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ISSN : 2092-674X (Print)
ISSN : 2092-6758 (Online)
Asia-Pacific Collaborative education Journal Vol.9 No.1 pp.81-85

A Study of Dual Language Education in the Multicultural Society of Canada

jinyeong HEO
jinyeong HEO is received his Ph.D in education of language and culture from University of Paris 3(Sorbonne Nouvelle). He teaches a liberal arts in the area of education of language and culture at Youngnam Cyber University in Korea.
Received Date: April, 28, 2013, Revision received Date: May, 17, 2013, Accepted Date: May, 24, 2013


At the time of the Confederation in 1867 whenCanada became a country the government madeEnglish and French the official languages, ignoring theaboriginal languages altogether, both at the federallevel and in the province of Quebec. Later, when itjoined the Confederation, Manitoba gave Frenchofficial language status as well. But in most parts ofCanada French eventually began to lose ground;Manitoba rescinded its French language policy,Ontario abolished French schools in 1912, and otherprovinces put restrictions on the use of French. Mostimmigrants learned English, especially in the westernparts of Canada. More recently Canadian bilingualismhas not only adopted English and French as thenation's official languages, but also allowed ethnicminorities to maintain native-language and chooseEnglish or French as second languages. The purpose ofthis research is to analyze dual language French-English education in the multicultural society ofCanada.



 Canada was the first country in the world to adopted multiculturalism as an official national policy in 1971. Canada is known as a typical multicultural country that officially adopted French and English. Canada also accepted the language and culture of minority groups as national policy and respects the diversity of different cultures through a ‘mosaic multiculturalism’. In so doing it established an inclusive society. Canada is an immigrant country that has suffered conflict between French immigrants and Anglo immigrants and has suffered complex conflicts through an inflow of foreign immigrants. Through trial and error it has introduced multiculturalism. As a result, Canada admits an ethnic minority culture. Canada has a dual language policy that includes French, English and minority languages. Therefore, the multicultural policy of Canada prepares communication space for understanding minority culture through language.

 Ultimately, it is able to aim for harmony (Jeong S.J, 2012). A typical case is LINC (Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada) that offers an English and a French education as official languages. Under this Canadian dual language educational system background, Prime minister, Trudeau, declared a multiculturalism policy where there was a dual language but no official single culture. Due to this policy, through the multiculturalism office in the State Department in the Federal government, it created a race and people research facility and positively promoted its publications, broadcasting and exhibition funding. In several states in the west the public schools adopted an educational system that used both an official language and unofficial language (Hwang J.Y, 2012). Based on a society where French and English are used, I intend to study English and French socio-cultural characteristic of Canada in the area of Canadian bilingual use based on bilingual material that I investigated directly at the local level.

French and English as a Bilingual Use language

 Canada consists of 10 provinces: New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward island and consists of 2 territories, Northwest Territories, Yukon Territory. Of this, Manitoba and New Brunswick use both English and French as official languages.

 Historically, after the Treaty of Paris in 1759, many French immigrants didn't come back to France, They decided to stay in Canada. Today Canada is developing itself as a bilingualspeaking country. Many French immigrants are in the minority, but they live together with British immigrants mixing economically and politically. As a result, they use both English and French. Canada developed an official bilingual system for the first time in 1967. In accordance with its cultural linguistic subdivisions, Canada displays a bilingual use phenomenon. In other words, the English use group and the French use group have restricted political characteristics; they use both English and French officially. All information including public offices, official documents, street signs, product names and instructions and all signs are made up in English and French (Yoo M. H, 2001).

 Canada’s nation anthem, ‘O Canada!’, was established on 1st July 1980 also. The lyrics of ‘O Canada!’ reflect the two group identities, consisting of the English and French. The states that use English sing the English national anthem and the states that use French sing the French national anthem below.

                                   <Canada Map>

                            <No smoking signboards>

                  <public toilet and public phone signboards>


History of Dual Language Education

 During the Second World War, Dual Language Education was used as a language incentive training program to send troops overseas (Baker, 2001). Dual Language Education was known as Immersion Education. Immersion Education began through French Immersion Education in Quebec in September 1965. In the mid-1960s, Quebec’s English users in the political, economic, and social spheres found a high level of French use indispensable. They consulted bilingual scholars at McGill University, and established a board of Education for French as a second language. As a result, children who had English as a first language were only taught in French from kindergarten. This was the beginning of the immersion program. At first, they learned only French as a second language. Only at Grade 2 did the curriculum include English. At Grade 6, half of the curriculum was in French. The Canadian immersion education can be classified as an early total immersion education program. This is based on the theory that language learning development is favorable to early language learning.

 The immersion program that started in Quebec spread to different locations; minority races used not only French but also German, Polish, Chinese etc. and could develop their language and keep their cultural heritage alongside English (Lindholm-Leary & Genesee, 2010).

 The following Table 1 is the Canadian Immersion Education showed by each step below:

Table 1. Canadian Immersion Program showed by steps (Kang H.W, 2009)

 In the Canadian French early stage Immersion Education, kindergarten or elementary school Grade 1 students used French 100%, and in Grade 2 to 4 they have one hour of English class (Cummins, 1995). French and English are on parity approximately in Grade 5 and 6. Entering middle school French drops below 40% and the number of English subjects increases greatly.

 Therefore it moves from s situation where the rate of foreign language is 100% (total immersion) to a rate of foreign language that is 50% (partial immersion). In Dual Language Education, because it teaches language to native use groups and target use groups, in this case it will be a study model not only for teachers but also for students. Moreover, because learners have different cultural backgrounds, they can increase their different cultural understanding and broaden their minds.

Use of actual material of Dual Language Education (French-English)

 We can observer actual material of Dual Language Education(French-English) in public places in Canada. For an educator and learner, first of all it shows that English and French have equal linguistic value as a communication tool. From examples of actual material of Dual Language in Canadian society we can search for or study the following linguistic facts below:

                             <Canadian hospital Sign >

 · similarity of vocabulary between English ‘hospital’ and French ‘hôpital’

 · similarity of vocabulary between English ‘system’ and French ‘système’

                        <Canadian Toronto airport sign>

 · similarity of vocabulary between English ‘residents’ and French ‘résidents’

                          <Canadian Toronto airport sign> 

 · similarity of vocabulary between English ‘arrivals’ and French ‘arrivées’


 Canada established ‘Canadianism’ through the conflict and reconciliation among foreign immigrants over many years. Canadians have a distinctive language phenomenon. Especially, Canada enforced a Dual Language Education with multicultualism to resolve the conflict between English users and French users. It developed an improvement of relationship program among groups carried out with Quebec at the center in 1971 (Ramsey & Williams 2003). Canadians can acquire English, French and a third foreign language until high school. The political belief about an official language of the Canadian Federation does not make everyone users of those languages, but it makes each indigenous language equally valid in relation with an educational institution whether it is English-speaking or Francophone. Canadians have a distinctive language phenomenon in a bilingual use country. However, we can observer that French Canadians and English Canadians don't assimilate their language and culture. For example, for a time, Quebec adopted only French as an official language. New Brunswick and Manitoba use both English and French as official languages while the other states use only English as an official language (Yoo M.H, 2001).


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