The Many Languages of NAI

North Allegheny is a very diverse community. The many languages that are spoken around the NA community is just one piece of evidence on how we are lucky to have various cultures around us.

October 3, 2019

It is easy to think that everyone around us goes to a similar household every night, speak the same language and has the same cultural traditions as you. In reality, it is nothing like that. We all have different lives and different backgrounds. 

As we walk around the hallways of NAI, we see people of different diversities and religions, but we rarely think about how English is not the first language for many. Although most of us began learning a new language in eighth grade,  few of us are fluent in that language or any language other than English. Fortunately, at North Allegheny, we are surrounded by a group of students who can speak multiple languages and/or moved to the United States from a country with a national language other than English. 

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, about 20% of U.S. residents speak a different language at home. NAI does not differ from this statistic. People that we go to school with speak a language other than English at home. Many brain studies show that learning another language develops neurons and allows people to stay mentally sharp. We interviewed some kids around NA to get a look at what life is like speaking another language at home. 

Lara Reis

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Lara Reis

Sushmita Rajan

Lara Ries, a sophomore, speaks portuguese at home.

NAEYE: Where are you from? Did you move here from somewhere else?

Lara R: I moved here from Brazil in the middle of 2016

NAEYE: What languages do you speak? 

Lara R: I speak Portuguese and English

NAEYE: Which language do you speak more often? Or have you spoken it your whole life?

Lara R: I think I speak Portuguese more often, and I have spoken it my whole life.

NAEYE: How long have you been speaking that language? / which language did you learn first?

Lara R: I learned Portoguese before English

NAEYE: Do your parents speak English? If not how does it feel to be the translator between your parents and others?

Lara R:They do speak English

NAEYE: Does it ever get annoying when people ask you to speak your language? Or asking blunt questions

Lara R:Not really, I mean, they’re trying to find more knowledge about it so I don’t

really mind it.

NAEYE: Any challenges?

Lara R: Sometimes I get a lot of grammar errors, but that’s about it.

NAEYE: Does knowing more than one language help with your language studies at school, or does it make it harder?

Lara R: It does help because they are both from Latin.

NAEYE: Could you tell us your favorite joke or pun in that language, and explain what it means

Lara R:“O que um cupim disse para outro? Me dá um cupim de água?” It translates to “What did the termite say to the other? Can you give me a small cup of water?” 

Zayaan Tirmizi

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Zayaan Tirmizi

Zayaan Timirizi

Zayaan Timirizi

Sally Cho

Zayaan Timirizi

Sally Cho

Sally Cho

Zayaan Timirizi

Zayaan Tirmizi speaks many languages. He shares how it is to speak multiple languages. 

NAEYE: Where are you from? Did you move here from somewhere else?

Zayaan T: I’m from Pakistan;I was born in Chicago, ended up moving here.

NAEYE: What languages do you speak?

Zayaan T:Urdu, Farsi, Arabic, English, Hindi, Punjabi. Some of these languages are similar like Farsi and Urdu, and Hindi and Punjabi. However, Urdu and Hindi are not at all the same, contrary to popular opinion of people who don’t speak the language. Hindi gets its roots from sanskrit, whereas Urdu is Persianized.

NAEYE:Which language do you speak more often? How long have you been speaking that language?

Zayaan T: Urdu is the language I speak the most often and have been speaking it my entire life. It was the first language I learned.

NAEYE: Do your parents speak English? If not how does it feel to be the translator between your parents and others?

Zayaan T:My parents speak English fluently

NAEYE: Does it ever get annoying when people ask you to speak your language? Or asking blunt questions

Zayaan T: It’s never annoying for me to speak about Urdu. I love the language so much and thinks it’s the most beautiful in the world, which is an opinion shared by many. I never have any frustration answering questions about Urdu, and I’m always excited to tell about its history and where it was derived from.

NAEYE:Does knowing more than one language help with your language studies at school, or does it make it harder?

Zayaan T: Knowing the languages definitely makes school a lot easier. I don’t have to put in much effort in Spanish, so I can focus on other subjects.

NAEYE:Could you tell us your favorite joke or pun in that language, and explain what it means

ZayaanT: کام ایسا کرو کے دوسرا شخص کہ کے یار چھ وردو میں خد ہی کر لونگا This means approach every job with an attitude that the person who assigns you the task says forget it i’ll do it myself

 

Dasha Komarova

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Dasha Komarova

Dasha Komarova

Dasha Komarova

Dasha Komarova

Dasha Komarova

Daria Komarova from Russia explained how it is to speak two languages:

NAEYE: Where are you from? Did you move here from somewhere else?

Dasha K: I moved from Russia

NAEYE: What languages do you speak? 

Dasha K: English,Russian

NAEYE: Which language do you speak more often? Or have you spoken it your whole life?

Dasha K: 50/50,at home I speak Russian, at other places English

NAEYE: How long have you been speaking that language? / which language did you learn first

Dasha K: Everyday life I speak Russian, I learned both at the same time. 

NAEYE: Do your parents speak English? If not how does it feel to be the translator between your parents and others?

Dasha K: They speak English

NAEYE: Does it ever get annoying when people ask you to speak your language? Or asking blunt questions

Dasha K: Nah it fine

NAEYE: Any challenges?

Dasha K: No

NAEYE: Does knowing more than one language help with your language studies at school, or does it make it harder?

Dasha K: No I speak good in English and Russian

 

2 Comments

2 Responses to “The Many Languages of NAI”

  1. Ryan Nash on October 3rd, 2019 9:57 am

    Great Article! Never realised just how many people speak a language other than English at home in America! With all the benefits that come from speaking more then one language, especially if its learned early on in life, makes me wish I learned one.

  2. Tigris0229 on October 4th, 2019 10:26 pm

    Super cool! Never even knew of the language Urdu.

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