Browse "Languages"

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Anishinaabemowin: Ojibwe Language

Anishinaabemowin (also called Ojibwemowin, the Ojibwe/Ojibwa language, or Chippewa) is an Indigenous language, generally spanning from Manitoba to Québec, with a strong concentration around the Great Lakes. Elders share that the term Anishinaabemowin acknowledges the creation story of the Ojibwe people: “Anishinaabe” means “the spirit that is lowered down from above,” “-mo” refers to expression through speech and “-win” refers to the life energy within, used to do so. Linguists also explain that “-win” is a nominalizer that turns the verb Anishinaabemo (“he/she is speaking the Anishinaabe language”) into a noun.

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Can. English

English is one of Canada’s two official languages, spoken as a mother tongue by about 19 million people, or 57 per cent of the population, and by about 68 per cent as a home language (2011 Census of Population).

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Canadian English

English is one of Canada’s two official languages, spoken as a mother tongue by about 19 million people, or 57 per cent of the population, and by about 68 per cent as a home language (2011 Census of Population).

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Canadian Parents for French

Canadian Parents for French is a national organization of parents dedicated to the expansion of French second-language learning opportunities for young Canadians. Primarily driven by the volunteer efforts of parents, it has been the leading organization in Canada dedicated to the expansion of French immersion programs and the improvement of French second-language learning programs since the 1970s.

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Celtic Languages

The Celtic languages belong to the family of languages known as Indo-European and as such are related to most of the languages of Europe and many others found as far east of Europe as India. Linguists recognize 2 main divisions of Celtic: Continental Celtic and Insular Celtic.

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Chiac

Chiac (also spelled chiak or chiaque) is a specific type of discursive switching between French and English among individuals who are highly bilingual and have Acadian French as their mother tongue but Canadian English as their first or second language.

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Chinook Wawa

Chinook Jargon or Chinook Wawa — wawa meaning "talk" — is a pidgin language that was prevalent in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest in the 1800s and early 1900s. Its small vocabulary and simplified grammar and sound system made it ideal for communication between diverse communities, especially those engaged in trade. The language is based on Lower Chinook, Nuu-chah-nulth (Nootka), French, ​English, with some contributions from Salishan, and other ​Indigenous languages. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 people could speak Chinook Wawa in 1875, and it was used widely in court testimony, newspaper advertising, missionary activity among Indigenous peoples, and everyday conversation from central British Columbia to northern California.

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Cree Language

The Cree language (also called Cree-Montagnais-Naskapi) is spoken in many parts of Canada, from the Rocky Mountains in the West to Labrador in the East. Cree is also spoken in northern Montana in the United States. Often written in syllabics (i.e., symbols representing a combination of consonant and vowel, or just a consonant or vowel), Cree is one of the most widely spoken Indigenous languages in Canada. In the 2016 census, 96,575 people reported speaking Cree.

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Eh

The interjection eh — as in “I know, eh?” — is popularly considered to be a marker of Canadian speech. Canadians use eh more frequently than in any other country, and also have the most varied usage of the interjection. While eh has only two main constructions in England (as a request for repetition and to mark a question), there are 10 popular functions of eh in Canada, making it a true Canadianism. However, studies suggest that its usage is in decline, particularly among young, urbane Canadians. (See also Canadian English.)

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French Language in Canada

French is one of Canada’s two official languages. Although every province in Canada has people whose mother tongue is French, Québec is the only province where speakers of French are in the majority. In 2011, 7,054,975 people in Canada (21 per cent of the country’s population) had French as their mother tongue.

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Joual

Joual is the name given, in specific sociological and socio-historical situations, to the variety of French spoken in Québec.

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Language

Before it can become a form of communication, a language must have become a system of representation. This is necessary if the meanings of its words and sentences are to be understood by people communicating in the same language, that is, by using the same code.

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Language Policy

Language policy is concerned with official efforts to affect the relative status and use of one or more languages. Language policies of one sort or another have featured in human history from the earliest times. Latin was carried along with the military conquests of the Romans; French, once one of several dialects within France's borders, was deliberately developed as a unifying national tongue at Cardinal Richelieu's instigation.

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Languages in Use

Canada has two official languages (see English Language and French Language), but the country's linguistic wealth is much greater. Beginning with the oldest languages, there are no fewer than 50 Indigenous languages, some of which seem to be disappearing.