Volume 93, Issue 33

Thursday, October 28, 1999


Animal researchers targeted

Facutly complaint makes Carleton ad history

Student council endorses officer's pay increase

Tax freeze priority of city budget

Chinese language to surpass French

Pigs fill trough of medical research


Bass ackwards

Chinese language to surpass French

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

Parlez-vous Chinese?

A recently published book, entitled Ethnic Identification and Heritage Languages in Canada, stipulates the Chinese language group will replace French as the second most popular language spoken in Canada, outside of Québec.

Author Jack Jedwab said this will become a reality by the year 2001. "Chinese will surpass French and it will primarily affect the relationship between second and third [spoken] languages."

He added its prevalence should be no surprise, considering the proximity between British Columbia and Asia, coupled with the regional dominance of Chinese populations.

Jedwab, who is also the executive director of the Montréal-based Association for Canadian Studies, said Canadians take for granted that they should learn French as a second language after English.

Jeff Hopkins, professor of geography at Western, said he thinks the increase in Chinese being spoken will definitely affect Canadian popular culture. "The issue of racism is going to rear it's head," Hopkins said, adding Canadian immigration policies have already come under fire from the public.

He also said although this issue should not be a problem in theory, there would be a need to explain to many Canadians why there is an increase in the language. "There isn't a need to justify it, but for the general population, immigration is a problem."

Anthropology professor Regna Darnell agreed the number of Chinese speakers is growing across Canada. "Since most won't be in Québec, the French/English distinction will change. What is non-English becomes more grey," she said.

The Official Languages Act still dictates that there areonly two official languages in Canada, Darnell said, as both French and English are based on the founding nations. "Canada has an Official Languages Act that doesn't depend on numbers," Darnell said, explaining Chinese could not become official based on popularity.

She added Canada has always been a very diverse nation, regardless of new trends.

Jedwab, who begins lecturing at McGill University next January, said another major concern is that an increase in a population which speaks neither French nor English. "There will be a struggle for what those people will learn to speak first," he said.

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