Learning languages of immigrants around you

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nooj
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Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby nooj » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:58 am

Experiences with this?

Today I was studying my Italian at Maccas doing my people watching at the same time. There are a lot of Chinese students, a lot of Indians + Bangladeshi + Pakistani. I hear some days more Mandarin, Cantonese, Hokkien than English.

And aside from Vietnamese, I have never tried to learn their languages. Instead I'm learning a language that, whilst known by some Italian immigrants (but mostly they speak in 'dialetto' aka Italian languages because they left before Italian was really a thing in Italy), does not have a strong presence in my city.

Aside from one Italian friend who has moved here, I never speak Italian with anyone, and I always think to myself that it would be great to speak more Italian with people. It's kind of absurd, if I was learning Bengali I would never run out of people to talk to. Why am I not learning Bengali?

Maybe it's because being habituated to hearing these languages makes me not want to learn them? I suspect that's it...

Are you learning the language of immigrants around you?
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Jaleel10
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Re: Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby Jaleel10 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:46 am

Not necessarily immigrants but I live in a fairly mono-lingual region (many places are like this due to you know what...) and we have a minority of Zulu and Xhosa speakers. I wanted to learn Zulu for cultural and historical reasons but seeing as I already have speakers in my community - it just furthers my desire to learn it one day. Even though we live in the same country and I interact with them often, their culture is very alien to mine (and vice versa) and it's something that fascinates me. And the language is so beautiful and luckily there are many resources if you decided to study it.
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smallwhite
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Re: Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby smallwhite » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:47 am

I'm always learning the language of immigrants around me. In Hong Kong I learned English, Mandarin, French... In Australia I've been learning Spanish, Italian, German, Greek...

Counting only immigrants in the building(s) where I live(d) and who I know, the languages include: English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Chaozhou, French, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Greek, Farsi, Tagalog, Tongan and one middle-eastern language I don't remember.
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Axon
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Re: Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby Axon » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:55 am

At the moment I'm an immigrant in China and actively working on improving my ability in the national language, Mandarin. I'm interested in learning a little bit of a few regional languages, including some of the languages indigenous to the region (Bai and Yi are the most likely candidates). This is mostly out of curiosity as Mandarin ability is virtually 100 percent in these communities.

When I lived in Indonesia, I also made an effort to learn the national language and a smaller effort to learn the indigenous languages. My interest in Hokkien has largely been because of its status as a language in the Chinese communities of Southeast Asia, but I haven't met very many people from these communities and also haven't learned more than a little Hokkien.

In America, part of the motivation to learn Spanish, Cantonese, and Vietnamese was that they were well represented in the immigrant communities of my hometown. I had a job working with speakers of Foochow (I guess that's the English name for it? Fuzhou Eastern Min Chinese) but that language is very difficult to find resources for and Mandarin got me where English didn't.

So I would say yes, speaking to the people around me or that I work with is a major motivator for choosing the languages I study. There's a running list in my head of "languages to learn" and a lot of them got on the list just by being the native language of a classmate or acquaintance. It's a long list.
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Chung
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Re: Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby Chung » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:22 am

nooj wrote:Are you learning the language of immigrants around you?


*looks at list of target languages* :lol:

On a slightly more serious note: NO. I just learn what interests me. If I were to learn the languages of the local immigrants, I'd somehow have to make way for at least a couple from the following:

any form of Arabic
Cantonese
Farsi
Hindustani
Mandarin
Portuguese
Russian
Spanish

None of the above interests me even half of what I'm currently studying nor do I need to learn any of these. Of course this is affected by what I can recognize without being so forward or even nosy to ask a couple of strangers what language they were using in a conversation that I had just picked up within earshot.

Why let any of them displace my studies of German or Azeri, among others, just so that I can ingratiate myself with certain immigrants towards whom I'm indifferently civil? They're just people who are part of the scenery where I live.
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Re: Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby zenmonkey » Wed Sep 26, 2018 11:52 am

I'm an immigrant^3.

My interest in the languages of other immigrants here is mixed, I'M going to consider that to be larger groups rather than individuals. I've worked on some writing systems but have not really worked directly with them to learn their languages. I've touched a little on Dari, Arabic, Turkish and a few others but with no real dedication or objective.

I've worked with immigrants learning German (and other languages) and that's been the extent of our interaction -- like them, I'm an immigrant learning the local language, in many ways we have a similar path. In other, not so much.
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Re: Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby iguanamon » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:01 pm

With Spanish, Haitian Creole and Lesser Antilles French Creole, I've done this already. The biggest exception is Palestinian Arabic. There's a small community here with whom I could speak. I am just not that interested right now in learning it. The other languages I've run into here are random, once in a blue moon, languages like German. I know two native-speakers of German and one native-speaker of French and one non-native French-teacher.

The biggest issue with learning immigrant languages for speaking with immigrants is that we are both living and working in an English-speaking country. The immigrants are not monolingual and are not generally accustomed to the majority English-speakers learning or speaking their native language. This can lead to frustration for learners with switching languages. Each learner has to deal with this in their own way, starting with accepting that we are living in an English-speaking country and the immigrant's English is usually quite good or even near-native. Of course, this depends on the country. We are an island of only 40,000 people. Almost all immigrants here are not recent arrivals, but have been here for years.
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Re: Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby Hashimi » Wed Sep 26, 2018 12:44 pm

nooj wrote:....mostly they speak in 'dialetto' aka Italian languages because they left before Italian was really a thing in Italy


It's true that most of their ancestors came from Veneto and Piemonte, but I think they speak neither Venetian or Piemontese, but Italo-Australian.
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Re: Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby Xenops » Wed Sep 26, 2018 4:47 pm

Chung wrote:
nooj wrote:Are you learning the language of immigrants around you?


Of course this is affected by what I can recognize without being so forward or even nosy to ask a couple of strangers what language they were using in a conversation that I had just picked up within earshot.
.


I’ve done this. :? :lol: They were speaking Polish, Afrikaans or Portuguese, I found out.

Of course I’ve been tempted by any language I’ve come across: I just have to limit my number at some point.
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zenmonkey
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Re: Learning languages of immigrants around you

Postby zenmonkey » Wed Sep 26, 2018 5:10 pm

Xenops wrote:
Chung wrote:
nooj wrote:Are you learning the language of immigrants around you?


Of course this is affected by what I can recognize without being so forward or even nosy to ask a couple of strangers what language they were using in a conversation that I had just picked up within earshot.
.


I’ve done this. :? :lol: They were speaking Polish, Afrikaans or Portuguese, I found out.

Of course I’ve been tempted by any language I’ve come across: I just have to limit my number at some point.


:? :oops: :lol: - Albanian, in my case.
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