Family of Voices

Speaking to the World

We never spoke German at home. I think that helped us assimilate so much better because if you don't speak the language, you can't communicate with people. [more...]

I really feel like when I'm speaking English, I'm one person and that person went to Duke, went to NYU Law School and went to high school. When I'm speaking Spanish, I'm a different person and that person lived in Chile as a kid, lived in Puerto Rico, hugged his grandmother, "su abuelita," and buried his aunts. I'm just a different person. [more...]

I only speak English with my son if it's a school-related thing or a business-related thing. But if it's any family-related, informal conversation, it is in Portuguese. He wouldn't talk with me in a different language. [more...]

My father felt that if I knew English well, it would be enough to make a living in Cuba.  Therefore, as a teenager he enrolled me into an English school for adults, and I reluctantly attended…. However, as much as I hated it at the time, it was what truly saved my life and put me on the right track because when I came here, I had a respectable understanding of the language – although I have not been able to drop the accent. [more...]

I do try to teach our children Korean traditions such as Confucianism; the meaning behind how Koreans have historically survived history itself. These are very important things. [more...]

Speaking Dutch (and the only people I ever spoke Dutch with were family, relatives from Holland, or friends) to me it's always been the language of people with whom I’m familiar. [more...]

I don't speak French at home. My children are curious and interested about France. I tell them to ask their grandparents. I don't want to influence the children directly; on the other hand, I want to give them an environment where they can develop their interests and they can be intrigued and challenged and be curious. [more...]

We grew up in a warm house with loving parents who spoke Polish, Yiddish, and Hebrew. Israel was the Jewish homeland, a country of mostly Jewish refugees escaping persecution. It was a melting pot of people speaking many languages with many traditions and numerous ways to express Jewish rituals. [more...]

We worked hard to explain the importance of our heritage to our children. So, everything had to be done twice, first explaining in English, then in Hindi. Today, I’m proud to say that both of my children speak fluent Hindi and English. [more...]

We spoke a mixture of languages at home. My grandmother lived with us, and she could only speak village Cantonese. I learned how to speak Tagalog. I went to an English school, so I grew up in a multilingual environment. It was not uncommon for my dad to say something to me in Chinese and for me to respond in English. [more...]

I would speak Japanese all day, Spanish during my after-school activities, and Japanese again at home. [more...]

Here I was trying to improve my English, and then I had to quickly learn Spanish too so I could go to Montevideo, impress her large family, and ask for her hand! [more...]

When I went to school, my teachers were British and we spoke English. When I came home I spoke an Indian language called Gujarati, and with the African people we spoke Swahili. [more...]

At home, the language was English, and it wasn't until later when the kids were growing up that we brought Spanish back, because whenever we got together with my Cuban family, it was all Spanish. [more...]

Over the summer, I studied from eight o'clock in the morning to eight o'clock at night in a very intensive program to learn English. [more...]

The orphanage was a rough place, and we didn't speak any English at all. We were lucky we had each other. We learned to speak English through immersion [more...]

There were many times that I translated for my mother, as she made demands and had confrontations to protect and take care of her children. [more...]