TORONTO’S MOTHER TONGUES
Almost half of Torontonians, 49%, speak a non-English mother tongue. These languages are displayed in the first word cloud below, based on the 2011 census (2016 data should be coming soon from Stats Canada). You can click on the image to open the attachment and zoom in to see the smaller languages. For perspective, the largest group in the cloud – “Other Chinese” – represents 91,210 speakers. (This category includes Chinese languages other than Cantonese or Mandarin as well as ambiguous responses such as “Chinese”.)
The smallest languages are difficult to see in the full word cloud, so we have created a second one, below, which includes the languages with less than 10,000 mother tongue speakers. The largest in this group is Turkish, with 7,860. For perspective, you can compare the size of “Turkish” in this cloud to its size in the full cloud, where it sits just above the second “a” in “Tagalog”.
Even when zooming in on the second cloud, the smallest languages are still difficult to see. Those with 1000 or fewer mother tongue speakers in Toronto are: Danish (715), Lao (695), Swedish (690), Norwegian (265), Ojibway (230), Flemish (150), Cree (105), Inuktitut (15), Mi’kmaq (10) and Dene (5).
Given that many of our city’s small minority languages do not appear in the census data at all, we are left to wonder: How many endangered mother tongues are spoken here?