October 6

Does speaking a new language give you a new identity?

I think that speaking a new language, such as English, gives me a new identity for several reasons. When I first learnt English, I had to start with the a b c alphabet like what five or six year-old kids learn. And when I come to America, an English speaking country, to study, I have new cultural and behavior identity. For example, in Vietnam, my home country, we do not often say sorry, excuse me or thank you. But when I came to America, I noticed that they often do so and those words are like their adage mouth. Or when Americans meet other people, they often greet each other by saying hi and asking how are you, how are you doing. I was very surprise at first and did not know if my answers were correct and sounded good or not. However, after living in America for about one year, I got used to it and now I also do those things all the time.

When I came to America, I think that the things that have been the hardest to adjust to are my mother language and my learning habits. I still remember the day I went to school in America. It was the first time I had gone to school by myself, without knowing anyone and no one spoke Vietnamese with me. It felt like I came to an uninhabited island, everything I knew was just me. I was shaking, scared and not comfortable to use English to ask where to go as I looked around to find my class. Seven years of taking English classes in Vietnam, and I still felt shy and could not express what I wanted to say. But because I could only speak English to others, my English improved a lot and and I feel more confident now.  Although I have to live far from my family members and all my friends in Vietnam, now I am more mature, independent and more responsible. Even when I came back to Vietnam this summer, everyone said that I have grown up and look more like an adult than last year.

That is how living in an English speaking country gives me new cultural and behavior identity.

-Lam Ha


In my opinion speaking a new language does not give you a new identity, it affects your identity in a way that it extends you identity and your knowledge of other languages and cultures, however you will still have your same identity just a little bit extra. Once you learn a new language, you also learn a bit about the country and the way they live. In this way it changes your identity. I think to a small extend it is true, that speaking a new language gives you a new identity, you learn how to express your feelings in different languages. I can express some feelings better in Dutch and some better in English, I feel like since I moved my identity changed and I changed as a person. Once you learn a new language it will affect you and it will change you but at the end you are still the same person, with the same identity.

By Dawn Adv. 10th gr

Posted October 6, 2014 by rsinger in category Uncategorized

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