Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Immigrants want to blend in, keep mother tongue

Immigrants want to blend in and also keep their language. So long as they also learn English, this is terrific; bilingual residents are always an asset in any country. DP

By Babita Persaud | Sentinel Staff Writer Restaurant owner Mateo Ramos hated to do it, but he couldn't promote one of his best kitchen workers to become a waitress.

The reason: She couldn't speak English.

The irony wasn't lost on him. Ramos' father and uncles came to the U.S. from Mexico unable to speak a word of English and rose to not only master the language but establish a national restaurant chain that caters to both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking customers.

"To speak English is expected," said Ramos, the owner of Azteca D'ora on South Orange Blossom Trail.

Unlike some other countries, the United States has never made English its official language, although 30 states, including Florida in 1988, have done so.

But those laws haven't stopped foreign-language speakers in Central Florida from keeping their native tongue.

As the population grows, more immigrants teeter between two worlds: They want to keep their own language and ties to their culture and homeland. They also want their children -- some American born -- to speak their mother tongue and keep their traditions alive for generations to come.

On the other hand, most immigrants want to blend into the English-speaking community.
Be sure to read the rest of this story! This is only a small part of it.

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