Native Language Loss Essay

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There are over 6,500 languages in the world, yet most of these languages are in danger of extinctions. This is caused by assimilation to more globalized languages like English, Spanish, and Mandarin. The need to obtain a common language to communicate with others of different native languages causes a loss of culture. Smaller native languages are decreasing because people prefer learning globalized languages to achieve better opportunities. Many immigrant families that permanently settle in new areas with differing cultures face this problem of assimilation. This brings up the issue how does native language loss effect later immigrant generations that have assimilated to the new culture. Later generations are faced with the problem
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In Yilmaz’s (2016) study they found that many people consider their HL to be a big component in their culture and identity (p.196). In Oh and Fuligini (2010) study, they tested how heritage languages contribute to ethnic identity and parent-adolescents relationships in first and second generation Latin Americans and Asian Americans. They conducted a case study on 414 adolescents from three high schools in California and used a survey that rated participants HL proficiency, language use, and relationship with parents (p.206). The results from the study showed that participants that had high proficiency in their HL had better relationships with their parents, and greater ethnic identities than those who spoke only English or a mismatch of languages in their households (p.212). The reasoning behind the correlation of low ethnic identity and HL proficiency is because the lack of HL proficiency causes people to feel isolated from their cultural communities (p.204). This isolation from their cultural communities prevent development of ethnic identity and promotes internal conflict within later immigrant generations (p.204). In Henne-Ochoa and Bauman’s (2015) report this internal conflict is shown in the speech of Nellie Little Thunder who is a Lakota teen. The report analyzed the speeches of three Lakota members from different generations in a speech contest that centered on the recovery of the Lakota language. Nellie’s HL proficiency would be equal to a third generation immigrant, as Native Americans are not immigrants of the United States they do not fall in the generation category mentioned before. In her speech she is emotionally conflicted that English was her first language and her struggles with the Lakota language left her without a sense of identity (p.136). This shows that assimilation to the English language and American culture is a problem that affects ethnic

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