Is it important to know your native language?

I was born in Italy but have only been there for the very first 3 years of my life. My father is an American and mother Italian. Afterwards, we all moved to Maine and have been living there since (I'm now 22 and have absolutely no recollection of what Italy looks like nor its places; I only know it through photos and being told by family members).

Many sentences and words were taught to me during my toddler years but I forgot most of it. As of now I can only say certain things in Italian such as ''hi, how are you, bye, my name is, few phrases and counting from 1-10 but that's about it and my Italian accent sucks.

I feel kind of dumb sometimes. I'm basically an Italian that can't speak Italian fluently.


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Most Helpful Guy

  • That's ok. My dad is from Mexico and I heard him and other people talknspanish all the time but they never taught me. I learned some Spanish by matching phrases and words with certain actions as a child. My family members (cousins and my dad), always made fun me because I could never speak Spanish like they could. I couldn't even say a full sentence in Spanish. I was dropped off in Mexico around 3 years old for two weeks, and I didn't gain shit lol I ended up learning a little bit of Spanish from the Spanish classes I took in college. I lost my accent a long long time ago. So I sound white as hell when I speak Spanish. The only person in my family who didn't make fun of me while spoke, was my grandfather. But now, no one speaks to me because apparently I have an awhile personality lmao karma can be a bitch to my family

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    • I have an asshole personality*

    • So don't dwell on it so much. Unless you want to learn more about your language. And if that's the case, then by all means, pick up a book and do a little research online.

    • I don't dwell on it. I'm actually proud of the way I am. And all honesty, I don't feel like I fit in with my race. But it doesn't bother me at all

What Guys Said 18

  • I think that's normal if you don't keep it up. I'm half-Japanese, half-American, and I kept up my Japanese even though I spent a number of years in the U. S.

    However, I spent a longer period of my early childhood in Japan than my sister, for example, who has forgotten Japanese. Between my younger sister and I, she identifies herself more as "American", me more as "Japanese", and she decided to live in the U. S. while I wanted to "return home" and live in Japan.

    It might be helpful though to visit Italy some time and see that part of your heritage, perhaps learning a bit more about it, and improving a bit of your Italian... or not -- up to you.

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    • Also even though my sister forgot Japanese over the course of staying in the U. S., she's quite a bright person. She was so opposite of me in this regard that she now teaches English literature and writing at a university.

      Meanwhile, my English still has a subtle Japanese accent, and socially I tend to behave more like a Japanese person (I've developed a life-long habit of bowing since childhood).

  • You need to master at least one language a full 100%. Many people don't.
    They'll have study problems.

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  • Speak and learn your native language that is one of many ways to be together against American emperialism!! Europe and other sufferers of different regions should be together..

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  • Probably on an Identity level it would help but on a practical level knowing the language of where you are residing is more important and who you interact with the most which sounds like English for you.

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  • Only if it's important to you.

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  • I honestly think anyone else in your situation would of ended up the same unless your parents and other family spoke Italian in the home a lot. Its fine if you want to relearn it go ahead! But don't feel forced to cuz you are Italian.

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  • No. Language is not there to be your heritage or roots but simply there as a means to communicate your thoughts to someone else. As long as Italian is not necessary to achieve that goal it is not important.

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  • Probably. Otherwise, how are you ever going to communicate? I suppose as long as you have a "main" language, then you're good.

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  • Given that you are mixed I think you should embrace both sides. Yeah it's a shame that you can't speak Italian fluently, but you need to know that it's not a permanent thing and you have the power to change that if you so desired.

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  • Language is often an important part of culture, identity and heritage.

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  • Nope. It's not spoken here

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  • Italiano è facile. Se io posso imparare in due anni, poi tu puoi senza alcun problema 😛

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  • Your native language is the one you were taught as a child. It isn't the language of the country you were born in. If you were raised in English, English is your native language.

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  • You're not an Italian.

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    • I was born Florence, Italy.

    • Show All
    • @phil2 Which you answer, Laos. People are born in many places. I'd never identify as Canadian for instance.. Eh.

    • She is 50 percent italian as her mother is the only one being italian :)

  • Yes its important. I regret not being able to speak my native tongue other than a few words.

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  • nope

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  • Can you cook and you do still shave right?

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  • I'm Australian, my native language is New Zealand. They're both English, fuck yeah,

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What Girls Said 15

  • That's like me with Russian. I wasn't born there, but my family is Russian. I know how to say basic things and I can understand a lot of Russian, but I was never taught to read or write in the Cyrillic alphabet and we pretty much only spoke English at home.

    It's good to know different languages, but if you weren't raised in Italy then you don't need to worry about not knowing Italian. I think that understanding the culture and traditions are far more important.

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  • Do you consider yourself Italian or American? That's the real question. I'm guessing your first language is English - that's really your native language.

    For example, I was born in Canada to an Italian father and a Chinese/Scottish/basically everything else mother. I speak English and French. I cannot speak Mandarin, Italian, Cantonese, Gaelic or anything else. Though I can kind of understand Italian enough to get the basic gist.

    Honestly, I wouldn't worry about it. My father hardly speaks Italian anymore and that was his first language. He doesn't have anyone to practice with!

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  • I know your struggle 😂 You have an excuse since you were raised in the US. You should try to reconnect with the language, maybe live in Italy for a bit. I have the same problem to a lesser degree. I can speak in my language but my grammar can go from passable to plain bad. I also have an American accent in it. I just keep practicing. I got into Somali music and poetry so I can sing along practicing my accent.

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  • It's good to know/be fluent in languages.
    I am not so good in my native language but I am practicing to get better. It can be useful; especially career-wise.

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  • It's a tragedy with many migrants. I believe one should know his/her native language which gives you a sense of belonging to birth place.

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  • I don't know, I speak more Spanish and English, than Polish.

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  • I don't really care to learn it 😂

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  • That´s important but like to know another language else. Spanish, French.. etc..

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  • Unlike a lot of people, one of my should be native languages is only spoken specifically in one place, by one group of people. My mom is American, and we left the home country when I was like 2, and I've lived here ever since. Since no one has really heard of or knows the other language fluently including my mother who lived there for like 10 years, it was hard to make a case for me learning it, so I never did. I know in my heart my dad wishes we could speak back and fourth in his native tongue, but there are literally no books, nobody to even practice with other than him, and so he didn't really teach me, and then now as an adult, thanks to school and summer programs, it was just easier to pick up Spanish and a bit of French which I do use more often. I think if its truly important to you as a person, you make all efforts to learn it. Many a foreigner have come over to the US even as adults speaking none of our language, and have learned (my best friend included), so it's possible, most of us just literally need to try harder.

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  • I was taught my native language even though my family left our homeland when I was two.

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  • It's an asset.

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  • It's good to, but not essential

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  • I think you should learn it. Come on, it's Italian! The most beautiful language on the planet :)

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    • It sounds so sexy when women speak italian. I get turned on.

  • Don't feel dumb!

    My friend feels the same way. She was adopted from China at a young age and now she's trying to learn Chinese. She doesn't really want to learn it that much, either but she feels like she's supposed to.

    There's nothing wrong with wanting to keep in touch with where you're from, that's a good thing! But just don't push yourself to spend time doing things you aren't interested in.

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  • I think so, it's apart of your heritage.

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