> From: Gearóid Mac Cuinneagáin <[log in to unmask]>
My source was an article by Geoff Nunberg (then a
> linguist at Stanford, but he was on Fresh Air
> yesterday) in the American Prospect called "Lingo
> Jingo". It's available electronically at
> <http://epn.org/>http://epn.org, if you do a search."
> "Useful facts in the article are that pre-WW1, 'bout
> 6% of US primary schools kids were taught in German,
> for instance. Or that 50% of third-generation
> Hispanics can't speak Spanish. Or that even amongst
> Cubans, 86% of second and third generation immigrant
> college student said they felt more comfortable
> speaking English than Spanish."
> "Nunberg reckons that language assimilation now is
> occuring about a generation quicker than in the early
> part of the century. I don't so any reason to doubt
I'm afraid I would have to question this conclusion. The data used for this
pre-WWI--it says so. During that period there was no such thing as
bi-lingual education. There is today. There was also little focus on
bilingualism in general, however now most students must study at least one
or two non-English languages. I would also question which regions were used
in the study. On certainly would not have to learn English, or use if you
did learn it, to live in Little Havana or any of a number of Chinese
communities through out the US.
Just incidentally, I know several third and fourth generation folks who
speak their grandparents language.