More residents’ mother tongue is ‘other’ tongue

Allô Laval:
French = 60.8%, English = 7%, Other = 28.5%

By Robert Frank

It’s growing more and more common
to encounter Laval residents whose
mother tongue is neither English nor
French, according to Statistics Canada,
which released its 2011 census data on
language, Oct. 24.

The poll showed that as immigrants
begin to prosper in their new country,
they too are fleeing Montreal’s high
municipal taxes, provincial surtaxes and
red tape, just like middle-class French-speakers before them.

While the proportion of native
English-speakers, at seven per cent, has
barely edged higher during the past
decade, the slice of Laval residents who
speak a mother tongue other than
French or English has jumped to 28.5%,
up from 19% in 2001.

Arabic, Italian & Greek strong

Laval’s third-largest mother tongue is now Arabic, spoken by one in fifteen residents, or 6.6% of the population.
Italian is in fourth place, at 4.6% with
Greek in fifth, at 3.8% of residents, followed closely by Spanish (3.1%) and
Créole (1.9%).

Statistics Canada also revealed that
Laval’s English mother-tongue population is overwhelmingly bilingual (77%),
particularly those aged 20-44 (87.6%)
and 45-64 (79.4%). In contrast, only
just over half (51.8%) of the city’s
French-mother tongue population is
bilingual, with the youngest residents
being—by far—the least able (30.9%)
to express themselves in English.

The census figures contained encouraging news for French-speakers who
fear their language is being eroded.
They showed that new Canadians in
Laval are gradually gravitating toward
French in their daily lives.

“In 2011, 12.9% of the population
spoke only English most often at home, 65.2% spoke only French and 14.9%
spoke only a non-official language,”
Statistics Canada reported.

In terms of language spoken at home
on a regular basis, the national poll
found that 24.7% only speak their
mother tongue part of the time.

Indeed, the demographics contrasted
markedly with the figures for Quebec as
a whole.

“In comparison, the provincial percentages were 9.8% for only English,
80% for only French and 7.1% for only
a non-official language,” Statistics
Canada noted.

The figures also showed that the proportion of residents whose mother
tongue is Arabic is triple the provincial
slice of the population.

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