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Why is it that immigrant parents have such a hard time transmitting their language to their children, regardless of which language it is (my own kids don't speak fluent English, far from it, and the English that I speak is far more a harkening back to the days of Shakespeare and my English lit major than Wall Streetese, for sure) ?

Because being an immigrant is living with the assurance that one will always be a foreigner, and the certainty that one's children are not foreigners ?

My almost weekly sessions with the Grand Robert Historique allow me to grasp that words are constantly shifting, dying, being resurrected, even invented posthumously from roots originating in dead languages. Hagege, it seems to me, can sometimes be a little pessimistic.

But I hear him on the fate of the languages that are as precarious as the isolated peoples who are speaking them.

The languages are not the only "thing" that is being threatened in this context, certainly.

Debra Mervant

Grenoble, France

Jan 21 2010 - 4:55pm