Lesson 4c


4.2 Read COMING TO THE UNITED STATES aloud for pronunciation practice.


1 Between 1850 and 1930, many people immigrated to the United States. Large groups came from non-English speaking countries such as Germany, Italy, Austria, Russia, Mexico, Sweden, Norway, Poland, China, and Japan. Most immigrants from these countries did not speak English when they arrived. Frequently, the adults learned only simple English. Their children learned English when they studied in American schools.

2 During that period of time, there was a strong feeling among English-speaking Americans–and sometimes even among immigrant parents–that English was the only language that should be used. As a result, many immigrant children learned their parents’ language when they were young, but stopped using it after they began attending American schools. They spoke only English unless they were talking to their parents or attending their parents’ church. When these children became older, many could understand their parents’ language but they could not speak it well. Equally, their parents could understand some English, but could not speak it fluently. This resulted in two languages being used in many homes. The parents used their own language when speaking to their children and the children responded in English.

3 It was good that the immigrant children learned English well. It was not good, however, that the attitude at the time resulted in the loss of their ability to speak two languages fluently.

4 Now that you live in the United States, there will be many advantages for you if you learn to speak English well. It is our hope that SPOKEN ENGLISH LEARNED QUICKLY will help you reach your goal of speaking fluent English. However, learning English must never reduce the value of your own language and cultural heritage. Always be proud of it. If you are a parent now-or when you have your own children-teach them your language and your culture.

5 Work hard to learn English well. But never forget your first language. Be proud of your language and cultural heritage.