Thursday, May 17, 2007

Nous sommes Canadian, eh?

And while I am on the subject of statistics, there were some interesting stats in yesterday's Globe and Mail about language and bilingualism in Canada (based on the 2001 census):
  • 59% of the Canadian population are native English speakers, but 85% of the population can speak English.
  • 23% of the population are native speakers of French, but 31% are able to speak French.
  • Almost 18% of the total population were functionally bilingual, up from 13% in 1971. Noticeably, almost 25% of the 15-24 age group were bilingual in 2001.
  • Among major Canadian cities, Montreal, Moncton and Ottawa-Gatineau lead the way in biligualism with 53%, 47% and 44% respectively.
  • Predictably enough, Vancouver and Edmonton were the least biligual with 7.5% and 7.7%.
  • Toronto, the target of most English-speaking immigrants, did not fare much better with 8.5%.
  • In terms of absolute numbers, there were most bilingual speakers in Montreal (1,792,750), then Ottawa-Gatineau (464,485) and Toronto (393,415).
No great revelations maybe, but interesting enough per se. Now, can anyone explain to me why French is not taught in kindergarten, indeed not until Grade 4?

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