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Old Yesterday, 10:40 AM
 
Location: In the heights
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New York City and the Tri-State Area probably has the largest collection of languages in use in the world, and this has likely been the case for a couple centuries now.

One thing is that most immigrant communities stop knowing the language enough to speak it at home, let alone in public, after three generations or so. Generally, the language has a chance of being passed on if there’s a large enough community here that uses it and if there’s an economic utility to it whether here or abroad so of these more popular languages I’ve met people who speak Polish (this person actually only has one Polish grandparent, but somehow the people who married in picked it up), Cantonese, and Spanish at least conversationally even after three generations. However, there have also a lot of communities here over the centuries that speak or spoke languages that are pretty small in numbers. Of those, I have one friend who speaks Venetian / Venetan and he is exactly three generations in, but his kids don’t speak it. I also know people who speak Yiddish who are four generations in, but the youngest generation do not and will be unlikely to ever learn it.

I’m curious if anyone here or know anyone whose parents were born in the US and speak a relatively rare language at home. If so, what’s the language and how many generations down has that language passed? And was or is there a larger community that’s helped pass that language? If so, where is or was the community based? For anyone who had parents born in the US who were able to speak one of these less popular languages, but didn’t themselves pick it up, is there any regret in not having picked it up or desire to learn it?

Last edited by OyCrumbler; Yesterday at 10:49 AM..
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Old Yesterday, 10:42 AM
 
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Why would Yiddish fade away? Don't Hassids pass that down?
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Old Yesterday, 10:57 AM
 
Location: In the heights
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Originally Posted by Foamposite View Post
Why would Yiddish fade away? Don't Hassids pass that down?
Yea, I donít think Yiddish will fade away anytime soon, so thatís one of the languages that isnít spoken by many (globally) that will probably stick around. Iím just listing it in terms of people I actually know who did speak a language that had fairly small number of speakers and whose families have been in the US for a while. In that family, the people Iím friend with had great grandparents, grandparents, and parents who spoke Yiddish, but they actually were sent to after school Hebrew programs for a bit (and not Yiddish) and ended up not really being able to speak either while their own kids wonít be learning either.
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Old Yesterday, 05:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OyCrumbler View Post
New York City and the Tri-State Area probably has the largest collection of languages in use in the world, and this has likely been the case for a couple centuries now.

One thing is that most immigrant communities stop knowing the language enough to speak it at home, let alone in public, after three generations or so. Generally, the language has a chance of being passed on if there’s a large enough community here that uses it and if there’s an economic utility to it whether here or abroad so of these more popular languages I’ve met people who speak Polish (this person actually only has one Polish grandparent, but somehow the people who married in picked it up), Cantonese, and Spanish at least conversationally even after three generations. However, there have also a lot of communities here over the centuries that speak or spoke languages that are pretty small in numbers. Of those, I have one friend who speaks Venetian / Venetan and he is exactly three generations in, but his kids don’t speak it. I also know people who speak Yiddish who are four generations in, but the youngest generation do not and will be unlikely to ever learn it.

I’m curious if anyone here or know anyone whose parents were born in the US and speak a relatively rare language at home. If so, what’s the language and how many generations down has that language passed? And was or is there a larger community that’s helped pass that language? If so, where is or was the community based? For anyone who had parents born in the US who were able to speak one of these less popular languages, but didn’t themselves pick it up, is there any regret in not having picked it up or desire to learn it?
None of the languages you mention are ones I'd consider rare - except that I don't know what "Venetian-Venetan" is. If you're referring to Venice, they don't have a separate language, and I don't even think they have much of a dialect.

Of course, technically, the idea used to be that you'd become American once you arrived here, and not cling to your country of origin. That only seems to have changed with the more recent Hispanic immigrants.
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Old Yesterday, 05:12 PM
 
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Venetian is not a dialect of Italian. Italy has dozens of regional languages which are not dialects, linguistically speaking, but are referred to as such for political reasons.
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Old Yesterday, 05:16 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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Originally Posted by Cida View Post
None of the languages you mention are ones I'd consider rare - except that I don't know what "Venetian-Venetan" is. If you're referring to Venice, they don't have a separate language, and I don't even think they have much of a dialect.

Of course, technically, the idea used to be that you'd become American once you arrived here, and not cling to your country of origin. That only seems to have changed with the more recent Hispanic immigrants.
I mentioned languages where I know people who speak it at home but with the first mention being not rare at all, then some that are pretty rare globally, but not something extremely rare like it was in the thousands or hundreds of native speakers.

I don't speak standard Italian nor do I speak Venetian. However, my friend would strongly disagree with you about Venetian (or Venetan) not being a separate language as he grew up with it, and in looking it up, it seems like he's right as at the very least it's much more than just a regional accent. I believe our resident italophile is pierrepont, so he might be able to shine more light on this.

Also, I think what you're saying is actually historically quite off. It's more the 20th century where it became more commonplace as the largest ethnic groups often had massive communities that supported the languages and would include almost entire cities at some points. The largest one to get hit was actually the various German languages / dialects which had very long runs throughout much of the US, but went through fairly abrupt drops due to a certain World War or two. That part's pretty real and historically documented. One thing that's not quite verified, but interesting, is that the reason why a lot of the Mennonites and such who spoke variants of German were fine was because by that time, they were commonly considered by others to be some variant of Dutch (like Pennsylvania Dutch!) though they were actually mostly Palatine Germans who spoke a variant of Deutsch (i.e. German).
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Old Yesterday, 05:27 PM
 
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I am like pierrepoint a native Italian speaker (actually, Sicilian) and have lived in Italy. Venetian is very much not a dialect of Italian. Trust us on this one, Cida
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Old Yesterday, 05:45 PM
 
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My cousin moved for love to Germany. Her kids only speak German.
The Chinese and Hispanics don’t really assimilate.
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Old Yesterday, 05:53 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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Originally Posted by foxyknoxy View Post
My cousin moved for love to Germany. Her kids only speak German.
The Chinese and Hispanics don’t really assimilate.
The Chinese and Hispanics, and seemingly the Polish here as well, are mostly fairly late arrivals and they also kept on coming (and continue to do so) for decades after. Even with that, the attrition rate by the third generation is really, really high as it’s rare that third generation can speak with any fluency. However, with large enough numbers, and more importantly, new arrivals, the language to some degree is maintained. Those large numbers means that even if a small fraction end up transmitting to the third generation, it’s still in absolute numbers still some significant amount of speakers which is why I don’t think it’s that surprising when meeting someone three generations in who can speak that language despite the majority of them who have parents born in the US can’t speak it.

What’s interesting to me is when a language with pretty small numbers and little additional immigration keeps getting maintained, for example, Yiddish speakers which are supposedly growing in numbers.
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Old Yesterday, 05:55 PM
 
Location: In the heights
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Originally Posted by shadypinesma View Post
I am like pierrepoint a native Italian speaker (actually, Sicilian) and have lived in Italy. Venetian is very much not a dialect of Italian. Trust us on this one, Cida
Nice! How many generations in the US has your family been here? Do you speak Sicilian fluently?
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