Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

The struggle to raise bilingual kids in 'the world's largest language graveyard'

The Washington Post has an interesting piece on how Latino parents are struggling to teach their children Spanish and ensure they retain it, not an easy task. In spite of Dora the Explorer and language immersion programs in schools, raising a bilingual child is difficult, especially for second-generation parents who themselves tend to fall back on English.

The piece quotes noted UC Irvine sociologist Rubén Rumbaut, a longtime chronicler of the immigrant experience, on the inevitable fate of the first language across generations. From the story:

Spanish seems so very alive because it is fresh on the lips of so many new arrivals. Yet, simultaneously, the language is dying daily. Research shows that most grandchildren of Latino immigrants will sound like gringos.

Despite parents" and grandparents" best efforts, "Spanish appears to draw its last breath in the third generation," said Ruben Rumbaut, professor of sociology at the University of California at Irvine, a leading expert in the survival rates of immigrant languages. He calls the United States "the world"s largest language graveyard" because of the cultural power of American English.

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