UPDATED: One-sixth of B.C. residents don’t speak English at home

Latest Statistics Canada numbers suggest Aboriginal languages are showing a revival

Close to one-third of British Columbians now report neither English nor French as their mother tongue, Statistics Canada data show.

According to figures released Tuesday, 27.5 per cent of the province’s residents had a non-official language as their mother tongue.

That proportion was up in urban centres like Vancouver, with 41.8 per cent, and in Abbotsford-Mission, with 28.2 per cent.

Outside the Lower Mainland, Victoria and Kelowna had the highest proportion of immigrant languages as their mother tongues.

B.C. is second to only Nunavut for the highest proportion of immigrant languages spoken at home.

Punjabi is the most popular language spoken in B.C., followed by Mandarin and Cantonese.

French as both a mother tongue and a language spoken at home declined Canada-wide. However, bilingualism remained strong: a record 18 per cent of Canadians were fluent in both official languages.

B.C sits at second to last in French as a mother tongue: 1.4 per cent.

The top immigrant languages in Canada were Mandarin, Cantonese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tagolog, Arabic, Persian, Hindi and Urdu, all of which have seen a more than 25 per cent increase in popularity.

Revival of Aboriginal languages

More people than ever are learning Aboriginal languages.

Statistics Canada found that in youth ages zero to 14, 55,970 speak Aboriginal languages at home while only 44,000 have them as mother tongues.

That, to UBC professor Bonny Norton, signifies that recent efforts to teach Aboriginal youth their languages have shown success.

RELATED: Meá:ylexw: Reviving an indigenous language on the brink of extinction

”I would like to think that with the focus on the reconciliation… Aboriginal peoples perception of their value in the larger Canadian society and the value of their languages has gone up,” she said. “Aboriginal people are feeling a sense of ownership for the language.”

Of the 70 Aboriginal languages tracked by Statistics Canada, Cree languages are the most commonly spoken at home.

Teaching these to youth now is crucial, Norton said. Much of the language knowledge in Aboriginal communities was lost during as a result of residential schools.

“When you lose mother tongue speakers that’s a huge loss,” she said. “I think certainly that would be increasingly endangered.”


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Nazko guide-outfitter looking for stewardship from Province after wildfires

Stewart Fraser wants the government to take a good long look at forest practices and wildlife management

BC Housing to issue request for proposals for operation of supportive housing facility

The provincial body will seek proposals from all eligible non-profit societies for the Quesnel project

House fire in Quesnel’s Uplands

A home on Donnelly St. caught fire very early this morning

Quesnel residents discover a day in the life of a Chinese student

School in China starts early and stays open late with mid-day break

Quesnel mayor asks Municipal Affairs minister for help

Council wants BC Housing to have an open bid for supported housing project operator

Me Too At Work: Sexual assault and harassment in the B.C. workplace

Introducing an in-depth look at who is affected and what can be done

More than 20,000 pounds of garbage removed from riverside homeless camps

Two camps taken down last week on the banks of the Fraser and Chilliwack rivers

Suspect in Revelstoke standoff killed himself: RCMP

Mohammadali Darabi, suspect in the Calgary homicide of his roommate, was stopped in Revelstoke

Clinton visits Vancouver, applauds Trudeau, celebrates Democrats’ win in Alabama

Clinton told crowd she cheered when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the country’s first gender-balanced cabinet.

VIDEO: Salt Spring Islanders ferry piano to their floating home

Everyone enjoys a little music on the water, but not everyone has a piano on their boat

Bomb detonated in Kamloops neighbourhood

Kamloops RCMP are investigating after an improvised explosive device was detonated Wednesday morning

No More Shootouts: Strong defence will be Canada’s backbone at world juniors

Head coach doesn’t want a situation where a hot goalie or a lucky bounce can determine a team’s fate

Proposed snowmobiles along Sicamous roads concern RCMP

RCMP, ICBC and province not yet on-board with proposed off-road bylaw in the B.C. Interior

‘Assemble your own meal’ kits grow into $120M industry in Canada

Kits offer a middle ground between eating out and grocery shopping

Most Read