The Canadians seem to have succeeded with building a bilingual society. However, English still absolutely dominates the nation. Perhaps the new generation of French schooled young 'uns could change things a bit? French is certainly not dying in Canada, and statistics like this prove it.French-language schools in the province have surpassed the milestone of 100,000 students enrolled across Ontario's 12 French school boards, an increase of 1,845 students over the previous academic year.
Enrolment has increased steadily at a rate of about 2% province-wide over the past decade, though those numbers are considerably higher in Ottawa, with an estimated 5% growth in student population year-over-year.
The steady increase can be traced back to 2004, when the Ontario government adopted a linguistic policy for French-language education focusing on "the appropriation of francophone culture, academic achievement, student recruitment, community involvement and early childhood education."
The policy is paying dividends, said Gyslaine Hunter-Perreault, spokesperson for French-Language Education.
"One of the pillars of the policy is really the vitality of the French-language community, and the more people coming to our schools, the more francophones overall, the better the French community will be," she said.
Boards across the province -- including both French Catholic and French public boards in the Ottawa region -- have also bolstered their recruitment and promotional efforts.
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French school enrolment on the rise watch
- Thread Starter
- 30-01-2015 20:20
(Original post by navarre)
- 01-02-2015 11:18
The Canadians seem to have succeeded with building a bilingual society.
Canadian society isn't really bilingual. There is "official bilingualism" with two official languages of course. You'll find evidence of this everywhere from having two languages on food labelling or road signs to every law being published in both English and French.
The vast majority of Canadians are not bilingual in the true sense of the word. Bilingualism suggests a strong or near native command of two languages. Aside from relatively small pockets of Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick you'll find most people only really have a solid command of one of the official languages. In each of those three provinces there will be more people (as a % of provincial population) with at least some command of the other official language from the one they speak natively but it's far short of just being able to switch between them seamlessly.
Most of the Western provinces are almost entirely English only. People there will on the whole have, at best, the kind of secondary school command of French you might expect of the average Brit here in the UK. Aside from the exposure to "official bilingualism" on stuff like I noted above they'll live their lives never needing to speak or read a single word of French. It's similar in Southern Ontario with it's large population. That area is also very much English only. Go to parts of Quebec and it'll be the opposite. People can happily live out their lives knowing only French.
French schooling is on the rise and is growing in popularity in other parts of Canada. My wife went to what is called a "french immersion" school. While a native English speaker and from a part of Ontario where French is essentially "non existent" her studies from math to science to history were conducted in French. She is, as a result, clearly bilingual and able to understand and speak standard French at a near native level. However in day to day life this is generally of next to no use to her as society in the part of Canada where we live is almost entirely English. Somewhat oddly, the version of French she learns is different from the dialect spoken in French speaking Canada. The Quebec form of french is different from the standard version taught in school. Kind of like how the "official" English you learn in school here might not be exactly the same as the one you speak day to day if you're a Liverpudlian, a Geordie or someone from Cornwall.
The reason French language schooling (outside Quebec) is somewhat popular is because the schools have a reputation for just being better schools. They attract students from better than average socio-economic backgrounds. The parents may understand the value of knowledge of both languages better. Certainly it can have benefits later in the job market if a person is functional to a high level in both official languages (consider jobs in government or journalism or banking etc). You could perhaps view French immersion schooling as somewhat similar to Grammar schools in parts of the UK.
I'd say the average Canadian is probably more capable in two languages than the average Brit for example. They'll also have exposure to two languages a lot more often too. But to say Canada has succeeded in building a bilingual society is wide of the mark.