If a Country has several languages, What do immigrants/refugees do?

In most countries there are either only one language or a dominant language where 90+ % are using. But in some countries there are several languages and it's not always obviously which one are dominants. It may be two, three, four or more. I'm wondering how immigrants and refugees choose which language to learn.

Not every people are good in learning languages and it can take time. You can't learn everything in seconds and it's a long process. #Language #Immigrants #Refugees
If a Country has several languages, What do immigrants/refugees do?

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Most Helpful Girls

  • Depends on their location within the country, because usually which language is used is highly dependant on the city or area they're in. For instance, Finland has two official languages; Finnish and Swedish. Finnish is spoken throughout the whole country, mostly, but there are areas and cities/towns that are 95% Swedish speaking. And in most of these towns and areas, people barely even know how to speak Finnish. This is really common along the west coast of Finland.
    I have a friend from the west coast who is friends with an immigrant. He's doing really well for himself, he has to work multiple jobs but he's such a sweetheart and has managed to settle down and build a family. He speaks Swedish because he lives in a community where most people speak Swedish. If he were to move somewhere else, he would definitely have to learn Finnish or English if he wanted to remain a part of the community and get a job. And this is of course totally up to the individual, but the more languages they're willing to learn, the better. It will open up more opportunities for them. This goes for anyone though, and not just immigrants.

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  • Immigrants/ refugees ought to learn at least the national language of the country that they will be staying. In many cases, that language is English. However, if they are coming to the US, they typically will expect translators and services to be especially catered to them in every language imaginable, even though many ESL classes are provided for free or affordable rates.

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Most Helpful Guys

  • In luxembourg, the immigrants speak their original language and we are forced to learn it.
    I'm not even joking, Luxembourg is the only country in the whole world that doesn't have it's national language as the official language, we're also the only country that does the PISA test in a foreign language.

    On the plus side, luxembourgers speak 4-5 languages on average, you won't find a luxembourger who speaks fewer than 3 languages

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    • That sounds very interesting. Even though it’s hard to learn a new language, at least you all know how to speak several languages.

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    • Wow good for you. I can only speak two languages fluently and understand a couple other languages. But compared to you I’m a piece of crap. Haha

    • The USA also doesn't have an official language. Everyone just sort of started speaking English

  • Here in Switzerland, immigrants (not just refugees but all foreigners) learn the language of the region they settle down in. If you end up in Zurich or Bern for instance, you'll learn German (and ideally, eventually, Swiss). If you go to live in Geneva or Lausanne, you'll learn French. If you decide to reside in Lugano or Bellinzona, you'll learn Italian.

    Refugees usually can't decide where they are going to live. The government just kind of distributes them onto the different Cantons and the government of each Canton distributes them onto the hundreds of different communities. So, refugees just have to learn whatever language happens to be dominant in their region. In some cases, they are lucky because there are some refugees who speak French as first or second language and they'll end up in the Romandie (French-speaking region of Switzerland).

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What Girls Said 8

  • They can learn the official language. In India suppose, in West Bengal they speak Bengali, in Maharashtra they speak Marathi, in Kashmir they speak Urdu...

    But ALL of them know and use Hindi. So to anyone living there, Hindi would be ideal for them to learn.

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  • They learn the language that is more used, like the one who's more used for official document, on tv, etc..

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  • Here in Canada they use their own. Usually quite loudly.

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  • They have to adhere to the country's policies for adapting to their culture and language. It's not debatable.

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  • That's tough, I guess you try to learn the language most common where you stay :)

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  • You just learn the language that is in the area you live in or the national language that everyone understands. It doesn't make sense to learn a language from the opposite side of the country that you reside in.
    My country has more than 100 languages because almost each island and each province has it's own language. Although, there is a national language which is widely understood, it isn't widely spoken outside of the capital. Let's say you live on an island on the boarder of the country as a refugee, assuming you speak the national language, you will be understood by the residents however their replies will be spoken in the regional language of that area. This has happened to me when, I went to one of the provinces as a volunteer for a disaster relief organization.
    This maybe a different case for other countries, but this is my guess assuming refugees seek asylum in my country.

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  • If it isn't clear English is often used

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  • in singapore we have 4 main languages so we just combine them all along with dialects to form singlish. everybody understands them. and if not we are all fluent with English :) anyway we're generally pretty polite so even if we don't understand u we'll still try to help u if u require it. and bc they arE SO many immigrants here as well as more people wanting to learn more languages, communication in singapore isn't really an issue :)

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    • Thats so true. As long as you speak English you are pretty much safe here. Fellow Singaporean speaking.

What Guys Said 25

  • Very few countries are truly multilingual.
    As an immigrant, you learn the language used by the government, which also tends to be the language spoken by most of the population.

    Luxembourg is an example of a thoroughly multilingual country that actually requires citizens to know multiple languages.
    However, French is the quasi-official language of the government, so it makes sense to learn French, rather than Luxembourgish, which is the actual native language.

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  • Over here in Belgium we speak 3 languages: Dutch, French and German.
    And the law sais that migrants, need to learn the language of the area where they will be staying...
    So if they come to my city for example, they have to learn dutch.

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  • Usually a location has a dominant language. For example different dialects of Bangla are essentially different languages, as people from different regions won't immediately understand the others' languages. So if you go to Sylhet, you learn Sylhetti Bangla, go to Dakkha? Learn Shoudo Bangla. If your work involves travelling around? Sorry

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  • Use their native language at home or amoung family & friends, pick what language they learn my what area they will be living in (most cultures tend to group together to form small communites of people like themselves) ex: Chinatown, little Italy

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  • They learn the official language. Simple. Integrate, assimilate, or get out. You're coming in a country, you learn as much as you can about it, and then blend in.
    If you don't, you deserve the get your ass kicked back to whatever country you're from. The locals doesn't have to change for you.

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  • In Belgium we have many N African and Turkish and Congolese immigrants.
    We have four regions too. Those in Flanders learn Flemish (Dutch). Those in Brussels/Wallonia speak French.
    Many are multilingual.

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  • They learn the language that is most spoken in the part where they will live?

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  • Try Indian..
    See Wikipedia..
    And the total number of spoken languages in India..

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  • Hm never thought about that. But according to studies, it only takes one 6 months to learn a language fluently of they fully submerge themselves in the culture.

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  • It's not that hard especially if you're ingrained in the culture. Speak primarily the dominant language and don't use yours as a crutch.

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