Do Canadians Speak English or French?


If you ever travel to Canada, one of the first things you will notice is that all products have English and French labels on them. Likewise, airport and other public announcements are made in both languages. That’s because Canada is officially a bilingual country. In order to understand how this came to be, you must take a look at Canada’s history.


For thousands of years, Canada was home to the First Nations, or aboriginal people. The first Europeans to arrive on the east coast of Canada were Vikings around the year 1000 but they didn’t stay very long. 500 years later, the French arrived and began exploring Canada. In 1604 they established their first city there, and by 1685 there were 10,000 people inhabiting “New France.” However, the English were also interested in Canada. There were four major wars between the French and English in Canada. The French lost the last war in 1763 and were forced to give up their territory in Canada. But because there were so many French people living there already, the British allowed them to stay and maintain their culture and language.


When Canada gained independence in 1867, the first four provinces were created. One of them was Québec, where most of the French speakers lived. If you visit Québec today, you will notice that most people there still speak French, while in Canada’s other nine provinces, most people communicate in English. That’s why today, both are officially recognized as the national languages of Canada, and even in the primarily English-speaking provinces, most students learn some French in school, too.

Vocabulary 好字精選

1. bilingual (adj) speaking two languages 雙語的
Jackie is bilingual; she can speak Italian and German fluently.

2. aboriginal (adj) describing an original inhabitant of an area 原住民
Aboriginal people have been occupying Australia for 40,000 years.

3. inhabit (v) live in/occupy an area 居住,棲息於
People have been inhabiting this river valley since 5000 BC.

4. territory (n) area 領土
The north of Canada is a very large territory that is occupied mostly by animals and very few people.

5. maintain (v) keep 維持,保持
In order to maintain peace, both sides signed an agreement.

6. province (n) like a state, but used in Canada, China, etc. 省份
China has 23 provinces as well as 11 of special regions.

7. communicate (v) share ideas/information 溝通,聯絡
He can’t speak but he uses sign language and writing to communicate with others.

Phrases and Sentence Patterns 句型解析

1. human resources (expression) department in a company that deal with workers’ issues including hiring, firing, disputes, etc. 人力資源部
Cindy is the head of the HR (human resources) department in her company and oversees all hiring.

2. the same goes for + N (phr) and the same thing for N 深有同感
Johnson hates the new boss, and the same goes for Rick. (meaning Rick also hates the new boss)

Exercise 課後練習題

1. Most Taiwanese high school students are _______________, and some can even speak three languages.

2. _______________ people make up about 4% of Canada’s population today.

3. Do you think humans will ever _______________ mars?

4. Russia’s ______________ is over 17,000,000km2.

5. In order to _______________ your good grades, you have to keep trying throughout the year.

6. Québec is the largest ______________in Canada, followed by Ontario.

7. Keith and Linda broke up because they had trouble _______________ with each other.

8. The current trade policy _______________ as a result of many discussions between the two countries.

9. The king refused to _______________ his power, even when he was too ill to walk.

1. bilingual
2. Aboriginal
3. inhabit
4. territory
5. maintain
6. province
7. communicating
8. came to be
9. give up

Comprehension Questions 閱讀理解

1. What was New France?
a. A region of Canada that was once colonized by France.
b. The region in France that most French Canadians came from.
c. One of the first provinces of Canada, where many French people lived.
d. A part of Canada that tried to be exactly like France.

2. Which of the following is NOT true about Canadians today?
a. They mostly speak English.  
b. They mostly speak French.      
c. Some mainly speak English while others mainly speak French.   
d. Most of them can speak both English and French fluently.


1. 以下選項何者是新法蘭西?
a. 曾經被法國殖民的加拿大地區。
b. 在法國大多數法籍加拿大人生長的地區。
c. 加拿大的第一個省之一,許多法國人在那裡生活。
d. 加拿大的一部分,試圖與法國完全一樣。

2. 以下關於現代的加拿大人的描述,何者為非?
a. 大多數人說英文。
b. 大多數人說法文。
c. 有些人主要說英文,其他人主要說法文。
d. 他們大多數人都可以說流利的英文和法文。


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