Preserve And Learn Languages, From The First-Generation American
Start writing a post
Lifestyle

The Importance Of Preserving And Learning Languages From The Eyes Of A First-Generation American

I found my answers through embracing my multiracial heritage, preserving and understanding my personal roots through language and establishing an identity I'm proud of today.

76
The Importance Of Preserving And Learning Languages From The Eyes Of A First-Generation American
https://pxhere.com/en/photo/1433389

Like most kids, I spent my childhood asking lots of questions. Aside from the typical questions such as why the sky is blue or how babies are made, I pondered what place I had in this country as a first-generation American. I wondered why I did not look like some of my first-grade classmates or how I could speak multiple languages while they could not, never stopping to consider the privilege I had to experience so many different worlds in just a lifetime. I grew up half-French and half-Pakistani, therefore spoke three languages fluently by the age of five.

I remember the first movies I ever watched was in French and the first few conversations with my family being in Urdu. Over the years, I found my answers through embracing my multiracial heritage, preserving and understanding my personal roots through language and establishing an identity I'm proud of today.

While tutoring in an elementary school's ESL class I met Ayman, a second-grade student from Côte d'Ivoire. I became interested in understanding a child who questions the world the way I do. His eyes lit up the first time I fluently spoke to him in French, the native language we both share. We instantly connected as I was the only French-speaker he met in school.

I immediately felt a bond with this child I had only known for a few short weeks, and to know that I was a source of comfort to someone who was learning to adapt to a new environment full of unfamiliarity. This is what sparked me to become interested in language, and I began stepping outside the bounds of cultural familiarity in order to strengthen my appetite for questioning my surroundings.

The presence of language fueled my fascination for intercultural communications and the primary purpose it holds—to stay curious. I oftentimes hear many complain about the language requirement installed by numerous academic institutions, saying that it's "useless" or "irrelevant to my major." Many believe schools focus too much attention on having students immerse themselves in learning a language they don't want to learn or feel that language may not be part of the curriculum that they want to participate in. From the eyes of a first-generation American, I strongly oppose this notion with the argument that language is much deeper than just the study of subject-verb agreement or knowing the vocabulary.

The experience I've had with language, both native and acquired, have taught me far more than just how to verbally communicate with someone from a different cultural angle than I. Language taught me to comfortably interact with individuals holding different perspectives, to grasp the world with a different grip and learn to analyze what and why people do. It motivates me to absorb any knowledge I come across as my mind never stops learning and leads me to bring my very own perspective to any culture at hand with a bout of open-mindedness and acceptance of others.

I continue to ask lots of questions today, such as what my future will hold and how I will interact with my surroundings as a unique individual. It's safe to say that the curiosity I have for the world around me, however, never left, and is one I encourage anyone to embody regardless of their experience with the language.

Whether through visiting a country and picking up on basic vocabulary or taking classes at a university, defeat the notion that curiosity killed the cat and instead, let it lead you to dive into the unknown, one cultural experience at a time.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less
Featured

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

70862
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee
nappy.co

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

132451
college students waiting in a long line in the hallway
StableDiffusion

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments