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29.1.07

Life of Riley 

I read about the expression 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 academics call the 1.5 generation. Not first generation because they didn’t choose to come to . 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 , 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 ’. 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 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?
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Entries from 2006 to the end of 2009 were done on the Blogger service. As of January 1, 2010, this blog has shifted to a Wordpress installation, with the latest posts here.
   With Blogger ceasing to support FTP publishing on May 1, I have decided to turn these older pages in to an archive, so you will no longer be able to enter comments. However, you can comment on entries posted after January 1, 2010.


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