Breast-Fed Language

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Monday, October 11, 2010


About two thirds of New Yorkers are from immigrant families. And when parents - who came here from other countries - raise American children, they face all kinds of choices about which cultural norms to follow. That's the case in Radio Rookie Andrea Lee Torres' family. Her parents came here from the Philippines in the 1990s. And she's not sure she agrees with at least one decision they made - not to teach her their language.

Produced by:

Sanda Htyte


Marianne McCune


Andrea Torres

Comments [3]

scarreon from Ohio

I heard your story on NPR Thursday, Nov 15. I was taken aback because I attempted to teach my sons how to speak Tagalog. They were receptive but the environment here in the midwest does not really encourage them to use Tagalog. They learned a lot of expressions and of course the accented English that my husband and I speak. As grownups, they now find that Tagalog is really important to learn and speak because they now deal with many Pinoys. They are trying and they just have to speak Tagalog more often. The idea is they learned far more difficult languages like Mandarin, Italian, and French and learning Tagalog is not that difficult for them. Good luck to your learning to speak Tagalog.. You will get there. It is never too late to learn any language.. Hats off to young Pinoy raised in America just like you who still cherish their old folks tradition..

Nov. 16 2012 07:42 AM
oliver from las vegas

heard your story on APM's The Story on 11/15/12. I can easily relate to your situation, as I am both Thai (father) and Mexican (mother) and neither speak or understand thai and spanish.

youre definitely right about feeling left out, and getting a sense that everyone is either laughing at you, or shaking their head in disappointment. I hope youve continued with your studies, because deciding whether to be included, or not included, in a culture should be your own choosing, and not because of the circumstances of how you were raised/taught.

Nov. 15 2012 05:01 PM
Ed Lara from Westfield NJ

What a great story, well done Andrea! My wife and I moved to the US 20 years ago, and we have two boys (now 16 and 11) who never really learned to speak Filipino (because we never really spoke it at home). I am inspired to see if they will learn Tagalog using the same CD you used. Thanks for sharing.

Oct. 19 2010 04:02 PM

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