Saskatchewan Language and Languages

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

Under the Government of Canada Official Languages Act of 1969, both English and French have official federal status throughout Canada. According to the 2011 Census of Canada, the language of English is spoken by 94.9% of the population. Another 4.6% speak both English and French. In addition to these languages, the census reported that German, Cree, Ukrainian, Tagalog, Dene, Chinese, Urdu, Spanish, Russian and Arabic were also reported in that order of frequency.

The University of Saskatchewan reports that the Algonauian family of languages is in use across Canada, with different dialects of Cree and Saulteaux being found in Saskatchewan. That being said, there are Siouan speakers as the Nakota, Dakota and Lakota have first nations residents in the province of Saskatchewan. Mainly up north the Athpapaskan language is spoken by the members of the Dene First Nations. Michif is a mixed Cree-French language introduced to the prairies by the Métis.

The Provincial Curriculum provides Aborginal Languages as part of the courses from kindergarten to Grade 12.

As Saskatchewan experienced a large wave of immigration between 1896-1905 due to the Clifford Sifton immigration policy. Sifton encouraged immigration who were "stalwart peasants in sheep-skin coats." Sifton, immigration companies, and railroads advertised heavily in Europe and the United States for immigrants to come to the "Last Best West." British and American immigrants were the main draws, however there were also a large influx of Ukrainians, Scandinavians, Doukhobors, and other groups from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Unique settlement patterns developed called 'ethnic bloc settlements.' There factors at work promoting such settlements. Those settling in close proximity, would still be speaking the same 'mother tongue' which would facilitate communication in the settlement. The lands which were selected for their homesteads bore some resemblance to the lands in their home country, facilitating the tools and agricultural practices known by these immigrants. If a person from a community immigrated ahead of time, or if an immigration company sponsored settlement, then a large tract of land was made available during this process. Historical Bloc settlements are mapped in both of the Atlas of Saskatchewan and additionally and overview of the various towns and settlements which sprang up by immigrants from various countries are documented on SaskGenWeb Saskatchewan History and Ethnic Roots.

The grammar, dialect and customs may affect the way names appear in genealogical records. For instance, the names of your ancestor may vary from record to record in French. You may find other languages in the records. These include English and Latin.

Latin is another language which springs up in Saskatchewan as early church records may also be recorded in Latin.

What's Available[edit | edit source]

Language Aids:[edit | edit source]

The Family History Library has published a French Genealogical Word List and a Latin Genealogical Word List. The lists contain words often found in genealogical research with their English translation. Canada Languages from Family Search Canada First Nations from Family Search Family search provides word lists for various languages. If your ancestry traces back to a country of origin not yet listed on this provincial page, please search the Family Search wiki pages for that particular language. For instance, Irish may be one not mentioned among the more commonly contemporary spoken languages, however Saskatchewan did have Irish settlements historicallly. Their descendants may still be in the same area of the province.

Websites of Interest[edit | edit source]

Atlas of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan History and Ethnic Roots

First Nations Map of Saskatchewan Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

Saskatchewan First Nations Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre

All the released census into the public domain reported the country of origin, and language spoken

Resources[edit | edit source]

Barry, Bill. Ukrainian People Places : The Ukrainians, Germans, Mennonites, Hutterites and Doukhobors and the Names They Brought to Saskatchewan Paperback – 2001. Publisher: Centax Books (2001) ISBN-10: 1894022653 ISBN-13: 978-1894022651

Library and Archives Canada[edit | edit source]

Ethno Cultural Groups - Library and Archives Canada (Nationwide resources not provincial)

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society[edit | edit source]

The Saskatchewan Genealogical Society and their branches offers help and guidance to all genealogists and can be of great assistance to your search. They may at times offer workshops and meetings focusing in on tracing family routes with various ethnic backgrounds. Those genealogists with like interests share knowledge of researching primary source documents and those words of translation needed to interpret documents such as census, birth certicates, cemetery records, etc.

Saskatchewan Genealogical Society
110 - 1514 11th Avenue
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 0H2
Telephone: 306-780-9207
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1894

References[edit | edit source]