In most Asian families, most kids’ first language is their native language. My first language is English but my second language is Vietnamese. It has always been equally important to me in my life. My parents spoke English, but little of it. As I was getting a little older, one day I heard my parents talking in Vietnamese and it was something about me because they said my name, I got really curious and asked them. They would not tell me anything and would just laugh so it made me angry. I realized that while living in an oriental household it was hard to go through the days not being able to understand half the things my parents say. I wanted to learn so I could talk to my parents and my grandparents, so I asked my parents to teach me. They started off with talking to me in simple Vietnamese until I caught on. As I caught on they moved on to more difficult things.
As I was starting off in Kindergarten, my parents also enrolled me in Vietnamese bible school. There they taught me my alphabet. The alphabet was not the same as the English alphabet. The Vietnamese alphabet does not have the letters F, J, W, or Z. Other letters put together make the sound of those letters. Letters were duplicated but had symbols above them to make them sound different. That was only the beginning of things. Anything that was taught at bible school was in Vietnamese. We had to read and write about the bible in Vietnamese. Reading was a little difficult because the way words looked were not the way they would be pronounced in English. The letters T and H together would sound like the letter T alone, and the letter T alone would sound like the letters T and H together. It all got really confusing. The Nun’s would not answer someone unless they asked a question in Vietnamese and would not take an answer unless it was in Vietnamese. Getting into third grade and higher they expected us to be able to read good enough to read bible verses at church. My parents were always...
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