Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic October 16, 2014 - 3:33 pm

StatsCan: Inuktitut still the second-most-spoken Aboriginal language in Canada

About 68 per cent of Inuit report Inuktitut as a mother tongue

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
This graphic shows that speakers of Atikamekw, Innu-Montagnais and Inuktitut languages use their mother tongue at home regularly or most often. (STATISTICS CANADA IMAGE)
This graphic shows that speakers of Atikamekw, Innu-Montagnais and Inuktitut languages use their mother tongue at home regularly or most often. (STATISTICS CANADA IMAGE)

Inuktitut still ranks as the second-most reported Aboriginal mother tongue language in Canada, Statistics Canada reported Oct. 16.

Those numbers show that Cree speakers make up the largest single Aboriginal language group in Canada, with more than 83,000 people reporting Cree as their mother tongue.

After Cree, 34,110 people reported Inuktitut as their mother tongue and 19,275 people reported Ojibway.

Other Aboriginal languages among the top 10 are Dene, Innu-Montagnais, Oji-Cree, Mi’kmaq, Atikamekw, Blackfoot and Stoney.

The numbers come from StatsCan’s 2011 census and the agency’s 2011 household survey.

The census numbers show that the proportion of Inuit who can converse in their mother tongue is slowly decreasing.

In the 2006 census, 68.8 per cent of the Inuit population in Canada reported they could conduct a conversation in their mother tongue. But in the 2011 national household survey, that number had fallen to 63.3 per cent of the Inuit population.

As for the 2011 national household survey, that report showed 36,615 people — most of them living in Nunavut and Nunavik — could converse in Inuktitut.

About 675 people reported the ability to speak Inuinnaqtun, and 625 people reported the ability to speak Inuvialuktun.

Across Canada, the National Household Survey found that 240,815 people, making up about 17.2 per cent of the Aboriginal population, were able to conduct a conversation in an Aboriginal language.

Speakers of the Atikamekw language (91.7 per cent) and the Innu-Montagnais language (88.6) are most likely to speak their mother tongue at home.

About 79.5 per cent of Inuktitut speakers, third on the list, report they are likely to speak their mother tongue at home “regularly or most often,” StatsCan said.

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