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CHAT: multilingual families

From:Danny Wier <dawier@...>
Date:Wednesday, February 7, 2001, 15:25
I can relate, living in Texas and being part of a very multicultural society
(especially for a small town). Everything here is bilingual at least. Some
of my fellow Anglos may find that a problem, but I think it's cool.

I saw a sign at the Social Security office for the 2000 Census in 13 (!)
languages. And I was able to partly understand the Farsi section.

Anyway, the Latino families in this town, which for the most part speak both
English and Spanish at least a functional level, have special situations in
using each language:

Spanish: among relatives in the nuclear and extended family, in church
functions (and most of course go to St. Patrick), endearment speech to
non-Hispanics and Hispanics alike

English: in the general population, in school (I don't know how the
bilingual education/ESL system works in Texas nowadays), among Latino youth
as a "cosmopolitan" language.

Now I wonder, how long would it take to develop an ethnolect (a "Spanglish"
of sorts) like that which emerged among many African-Americans (Black
English or so-called "Ebonics").

(I outta add a page on that topic...)

> -----Original Message----- > From: Constructed Languages List [mailto:CONLANG@LISTSERV.BROWN.EDU]On > Behalf Of H. S. Teoh > Sent: Tuesday, 06 February, 2001 9:43 PM > To: CONLANG@LISTSERV.BROWN.EDU > Subject: Re: A DISTURBING proposal! (was Re: Personal langs and converse > of aux) > > > On Tue, Feb 06, 2001 at 09:04:47PM -0500, E-Ching Ng wrote: > [snip] > > I grew up in a household where three languages were routinely > spoken, and I > > was fluent in the two that were spoken to me before I turned five - > > Mandarin and Hokkien. (As luck would have it, we then moved to > England for > > a couple of years and so it was English, that third language, > that I needed > > to survive outside the home - oh well - but now it's my best > language, and > > it's the other two which I'm no longer fully fluent in.) > > I grew up in Malaysia... most of my family members spoke Hokkien; my > mother spoke Mandarin; and at school, we spoke Mandarin and Malay. Then > later, my dad started speaking to me in English almost exclusively. Did > that isolate me? No indeed! Instead, I learned English much faster than I > would have otherwise. In fact, now it's my most fluent language, and I > think exclusively in English now (I remember a time when I would sometimes > think in Hokkien; not anymore). But I am still fluent in Hokkien, and > semi-fluent in Mandarin. Malay is waning, unfortunately, due to lack of > use -- no one to practice it with.
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