What language is spoken in Canada? The official language and other spoken languages

Canada is a large country in North America, rich in natural beauty and cities on a human scale. Maybe you've decided to move to one of these cities, or you just want to take a vacation and admire the Canadian landscapes with your family or friends. Whatever your goal, on this Sprachcaffe page you will find out what language is spoken in Canada and why, if there are differences between the various areas of the country, and how to learn a new language before your trip or during!.

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What language is spoken in Canada?

In Canada the main language, and therefore the one spoken by the majority of people, is English. It is an English that has assumed characteristics similar to both British English and American English, therefore the one spoken in England and the United States. The 2021 census revealed that the English language is predominant, and that the percentage of people who consider it their first language is growing more and more in recent years.

However, the official language of Canada is not just English. In this vast territory, two languages coexist, English and French, for reasons related to the events that we will see in the following paragraph. The French language is used in the province of Quebec and in some areas of Ontario, i.e. those in the east that border precisely with Quebec, but also in part of New Brunswick.

Canada is a constitutional monarchy which provides for the King of England as head of state, and has adopted a federal system with the subdivision into provinces and territories. Both languages, English and French, are required to hold public office and are both regarded as official languages of the country. According to the 2021 census, the first language of 75% of Canadians is English while for 21% it is French, and over 98% of people are able to have a conversation in English while almost 93% in French.

Why is French spoken in Canada?

If you're wondering why the presence of French is so rooted in this country, the reasons can be found in the history of Canada. It is a story of domination by the European peoples, who have almost completely swept away the customs and traditions of the populations

The Europeans came to Canada via the Bering Strait thousands and thousands of years earlier. In particular, the Vikings were the first to arrive around the year 870 and settled on the island of Newfoundland and the surrounding territories. They began to transport useful products such as timber to their homelands and continued until about 1400. Later, it was the turn of the English and French expeditions, under John Cabot and Jacques Cartier, during which New France was created and the Hudson's Bay Company in the 17th century.

From that point on, the United Kingdom and France began to clash over the possession of Canadian territories and only ended in 1763, with the end of the Seven Years' War. The United Kingdom prevailed and France had to sign the surrender; therefore, the part of the French-speaking population that was in Canada found itself under English rule. Despite the provisions that over the years gave the French cultural freedoms with the Quebec Act and the territory of Canada Inferior (present-day Quebec), Canadians had to wait until 1931 for full independence from the United Kingdom.

Language spoken in Toronto and Vancouver

Toronto is located in Canada's most populous province, Ontario, which has over 14 million inhabitants. A large part of the population of this province has European origins, mainly English, but also Scottish, Irish, and Italian, and Toronto is a multicultural city and therefore full of minorities: Chinese, Spanish, Indians, Italians, Arabs, French. The official language in Ontario is English, which is in fact widely used by locals as well as tourists and immigrants.

Another large Canadian city is Vancouver, which unlike Toronto is located along the west coast of the country, in the province called British Columbia. Here, too, the English language is spoken above all, with a percentage of 70%, followed by the various minorities brought by immigration and French, with a percentage of just over 1%.

What language is spoken in Montreal?

Montreal is one of the largest cities in Canada, which however has the distinction of hosting a French majority population (82%). The province of Quebec represents the French part of the entire country, but more than half of the inhabitants also know and speak English. Followed by the Spanish language with a percentage of 5%, the Arabic language with 4%, Italian with 2%, Haitian Creole with 1%, and Mandarin

Other languages in Canada

We understand that the main language spoken in Canada is English, closely followed by French, and that both are the official languages of the country. But there are also different minorities in the various provinces, such as those who speak Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese). A significant part of Canada's population has a native language other than the official languages, such as Tagalog from the Philippines, Hindi from India, Urdu from Pakistan, Arabic and Persian. There is no shortage of European languages, such as Spanish and Italian, but also German.

Another language strongly rooted in the territory is now Punjabi, spoken above all in the vicinity of Vancouver in British Columbia, and Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta. The Inuit language and the Cree language are spoken in the Nunavik, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Nunavut, Nunatsiavut, and Quebec regions, respectively, and in the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Ontario regions.

English or French- which is better to learn ?

If you want to travel to Canada for a medium-long period of time, our advice is to learn the language. You can opt for one of our online French courses, especially if you are traveling to the Montreal area or the province of Quebec in general. You can decide whether to follow a standard or intensive course, or whether to book individual lessons with a private teacher. But you can also decide to learn or improve your English on the spot, perhaps with our help. Here at Sprachcaffe we organize really useful and convenient study trips, with private accommodation or shared rooms with other students in many destinations around the world, such as the Canadian cities of Toronto and Vancouver.

Download the Sprachcaffe digital catalog with all the travel solutions, choose the one that's right for you and set off on a new adventure. In addition to broadening your cultural baggage on a linguistic level, you will have the opportunity to meet many people from various countries, make friends, get to know new cultures and try new experiences.