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Home Spoken Foreign Language. Essay

799 words - 3 pages

Home Spoken Foreign LanguageDespite decades of research findings to the contrary, there is still a common belief that bilingualism is bad for children and unpatriotic, and that the only way to be a true American is to leave behind any other language and allegiance that might be in your background. Should Asian American first or second generation children be obligated to speak their native language at home, in order to retain their native heritage and tongue? According to my experience being an Asian-American and many written autobiographies from other Asian-American students attending the University of California at Berkley, yes I believe it is an obligation in order to retaining our native heritage and language.First off, being a minority in the US, there isn't many Asian American classes in school or educational centers to learn about our heritage and native language from. Many children, for example, have only a passive knowledge of their heritage language. The most frequent experience reported by the students attending the University of California in Berkley in their linguistic autobiographies is that they knew only a very limited amount of knowledge about their heritage and language and had no help in high school due to the rare heritage classes provided. One student reported, "Despite the fact that I am continuing to gradually improve my English, with no heritage classes provided, I feel as though I'm rapidly straying away from my native language." None of these students had ever been in a bilingual education program, which suggests that despite all the controversy about bilingual education, true bilingual education programs are rare, at least for Asian Americans. Therefore, the home is the foundation of learning about our culture and heritage starting with the policy of predominately speaking our native language.Another benefit of speaking our native language predominately at home is the retention and attrition level of our native language. Speaking our native language at home exercises the use of our native language with parents being the teacher or instructor on the proper way of speaking it. With repetition in the dialog, the knowledge of the language will be imprinted into memory and will not be forgotten. According to a research conducted by the University of San Francisco on its Chinese students, 70% of the Chinese students who attended that University experience attrition in their native language, due to the lack of Chinese being spoken at home. For example, they spoke a language which...

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