Trudi’s Corner: A Language Issue

By Trudi Cunningham

How many took note of the diversity of languages and nationalities of the people in the various sections in New Jersey mentioned in the Star-Ledger recently? It’s a fascinating report on how people tend to migrate.

In my particular situation, I have no idea how my father decided on where to settle and it was not something I had ever given a thought to. I’m sure he was never sorry, because he had never made mention of it. He and eventually my mother (working very hard) made a good life for my sister and me.

Coming here as a child was a definite traumatic situation, in some instances, for me. Mainly, the language, but as you will note, I did OK. Today, or I will say at this point, there is nothing more than what will “turn me off” when I am being told to learn Spanish. I know for a fact, that there are many others like me who resent that suggestion, and with good cause.

I had attempted to speak English to my father in the home, after being here about six months. He pretended not to understand me, and I repeated myself to the same result. I then spoke to him in German (my mother tongue), to which he replied, “That’s fine.” He said, “We will speak German, in the home, because you must speak English on the outside.

It’s a sad, sad situation when so many will not accept the fact that English is the accepted language in this great country. For those who resent my comments, “tough,” and “if the shoe fits, wear it.” There are so many others from all different countries who are proud of their accomplishments – including learning the language while retaining their original one.

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