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Old 07-08-2010, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Brooklyn
40,057 posts, read 29,718,655 times
Reputation: 10450

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
I was talking to a woman who is from Korea but does not speak Korean to her American born children. She says while she loves the Korean language and the Korean culture she is an American now and the language of America is English. So around the house and with friends and family her American born kids speak English.

What do you think about this? (Again, this is not an argument against knowing two languages but an argument for learning English well at first and then when they are older, the kids can learn Korean or any other language they choose.)
I relate to that. My grandparents came to this country from Eastern Europe. The first thing they did (even before applying for citizenship) was to seek out classes where English was taught. They had the notion that if you wanted to fit into American society, you had to speak the language.

As a result, I grew up in a household that spoke only English. I don't know the language of my grandparents. If I think about it, I guess I consider that to be a cultural loss--but it was a compromise they made on the way to becoming American.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Camberville
11,395 posts, read 15,999,324 times
Reputation: 18035
My great grandparents made the conscious decision not to teach their children Yiddish or Russian. My grandparents know a bit of Yiddish that they picked up from THEIR grandparents (who did not speak English), my mother knows less, and I only got the filtered down insults.

I feel a great deal of loss from it. I know it was a different time then, but I can't help but feel a huge surge of regret from not learning it. My college had a small Yiddish program (in fact, my best friend was the only minor in our graduating year) but I was never able to take the courses. I hope some day to learn because while Yiddish still has a small, vibrant community, it is slowly dying. In fact, I probably know most of the few Yiddish native speakers of my generation, which is not many.
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Old 07-08-2010, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Lake Charles, LA
2,073 posts, read 2,257,842 times
Reputation: 699
A child should learn english to live in American, however, there is no reason that they should not be able to speak their native language in their own household. I mean they still need to keep up w/ the most important factors of their culture.
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:07 PM
 
3,651 posts, read 8,113,947 times
Reputation: 2747
Quote:
Originally Posted by anifani821 View Post
I think being bilingual is an advantage and a gift that parents can give their children at no cost!

I totally understand this woman's feelings as far as being proud of her native culture but wanting her children to first feel like Americans. However, I don't think it has to be an all or nothing proposition. Children can be taught to speak in two languages - as we all know if we have spent time in Europe.

You can assimilate into American culture and still respect and enjoy your family's cultural roots - from traditions to cuisine.
Exactly. There's been so much eroding of cultures as the world gets smaller and smaller as it is. puke.
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Old 07-09-2010, 12:54 PM
 
2,015 posts, read 2,999,591 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
I was talking to a woman who is from Korea but does not speak Korean to her American born children. She says while she loves the Korean language and the Korean culture she is an American now and the language of America is English. So around the house and with friends and family her American born kids speak English.

Once they get older she wants them to learn Korean and learn more about the Korean culture and visit her country but now she does not want to confuse the young children and make them attempt to speak two different languages, English with their American born friends and in school, and Korean at home. So it is all English for them.

What do you think about this? (Again, this is not an argument against knowing two languages but an argument for learning English well at first and then when they are older, the kids can learn Korean or any other language they choose.)
Kids have the ability to learn languages (and pretty much everything else) much faster than adults do, so the point of waiting for your child to be fluent in one language before learning another doesn't make much sense. I began learning English and French at the same around the age of 8 yrs while still speaking native language at home, and this did not impact my learning abilities at all. I now do the same thing to my son; at 7 yrs even with ASD, he understands all 3 languages very well.
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Old 07-09-2010, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Texas
208 posts, read 480,493 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissLucky View Post
Kids have the ability to learn languages much faster than adults do
I know few people are going to want to believe this, but "kids learn (foreign, second, third) languages better than adults" is a myth. Adults actually process language better than kids.

It only seems that kids learn languages faster/easier because kids have so much less language to learn.

An adult, especially one who is already highly literate in one or more languages, has the cognitive ability to process the learning of a foreign/second/third language better than a kid has. (This is the reason why we ESL teacher discourage immigrant parents from speaking to their children in English. We need the parents to continue developing their children's home language so that these cognitive language learning skills will continue to develop and then be transferred and applied to learning English. [Maintaining a link to the children's heritage and roots is just a bonus, really.])

With the notable exception of a foreign accent (which is not a measure of one's fluency in a foreign language) or grammatical nuances, a suitably motivated adult will learn a foreign language better than a child.

Scott
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Old 07-09-2010, 04:20 PM
 
Location: Orlando, Florida
43,858 posts, read 43,569,222 times
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When I first came to America as a 3 year old from Germany, my American dad made the decision that my German mom should speak only English to me. Now, many decades later, he admits that it was a bad decision. He was trying to be helpful, but I lost the ability of being able to fluently speak German and had to learn it again as an adult.
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Old 07-11-2010, 03:00 AM
 
Location: Texas
42,215 posts, read 49,768,169 times
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Having to learn three languages at once growing up gave me great talent for languages and didn't stunt my English whatsoever.

So, no...I don't think parents should refuse to speak to their kids in their native tongue as long as speaking their native tongue does not interfere with their learning of English or serve as some kind of crutch.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:29 AM
 
1,949 posts, read 4,641,125 times
Reputation: 907
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
I was talking to a woman who is from Korea but does not speak Korean to her American born children. She says while she loves the Korean language and the Korean culture she is an American now and the language of America is English. So around the house and with friends and family her American born kids speak English.

Once they get older she wants them to learn Korean and learn more about the Korean culture and visit her country but now she does not want to confuse the young children and make them attempt to speak two different languages, English with their American born friends and in school, and Korean at home. So it is all English for them.

What do you think about this? (Again, this is not an argument against knowing two languages but an argument for learning English well at first and then when they are older, the kids can learn Korean or any other language they choose.)
NO. parents shouldnt refuse to speak their 1st language to their children. it is good for children to be bi-lingual, and from birth thru the first 3 years - when children learn to talk, is the best time for them to learn another language.

HOWEVER, what parents should not do - like a lot of Spanish speaking parents - is refuse to teach their children English, under the theory that it can be their elementary school's responsibility when the child is enrolled. it brings down the curriculum.

the reason that part of the above statement is in bold is not to give it more emotion than any other part of my statement. it is so that i can refer to it again right now. i dont want to hear a bunch of people start flipping out and trying to say that it isnt true, and i'm being racist against Mexicans...and yada yada yada. i've lived in El Paso, TX. moreover, i've lived in Presidio, TX. my wife is from Mexico. we went round and round with that arguement regarding our son. she would argue that most of the people we know were doing just that with their kids - letting the schools worry about teaching them English. so i dont want to hear it.
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Old 07-11-2010, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Burnsville, Minnesota
2,702 posts, read 2,041,525 times
Reputation: 1455
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weekend Traveler View Post
I was talking to a woman who is from Korea but does not speak Korean to her American born children. She says while she loves the Korean language and the Korean culture she is an American now and the language of America is English. So around the house and with friends and family her American born kids speak English.

Once they get older she wants them to learn Korean and learn more about the Korean culture and visit her country but now she does not want to confuse the young children and make them attempt to speak two different languages, English with their American born friends and in school, and Korean at home. So it is all English for them.

What do you think about this? (Again, this is not an argument against knowing two languages but an argument for learning English well at first and then when they are older, the kids can learn Korean or any other language they choose.)
I don't see that as a bad thing. Knowing the English language is vital to functioning in the United States. However, being bilingual is advantageous, and the older you get, the more difficult it is to learn a new language.
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