Jack Yan
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The Persuader

My personal blog, started in 2006. No paid posts.

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Forget the stereotypes: how immigrants write with English as their second language

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Filed under: New Zealand, Wellington—Jack Yan @ 02.54

2 Responses to ‘Forget the stereotypes: how immigrants write with English as their second language’

  1. jaklumen says:

    Your father’s writing seems impeccable to me, Jack. Perhaps you recall I promote more use of full stops, for I see even the most native of English speakers incorrectly use commas. I regard his choices of full stops as something they would do much better to emulate.

    My personal experiences have been mixed, but I would say it seems to be more a matter of socioeconomic class and profession (and schooling required by said profession), than it has ever been about race specifically.

    Granted, my experience is somewhat limited, mostly as I speak Spanish as a secondary language. But I reckon it’s about what you may expect. The laborers and working class immigrants tend to know less English, with the professionals with better school opportunities in their home countries knowing more. The first generations might know little, but their children, the second generations, are pretty fluent in both their native tongue and English. My mother had a Slavic ESL student many years ago (before her career in the Social Security Administration) who was acquiring English as his seventh language.

    But I reckon you’ve made similar observations years ago, Jack. I don’t doubt I say things you already know. Both the missus (she goes by the pseudonym Huffle Mom, now) and I continue to practice our Latin American Spanish. My writing and listening fluency are much better, now, but my speaking fluency has lagged behind.

    A quick story that comes to mind: we were at the pain management clinic for my 3-month follow up with a mestizo man that had vitiligo. He had a young mestizo woman there as his translator, and she would translate for us when our Spanish was lacking. But I found I could clearly understand everything she was translating for him.

    It’s been too long, Jack.. my comment is again long for the usual blog etiquette, but you know me. I hope you and your partner are well and blessed.

  2. Jack Yan says:

    It’s great to hear from you, J., and your length is quite welcome. We are so used to the tidbits of Tweets that long-form writing seems to have gone out the window. Real stories like yours make for good reading and insight. I had to look up mestizo. I’m happy to hear your Spanish is still doing well, and it’s probably natural for speaking to lag if we’re not forced to use it daily. I’m sure my French has deteriorated through lack of use.

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