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Tagalog, Arabic and Urdu among fastest growing languages in Canada

Italian and German have seen double-digit drops, while French and English are growing, but slowly

Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines, Arabic, and Urdu, the national language of Pakistan as well as a recognized official language in India, are among the fastest growing languages in Canada, according to Statistics Canada.

Compared to 2006, the number of Canadian census respondents claiming Tagalog as their mother tongue grew by 83.1 per cent to 431,385; the number of Arabic speakers grew by 60.5 per cent to 419,890, and the number of Urdu speakers grew by 44.6 per cent to 210,820.

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Other languages that recorded double-digit increases include Punjabi (36.5 per cent), Spanish (32.9 per cent), and Chinese (23.8 per cent). Their total number of speakers rose to 1.253 million in 2016.

Two European languages, meanwhile, recorded double-digit declines. Survey respondents claiming Italian and German as their respective mother language dropped 17.4 and 14.8 per cent respectively.

Looking at Canada’s two official languages, 7.16 million people claimed French as their mother tongue (up 5.1 per cent) while the number of respondents claiming English as their mother tongue rose to 19.46 million (up 8.8 per cent).

Numbers of this sort generally tend to reflect demographic developments caused by changing immigration patterns and the natural birth rate over time.


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