Do Ottawans speak English or French

Voices of Ottawa: Do Ottawans speak English or French?

Aside from being Canada’s capital city, Ottawa is a place that holds a rich history and culture, shaped by many events and people that made it into what it is today. Currently, it’s a multicultural city with a diverse population.

While most speak English, its unique location bordering Quebec gives it a higher French-speaking population compared to other parts of Ontario and Canada. This is why Ottawa is a bilingual city, with English and French as its official languages. 

Grab a notepad, take a seat, and we’ll give you everything you need to know about Ottawa and its languages. From its linguistic background to just how many people speak English or French, we’ll tackle all of that and more right here! 

Do people speak English or French in Ottawa?

Do people speak English or French in Ottawa

44.8% of the population in Ottawa speak both English and French. It’s also why you can find many signages and even documents that use one of these languages or both of them in Ottawa.

Languages Spoken in Ottawa

Languages Spoken in Ottawa

The primary language spoken in Ottawa is English, followed by French. 44.8% of the population speaks both. Some locals also speak Arabic, Spanish, and Chinese. 

There are approximately 38,080 Arabic speakers, 16,260 Spanish speakers, and 14,055 Chinese speakers in Ottawa. 

It’s thanks to the diverse population that other languages are more commonly spoken these days.

Why does Ottawa have two languages?

Why does Ottawa have two languages

Ottawa has two official languages due to being located near French-speaking Quebec, particularly the city of Gatineau. Ottawa and Gatineau are only separated by the Ottawa River, making travel between the cities quick and easy.

Do you need to learn French to live in Ottawa? 

Do you need to learn French to live in Ottawa

You don’t need to learn French if you want to live in Ottawa, because English is one of its official languages and is spoken by a majority of the population. Most official government services and businesses also use English.

How many people speak French in Ottawa?

How many people speak French in Ottawa

According to official statistics, 8.6% of Ottawa’s population speaks only French, while 45.5% only speak English. However, 44.8% of Ottawans speak both French and English.

French-Speaking Areas in Ottawa 

French-Speaking Areas in Ottawa

The main French-speaking areas within Ottawa are Vanier and Orleans, where you can experience the full French experience without going far. 

The French-speaking areas just outside Ottawa are Rockland, Embrun, Limoges, and Cassleman.