Originally posted by opal13
Well, I for one am an American born English speaking tax paying citizen. Taxpayers should have the right to protest something like that. I for one
would insist my children not attend the classes. I for one am not going to learn a second language to cater to the people that move here and refuse
to speak our language. Now, if I were going to travel or move to another country, I would learn their language. My grandparents were legal
immigrants from Hungary and learned to speak fluent English before they came.
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No offense, but I highly doubt that. I don't know how old you are or how old your grandparents were at the time they moved to the US. If I wanted to
estimate, I would guess sometime before WWII? Even so, no one's grandparents from Eastern Europe would have been studying English, let alone to the
point of attaining fluency any time before the 60s. German and Russian, yes, English, doubtful.
Even so, fluency? Wow, no one, unless they live with native speakers on a day to day basis is going to become fluent in a language outside of a
community or nation where it is spoken normally. Hungary is not that place, unless your grandparents were upperclass and attended some special school
for learning languages or English, but even then saying they were "fluent" prior to leaving is next to impossible.
I'm not calling you a liar, I'm just saying that family anecdotes tend to get warped a bit over time and what you are saying is contrary to the vast
majority of "immigrant" experiences.
My grandmother lived for two years or so in Italy with my grandfather, who was from New York and stationed there in WWII. She learned a little English
from living with him in Italy, but when she moved stateside before his tour of duty was up, she could barely communicate with my relatives in New
York. Over 5 decades she became as fluent as someone could in English, being a non-native speaker with no formal education who began learning the
language after the critical period.
The critical period is between late childhood and early adolescence (depending on scholarly research and certain individual factors). If you come to
the US when you're 6, 7, 8, or 9, you'll probably learn to speak with no accent, or a very slight one. If you come to the US when you're 8,9,10, 11
or 12, you'll probably have a slight accent your whole life and a few quirky things you say, but otherwise be fluent. If you come after 12 or 13,
it's all dependent on many factors of whether you have a slight accent and a few quirky things you say to whether you have a heavier accent and more
Your grandparents most likely became fluent in English over the decades, but always spoke with an accent, unless they immigrated as young children
with your great grandparents (though I assume it was after they married as you imply that they immigrated together).
Also, everyone says, "I live in Arizona (or California or Florida), so I guess I should learn Spanish" but most of those people rarely attain any
level of fluency to do more than order a taco or ask where the bathroom is...and in my mind, this is hardly "catering".