future report was produced from a study involving analysis of recordings from the last 50 years as well as social media language use.

Other changes likely to become widespread by 2066 include a habit known as “yod dropping” in which the “u” sound is replaced with an “oo”. It means that “duke” becomes “dook”, “news” is pronounced “nooze” and “beauty” changes to “booty”.

Consonant “smushing” is also predicted where two sounds collapse together completely so that “wed” and “red” will soon be indistinguishable.

Likewise the “l” at the end of words will be dropped so that the words “Paul”, “paw” and “pool” all sound the same. Similiarly, “text” will lose the final “t” to become “tex”.

And, the glottal stop pronunciation of “t” – a brief catch in the throat when the tongue tip closed against the roof of the mouth – will be the default pronunciation.

Brendan Gunn, a voice coach who is currently working with Pierce Brosnan on his new US series said: “The younger generation always wants to be different from the older generation and that process will continue throughout history.

“Text speak which is a form of shortening will become ordinary speak, so you may end of saying ‘tagLOL’ or ‘toteschill’ which means hashtag laugh out loud or totally chilled.

“Even in the Royal family it is probable that Prince George will speak much differently to the Queen. In London I think we will see the ‘th’ becoming an ‘f’ all the time.”

 Technology will also change the way people speak, and the experts predict that as artificial intelligence emerges the, computers could begin to invent new words.

Dr Watt added: “It is conceivable that some of the words that will come into English in the next 50 years will have been invented by computers because as computers become more intelligent it may be they start creating words of their own and feeding the, back to us.

“Already we’re seeing text words phrases coming into respected dictionaries. As time goes on we’re going to see more and more of that kind of thing.

“The traditional dialects will die out and others will morph into the speech of large urban centres.”

Source: ‘Th’ sound to vanish from English language by 2066 because of multiculturalism, say linguists