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Old 01-04-2019, 03:32 PM
 
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Today, is the average Chinese under 40 more likely to be able to communicate in a foreign language than the average Chinese American can communicate in Chinese?
By Chinese American I mean those who are at least 1/2 Chinese. Or have a parent who happens to be Chinese. But excepting recent immigrants who were born in China.

While language proficiency is a highly individual thing that varies from person to person Though it some appears these days seems more youth of even homogeneous countries(not just countries in Europe) seem more likely to know more than one language enough to communicate than the descendant of immigrants are in the US. Who may not know even the language of their own origin enough to communicate.
Its interesting and sad that it appears these days there are more Chinese students are able to communicate Korean, Japanese, and English, than Chinese Americans who can comprehend Chinese enough to communicate. The same can be compared about Koreans and Korean Americans, and Japanese and Japanese Americans as well and so on.

This is especially noticeable when different religious groups do international visits or missionaries. In my experience the ones from the US regardless of their ethnicity, aside from recent immigrants, are far less likely to understand another language including the host country's language than those from other countries.

Also in my experience it appears immigrants to other countries tend to do better, ie Asians in Brazil and Paraguay tend to do better with their home languages than immigrants in the US. I would be curious why. Despite the US having so many communities of foreign languages while most of Latin America is Spanish or Portuguese only.
It appears the same kids in NYC or urban California where there are plenty of exposure to different native languages are not too much better in terms of suffering Language attrition as compared to kids in rural upstate New York or other rural areas of the country where there is extremely limited exposure to their native language.
I did not include Europe as Europeans are highly advanced in foreign language education due to close proximity of countries that are unionized and have a lot of interactions. And how European descendants have been out of Europe for a much longer amount of time. Therefore the average German would be more proficient with multiple languages than the average German American.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:09 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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It might be because the US encourages immigrants to assimilate and not continue existing in multi-generational separate enclaves in the new country.

The fractionating of US citizens into ________-American groups past the original generation is relatively recent in a historical context.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Australia
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I am wondering why a country "being unionised" is likely to have a higher proficiency in foreign languages.

But the lack of retaining and acquiring foreign languages is a common issue in English speaking countries. I believe it is because learning or retaining another language requires a lot of effort, be it from the parents of a child or from a student trying to learn one. In my mother's times, French was very widely taught in Australia and Latin was required if one was to attend university. When I was in high school, languages were offered according to the resources of the school but in my school we had to do French for three years. Most people my age have studied a little French. Gradually the numbers of people here learning languages has dropped and dropped despite successive governments coming up with plans to encourage this.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:27 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
It might be because the US encourages immigrants to assimilate and not continue existing in multi-generational separate enclaves in the new country.

The fractionating of US citizens into ________-American groups past the original generation is relatively recent in a historical context.
Not at all. There have always been Italian-Americans, Russian enclaves, Asian districts, and Latino neighborhoods.
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Old 01-04-2019, 05:38 PM
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Not at all. There have always been Italian-Americans, Russian enclaves, Asian districts, and Latino neighborhoods.
The first generation maybe into the 2nd. By the time the 3rd generation rolled around (the grandchildren of the original immigrants) those enclaves were breaking up.
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:32 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, AK
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I'm a first generation American who speaks English as a second language. My parents came to this country in the early 50s and settled right into a typical American neighborhood, so no ethnic enclave for us. I learned English right after I started kindergarten, although I have no recollection of the process. According to stories my mother told people later on, I picked it up in a couple of weeks. Today, I know a few phrases of my first language, but could never hold any type of a conversation. Basically, I can say hello, good bye and I can order a beer, although I couldn't be any more specific than "beer". Forget about a brand or a type. To hear me talk, you'd never know English is my second language.
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:55 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Originally Posted by North Beach Person View Post
The first generation maybe into the 2nd. By the time the 3rd generation rolled around (the grandchildren of the original immigrants) those enclaves were breaking up.
Not sure what you mean. The enclaves are still there. San Francisco's Russian district is going strong, as is Brighton Beach in NYC. The only reason the Mission District in SF lost some of its Latino flavor was--gentrification pressure. Do you mean, rather, that by the 3rd generation, they decamp to end up blending in among the mainstream population? That I'll more or less agree with. But there are always new immigres taking their place in the enclave.
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:49 AM
 
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Its true, enclaves are still there and they are getting bigger but not necessarily less isolated. A interesting phenomenon I noticed is that in California particularly SoCal communities of different ethnicities especially businesses tend to grow in certain areas but not others. I.e in Orange County most ethnic enclaves particularly of eastern cultures concentrates mostly in Irvine and northwards but south of Irvine it appears the demographics are of a different world almost like rural California and ethic restaurants such as Chinese restaurants are much scarce and ones that exist are mostly the Americanized ones.
And there isn't much Chinese/Asian businesses in LA proper outside of Chinatown and small portion of Westwood, as well as Korea town, as compared with San Gabriel Valley along the i10 corridor or New Chinatown, and there is also an Asian concentration in Artesia and Cerritos.
Though despite having the enclaves with often many words in such language on business names, the second and third generations there seem to still suffer from language attrition and are not significantly better in language retention than those in more rural areas of the country.
I would be curious though about language attrition of children of expats and immigrants to other countries as well. I.e to Mexico.
Its still hard to believe though that the average Asian would be better in more than one language than the average Asian American even though it should be the opposite way around as the Asian American has their native language in addition to English and possibly Spanish to be exposed of. While there is usually not many enclaves containing signs in foreign languages or significant areas of people speaking foreign languages within the far east. Therefore if you take a foreign language course in a school/college or a independent cram class you almost have no practical use of it unless you actively search for it.

Last edited by citizensadvocate; 01-05-2019 at 01:02 AM..
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:51 AM
 
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Both my parents were immigrants (Siciliy and Germany in the early 1900s) We only learned/spoke English
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Old 01-05-2019, 01:16 AM
 
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Really no reason to. English is universal pretty much, as close to it at least. A lot of people's second language in the world is English and if not the second, it is one of them they speak. I can go to Europe and travel through and chances are that a person will have English proficiency, chances at least higher than proficiency in a non-native language of their country.

Everywhere you go in the world, chances are high to find someone/people that will know some level of English, that cannot be said for any other language.

Sitting here in the US, i have zero reason to ever speak another language aside from English, I would have to go out of my way to do so.
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