Beyond Words–Canada's Official Languages Newsletter

Dear Beyond Words readers:

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages has stopped publishing the Beyond Words newsletter. To read more stories on official languages, follow us on social media, or visit the Storytelling section.


12 significant events in 2012

There’s always so much happening in the world of official languages, and this past year is no exception. Undaunted, we have sorted and sifted and singled out some of the most important events of the year, as we say good bye to 2012.

Last speakers of Canadian native languages pass on their oral traditions

When Percy Henry was a young boy, there was no TV or radio for his childhood entertainment. Instead, the resident of Dawson City, Yukon, remembers working at the community sawmill, where he was rewarded for his hard work with stories told by elders.

Fighting for French-language education rights

It has been 30 years since the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into being, and the rights it entrenched for Canadian citizens are still being used to defend minority-language communities. As recently as this year, the Prince Edward Island French-language school board used the language...

Chiac: A pride or a threat to French?

At a time when there is growing concern about the transmission of regional languages to new generations across North America and around the world, young people in southeastern New Brunswick are embracing a hybrid dialect called “Chiac”—and they find it “right le fun.”

Canada's Linguistic Duality Day

Did you know that our official languages have their own day? In the federal public service, linguistic duality is celebrated on the second Thursday of September. In honour of this occasion, we’ve created an infographic that shows the importance of English and French in our society.

Literary duality

As central themes in Canadian literature, tensions between language groups and the search for identity are waning in popularity. However, that is not to say that Canada’s linguistic duality is no longer leaving a deep mark on the country’s literary market.

Bilingualism: Good for the brain

Knowing how to speak two languages in a country with two official languages is always going to be a good bet. But apart from the delight of knowing your peanuts from your arachides and your jelly from your gelée, there are a whole host of additional cognitive advantages to mastering two tongues...

A murder by any other name

When writing her mystery novels, author Louise Penny, best known for her series starring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, draws on her experience as an English-speaking Canadian in a mainly French-speaking community.

Languages on the brink of extinction

Every year, some 25 languages die—that’s one almost every two weeks. At this rate, half of the world’s languages may disappear by the end of the 21st century. Beyond Words takes a look at the current situation.

Speaker’s Corner – The Francophonie

As part of the Francophonie celebrations held in March in Canada and around the world, Beyond Words conducted a small survey on favourite French words and expressions, inspirational Francophones, French language difficulties, and favourite things about the Francophonie.

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