Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world

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Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world

Message  gerardM le Sam 25 Jan - 20:20

Hi everyone,

-> Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world
When I was little, I was always slightly jealous of other Indian girls because they had names like Lakshmi and Priya and Arundhati, names that shimmered with mystery and enchantment, while I just had Karen. It was nice enough, but not exactly magical.

As I got older, it also occurred to me that I also didn't speak any Indian languages. Like many immigrants, my parents had been told that speaking anything but English at home might hinder my ability to assimilate fully into American culture. Having weathered the sting of racism when they first arrived in Boston in the '70s, they wanted me to have an edge fitting in. They wanted me to be American in ways they feared they never could. So they never spoke to me in the language of their ancestors.

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PS: Pls note that I chose American English for my vocabulary, grammar, spelling, culture, etc.  :-)
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Re: Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world

Message  Guilaine le Lun 27 Jan - 15:29

Hi Gérard,

This makes me think of several Franco-Italian people I know whose Italian parents immigrated in France in the fifties, or a bit earlier.
The children were taught French very early, and were told never to speak Italian. For them French was a better language and they thought it was a recognition towards the French for their kind hospitality. They were most grateful and wanted to show it by choosing to speak French.

Of course, these children now seniors and well integrated have a bit of nostalgia and learn Italian with me.
Better late than never.


Dernière édition par Guilaine le Mer 29 Jan - 14:32, édité 1 fois
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Re: Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world

Message  gerardM le Lun 27 Jan - 15:51

Hi Ghislaine,

Yes I met many such persons at my Italian class as well.

My families left Italy around 1870.
I wrote "my families" because uncles, aunts, cousins... the whole family left Italy. They all planned to go to America but as they didn't have enough money, they stopped in France to get a job in order to go on a few years later.
However, my grandfather met an Italian girl in Toulon, whose familiy had the same project.
My grandfather and my grandmother decided to stay in France and the rest of the families went to the States.

(my grand mother was about 40 when my father was born, my father was about 40 when I was born: that explains that it's well my grandfather, aged 17, who left Italy circa 1870.)

As life was difficult for Italians, my grandparents went back to Italy, then came again to France.

My sister only learned Italian, my 4 brothers and I learned another language at school... I guess my father could understand but didn't speak (he spent a few years in Italy when he was a kid but at that time, they spoke dialects there).

There are no members of my families (grandfather's and grandmother's) anymore in Italy: everyone is in the USA but we lost any contacts.

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Please feel free to point out big mistakes in my messages in a foreign language. Thanks to your remarks, I'll be able to improve my level.
PS: Pls note that I chose American English for my vocabulary, grammar, spelling, culture, etc.  :-)
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Re: Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world

Message  Guilaine le Mer 29 Jan - 14:38

All this is very interesting, Gérard, I didn't know you were of Italian origin. I don't know your name, does it give a clue as to your origin ?

I must mention that one of my in-laws' parents or grand-parents dropped the "i" at the end of his name, in order to sound more French !

Funny, isn't it ?
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Re: Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world

Message  gerardM le Mer 29 Jan - 15:19

Hi Ghislaine,
Guilaine a écrit:All this is very interesting, Gérard, I didn't know you were of Italian origin. I don't know your name, does it give a clue as to your origin ?

I must mention that one of my in-laws' parents or grand-parents dropped the "i"  at the end of his name, in order to sound more French  !

Funny, isn't it ?
Which is less funny is that the French immigration services didn't ask but automatically gallicized the names.

Even recenttly, an American named Oliver as his last name, got the French nationality and was suggested to be named Olivier instead.
Decades ago -as I wrote it above- the immigration services didn't even asked; nowadays it's only a suggestion: my friend refused.

_________________
Please feel free to point out big mistakes in my messages in a foreign language. Thanks to your remarks, I'll be able to improve my level.
PS: Pls note that I chose American English for my vocabulary, grammar, spelling, culture, etc.  :-)
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Re: Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world

Message  Guilaine le Mer 29 Jan - 15:31

Yes indeed it is not funny at all ! I find it very sad to be forced to quit one's proper name...
I am nearly sure that, in my family, it was their own choice but of course I will enquire further, although the grand-parents and parents are no more capable of telling the truth !
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Re: Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world

Message  gerardM le Mer 29 Jan - 15:51

Ghislaine,

Decades ago, French nationality was not easy to get.
In the 1870s, I guess that there were big economic and political issues in Italy and many Italians were going to America (gold in California - near SF there's a city named Sausalito with oodles of signs in Italian language, even nowadays; there're lots of other cities with names sounding Italian - don't know about Sacramento tho). France was considered as a rich country.
Immigrants didn't have anything to say and at the time, Italians were chastised and even killed without moving anyone.

Taking Italian classes, you are taught Italian is the population with the most natives abroad (Irish say the same, Poles as well).

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Please feel free to point out big mistakes in my messages in a foreign language. Thanks to your remarks, I'll be able to improve my level.
PS: Pls note that I chose American English for my vocabulary, grammar, spelling, culture, etc.  :-)
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Re: Mother struggles with only speaking English in multicultural world

Message  Guilaine le Mer 29 Jan - 16:08

Yes they were grateful and ready to sacrifice a little of their identity.
Thank you, Gérard, for making me aware of all this.
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