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How Bilingual Is Montreal? The Truth Is Shocking

Montrealers give their unbiased opinion on the city's multiculturalism.
How Bilingual Is Montreal? The Truth Is Shocking

Montreal is spoken of as a 'bilingual city,' but what do the citizens of Montreal actually think? The Francophones, Anglophones, and Allophones (people whose native language is neither English or French) who live in Montreal obviously have a much better grasp on how bilingual and multicultural Montreal really is.  MBA research conducted a study last monthand asked Montrealers of all demographics how they feel about the level of bilingualism and multiculturalism in the city. The results, while overall positive, did show the conflicting views between Montreal's different language-demographics.

The Big Warm and Fuzzy Picture

As a whole, the study found that Montrealer's have a positive outlook on the city's bilingualism. Major points include:

  • 81% of Quebecers say that Montreal is bilingual
  • 69% of Quebecers say that Montreal should be bilingual
  • 76% of Quebecers believe Montreal benefits socially and 85% believe Montreal benefits economicallly

Great stuff, we all love each other and our languages, positive points specifically highlighted on the study's infographic. A closer look, however, shows some discrepancies among certain populations.

Should Montreal Be Bilingual

Let's take a closer look at the stats of the 69% of Quebecers. Unsurprisingly, 97.1% of Anglophones and 80.5% of Allophones strongly agreed that Montreal should be bilingual. Only 65.7% of Francophones agreed, with far less strongly agreeing. This is still a majority of Francophones, but when compared to like minded Anglophones and Allophones, the desire for Montreal to remain a bilingual city is not nearly as positive in comparison.

Is Montreal A Welcoming City?

When asked whether Montreal is a city open to all people of the world, Anglophone and Francophones strongly agreed that Montreal is, with over 90% agreeing. Allophones, however, have a different view. 77.3% of Allophones agreed Montreal is welcoming to other cultures, a majority, but still nearly 20% less of an agreement. People with native languages that aren't French and English have a different perspective on how 'welcoming' Montreal is, as the city does have a French and English focus.

The same results are again seen when people were asked whether Montreal is a city that houses immigrants from around the world. While 90.4% of Francophones agreed, only 73.9% of Allophones responded positively, nearly 20% less.

Should the City Promote French?

Delving into specific languages, the study asked whether French, English, or bilingualism should be promoted in Montreal. 65.8% of Francophones responded French should be given a definite focus...with 0% of Anglophones and Allophones agreeing. Both did agree that bilingualism should be promoted (Anglophones at 76.4%, Allophones at 96.7%), with a fraction of Francophones (33%) also agreeing.

What the Rest of Canada Thinks of Montreal

Taking the survey outside of Quebec, citizens from across Canada were asked the same questions about Montreal. In comparison with the rest of the world, the rest of Canada actually has a poorer perception on Montreal's bilingualism and multiculturalism. Here are some findings:

Quebecers born in the Rest of Canada vs. Quebecers born in the Rest Of the World

16% said Montreal is not a bilingual city vs. 17.7%

32.3% said Montreal doesn't house varied immigrants vs. 8.1%

28% said Montreal isn't a welcoming city vs. 12.8%

We're Not QUITE So Bilingual

A lot of these numbers and percentages were pretty similar, and the study did show how a majority of Montrealers do have a positive outlook on the multicultural and bilingual aspects of the city. That's a good thing. But you can't ignore the differences in responses.

Francophones and Anglophones were much more positive as a whole on the bilingual aspects of Montreal, and Montreal's openness to other cultures. Allophones, not having the traditional base of French or English, the dominant languages of Montreal, have a different outlook on the city. Allophones, as a majority, perceive Montreal in a positive light, but do have a less positive perspective on the city.

Rather than just showcase the positive aspects of Montreal, this study should be used to point out the discrepancies among demographics, and the steps the city needs to take to ensure people of all languages feel comfortable in Montreal.

What do you guys think about the level of acceptance and multiculturalism in Montreal? Were the findings a shock, or no surprise at all? Should Montreal strive to aid Allophones, or focus on French? Give us your opinion in the comments below.

Sources -Infographic, MBS Study

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