Voices of Immigrant Adults: Perspectives and Experiences with French as a Second Official Language in “English-dominant” Canada

Callie Mady

Abstract


The federal government of Canada, through the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages (OCOL) (2000), claims that immigration is a challenge to English/French official language duality in Canada. In its promotion of official language duality to potential immigrants, the government cites the advantages of official language bilingualism and the responsibility of immigrants to respect official language duality (OCOL, 2002). Supported by Anderson’s theory of imagined communities (2006), Lave and Wenger’s concept of situated learning (1991) and Bourdieu’s concept of capital (1977), this study reports on immigrant parents’ perspectives and experiences with French as a second official language (FSOL) in parts of English-dominant Canada as reported through interviews with adult immigrants to Canada. More precisely, the immigrants report on their pursuit of official language bilingualism for themselves and their children and their difficulty in accessing its cited advantages. I suggest the government has responsibility in converting its claims of the advantages to official language bilingualism into realities for the immigrant population

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