I read about the expression ‘1·5 generation’ today while ego-surﬁng. Apparently, I am one of these folks, the term deﬁned in the New Zealand Listener, when discussing one expatriate from the Republic of China:
Yang is one of what immigration academics call the 1.5 generation. Not ﬁrst generation because they didn’t choose to come to New Zealand. But not second generation, either – as they were born and spent part of their childhood in their country of origin.
I have never thought of myself as a one point ﬁver, even if the description describes me. I had assumed that as an ‘immigrant’, I am an outsider: after all, people like the Foreign Minister-outside-Cabinet reminds me of that.
Now, if I had kids and they were born here, I would call them ‘ﬁrst-generation New Zealanders’. I had always assumed that was the correct usage. And when chatting to friends, that seems to be accepted. If those kids stayed put and started their families in the same country, then their kids would be second-generation.
That would make me, at best, ‘0·5 generation’, because I was not born here—like Gov Schwarzenegger was not born in the United States. I would call his kids ﬁrst-generation Americans, but he is an Austrian immigrant, or an Austrian–American.
Maybe my friends and I have had this deﬁnition wrong my entire life, since the ‘1·5’ usage seems to be accepted among the academics who write of this topic. Any thoughts? Posted by Jack Yan, 04:57
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