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Speaking the Lingo

Rangoon78's picture

Twice recently I've been made privy to a belief held by some descendants of European immigrants; it seems that they believe that their ancestors were ethically superior to current immigrants. Their guideline is the speed at which these ancestors supposedly acquired English language skills. I researched this claim and found that it's not generally accurate. When opinions expressed tend to further marginalize people already on the margins of society, I think there's a responsibility to speak up. actually Latinos (for example) are doing pretty well at learning English, especially when compared to many German immigrants of the 19th century, who were considerably slower to acquire the language.

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V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

Perceptions count more than facts; especially when coupled with the baked in racism of most U.S. citizens. Make that white U.S. citizens. I have experience working with a number of different cultures over many years and find perceptions rarely match my own life's experience.
After more than 12 years living in Thailand, my experience regarding westerners living here is pretty negative. The majority cannot speak Thai and rely on Thai girlfriends to translate for them. Admittedly Thai is a very difficult language, but these guys are usually way younger than I but make no real effort to learn.
Acquisition of language is a passport to cultural understanding. I discovered that gem long ago.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

I don't see any evidence that today's immigrants are learning English at a slower pace than their predecessors. I think the press is owned and operated by bigots.