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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let's say you are italian ethnicity or ancestry (like de Niro, Pacino, etc.), do you speak in private the italian language (at home, with friends etc.) or not? Do you know your ethnicity language or not, and only the english?
I ask this because i know that in US english is the official language and everyone must know it.
 

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Most Americans are 'mutts' and have a diverse range of ancestries. Since America is so diverse and has been since the beginning of our nation's history, most people drop their ethnic language and learn/speak English after the first generation as it's the language of communication here in the US.

So as a result most people speak English and few hold onto their ethnic language(s). Though Americans speaking an ethnic language like Italian or German at home is more prevelant in Northern states than Southern states.
 

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Let's say you are italian ethnicity or ancestry (like de Niro, Pacino, etc.), do you speak in private the italian language (at home, with friends etc.) or not? Do you know your ethnicity language or not, and only the english?
My dad's side of the family is Dutch and my mom's side is Norwegian, but I don't speak either of those languages. My grandmother on my mom's side was among the first generation to be born in the US, so she does speak a little bit of Norwegian since her parents were immigrants, but my mom doesn't.

I ask this because i know that in US english is the official language and everyone must know it.
Actually, the United States doesn't have an official language. English is only de facto. If you don't speak English here, the federal and state governments provide services in several different languages, namely Spanish, French, German, Mandarin/Cantonese, Somali and other languages that major immigrant groups speak.
 

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My dad's side of the family is Dutch and my mom's side is Norwegian, but I don't speak either of those languages. My grandmother on my mom's side was among the first generation to be born in the US, so she does speak a little bit of Norwegian since her parents were immigrants, but my mom doesn't.



Actually, the United States doesn't have an official language. English is only de facto. If you don't speak English here, the federal and state governments provide services in several different languages, namely Spanish, French, German, Mandarin/Cantonese, Somali and other languages that major immigrant groups speak.
while there is no official language, The US Citizenship test is only given in English unless you get a special exception and many states have made English the official state language. Puerto Rico has Spanish and English as official languages so I'm curious if they would be allowed to offer the test in Spanish if they vote on become a state later this year.
 

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I have about half a dozen ancestries, including English, so I guess I speak my "native" language at home.;) In any case my family on both sides have been in this country since at least my great-great grandparents (going back into the late 1800's). The only "ethnic" thing I ever recall doing was calling one of my Great Grandmothers "Mimi", which is the French word for Grandma. Granted, even she didn't speak French, so it was more traditional than anything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
But in the restaurants or clubs, on street, etc, did you heared people speaking other languages than english or spanish? It's hard to believe that in Chicago, for example, who is known as second largest polish city after Warsaw, people with polish ancestry don't speak none of all polish language! A polish ethnic who doesn't know polish language? A jew who doesn't know hebrew language? WTF? It's hard to believe that their parents did'nt learned them their language! Or that they don't speak it in the house!
All that pasticeria or pizzeria fron Little Italy, it's hard to believe that are italian only by name -the bosses don't know italian, do you really think that?
 

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One Brickell CityCentre
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My take on this is a bit different. It seems a lot of people still think black people speak a certain way or sound as though they're from the south.
 

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In Search of Sanity
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But in the restaurants or clubs, on street, etc, did you heared people speaking other languages than english or spanish? It's hard to believe that in Chicago, for example, who is known as second largest polish city after Warsaw, people with polish ancestry don't speak none of all polish language! A polish ethnic who doesn't know polish language? A jew who doesn't know hebrew language? WTF? It's hard to believe that their parents did'nt learned them their language! Or that they don't speak it in the house!
All that pasticeria or pizzeria fron Little Italy, it's hard to believe that are italian only by name -the bosses don't know italian, do you really think that?
In Chicago there are any number of Polish restaurants and you will hear Polish spoken there. Also in church--even though many ethics are from primarily Catholic countries, in many cities each ethnicity will have its own parishes.

Italian may be dying out--in older cities including San Francisco, you will hear older men speaking Italian (on the bocce court is one place, also Italian restaurants) but most of the next generation probably don't.

Many Jewish kids go to "Hebrew school" like Christians go to "Sunday school". They have to speak some Hebrew to go through a Bar/Bas Mitzvah. What only the old still speak is Yiddish.
 

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My take on this is a bit different. It seems a lot of people still think black people speak a certain way or sound as though they're from the south.
Do you not think urban black youth cultivate that dialect? In Oakland they even tried teaching it in schools and argued requiring black kids to use standard English, grammar and punctuation was discriminatory.

Personally I think the whole tendency of some black people to want a separate culture, including language, is tragic--it limits their potential to participate in the mainstream society needlessly. Immigrants may not have much choice about having limited skills in standard English, but US-born black kids do.
 

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But in the restaurants or clubs, on street, etc, did you heared people speaking other languages than english or spanish? It's hard to believe that in Chicago, for example, who is known as second largest polish city after Warsaw, people with polish ancestry don't speak none of all polish language! A polish ethnic who doesn't know polish language? A jew who doesn't know hebrew language? WTF? It's hard to believe that their parents did'nt learned them their language! Or that they don't speak it in the house!
All that pasticeria or pizzeria fron Little Italy, it's hard to believe that are italian only by name -the bosses don't know italian, do you really think that?
I'm of German, Cherokee, other European decent and I can't speak German or Cherokee, or anything other than English. My step dad is a 2nd generation Croatian and he can't speak a word of his Croatian. Whats the point in learning a language you are never going to use.
 

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But in the restaurants or clubs, on street, etc, did you heared people speaking other languages than english or spanish?
Of course we do. The United States is an immigrant society, and those of us living in a major metropolitan areas hear different languages spoken on a daily basis.

It's hard to believe that in Chicago, for example, who is known as second largest polish city after Warsaw, people with polish ancestry don't speak none of all polish language!
Why would they? Almost all people of European ancestry in the United States were born here, and speak English only.

A polish ethnic who doesn't know polish language? A jew who doesn't know hebrew language? WTF? It's hard to believe that their parents did'nt learned them their language! Or that they don't speak it in the house!
Why would people who already speak English as their native language want to unnecessarily speak a second language at home for no reason at all?
 

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The only people who speak their native language are the people who learned it growing up in their native country. The second-generation may understand it and speak it in limited amounts, but by the third generation, the "native" language becomes a "foreign" language. Most Americans are well beyond the third generation, and often-times have multiple ancestries, therefore the only "native" language they know (even if they are half Polish) is English.
 

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One Brickell CityCentre
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Do you not think urban black youth cultivate that dialect? In Oakland they even tried teaching it in schools and argued requiring black kids to use standard English, grammar and punctuation was discriminatory.

Personally I think the whole tendency of some black people to want a separate culture, including language, is tragic--it limits their potential to participate in the mainstream society needlessly. Immigrants may not have much choice about having limited skills in standard English, but US-born black kids do.
It really is tragic considering how little has changed since I was in school, which I think you know at this point was a long time ago, and you've read what I've posted before about what it was like for me growing up speaking English the way it's supposed to be spoken. It was called talking proper, and in my neighborhood, young black males were called **** and sissies for speaking proper English before they even knew what gay or homosexuality was because they had barely started elementary school. Then, in high school, we became "Uncle Toms" and "Oreos."

The peer pressure was tremendous and fighting against it was extremely difficult. It practically destroyed my self-esteem and through me into an identity crisis. I started to suffer from clinical depression so badly that I attempted suicide when I was 17. I got into the University of Florida, but I was such a mental vegetable at that point that I couldn't focus on anything and ended up dropping out. I'm telling you, I'm lucky to be here today in spite of all this.

When some black people get into this talk about what they've suffered at the hands of "The Great White Oppressor," it's nothing compared to what they themselves have put me through, but I finally cultivated the strength and self-awareness out of years of introspection and extrospection to tell anybody who has any issue with that I've said to go "**** THEMSELVES!"

Yes, I sometimes do speak ethnically in private with certain people and am often unaware of it until after the fact. I think it's one of those survival skills I learned a long time ago.
 

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One Brickell CityCentre
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My grandparents are from Italy and I speak Italian with relatives. It helped that my mom was very into "saving the culture".
Of course, here in Miami where the majority of the population is Hispanic, I imagine they all speak Spanish at home unless they're tutoring a relative in English.
 

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In Search of Sanity
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Of course, here in Miami where the majority of the population is Hispanic, I imagine they all speak Spanish at home unless they're tutoring a relative in English.
It's not so much the population being Hispanic but when they came. In Miami, most are no more than one generation away from Cuba or Puerto Rico--so the parents probably do speak Spanish at home and the kids (now some of them approaching middle age) learn it. But THEIR kids may not because they probably will be speaking English, even at home, and may not even marry a Hispanic. In the Southwest, where you have Spanish-surnamed people who arrived yesterday and some whose families have been where they are for 300 years, you find you can't make assumptions. Plenty of times I've assumed somebody speaks Spanish or has a knowledge of Mexican culture and been wrong.
 

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It's not so much the population being Hispanic but when they came. In Miami, most are no more than one generation away from Cuba or Puerto Rico--so the parents probably do speak Spanish at home and the kids (now some of them approaching middle age) learn it. But THEIR kids may not because they probably will be speaking English, even at home, and may not even marry a Hispanic. In the Southwest, where you have Spanish-surnamed people who arrived yesterday and some whose families have been where they are for 300 years, you find you can't make assumptions. Plenty of times I've assumed somebody speaks Spanish or has a knowledge of Mexican culture and been wrong.
That's correct, time has a tendency to wash those things away. My father barely speaks Italian and the majority of my relatives in the States don't speak it, heck they couldn't even fake speaking it if they tried even though they are exposed to it at times. There's just no real necessity for them to know the language. I'll probably continue it onto my kids just because I really enjoy that gateway into the culture of Italy, but I could easily see the next generation just letting it go. There are many many reasons why Spanish is still a very viable second language in the US... Recent immigrants, fresh new immigrants, very large communities still in tact at this point in time, and because it's not just Mexico adding to the strength of the language in the US. El Salvador, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Honduras, among others add to it. And as long as there are Spanish speaking people in the US that want to spend money, there will be plenty of people ready to speak their language and provide them with services.
 

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One Brickell CityCentre
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That's correct, time has a tendency to wash those things away. My father barely speaks Italian and the majority of my relatives in the States don't speak it, heck they couldn't even fake speaking it if they tried even though they are exposed to it at times. There's just no real necessity for them to know the language. I'll probably continue it onto my kids just because I really enjoy that gateway into the culture of Italy, but I could easily see the next generation just letting it go.
It's always good to know another language.:):cheers:
 

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I'm a strange mix of ethnic backgrounds which seemingly reflects the reality of America these days.

My mother's side is half Norwegian and half Ojibwa Indian (more commonly known as Chippewa). While I don't speak any Norwegian, I can speak quite a bit of Ojibwa because of my grandmother and because of a strong revival of that language in the Red Lake Reservation where my grandmother grew up and where I visited often during summers as a kid. I even learned a bit of the Canadian Ojibwa writing system which is totally different from American Ojibwa.

My Dad's side is Irish, French, and Polish, and I was told that there is a bit of Jewish ancestry there too. Unfortunately, I don't speak a word of any of those.
 

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I'm biracial and grew up in the north Dallas suburbs. My mom is Mexican and white from Matamoros, Tamaulipas, while my dad is black and from Dallas(my avatar is a pic of my parents). I used to speak spanish very well when I was younger however now I've forgotten the language. The Mexican side of my family still speaks spanish all the time at family gatherings and events, while the black side of my family only speaks english. I understand completely where you're coming from "QuantumX," when you say people call you a ******, pussy, or white because you don't sound like a thug. I'm sorry I grew up in the suburbs and don't sound like a fucking dumbass when I speak. There are racist people in every race but it's especially sad that black people can be so racist towards themselves sometimes. We are all equal and nobody should have to experience hatred because of the color of their hair, skin, etc. blah blah blah. Everyone is the same in my eyes and I always treat people the way I'd like to be treated. Obviously since I'm the product of an interracial marriage, this topic is more sensitive to me than others. However, since I'm not a moron and know that world peace will never be achieved I'll just continue searching for my "nirvana" elsewhere. lol
 
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