Unilingualism And Bilingualism In The U.S. And Canada



The May 14th issue of The Week magazine contains a column from Mclean's by Canadian writer and political commentator, Mark Steyn in which he claims that Canada discriminates against the unilingual in a way that the Human Rights Commission would never tolerate if this discrimination were against a "black or gay or Muslim." Canada has two official languages, French and English and Steyn states that, "every job that matters" is reserved for someone who can speak both French and English-- from the governor-generalship "down to the village postmistress." Steyn urges Canada to, "fight unilinguaphobia."


While I don't follow Canadian politics enough to know if this is true or not, I bring it up because I found it interesting based upon what was on the very next page of the same magazine.


Under the heading "Talking Points", the following was excerpted from the Chicago Tribune: "The number of U.S. residents who speak a language other than English at home more than doubled over the past 30 years, to 55 million, the U.S. Census Bureau reported. That's 20 percent of the population."


Interesting juxtaposition, language-wise with the neighboring countries and page-wise with the information in the magazine.