Official versus Endangered Languages of Canada
Chris Harvey (Languagegeek)
lg at languagegeek.com
Mon Jan 29 15:15:42 UTC 2007
Ysgrifennodd Fernand De Varennes – Sat, 27 Jan 2007 08:51:52 +0900
> Secondly, there is no need to present the situation of indigenous
> languages in the Northwest Territories as one opposing them to French
> as an official language. As readers in the US should know from some
> of the fallacies put forward by the English-only movement, nothing
> prevents a government from having a "Official Language Plus" approach
> to language diversity.
For those outside Canada, perhaps some clarification is in order.
• Federally (in Canada as a whole) there are two official languages:
French and English. All federal programmes and departments must provide
bilingual services across the country.
• Individual provinces or territories may pick which (or both) of these
languages is official for provincial/territorial programmes and
In the NWT, there are territorially 11 official languages: Gwich’in,
North Slavey, South Slavey, Inuvialuktun, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut,
Tlicho, Denesuline, Cree, French, and English. Services in any of these
languages is provides where there is significant demand for it – I
would strongly doubt that Gwich’in services are available in a Cree
community (and vice versa). Thus French services are not available in a
community with few French speakers. The argument that money is being
wasted finding French speakers to fill jobs in Native language
communities is not reasonable.
The question here is not about removing French’s federal status in the
NWT, but its territorial status. If there aren’t enough French
speakers in the NWT to justify it being territorially official, then
should it be so? French isn’t provincially official in Prince Edward
Island, nor is English provincially official in Quebec. Neither province
’s decision affects a federally bilingual Canada. In my opinion, each
of the nine Native languages should definitively be official (every
people’s language should be official in their own land). As far as
imported languages like English or French? I think the status of French
or English should rest on its practicality and history in the region.
Cenedl heb iaith – cenedl heb galon
ᑭᑕᐢᑭᓇᐤ ᑳᓀᓱᐏᑌᐦᐃᓇᑿᐣ, ᑮᐢᐱᐣ ᐃᔨᐣᑐ ᐱᑭᐢᑵᐏᐣ ᐘᓂᑎᔭᐦᑭ
(A nation without its language – a nation without its heart)
More information about the Lgpolicy-list