"Remember it and treasure it"

November 4, 2012
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“Always remember your native language. Don’t let your tongue forget it and always treasure it.” These wise words are from my mother. Over countless years I have heard it over and over again until these words have been etched on my mind. Our world is quickly becoming one huge trade center. The world coming together requires one basic language to be learned. The top three used languages in the world right now are English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. However, I feel as if the other languages that are not in the top three are the ones that need to be specially treasured.

I came to America when I was five years old. At that time, most kids have learned the language their parents speak and are about to speak sentences. I was one of those kids. However, as I came to America, the languages that my parents spoke and the “outside world” spoke were different. My parents would speak Korean to me while teachers and classmates would talk to me in English. At the age of six, I was slowly becoming fluent in English and my Korean was a long distant memory. Thankfully, my mother realized this and made me, under what had seemed like torture at that time, learn Korean every day. Conversations and writing assignments were forced in Korean. Only Korean was allowed to be spoken at my house. At that time, this whole ordeal seemed silly to me as it might seem to anyone else. Why couldn’t I just have one language that everyone else around me used? That would make so many things simpler.

Like many could argue, the world is becoming more revolutionized. Trades are imported and exported out of the major countries. The language is usually one of the top three so what’s the purpose of learning more than one? Even I, as a child, grew up being made fun of for not “losing” my primary language. With communication just being made by one language, there was no special purpose in keeping in touch with my Korean tongue.

However, there is a purpose. People who speak two or more languages have a positive effect on intellectual growth, better communication skills, and increased job opportunities in many careers. The job opportunities are what ringed true for me. My parents had told me that if I speak only English and I turned out to have a great job, I would fail. White people wouldn’t come to my business because I am Asian and yet, my own race wouldn’t come to my business because I wouldn’t be able to communicate well with them in our language.

Although the world is becoming a melting pot with one language that is usually needed, not all people are going to contribute into that melting pot. With people these days only knowing one language well, it stifles communication lines that could be opened up with a second language. With the world becoming more unified, there are already some languages that have been forgotten. These languages are missed but nobody can do anything about it because no one remembers how to speak it anymore. That’s not what I want in the future. I want my culture to be well known even generations from now. I want Korean and even any other language to be just as important and just as vital as the “Big Three Languages.” Thankful for my parents, I can say that I haven’t lost my native tongue yet. Rather, it’s going to be something I remember and treasure for my whole life. It’s just that important and I can’t bear to lose it.

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