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Old 01-03-2019, 02:15 AM
 
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I am mainly referring to second generation immigrants though some may refer these as first generation immigrants. Doesn't necessary have to be bilingual can be trilingual as well. Just possession the skill and proficiency for multiple languages.

Using immigrants from China as an example, is the average kid born and raised in China more likely to be proficient two or more languages than the average born and raised Chinese American? Or is the average Chinese American more likely to be proficient in two or more languages? For Chinese American I do include those kids with at least one Chinese speaking immigrant parent.
Interestingly based on my experience, I somehow believe that the former may be true. Even though it sounds crazy.

Though Id be curious would the answer be different should I change Chinese to Japanese or Korean? Again I include both mixed kids as well.

Please note that I purposely left out European countries as each country is close together therefore language education is widespread and more advanced as language skills is much more useful due to widespread interaction between countries. Its normally safe to say a child born in a European country regardless of nationality is likely to know more languages than a child born in North America regardless of his or her native nationality or ancestry. The average German is likely to know more languages than a German American.

Last edited by citizensadvocate; 01-03-2019 at 02:25 AM..
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Old 01-03-2019, 12:07 PM
 
Location: New York NY
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Cannot speak to the Asian experience, but the kids of immigrants I know whose parents came from Latin America or sub-Saharan Africa tend to lose their home language, no matter that a parent speaks it at home, as they are raised in the U.S., go to U.S. schools, have English-speaking friends, etc. That's not an absolute of course, but it does tend to happen in the cases I've seen. I never just assume anymore that Spanish-surnamed individuals here can speak Spanish
because after two generations some can't and are English only.

By contrast, their overseas counterparts at the same age will tend to be bilingual, often speaking an indigenous language as well as the language of the historical colonizing nation, usually French, English or Spanish. For some more affluent families from Spanish or French speaking backgrounds, these kids may have also learned English in school.
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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Most of the kids at my school (about 70%) are Asian-American. The large majority of them are first generation Americans. Almost all of them are fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, or Indonesian in addition to English. Since many of the parents aren't fluent in English themselves, maintaining their parent's native language is essential.

When I did two stints in China, the English-level proficiency was much lower for the Chinese kids there. This was also in Shanghai, a very international city, so I imagine the proficiency in the less cosmopolitan areas is even less so.
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:25 PM
 
1,123 posts, read 491,312 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citylove101 View Post
Cannot speak to the Asian experience, but the kids of immigrants I know whose parents came from Latin America or sub-Saharan Africa tend to lose their home language, no matter that a parent speaks it at home, as they are raised in the U.S., go to U.S. schools, have English-speaking friends, etc. That's not an absolute of course, but it does tend to happen in the cases I've seen. I never just assume anymore that Spanish-surnamed individuals here can speak Spanish
because after two generations some can't and are English only.

By contrast, their overseas counterparts at the same age will tend to be bilingual, often speaking an indigenous language as well as the language of the historical colonizing nation, usually French, English or Spanish. For some more affluent families from Spanish or French speaking backgrounds, these kids may have also learned English in school.
Its sad to learn that immigrants to this multi cultured continent lose their home language skills and are less proficient in multiple languages than the peers back in their or their parent(s) old countries. This isn't just an issue with Anglo Americans having difficulty mastering another language. Even the immigrant ethnicity(s) who originate from otherwise homogeneous countries that are pretty isolated from other languages and cultures. I.e Korea and Japan seem to be falling behind their peers in those countries. Even when they are otherwise better performing with school and extra curricular subjects compared to the average students.
I always have the feeling that North America is a black hole for MANY languages. Where all the matters gets sucked in turns into a singularity. Good thing it has been improving though over the years.
Though I would be curious what could be done to improve this language brain drain?

One good place to measure this is with missionary groups of churches around the world. Some groups have churches all around the world it appears church members particularly the youth or young adults of foreign countries in those groups tend to know more languages than the ones of the same age group from North America.

I would be curious about North America or other Anglo expats/immigrants to Latin America and foreign countries are they more likely to be biligual than immigrants to US? Such as with the many US immigrant communities in Mexico or Panama?
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Old 01-03-2019, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
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My brother lives in Germany. He says everyone there who is under a certain age (45 maybe?) speaks English well enough to get by. However his 4 year old daughter seems to speak very little English.
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Old 01-03-2019, 03:33 PM
 
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While I know that language learning is highly based on the individual it appears in my experience it appears the same immigrants I mentioned to Latin America or other countries are more likely to keep their home language even if they are half Latin American or of the other country’s origin. I personally know ones that know Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish who live in Paraguay. Who happens to be have Chinese and half of Hispanic origin. Though I don’t know if there are any official stats though on my observation.
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Old 01-04-2019, 09:32 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
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I don't think it's possible to generalize. Han Chinese in China may not be bilingual, but minority peoples in China definitely are bilingual. Multilingualism in regions where more than one ethnic minority live in proximity is common around the world.

Do "overseas Chinese" retain their heritage language? I don't know, but one can't generalize from that to all other people living in emigration. Russian communities abroad make a big effort to support their children's Russian language skills, through community after-school programs at a community center, or weekend schooling through the Orthodox Church. Tibetan-Americans also organize language support through their community centers. Many immigrant communities have similar programs. Some kids rebel against parental efforts to spur them to maintain their language skills, though.
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Old 01-06-2019, 10:10 PM
 
Location: Silicon Valley, CA
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That depends highly on the family situation and circumstance. I'm a 2nd generation Chinese American and I've maintained my language capabilities in Mandarin and speak it with my parents and uncles/aunts, but my brother and sister are less fluent. My cousin in Shanghai is bilingual but that has a lot to do with her getting exposure in studying overseas and working for a multinational company; my other relatives in country who don't have that exposure to using foreign languages aren't fluent in languages other than Chinese.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:43 AM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
6,395 posts, read 3,469,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citizensadvocate View Post
Its sad to learn that immigrants to this multi cultured continent lose their home language skills and are less proficient in multiple languages than the peers back in their or their parent(s) old countries. This isn't just an issue with Anglo Americans having difficulty mastering another language. Even the immigrant ethnicity(s) who originate from otherwise homogeneous countries that are pretty isolated from other languages and cultures. I.e Korea and Japan seem to be falling behind their peers in those countries. Even when they are otherwise better performing with school and extra curricular subjects compared to the average students.
I always have the feeling that North America is a black hole for MANY languages. Where all the matters gets sucked in turns into a singularity. Good thing it has been improving though over the years.
Though I would be curious what could be done to improve this language brain drain?

One good place to measure this is with missionary groups of churches around the world. Some groups have churches all around the world it appears church members particularly the youth or young adults of foreign countries in those groups tend to know more languages than the ones of the same age group from North America.

I would be curious about North America or other Anglo expats/immigrants to Latin America and foreign countries are they more likely to be biligual than immigrants to US? Such as with the many US immigrant communities in Mexico or Panama?

I don't know what's so sad about it. Both my parents were immigrants and I speak English as a second language, but no way could I go to their homeland and converse with anyone, unless they spoke English. I've been all over the world and English is the only language that is spoken pretty much everywhere. Being able to still speak my native tongue would be of virtually no benefit to me. It makes much more sense for those in non-English speaking countries to learn English. English is truly the language of the world.
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:27 PM
 
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My Indian friend came to the US when she was 5 years old. She speaks her native Indian dialect/language exclusively with her family, when there are no English speakers around. She told me that when she goes back to visit family in India, everyone is fully aware that she is not a native and that she speaks with an accent. Her parents apparently do not have an accent.

My parents were first generation Americans and grew up speaking another language. They never forgot that language, but us kids only know bits and pieces and phrases here and there.
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