Over the years I have met many Portuguese people that either they or their parents immigrated to English speaking countries, the most common result is that the following generation born in said country no longer speaks Portuguese. Our “mother tongue” is Portuguese, we speak it at home, with friends and family. Child 1 went to Portuguese school first and then later to an English school. She did university in Portuguese and now wants to go to chef school…. in English. Child 2 is still in a Portuguese school, her English is okay, not brilliant but she can have a conversation. One day she too will transfer to an English school. The reason for doing this is because Portuguese is so damn difficult to learn. My sisters and I went to English schools but we always spoke Portuguese at home, there were no Portuguese schools where we lived (in the middle of nowhere) but my mother taught me how to read Portuguese either reading recipes for her in the kitchen while she cooked or with my father´s Asterix & Obelix books. Tintin, Blake and Mortimer and Ric Hochet were where I practiced my new gained skills.
Today I have an extra language that I can´t speak but can read, I need it for work. So for five days a week I work with three different languages. Where did this rant come from? My expat colleague´s have to learn Portuguese, the official language in this country… my heart goes out to them.
Why would someone who has a native language not teach it to their child? Some languages are a nightmare to learn, English is amongst the easier ones. If you are a non-English speaker, be kind to your children and teach them English on the side, it is essential but so is keeping our roots and the knowledge of our language. Besides it won´t do any harm on their cv when one day they are sitting in front of a potential boss in an interview.
The picture below´s title (if you don´t read Portuguese) is I don´t study English because it is difficult and beneath you have the conjugation of the verb “DO” in both languages.
I think I made my point!