First official language spoken of person

Status

First official language spoken of person was approved as a departmental standard on April 20, 2009.

Definition

First official language spoken is specified within the framework of the Official Languages Act. It refers to the first official language (i.e. English or French) spoken by the person.

Person refers to an individual and is the unit of analysis for most social statistics programmes.

Derivation

First official language spoken is derived. The derivation method is described in the regulations concerning the use of official languages for the provision of public services. The derivation first takes into account the knowledge of the two official languages, second the mother tongue, and third the home language (i.e., the language spoken most often at home).

In the derivation, people who report in the knowledge of official languages question that they can conduct a conversation in French only are assigned "French" as their first official language spoken. People who report that they can carry on a conversation in English only are assigned "English" as their first official language spoken.

The responses to questions on mother tongue and home language are subsequently used to establish the first official language spoken by people who report speaking both English and French well enough to conduct a conversation, or who report that they cannot speak either of the two official languages. Specifically, the "French" category includes people (not yet classified) who have a mother tongue of French only or of French and at least one non-official language. The "English" category includes people (not yet classified) who have a mother tongue of English only or of English and at least one non-official language.

For cases that are not classified according to the preceding criteria, people are assigned to the "French" category when they speak French only or French and at least one non-official language as the language they speak most often at home. People are assigned to the "English" category when they speak English only or English and at least one non-official language as their main home language.

People are assigned to "English and French" when they speak both English and French well enough to conduct a conversation and when their mother tongues and home languages are both English and French or neither English nor French.

People are assigned to "Neither English nor French" when they speak neither English nor French well enough to conduct a conversation and when their mother tongue and language used most often at home is a language other than English or French.

The derivation rules assign persons to particular languages as follows.

English

Includes:

  1. persons who can speak English well enough to conduct a conversation and cannot conduct a conversation in French;
  2. persons who can speak both English and French well enough to conduct a conversation who have English as their mother tongue or as one of their mother tongues along with a language other than French;
  3. persons who cannot speak either English or French well enough to conduct a conversation and who have English as their mother tongue or as one of their mother tongues along with a language other than French;
  4. persons not classified according to the preceding criteria, who can speak both English and French well enough to conduct a conversation and whose main home language is English or English and another language other than French; and
  5. persons not classified according to the preceding criteria who cannot speak either English or French well enough to conduct a conversation and whose main home language is English or English and another language other than French.

French

Includes:

  1. persons who can speak French well enough to conduct a conversation and cannot conduct a conversation in English;
  2. persons who can speak both French and English well enough to conduct a conversation and who have French as their mother tongue or as one of their mother tongues along with a language other than English;
  3. persons who cannot speak either English or French well enough to conduct a conversation and who have French as their mother tongue or as one of their mother tongues along with a language other than English;
  4. persons not yet classified according to the preceding criteria, who can speak both French and English well enough to conduct a conversation and whose main home language is French or French and another language other than English;
  5. persons not classified according to the preceding criteria who cannot speak either English or French well enough to conduct a conversation and whose main home language is French or French and another language other than English.

English and French

Includes:

  1. persons who can speak both English and French well enough to conduct a conversation, and whose mother tongues and main home languages are both English and French;
  2. persons who can speak both English and French well enough to conduct a conversation and whose mother tongues and main home languages are neither English nor French.

Neither English nor French

Includes persons who can speak neither English nor French well enough to conduct a conversation and whose mother tongue and main home language are neither English nor French.

Relation to previous standard

This is a new standard.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

There are no comparable internationally recognized standards since this variable measures a concept that is defined in Canadian legislation, specifically, the Official Languages Act.

Classification(s)

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