Bilingualism Essay, Research Paper
What is Bilingualism? Bilingualism is the ability to fluently speak or write two languages. Canada is a bilingual country that has English and French, as it s two official languages. Canada has an Official Languages Act, which was passed in 1969 by Minister of Justice Pierre Elliott Trudeau. The Official Languages Act declares French and English to both be the official languages of Canada and it guarantees all Canadians the right to communicate with national government in either French or English.
The reason Canada has two official languages is because of its history. In 1534, Jacques Cartier landed along the eastern coast of what is now Canada and traveled up to Saint Lawrence River. In 1604, the first colonist came from France to settle in what is now eastern Canada. In 1608, Samuel de Champlain founded a French settlement now known as Quebec City. Over the next 150 years many French communities were formed along the St. Lawrence, in parts of what is now Quebec and as Far West as what is now Manitoba. When England gained control of most of North America in the 1700 s, our two-language co-existence began. In 1867, The British North America Act recognized official status for English and French in Parliament and the federal courts, as well as in Quebec s courts and legislature.
The purpose of the Official Languages Act is to:
1) Ensure respect for English and French people as the official languages of Canada also to ensure equality of equal rights and privileges as their official languages in all federal institutions, one in particular with respect to use in parliamentary proceedings, in legislative and other instruments, in the administering of justice, in communicating with or providing services to the public and with carrying out the work of federal institutions;
2) To ensure that all federal institutions provide a work environment that or conductive to both official languages:
3) To support the development of English and French language minority communicating and to advance the equality of status of the English and French languages within Canadian society; and
4) To set out the powers, duties and functions of federal institutions with respect of the languages of Canada.
Positive effects of the Official Languages Act/Bilingual Policy
- because English and French are our international languages and are spoken by an estimated 800 million people, with access to global markets becoming increasingly important, our ability to use these languages increase our international competitiveness and influence
- learning a second language can pull down culture barriers, leading to better understanding and fostering good will and mutual respect.
- The official language act allows the people of Canada who have children to receive primary or secondary school in English or in French which every they are
- The majority of Canadian school children, both French and English speaking, are learning their second languages
Negative effects of the Official Languages Act/ Bilingualism policy
- One problem is that official language program costs lots of money. In 1995 to 1996 it was $264,900,000 in cost. This amount includes all expenditures related to the provision of services in both official languages: translation, training, the bilingualism bonus, and administrative expenses. Plus to these service costs there are also expenditures related to the official languages. Grants of $36,500,000 are provided to community groups to help out millions of Canadians in benefiting fully from their language rights. The provinces receive $211,200,000 to help them in providing instruction in their own languages to some 985,000 English speaking students in Quebec ant 161,000 French speaking students elsewhere in Canada. These funds also help 2.7 million young Canadians to learn English or French as a second language.
In more ways then one the Official Languages Act can effect the way people live. It costs money to be able to help others learn a language they do not know cause the government has to spend money on it instead of things like health care or taxes, but it is also is helping many young and old learn their second language. It is pretty much up to how you look at it and if you are benefiting from it or not. But who is to say weather it is good or bad?