Allophones in Quebec

The word “allophone” comes from the Greek root of allos (other) and phone (sound/voice). The native tongue of people called allophones in Quebec is neither French (Francophone), nor English (Anglophone). Arabic, Creole, Chinese, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish are the most common allophone mother tongues in the province.

Generally, allophones gravitate towards French as a second language and English as a third, mostly attributed to the large French influence in the province. Allophones in Quebec represent more than 20 per cent  of the population, a number that is rapidly increasing due to the rise in immigration to Canada.

Allophones in Quebec Schools

Allophones in Quebec schools now make up about 62 per cent of the student population and about 10 per cent of the teachers. Because of this rate, the government has taken steps to help ensure a fast integration of the young allophones in Quebec.

The classe d’accueil (welcome class), offered in many schools in Quebec, is a separate class that aims at helping the children of immigrants learn French, and become familiarized with the province’s curriculum, before they are able to join French speaking students in their regular classes.

This class encourages the diversity of the allophones in Quebec, and although the province prides itself on the preservation of its French culture and language, it is also dedicated to welcoming and celebrating the diverse immigrant population.

WHile the welcome class may seem a bit over the top, there are many positives about it. First and foremost, it simplifies their interaction with other children, providing an easier transition. It also fosters fairer competition in the job market later on (as Canada’s official languages are both French and English), as well as the job market abroad. Perhaps most importantly, it helps children to appreciate and understand the French culture of their new city.


Want to learn more about the unique culture in Quebec? Sign up for and visit “The Guide.” Read the “Cultural Adjustment” and “Learn more about Quebec” chapters for more information on this subject.


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Photo: ACME Squares, Sharealike Licence 3.0


About Catherine

It’s always been easy for me to have lots of love for Canada. As a native Canadian, I enjoy a both the vibrant cities full of excitement for young people, and the many opportunities to explore more remote parts of the country too. In my day-to-day life, it’s important for me to live an eco-friendly and health-conscious lifestyle. I like to take my kids on outings to the apple orchard in fall, a sugar shack in the spring, and to the many city parks during winter for ice skating, cross country skiing and snowman building. What better way for me to show my thanks to Canada then to help others with their journies of relocating to the country? I hope that I, and the rest of the team, can help ease your mind during your transition. Il n’a jamais été difficile pour moi d’aimer le Canada. En tant que Canadien d’origine, je profite d’une ville dynamique, riche en activités pour les jeunes mais aussi de possibilités pour explorer d’autres endroits du pays. Dans ma vie quotidienne, il est important pour moi de vivre en respectant l’environnement et la santé. J’aime amener mes enfants dans les pommeraies l’automne, dans une cabane à sucre au printemps et dans les nombreux parcs de la ville pour patiner en hiver, faire du ski de fond et des bonhommes de neige. Aider les autres dans leur relocalisation dans ce pays est une des meilleures façon de remercier le Canada. J’espère que l’équipe de et moi pourrons vous soulager dans votre période de transition. //