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Why Some Immigrant Parents Would Only Speak in Their Language of Origin at Home?

Challenges immigrants face today due to language

challenges immigrants face today due to language

The challenges immigrant parents face upon migrating to a new country can be daunting. From the sudden change of culture to the everyday people one must deal with, the struggles of immigrants each day are not to be taken lightly. Aside from dealing with housing, employment, and isolation, parents must also deal with the problems that come with raising their children in a different country. And one thing in child rearing that could make a huge difference in a child’s future is language.

Growing up in an immigrant family, a child can become bilingual, learning both their native and their host language. But some of them only learn the language of the country that they are in and not learn the language of their country of origin at all. While some immigrant parents speak their native language at home to pass it on to their children, some of them, for fear that their kids might experience the difficulties they had upon first migrating into the country, do not. They encourage their kids to speak in English (if in America) even if they are inside their homes. While this might benefit kids with their everyday communication at school or at play, being monolingual can have several disadvantages for the child. Additionally, this could result in the suppression of their own culture for the sake of adapting to a new one, which could potentially lead to serious issues in the future, such as in finding one’s identity.

Aside from cultural preservation, discrimination is also one of the reasons why parents only speak their language of origin at home. Discrimination of language and prejudice against their accent cause immigrant parents to speak in their native tongues only in their households. They may be being stereotyped by the way they speak the common language and being discriminated against because of their accent. And this goes on top of the other challenges immigrants face today.

Lastly, parents only speak their language of origin at home because it is the only time that they have the chance to do so. They are surrounded by a whole new environment, one that does not speak their language. So they have to constantly use the language to communicate in order to navigate through the new environment.

Living in a different country brings so much problems, language being one of them. Learning the new language can be beneficial, but forgetting one’s own can be also oppressive. Whether preserving one’s native tongue by only using it at home or by doing the same to avoid discrimination, the knowledge of language, whatever and wherever it may be can impact, a person in so many ways.

If you have any thoughts or additional ideas regarding the topic, please let me know in the comments section below. Contact me via Twitter and get more updates through my Facebook and Goodreads profiles. You might also be interested in the amazing story of immigrant parents in my book, Mommy, Tell Me, Why Did You Come Here? Please do check it out!

References

Nuñes, Christina. 2014. “The 7 Biggest Challenges Facing Refugees and Immigrants in the US.” Global Citizen. December 12. Accessed May 4, 2018. https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/the-7-biggest-challenges-facing-refugees-and-immig/

Spracklin, Pat. 2017. “The Top 10 Problems Faced by Immigrants.” IMMIgroup. July 05. Accessed June 4, 2018. https://www.immigroup.com/news/top-10-problems-immigrants

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