First official language spoken of person

Status: This standard was approved as a departmental standard on September 24, 2021.

Definition

First official language spoken refers to the first official language (English or French) spoken by the person.

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

Derivation

First official language spoken is a derived variable. The derivation first takes into account the knowledge of the two official languages, second the mother tongue, and third 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 language spoken most often at home 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 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 most often at home.

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 languages spoken most often at home 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 spoken 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 language spoken most often at home 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 language spoken most often at home 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 language spoken most often at home 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 language spoken most often at home 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 languages spoken most often at home 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 languages spoken most often at home 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 language spoken most often at home are neither English nor French.

See Figure 1 for a visual representation of how the first official language spoken is derived.

Conformity to relevant internationally recognized standards

There are no comparable internationally recognized standards.

Classifications

Relation to previous version

  • First official language spoken of person September 24, 2021 to current

    The definition of 'first official language spoken' has been modified.

  • First official language spoken of person April 20, 2009 to September 23, 2021

    December 4, 2015 - A figure for the derivation of first official language has been added and the classification has been renamed.

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