Language loss is a common issue faced by children of immigrants who where born as the first generation in dominantly western countries. Due to that we may forget our first language if not used daily or struggle to maintain fluency in it because of various reasons. In some cases, this has a significant impact on our cultural identity and the ability to communicate with our families and communities, and therefore as well on our mental health as BiPoCs in a predominantly white society.
Immigrant children are not only placed in a society that is systematically racist but specifically in an educational system that is not supportive in all cases of multicultural identities. Depending on the status it can be hard to provide a adequate surrounding where children of immigrants can embrace both of their languages.This lack of exposure and use can lead to a decline in their language proficiency, particularly if they are not receiving support from their families or communities.
I would like to draw attention to the struggle that many people like me face in western society. The feeling of not being able to communicate even though you want to is painful, and this kind of language barrier is closely linked to feelings of shame and sadness. Coupled with the cultural differences and the values that set you and your parents apart, this experience can be very confusing for the relationship between you and your family and your own identity.
This interview will show you an insight into the topic from the perspective of my American-Vietnamese friend David.
Feel free to comment or to share your experience with me,
Luisa Ngoc Linh