Mar 23, 2010

Learning about learning English

The Language and Culture group's driving question is whether immigrants living in the United States learn English as a second language or learn to assimilate to American culture without acquiring the language. To begin this morning, New Hampton students visited Quincy Market where they encountered a great deal of people with diverse backgrounds. Their questions aimed at getting perspective from people who have come to the United States with aspirations of living a new life. Some students found that the immigrant experience is not what they had expected. As students comment, click on the link to read what they learned.


Kellon said...

Lyle, Kevin, & Roy

Today, we had to interview different people for their perspective of language and cultures. At first, we made questions. After the questions were made, we were able to go around the Quincy Market to ask for various people’s perspectives. We expected a lot. Everyone’s thinking of cultures were different.

We asked several people if it was possible to live in the U.S. without learning English. We expected the answer to consistently be no. However, one female student told us the complete opposite of what we expected: A Chinese person in Chinatown that does not speak English can still survive. Since everyone in the town is Chinese, they do not need English to live.

Zach & Hermes

Today we interviewed people at Quincy Market asking specifically about whether English is important in the workplace and why. First we had lunch and then we proceeded to Interview people! We expected American-born native English speakers to say that immigrants need to speak English in order to function in America. This turned out to be primarily true for a bunch of different reasons from person to person. One man said it was important to speak English because at a job, part of having co-workers is being social with them, and the language barrier can isolate Non-English speakers from that level of connection. We expected immigrants to say that English is not necessary to have communication or a job. This turned out not to be true, as we spoke with a woman from China who didn’t speak English who said it’s very important. She said, however that it is hard to learn English as an adult when you don’t speak English and need to support yourself.

Jake & Ayo

Today, we walked around Quincy Market interviewing different individuals of diverse backgrounds. One of our questions was about if learning the English language was difficult to them. They responded saying that, as a foreigner, it very much is, but the level of difficulty still very depends on the person. But there is one good reason for this. To put it in a more perspective manner, for example, and average American’s native born language is English. So therefore whatever language an individual cannot speak, it will of course be difficult to step in a different direction.

Hans Mundahl said...

Great post!