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Which Are The Most Spoken Languages in Canada?

Aboriginal tongues are represented by purple on the map.

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Overall, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, German and Urdu are the next most common languages, respectively.

My wish is that everywhere, commercial signage unequivocally reminds us that we are indeed in Quebec, Minister of Culture and Communications Hlne David told reporters at the time.

However, the prevalence of French as both a mother tongue and a language spoken at home is declining, if ever so slightly, even in the francocentric territory of Quebec.

English and French are a no-brainer, but Canadas other leading languages may surprise you.

In this interactive map compiled byThe 10 and 3, you can easily see how geographically dominant native languages are. They take up most of the map!

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As of 2016, Tagalog was the sixth most common language in Canada, but its also the fastest-growing one, with the number of people speaking Tagalog at home jumping by 35 percent between 2011 and 2016. Naturally, it follows that the Philippines is a major origin country for Canadian immigrants. Arabic, Persian (Farsi), Hindi and Urdu also grew significantly in that time period.

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Heres a breakdown of the 211 languages spoken in Canada and the complex histories they reveal.

Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. Shes also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but shes a little rusty on those fronts.

This is true perhaps everywhere besides Quebec and Nunavut, whereInuit is the mother tongueof 83 percent of the population.

French is an important language to know in Canada, and theproportion of Canadians who could speak both English and Frenchwas at 17.9 percent, its highest ever, in 2016.

For some of these smaller communities, geographic concentration matters. Theres anotable contingentof Arabic, Spanish and Yiddish speakers in Montreal, Gujarati families in Northern Alberta, Filipino immigrants in the Yukon, and Korean speakers in New Brunswick.

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Today, members of the Canadian government areactively trying to lower the bar of entryfor Chinese immigrants. Last year, Immigration Minister John McCallum was working to make it easier for Chinese tourists, students and temporary workers to get visas.

Which Are The Most Spoken Languages in Canada?

Steph is a writer, lindy hopper, and astrologer. Shes also a language enthusiast who grew up bilingual and had an early love affair with books. She has mostly proved herself as a New Yorker, and she can introduce herself in Swedish thanks to Babbel. She also speaks Russian and Spanish, but shes a little rusty on those fronts.

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Of course, the majority of these languages are not necessarily what one would consider thriving. Only Cree, Inuktitut, Ojibway, Oji-Cree, Dene and Montagnais (Innu) are spoken by more than 10,000 people in Canada. There are more native tongues that are spoken by fewer than 100 people, and they include Sarsi, Oneida, Comox, Southern Tutchone, Squamish, Cayuga, Southern East Cree, and a miscellaneous grab bag of other Algonquian, Siouan, Athabaskan, Iroquoian and Wakashan languages.

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Did you know that in Spain, along with Spanish there are a multitude of regional languages with several million speakers? Well take a closer look at Catalan, Galician and Basque.

Canada: its more than maple syrup and inordinate politeness. Theres also a fair amount of linguistic diversity to be found in its 10 provinces, with large cities like Toronto and Vancouver teeming with languages from around the world.

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If you travel to Canada with some working knowledge of English under your belt, youll probably do just fine. English is one of two official languages spoken in Canada, and with86.2 percent of Canadians able to conduct a conversation in English(and 74.5 percent speaking English at home), its the overwhelming majority language among Canucks.

Chinese immigrants hadalready arrived to Canadaprior to 1867, the year of Confederation. Chinese immigration swelled again as recently as the 1990s, when the majority of immigrants coming to Canada were of Chinese descent.

Canada comprises vast stretches of sparsely populated land, and it is in a lot of these far-flung regions that Aboriginal tongues reign supreme among non-official languages (that is, languages other than English and French).

Admittedly, having two official languages complicates matters from the get-go. Canadas census tracks a wide variety of linguistic demographics, including home language, mother tongue, first official language and language used most often at work.

This detailed level of attention is not a coincidence. Canadas Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser was quoted in a 2009 print edition ofThe Hill Times, stating that in 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.

With Mandarin and Catonese firmly in place as Canadas third and fourth most common languages, Chinese would be a shoo-in for third official language.

Canadas most obscure languages (such as Catalan, Fijian, Belarusan, Bilen and Kashmiri) all exist in enclaves of fewer than 1,000 speakers.

Though this visual eminence is somewhat deceptive when you take actual population figures into account, it speaks to the importance of pre-colonial languages in Canada, especially when you consider that thenumber of people who speak Inuktitut actually grewbetween 2011 and 2016. Additionally, the number of people who speak one of these languages at home is higher than the number of people with an Aboriginal mother tongue, which meansmore people are acquiring them as second languages.

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Whats more, its influence is growing. Thenumber of people who spoke a Chinese language at homejumped up 16.8 percent between 2011 and 2016.

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This decline is in spite of decades of strict language laws aimed at preserving the primacy of the French language in Quebec, which were first passed in 1977. It ishotly contestedwhether these laws are sufficiently stringent, though. Just last year, the Quebec government amended its laws to require all outdoor signs and storefronts to feature French.

With Punjabi and Tagalog ranked below Mandarin and Cantonese as the most commonly spoken languages in Canada, its fair to say that theres a strong Asian influence up north.

Thats not to say the Canadian government always welcomed them with open arms, however. Many of the earliest immigrants came on account of the Gold Rush in British Columbia, and the government soon took steps to enact anti-immigration legislation. The 1885 Chinese Immigration Act required all Chinese immigrants (except for merchants and students ) to pay a $50 head tax.

To no ones surprise, English and French are Canadas primary languages. But did you know that there are67 Aboriginal tonguescurrently alive and kicking in Canada? Or that Mandarin is the third most common mother tongue? Or that the number of Canadians able to speak a language other than English or French iscurrently on the rise? Or that Tagalog is the fastest-growing language in the nation?

(Population data via the2016 Census)

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Cree is the most populous Aboriginal language, with 69,975 native speakers (0.2 percent of the total population).

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