The exam’s Comprehension Text
The first and the second generations of immigrants in America are having problems because they don’t speak the same native language. Many immigrants, who are used to speaking their native language, suffer in lots of areas such as getting a job and trying to speak English. That’s why they want their children to speak English not only at school but also at home in order to be more successful. However, they feel that because of this, their children are losing their ethnic identity and, even more, they are ignoring their parents whose English is not very good.
For example, my aunt, who has been living in Chicago for fifteen years, has three children and they were all born in the States. The eighteen-year-old daughter speaks English as a native language and she speaks Korean very well too. She has no problems talking to her parents, but she still doesn’t understand Korean jokes, and there are sometimes misunderstandings. The second daughter is fourteen years old and she doesn’t want to speak Korean. My aunt gets upset with her because she is very Americanized and they cannot understand each other. Even when my aunt punishes her, she does not understand what my aunt is talking about. I felt sympathy for my aunt whenever my fourteen-year-old cousin said, “Mom, what is your problem?” The third child is a twelve-year-old son. He speaks English to his parents and my aunt is trying to teach him to speak both languages very well but it is very hard for him because he speaks English all day and does not understand why he should speak Korean.
I think most immigrants are trying to preserve their native language in their new country, but this doesn’t help very much in getting a good job. My aunt taught Korean to her children not in order to help them succeed in the U.S, but mainly to help them establish a Korean identity. Though the second generation is born in the new country, they often get confused about their identity because they look different from others, and also, if they visit their parents’ country, they will probably feel different from other people there too. My cousin told me they felt different from other Koreans when they visited Korea a few years ago. They could even feel it just strolling around the street because they wore different clothes and walked differently. We must realize that language is important and valuable for many reasons. Immigrants should make an effort not to be ignored by their children and to make their children understand their heritage by teaching them the parents’ language. This is very important, not only for the harmony of the family, but also in helping the second generation to establish their identity.
National exam | Arts Stream | Catch-up Session 2004 with Answers.