Mother Tongue In Hawaii

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Know your “Mother-Tongue”
“The difference between ‘speaking mother-tongue poorly’ and ‘speaking English poorly’ is a significant one, it being 3.8 times its standard error. In every group except the haoles, …the proportion checking ‘poor English’ is less than that checking ‘speaking mother-tongue poorly’. Yet English is the language of the Islands and of the public schools and the school teachers will tell you that the English usage of the majority of the non-haole children in Hawaii is very faulty. Either their knowledge of their mother-tongue is even worse or they more frequently are made to feel their lack in that respect. (qtd, Kanae) After church service was over, I went outside to play with the kids. A kid named Jon came up to me
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(Playing hide-and-seek.)”, I answered.
“아~그래? (Ah, really?)”. She then turned to Jon and asked, “언제 집에 가고 싶어? (When you want to go home?)”.
“I don’t know, not yet”, he answered in English.
His mom was shocked with his response, “너 한국말 잊었어? (You forgot your Korean?)”.
Jon looked confused as he looks towards me and his mom. His mom then shook her head, gave a big sigh, and went back inside the church, all disappointed.

In Lisa Kanae’s book, Sista Tongue, it tells about how she helps out her little brother with his English in the outside world while keeping the Pidgin language inside at home. Apparently all the kids at her brother’s school are teasing him just because he got a hard time speaking and understanding English. Lisa Kanae herself can change between speaking Pidgin and proper English at the same time. It’s pretty much what I do too. At home and church, I spoke Korean to my mom and the other church members. In school and at work, I spoke English and a little bit of Pidgin when it’s necessary. A lot of people think that all Koreans, who speak the same language, can understand each other, but that’s actually not true in this scenario. In Korea, different areas have different accents and dialects that we use. If you’re from Seoul side, you’ll hear soft accents and if you’re from Busan side, you’ll hear strong accents. Same thing goes with visiting the other islands of Korea, each island have a different accent. And yes, North Korea has their own accent
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She has that story and motivation that empowers people to learning a new language. It’s a struggle to learn a language that you’re not familiar with, but with a lot of practice and support, we can easily keep it in our heads. I’m really glad that Lisa Kanae has helped her little brother out in those tough situations and I hope a lot of people will do the same as
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