Tagalog is fastest growing language in Canada, says linguistics survey
MANILA, Philippines—Some Filipinos here might prefer to converse in English with that twang, but compatriots in Canada are hanging on to their mother tongue, spreading their home language across the North American country.
Tagalog is now the “fastest growing language” in Canada based on the latest linguistic census of Statistics Canada (StatCan), the country’s national statistics agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Monday.
Just released figures of StatCan’s 2011 Census of Population: Linguistic Characteristics of Canadians noted a 64 percent rise in Canada’s Tagalog-speaking population in the last five years, “the highest growth” among unofficial languages spoken there.
“The home languages showing the strongest growth between 2006 and 2011 were primarily Asian. The population that reported speaking the Philippine-based language Tagalog increased by 64 percent, the highest growth,” StatCan said in census results posted on its website.
“Nearly 279,000 people reported speaking Tagalog most often in 2011, up from 170,000 five years earlier,” said the Canadian statistics agency.
Tagalog was also the fifth top immigrant language “spoken most often at home,” next to Punjabi, Chinese (unspecified variety), Cantonese and Spanish, StatCan said.
Canada’s official languages, English and French, remain the most spoken in the country but some 6.63 million reported using other languages at home, including roughly 200 native languages of immigrant populations, the agency said.
The census further showed that the city of Vancouver had the most number of Tagalog speakers, with some 47,600 reporting use of the Philippine language as their code of choice at home in 2011.
“Tagalog is now the most common immigrant home language in Edmonton and the second most common in Calgary, after Punjabi,” the DFA said.
Philippine Ambassador to Canada Leslie Gatan attributed the rise of Tagalog in Canada to an increasing Filipino migrant population there.
“Filipinos who used to flock to the United States have discovered there is a greener pasture north of the US,” said Gatan in a statement.
Gatan said among the growing immigrant hubs in Canada are Edmonton, Winnipeg and Regina, cities in adjacent provinces west of capital Ottawa.
With the continuing wave of Filipino migration, the Philippine Embassy in Ottawa is looking to institutionalize Tagalog language training for Canada-based children of Filipino descent.
The Embassy aims to bring home language training to key Canadian cities with large Filipino communities “in response to parents’ concerns that their children will forget how to speak the Filipino language,” the DFA said.
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