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Assimilation in multilingual cities

Author

Listed:
  • Javier Ortega

    (City University London)

  • Gregory Verdugo

    (OFCE - Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques (Sciences Po) - Sciences Po - Sciences Po, CES - Centre d'économie de la Sorbonne - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

Abstract

We characterise how the assimilation patterns of minorities into the strong and the weak language differ in a situation of asymmetric bilingualism. Using large variations in language composition in Canadian cities from the 2001 and 2006 Censuses, we show that the differences in the knowledge of English by immigrant allophones (i.e. the immigrants with a mother tongue other than English and French) in English-majority cities are mainly due to sorting across cities. Instead, in French-majority cities, learning plays an important role in explaining differences in knowledge of French. In addition, the presence of large anglophone minorities deters much more the assimilation into French than the presence of francophone minorities deters the assimilation into English. Finally, we find that language distance plays a much more important role in explaining assimilation into French, and that assimilation into French is much more sensitive to individual characteristics than assimilation into English. Some of these asymmetric assimilation patterns extend to anglophone and francophone immigrants, but no evidence of learning is found in this case.

Suggested Citation

  • Javier Ortega & Gregory Verdugo, 2015. "Assimilation in multilingual cities," SciencePo Working papers Main hal-01296745, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:spmain:hal-01296745
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-015-0549-9
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.science/hal-01296745
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; assimilation; language policies; minorities;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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