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Immigrants and language: A duty or a right?

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November 29, 2005

Source: McGill University:

Immigrants and language: A duty or a right?

Source: University Relations Office (URO) [newswire]
November 29, 2005
McGill University hosts inter-university conference on obstacles to immigrant integration

What links immigration, language and nationality? Should learning the national language be a duty or a right? In Quebec, migrants have an obligation to learn the official language. In France, there is a proposed new right for migrants — the right to language. In a two-day conference, Language and Immigration: Obstacles in Integration, hosted at McGill University, researchers from French and Canadian universities will compare their countries' experiences with language integration programs and seek ways of better linking language acquisition to migrants' civic responsibilities.

Developing a new cultural identity among immigrants has an impact on all of society. "Recent events in France seem to indicate that the French model has not been a complete success," says Dr. James Archibald, Director of Translation Studies at McGill University. "On the Quebec side, cases of immigrant marginalization, unemployment, underemployment and resistance to integration into the majority French-speaking population are legion." Dr. Archibald hopes that by exposing these problems and by comparing experiences, both Quebec and French policy makers will be able to identify positive initiatives leading to real improvements in programs and the elimination of some of the current system's unfortunate effects.

  • What: "La Langue et l'immigration : Les obstacles à la francisation"

  • When: December 8 and 9

  • Where: McGill University, 688 Sherbrooke St. W., 10th floor, Montreal, Quebec

    The conference will bring together researchers from Université de Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle, UQAM and Université de Lille among others, as well as FASILD (France's parapublic Foundation for Immigrant Social Aid and for the Elimination of Discrimination), the Quebec ministries of Education and Immigration, as well as the Interprofessional Council of Quebec and the Office québécois de la langue française.

    Media wishing to interview Dr. Archibald, please contact Cynthia Lee at 514-398-6754 or by email. For information on attending the conference, please contact Kathy Peacock at 514-398-1484 or by email.
    Cynthia Lee
    Communications Officer
    McGill University Relations Office

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