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Immigrants In The American Society Essay

955 words - 4 pages

United States is a multiethnic society with many foreign languages spoken, yet English is the primary form of communication. English is widely spoken around the nation, even though it is not the official language of the country. Thus, for an immigrant, it is imperative to learn English to take advantage of the opportunities that the country has to offer, and to also lessen the cases of racism and prejudice. Many immigrants do not want bi-lingual programs in school so that their children can smoothly adjust in the American society, however, learning another language does not mean eliminating the native tongue that was inherited from the ancestors. To be able to speak two languages is ...view middle of the document...

Ms. Tan’s short stories demonstrate how her mother’s limited ability to speak English greatly affected her interactions in life, and the level of respect she received was not the same as to someone who can converse in English effortlessly. An example of a situation was when her mother complained to the doctor for losing the CAT scan results by speaking using her "fractured" English, and as a result, she was ignored. However, when Amy Tan spoke to the doctor, they apologized and took the matter seriously. Although Tan's mother can at least engage in a conversation using her broken English, it still indicates that lack of ability to speak English fluently can be a major disadvantage for an immigrant living in an English-speaking country.

Indubitably, the ability to speak English confidently will give immigrants many benefits in the American society, yet despite that reason, phasing out cultures and native tongue is still an unreasonable way to assimilate in this free country. Assimilation does not mean re-inventing oneself, it just shows acceptance and giving respect to this new and different culture. Speaking one’s mother tongue is a form of respect and comfort in ancestry. One perfect example is the family of the author, Myriam Marquez. Ms. Marquez’s family has lived in the United States for forty years, yet, they have not adopted English as the family’s official language. In her article, Ms. Marquez points out that speaking one’s native language is not meant to be un-American or to “Balkanize” America. Furthermore, immigrants can express themselves more by speaking in their first language, even though they know how to speak English, and this is also a way of connecting to their cultural roots.

Regardless of all the reasons mentioned above, English should be the official language of the country for the majority of citizens are English speakers....

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