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Less Tagalog spoken in Canada? Lawmakers say teach it more in schools

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Aug 29 2022 08:22 PM

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In 2011, the Canadian census found Tagalog to be the fastest growing language in Canada.

But in the latest survey, Mandarin has outpaced other languages and is now the top language in the country, followed by Cantonese, Punjabi, Arabic, and Tagalog.

Philippine Consul General to Vancouver Maria Andrelita Austria asserted that the language count does not really reflect the true number of Filipinos in Canada.

"They surveyed for Tagalog. They did not survey for Philippine languages," Austria pointed out. "So ang suspicion talaga namin in terms of Philippine languages, we did not slip down, except that further, they would have identified like Hiligaynon, Cebuano. Maraming ibang languages spoken, hindi lang Tagalog."

(So our suspicion really in terms of Philippine languages is we did not slip down except that further, they would have identified like Hiligaynon, Cebuano. There are many other languages spoken, not just Tagalog.)

JP Catungal, UBC Assistant Professor for Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice, also said "there are many other languages from the Philippines that may be spoken at home. And it may also well be that the language spoken at home by Filipinos is English."

For Filipino Canadian lawmaker Mable Elmore, the result of the survey stresses the importance of getting the community to be more involved in getting Vancouver’s schools to teach Tagalog.

"The issue of Tagalog and Filipino language is important. I know we’re talking about the communities interested, to encourage the Vancouver School Board to offer Tagalog in classes so that’s being undertaken, and I think it’s an active process that the community has to be involved in," Elmore said.

In the provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Tagalog still remains the top language spoken at home, but some Filipino Canadian parents are disappointed that their children who were born in Canada are not Tagalog speakers. They hope these children can learn the language in schools.