Canadians non-Punjabis start learning Punjabi

January 16,2007

Canadians non-Punjabis start learning Punjabi

Balwant Sanghera

It is great news for the well-wishers of Punjabi that MLA’s Sue Hammell and Bruce Ralston are taking Punjabi language classes at SFU’s Surrey campus. As a matter of fact, a lot of non-Punjabis, including Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan, are also learning this language privately or in BC’s public schools and post secondary institutions. This is a very encouraging development for the Punjabi Language Education Association of British Columbia (PLEA), which has been promoting Punjabi for the past several years.

I would like to commend Sue Hammell and Bruce Ralston, the two Surrey MLAs as well as Sam Sullivan and others for their efforts in learning Punjabi.

There is no doubt that they will find acquisition of a new language to be very stimulating and beneficial.
Punjabi language, along with its speakers, has achieved a very prominent place on the international stage. Out of some 6,000 languages recognized worldwide by the United Nations, Punjabi is reported to rank as tenth from top. Nearly 150 million speakers of this language are spread over nearly 125 countries.

Here in Canada, Punjabi is reported to be sixth or seventh most spoken language. In the Lower Mainland, it ranks as third behind English and Chinese. In two BC cities-Surrey and Abbotsford- it is second most spoken language after English. In this context, it makes sense for the learners of this language as it opens more doors of new knowledge and opportunities.
Futhermore, new language learners add further to the beauty of Canada’s linguistic and cultural diversity.

On Sunday, February 25, PLEA will be celebrating the fifth International Mother Language Day at Ravi Banquet Hall (8166-128 St..) in Surrey at 2PM. Former cabinet minister and well known community leader, Moe Sihota will be the keynote speaker. Also, there will be a very stimulating panel discussion about the future of Punjabi in BC and Canada. On behalf of PLEA, I would like to invite your readers and the community to join us in this celebration.

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