Heritage Languages in Canada


This chapter reports on the status of heritage languages (HLs) in Canada in usage, in research and in education. It begins with an overview of HLs in Canada and the current ethnolinguistic vitality (demographics, institutional support and status) of these language varieties. This includes an overview of programs to teach HLs (or to use HLs as the medium of instruction) in primary, secondary and post-secondary contexts. Census information is provided to profile the distribution of HL speakers across major cities and all the provinces and territories of Canada, and the status of the HLs. The next section surveys publications about HLs in Canada including overviews, studies from the domain of sociolinguistics (language variation and change) that rely on spontaneous speech corpora, acquisition studies employing experimental methodology, and research on pedagogical approaches, noting primary findings from each. Specific information is provided about heritage varieties of Cantonese, German, Greek, Icelandic, Italian, Inuktitut, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Ukrainian.