You are preparing to settle in a country like Canada and you wish to get integrated into the Canadian society as soon as possible. One of the key issues you have to consider is learning a language in order to communicate with others. What does it require to learn languages in Canada, a country with a deep-rooted tradition of bilinguality?
First of all, you have to realize that the linguistic situation in Canada is far from being as easy as simply bilingual. As this post on our website proves, the language situation in this country is pretty more difficult than you might have ever thought. Why? Due to two reasons: the aboriginal people of this land and newcomers who came during the country’s colonial past.
Even though people usually do not take into consideration the languages of the aboriginal people of Canada, they are still frequently spoken by some 300 thousand people in this country of 35 million people. Indeed, those languages do not occupy the same position as the French or English languages do, but they still matter.
Canada conceals many linguistic nuances
Another reason to look carefully at the language situation in this country is a large number of arrivals, who fled Europe and came to Canada during the times of colonization. The Canadian state allows them to preserve the use of their languages in their communities. And the number of languages spoken in Canada is really impressive: Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, and Ukrainian.
Yet, all those minorities surely speak English or French, depending on the region they live in. So in order to learn languages in Canada, you should find out the official language of that province and the share of people who speak English/French in that region. If you are going to move to Ontario or British Columbia, for instance, it would be not that “wise” to learn French first. But, on the contrary, you will have to master French in order to communicate in such a province as Quebec.
One can be said for sure – it would be perfect if you already speak or you are able to master both French and English. Then, you would really be comfortable to travel across the country right away. While around 20% of the Canadian population claimed French to be their native tongue, the share of the Canadians who admitted that English is their native tongue exceeded 60%.
But before you will get to learn languages in Canada (especially English), you should also become aware of the dialects of English, spoken in this country. Our post about Canadian dialects will help you to understand the differences of the English language across the Canadian regions better, and so you will not feel like a fish taken out of water.
While some dialects of English in Canada appear to be not that different from the U.S. English, the Quebec or Newfoundland dialects may cause difficulties in understanding the locals. But if you become aware of the basic features and differences of those dialects, it will be far easier for you to interact with locals.