Quebec immigrants prefer to speak English
Harold F. Schiffman
haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Fri May 20 12:45:05 UTC 2005
May 19, 2005 - 20:30
Quebec immigrants prefer to speak English, but French use is growing:
QUEBEC (CP) - The French language remains threatened in Quebec because
most immigrants prefer to speak English, said the province's language
office. More than 54 per cent of immigrants choose to speak English in
2001, compared with nearly 46 per cent who choose French, said l'Office de
la langue francaise. Some 147,700 new Quebecers chose to speak primarily
in English, while 124,800 opted for French. Despite the predominance of
English, the use of French by immigrants increased from 1991, when 35.8
per cent chose to speak French.
In Montreal, 60 per cent of immigrants favoured English in 2001. But one
resident in five spoke a language other than English or French at home.
That's three times the rate from a decade earlier. The use of French and
English in the homes of Montrealers has declined to 55 per cent who spoke
French and 24 per cent who spoke English. In the last census, nearly 80.9
per cent of Quebecers described their mother tongue as French, 7.9 per
cent English and 10.2 per cent another language.
More than 920,000 Quebecers, some 12.9 per cent, said they spoke at least
two languages at home. The number of people who said they were able to
hold a conversation in French, English and Spanish at the same time rose
by 30 per cent. Line Beauchamp, the Quebec minister responsible for
linguistic policy, said she saw positive points in the results. "These
results are encouraging and allow us to believe that the language policy
is bearing fruit," she said.
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