Yesterday, the Toronto Star published a map titled The Language Quilt, a map of Accordion City and surrounding areas colour-coded by prevalent mother tongue based on 2006 census data. If you’re willing to download a 20-megabyte PDF file, you can get the map plus the accompanying article here.
Here’s a list of observations taken from the article:
- English is the second language in 47 of the GTA’s (Greater Toronto Area’s) 1,076 census tracts
- English is in third place in 7 tracts in Agincourt, on Toronto’s northern edge [often referred to in jest as “Asiancourt” — Joey]
- In 57 tracts, 70% or more of the population has a non-English mother tongue
- The preponderance of English as a mother tongue is 90% or more in 42 census tracts
- In 200 tracts, more than 30 distinct mother tongues are spoken by 15 or more people, the minimum number of speakers required for a language to count in the census
- In 13 tracts, there are more than 40 mother tongues
When the article refers to “mother tongue”, it’s referring to the first language learned in childhood and still understood. In the case of Yours Truly, that’s English — I started speaking when my family lived in the States. My parents’ mother tongue is Tagalog, the 7th most popular mother tongue in Toronto.
(Note that there wasn’t a language barrier when we came here in 1975, as English is one of the Philippines’ official languages and if you ranked countries by English-speaking population, the Philippines would rank 5th, right after the United Kingdom.)
Here’s a chart based on the data showing the popularity of English as a mother tongue alongside the top 10 non-English mother tongues:
Here’s how the most popular mother tongues break down among the 5.4 million residents in the Greater Toronto Area:
- English: 56%
- Italian: 3.5%
- “Chinese” (no language specified): 3.2%
- Cantonese: 3.1%
- Punjabi: 2.5%
- Portuguese: 2%
- Spanish: 2%
- Tagalog: 1.9%
- Urdu: 1.8%
- Tamil: 1.7%
- Polish: 1.6%
Note that the third-place mother tongue, “Chinese”, is a bit vague. It could refer to any one of several spoken forms — Mandarin, Shanghainese, Cantonese or Taiwanese, to name the most popular. Part of the problem is that there’s still some disagreement over whether “Chinese” is a language with several dialects or a group of different languages (and some of this disagreement is based in politics, to boot). Further confusing the issue for census takers is that although the spoken versions are different, the written version is the same: a person who spoke only Mandarin wouldn’t be able to have an oral conversation with someone who spoke only Cantonese, but they could be fluent pen pals.
In case you missed the excellent documentary Jesus Camp on A&E last night, you can catch it in its entirety thanks to Google video in large size or below in a small (but still watchable) window below…
Wendy had a conniption fit every five minutes while watching Jesus Camp. This film does a good job of showing what Shakespeare’s aphorism “The Devil can cite scripture for his purpose” means.
Brent Ashley knows that I’ve had my troubles with a deadbeat housemate (whose debt of thousands of dollars I forgave recently), so he knew I’d be amused at this classified ad that appeared in the Toronto edition of the classified ad website, Kijiji:
Selling my deadbeat roommate’s Rock Band
Price: Best offer
Street address: Yonge & Finch, Toronto View map
Date listed: 28-Dec-07
First of all, yes I know this falls in the really mean category and yes I know they’re supposed to really be hard to come by, but you’d be this pissed too. I can understand paying for plane ticket to see fam during Christmas, but dropping $300 on a video game while skipping out on his share of the rent during a really expensive time?!?!?! WTF?
Well payback’s a byatch. I will consider this as the December rent. Highest bidder gets a PS3 Rock Band Special Edition. Comes with drums, a guitar, and a mic apparently. I need this done by next week, for obvious reasons.
Yes it’s been opened and he played for two hours before having to leave for the airport. But Mr. Anal actually packed it away because he didn’t want anyone else playing it while he was gone. *Are you kidding me? At least it saves me the trouble.
Oh and if you’re reading this, consider this your last payment. To everyone else, have a happy holidays.
Alas, it’s for the PlayStation 3. If it were the XBox 360 version, I’d have bought it from him for the full retail price because:
- I really want this game, and
- I know this guy’s frustration.
Back in October, I posted an image of a Canadian Club ad whose design evoked the early 1960’s titled Your Mom Wasn’t Your Dad’s First. The ad used photos that had been Photoshopped to have that old “Kodachrome” look and featured models dressed and made up in the style of the time and featured this text:
He went out. He got two numbers in the same night. He drank cocktails, but they were whiskey cocktails. Made with Canadian Club. Served in a rocks glass. They tasted good. They were effortless. DAMN RIGHT YOUR DAD DRANK IT.
Looks like they’re running with the theme:
A couple of thoughts:
- Why didn’t the advertising agency for Crown Royal, my rye of choice, come up with this concept?
- Lookin’ forward to the next ads, which I hope bear titles like:
- Your Dad Knew How to Use a Slide Rule
- Your Dad Never Told a Girl He Had a Betty Crocker “Easy-Bake” Oven as a Kid Just to Get Some Play*
- Your Dad Never Cried After Sex
…well, according to The Beast’s list of the 50 most loathsome people in America for 2007, anyway. (And yes, we’ve got loathsome types of this sort in Canada as well.)
You believe in freedom of speech, until someone says something that offends you. You suddenly give a damn about border integrity, because the automated voice system at your pharmacy asked you to press 9 for Spanish. You cling to every scrap of bullshit you can find to support your ludicrous belief system, and reject all empirical evidence to the contrary. You know the difference between patriotism and nationalism — it’s nationalism when foreigners do it. You hate anyone who seems smarter than you. You care more about zygotes than actual people. You love to blame people for their misfortunes, even if it means screwing yourself over. You still think Republicans favor limited government. Your knowledge of politics and government are dwarfed by your concern for Britney Spears’ children. You think buying Chinese goods stimulates our economy. You think you’re going to get universal health care. You tolerate the phrase “enhanced interrogation techniques.” You think the government is actually trying to improve education. You think watching CNN makes you smarter. You think two parties is enough. You can’t spell. You think $9 trillion in debt is manageable. You believe in an afterlife for the sole reason that you don’t want to die. You think lowering taxes raises revenue. You think the economy’s doing well. You’re an idiot.
You couldn’t get enough Anna Nicole Smith coverage.
A gradual decline into abject poverty as you continue to vote against your own self-interest. Death by an easily treated disorder that your health insurance doesn’t cover. You deserve it, chump.