ZingLang logo black

Languages of Canada

Languages of canada
Table of Contents

English and French are the major languages of Canada, while 22% of Canadians have neither English or French as their mother tongue. Of 22%, 1.8% speak Mandarin and the rest 19.2% speak about 215 languages. The country Canada is the world’s second-largest country in terms of the total area because it has 9.98 square kilometers. Canada can be classified as one of the most cultured countries in the world with the majority being able to speak more than one language.

The population of Canada is put at approximately 35.15 million. The population mentioned above is composed of indigenous groups, European colonizers, and recent immigrants and the concentration of the three above has brought about many languages that are spoken in Canada today.

We shall take a look at all the languages of Canada by starting with the official language that is spoken in Canada; the next eight most common languages that are spoken in Canada and several other indigenous languages that are spoken in Canada today.

Read also: Languages of France

Languages of canada chart
Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census

The Official Languages of Canada

In Canada today, English is the most commonly spoken language. It is an official language. Equally recognized as an official language is French and it is the second most popular spoken language in Canada. An estimated 98% of the Canadian population has the ability to converse in either English or French or both languages.

When you get to Canada, all public services, legislative decisions, and court proceedings are communicated in both English and French.

An estimated 56.9% of the present-day population of Canada speaks the English language as their native language. 21.3% of the population speaks French as their first language. 85.6% of the population can effectively communicate in English.

Taking a look at what obtained throughout all the provinces, the English language is the most commonly used language at home in Canada. Exceptions to this rule are the provinces of Quebec and Nunavut.

When you get to Quebec province you are going to meet a situation whereby nearly 80% of the population speaks the French language at home. As for the Nunavut province, the generally spoken dialect at home by about 53% of the population is the indigenous language.

Immigrant Languages of Canada

We shall be taking a look at eight of such immigrant languages after English and French.

  1. Mandarin language – This dialect is most commonly spoken in major metropolitan areas.
  2. Cantonese Language – This an immigrant language whose speakers can be found in large cities in Canada.
  3. Punjabi Language – The speakers of this language can be found in Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton.
  4. Tagalog Language
  5. Spanish Language
  6. Arabic Language
  7. Italian Language
  8. German Language

The Indigenous Languages of Canada

There are indigenous languages in Canada but the majority of them are under threat of going into total oblivion because of the influence of English and the French language. These sets of languages can be divided into 11 language groups.

Today in Canada you will get to see about 1% of the population that claims an indigenous language. The majority of people that lay claim to this can be found residing in Nunavut.

The most popular among the indigenous languages spoken in Canada as at today are:

Ojibwe Language

This language belongs to the Algonquian language family. The estimated number of speakers of this language in Canada is over 100,000. This language is rated as the second most popular native language in Canada and the speakers can be found clustered around the following cities: Manitoba, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Quebec.

Cree Language

This language is rated as the most popular among the indigenous languages spoken in Canada. It is spoken by more than 120,000 natives in Canada. This is an Algonquian language that can be heard throughout Canada.

The spread of Cree language is from Labrador to the Northwest Territories. This language is considered as the official language of the regional government of Baie-James Territory in Quebec and Northwest Territories.

Inuktitut Language

This is one of the native languages that is facing serious threats of going into total oblivion. There are an estimated 32,000 speakers of this language across the northernmost areas. This is the most important of the Inuit languages and it is the official languages of the Nunavut province.

Languages of Canada: Bilingual Vs English Vs French
Source: Statistics Canada, 2016 Census

The Minority Languages of Canada

There are other minority languages that are still in existence in Canada today. We shall take a look at some of these languages shown in the table to the right, the number of speakers of the respective languages in Canada.

There are at least 11 other minority languages that are spoken in Canada. They are all in danger of been completely wiped out. The total number of speakers of these indigenous languages can be put at an estimated figure of about 300,000.

Conclusion

The above stats represent the languages that are spoken in present-day Canada. English and French are the dual languages that are officially recognized in Canada and they are used in all public services, legislative decisions, and court proceedings.

Minority Language# of Speakers
Spanish758,280
Italian660,945
German622,650
Cantonese434,720
Punjabi430,705
Arabic365,085
Dutch350,470
Tagalog324,120

FAQs

What percentage of Canadian speak English as their first language?

An estimated 57% of the present-day population of Canada speaks the English language as their native language.

What percentage of Canadian speak French as their first language?

21% of the population speaks French as their first language.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr