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Microsimulation of language dynamics in a multilingual region with high immigration

TitleMicrosimulation of language dynamics in a multilingual region with high immigration
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsSabourin, P., and Bélanger A.
JournalInternational Journal of Microsimulation
Volume8
Pages67 - 96
Keywordscanada, demolinguistics, immigration, language dynamics, projection, quebec
Abstract

In high immigration countries, linguistic integration to the host society may constitute an important economic, social and political issue. This is likely to be even more salient in countries where two or more languages are already competing. Canada is an officially bilingual country characterized by a low fertility and a high immigration regime. This paper describes a dynamic microsimulation model projecting the population of Canada and its regions by mother tongue and language used at home. Emphasis is put on the language module of the model which allows for changes in language characteristics, namely intergenerational changes in mother tongue and intragenerational changes in home language. Mother tongue and home language are then projected for different scenarios in order to investigate the impact of changes in levels and linguistic composition of immigration. Different hypothesis with regard to language preferences of immigrants (which may be influenced through language management legislation) are also taken into account. Results are presented for two regions, the province of Quebec and the rest of Canada at the horizon 2051 as well as for the stable population. Projection results show that the population of non-official mother tongues will increase rapidly to reach 31% in 2051. More interestingly, the results show that the increase in home language is less important due to language shifts. Since these are more favourable to English than French, the ratio of English speakers to French speakers is increasing both in Québec and in the rest of Canada, thus shifting the equilibrium between official languages.

URLhttp://www.microsimulation.org/ijm/issues/volume-81-spring-2015/
Document URLhttp://www.microsimulation.org/IJM/V8_1/4_IJM_8_1_Sabourin_Belanger.pdf