Are the people who become fluent in a second or third language at risk of losing their own identity? Language has been a way of communicating with each other for thousands of years, maybe even more. Since the day we were born we started to learn to speak the language of our fatherland and we’re all still learning.
I don’t believe that you can necessarily lose your identity because you speak two or three languages. Identity is a very big word to use and is influenced by many things. A part of your identity is your ethnic background. Your genes, religion, the culture you live in and your environment all have a big influence on your identity. It affects the way you live, your behavior and your point of view at life. I believe, that you can’t really lose your identity just because you speak a second or third language fluently. You are who you are and you can’t change that. Maybe speaking a second language can have an effect on your native language because you might use it less then you did before, you might forget some words in Dutch, for example, but you do know them in English or the other way around. I don’t think it matters what language you speak, you’ll still be Dutch, Chinese or Spanish deep down inside your heart. Your roots lay there. I do think though that you should encourage your child not to forget where he or she comes from and keep telling them about their origin.
Many immigrants are having problems between the first and second generation of their family because they don’t speak the same native language anymore. Those immigrant’s children learn a new language when they go to school or have contact with other kids. The younger you are of age, the easier it is to learn a new language, this goes especially for children. They can remember a lot things, but they can also forget easily as time passes by. This happened to a very good friend of mine. Till the age of six she used to live in Belgium together with her mother. Her...
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