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July 25, 2014

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marc leavitt

Hi, Susan:
I listened to the podcast, and while I agree with most of what was said, I take exception to Professor Taylor's remarks about second and third generation second language use and retention.

The experience in the US, and I'm sure in the UK as well, is that the immigrant retains his native tongue; his children speak it at home out of necessity, and his children, little or none of it.

That has been the immigrant experience in the US. For example: My maternal grandmother spoke Yiddish at home, and when my mother and her sisters visited, they spoke to her in Yiddish. My mother never spoke Yiddish to me, and most of the Yiddish I know is already part of the general English vocabulary.

Interestingly, although I was taught no Yiddish as a child, when I came to learn German at prep school, subconsciously-remembered Yiddish words and syntax formed a platform for German, increasing my comfort, and facuiitating my progress.

I speak French as a second language, and German abnd Italian in that order, but I've found that opportunity and necessity are the prime motivators in language learning; three years' residence in France was ten times as valuable as the eight years of classes in school.

I've had similar experiences with Italian, German, Swiss German, and Spanish.

Without the need to use another language on a frequent basis, I'm afraid that most native English speakers will remain boringly monoglot.

Jemmy Hope

No need to learn other languages, just dumb down to 'Globish'.

"Anglicisation makes it easier to meet the expectations of international research networks, and emphasises the feeling of belonging to a global, mobile knowledge elite. Since knowledge of classical culture has waned, mastery of English, even imperfect 'globish', becomes a primary criterion of cultural distinction. In 1921 Gandhi criticised the 'superstition' of Indians who regarded English as the only vector of modernity, little realising that the same struggle would go global."
Le Monde Diplomatique, English edition(!), July 2014

Virtual Linguist

Thanks, both. Yes, Marc, I think you're right. Children seem to want to be like their friends so will often answer their parents in English, I've noticed. Thanks for the clip, Jemmy.

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