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Old 01-28-2015, 12:25 PM
 
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Growing up, I was raised around traditional italian lifestyles because of my grandparents. After my grandparents passed on, old school italian traditions weren't passed on and all seem lost as my dad and his siblings are deep into modern culture. Italian food is about the only part of the culture left.

It seems even younger generation European italians are losing the old culture. As my siblings in Italy are turning to partying and partaking more into the modern culture.

I do see more American Italians upholding the old school values in areas like in Little Italys.

However, I think the Italian culture in America will eventually die into the American pot.

Thoughts? Is this to become the fate of most cultures as younger generations don't take on the older generation old traditions?
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:37 PM
 
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My grandfather said that he brought his family to America to be Americans.
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P47P47 View Post
My grandfather said that he brought his family to America to be Americans.
what does that mean? does that mean ditch all old traditions? I think there is an importance to old traditions and identity. maybe he said that to avoid having people be racist towards you and your family.
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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I'm not really sure if this is about European cultures losing their identity in America or about old traditions vs modern culture.

Naturally, most descendants of Europeans in America lose much of their heritage and culture over time. Language is normally the first to go. There are few exceptions, like the Pennsylvania Dutch. I don't think this has so much to do with old traditions vs modern culture - but just that people tend to integrate into and identify themselves mostly by the society they grew up in. My Italian family lost the use of the Italian language when my great grandfather said "We're in America now, we speak English" and Italian was banned from the house. That would have been in the late 1920s so it had nothing to do with our modern culture but rather the desire for them to integrate into American society and embrace their new land and new culture.

As for Europeans becoming more modern - that also seems like the natural course of society. Why assume that Europe would remain stuck in the past? Young people in many parts of the world are generally attracted to what is new, modern, and popular - that has always been the case.
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Old 01-28-2015, 12:55 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the city View Post
what does that mean? does that mean ditch all old traditions? I think there is an importance to old traditions and identity. maybe he said that to avoid having people be racist towards you and your family.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
My Italian family lost the use of the Italian language when my great grandfather said "We're in America now, we speak English" and Italian was banned from the house. That would have been in the late 1920s so it had nothing to do with our modern culture but rather the desire for them to integrate into American society and embrace their new land and new culture.

Pretty much as described by PA2UK, with the addition of NOT being Roman Catholic, since escaping from the power and influence of the Vatican was one of the main reasons for his leaving Italy.
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Old 01-28-2015, 08:52 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
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Most cultures become assimilated into the mainstream culture of their new country. It makes it easier for them if they fit in. However the Italian culture remains strong in some areas such as the southern New England states of MA, CI and RI. There is an entire section of Boston that is Italian, although that is gradually fading too.

There is no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater though. You can still maintain some of the old customs and especially the foods. Italian food is practically mainstream anyway in this country. Most cultures have lost their foods along with the language and other features of their original culture.
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Old 01-28-2015, 10:36 PM
 
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My dad's side is Irish, English, Scottish, Sardinian, North Italian, German, Middle Eastern (Bahrain). My mother's side is Polish, Lithuanian, Belarusian, Czech (Bohemian), Slovenian, Serbian, Bosnian, Scottish. That's a lot of different cultures and there were various religions each ancestor practiced. On my dad's side the German identity/culture was the strongest even though it was quite distant. This was due to them being the "most successful" and vocal about their origins. On my mother's side the Scottish and Polish definitely dominated. Its absolutely fascinating for me to consider all these different people, languages, and cultures intermingling in my family. At the same time, I wish I had more of a connection to each culture.

My boyfriend is from Russia (moved to the USA when he as 5) and his mother tongue is Russian. We've talked about how neat it would be for his future kids to learn Russian so it isn't lost. However it would take some effort on his part since our area does not have a strong Russian community.
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PA2UK View Post
My Italian family lost the use of the Italian language when my great grandfather said "We're in America now, we speak English" and Italian was banned from the house. That would have been in the late 1920s so it had nothing to do with our modern culture but rather the desire for them to integrate into American society and embrace their new land and new culture.
I have a hard time believing this. This is like a thinking man's version of "my family learned English when they came here, why can't ____"? (fill in the blank with Mexicans, Vietnamese, etc.) For example, time and time again people think their Swedish great-grandparents stopped speaking Swedish, learned fluent English, etc when I know that there were at least two Swedish newspapers (published in Swedish) in Chicago at the turn of the century, and that's just one city! (Because I have used them in non genealogical research, having written some papers to do with Scandinavian studies.) It's extremely unrealistic, and it shows how out of touch people are with their own family history and the history of their own ethnic groups in America.
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:38 PM
 
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With my father's family, it wasn't that they lost the language or that Italian was "banned" from the house, it just wasn't a matter of English outside, Italian at home. They spoke English as much as possible, but if they were at a loss for the English word or expression when talking among the family, they could use Italian enough to get the point across.
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:45 PM
 
Location: Colorado (PA at heart)
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Originally Posted by dinska View Post
I have a hard time believing this. This is like a thinking man's version of "my family learned English when they came here, why can't ____"? (fill in the blank with Mexicans, Vietnamese, etc.)
My Nan told me herself that her father said this to her/her family and since she's the one who grew up in a household where English was banned from then on, I think she'd know. Even if you don't believe that specific quote, the fact of the matter remains that my Italian immigrant great grandfather obviously spoke Italian but NONE of his seven children could even say a complete sentence in Italian, and none of them or their children can remember my great grandfather ever speaking Italian.

Just because it doesn't fit your political agenda doesn't mean it's not true. FTR I have no issue with the US becoming multilingual - I actually wish my Nan had grown up bilingual and taught me Italian too! But this is not a political topic and the truth is that the attitudes of many immigrants in the past was often very, very different than it is today.

Quote:
For example, time and time again people think their Swedish great-grandparents stopped speaking Swedish, learned fluent English, etc when I know that there were at least two Swedish newspapers (published in Swedish) in Chicago at the turn of the century, and that's just one city! (Because I have used them in non genealogical research, having written some papers to do with Scandinavian studies.) It's extremely unrealistic, and it shows how out of touch people are with their own family history and the history of their own ethnic groups in America.
That's great for your Swedish ancestors but it doesn't mean it applies to every other type of immigrants from every period or place. I also have German Colonial Mennonite ancestors who spoke German for generations (sometimes only German) until they converted to Methodism in the mid 19th century. But it's a fact that my 20th century Italian immigrant ancestors chose to stop speaking Italian within one generation of arrival and I know from experience many other Italian Americans who did the same thing. You would be wise to not apply the circumstances of one heritage onto another. This is a topic about Italians, not Swedish.
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