Linguistic Ethnography

A Linguistic Ethnography of my Family
At the young age of 16, my father traveled alone in 1980, crossing two seas and one ocean, to arrive in the dream country, a place said to be the land of opportunity, where everyone and anyone could make it, as long as they work hard enough.   As his plane touched down on the runway and my father realized where he was, his heart dropped. He was alone, going to live with an uncle he had never met. He carried with him just $100, a slip of paper with his uncle’s address and no knowledge of the English language. How could a man, without a job or money, survive in a country where he could not even communicate with the people around him?
In his home in India, my father and his family solely spoke Gujarati, an Indo-European language that stems from the Indo-Aryan branch. Gujarati, a derivative of Sanskrit, is mainly spoken in the state of Gujarat in India, and it uses the Indian alphabet. When my father arrived at his uncle’s home in Detroit, Michigan, he was surrounded by other folk from the same state of India who also spoke Gujarati. Though this did help in easing his transition to America, as much of the culture remained the same, this played no part in breaking down the language barrier between him and other people of America.
My father attended high school and college in America. High school was where he learned much of his English, taking ESL classes, staying in school for extra hours afterschool with teachers that helped him overcome his linguistic impediment. Not only did he have to learn to speak the language, but he also had to learn to read and write all over again. His uncle helped my father in any moment of free time, contributing greatly to his success in learning. Unfortunately, the high school experience only lasted two years, as my father had become old enough for college, yet his language skills still lacked greatly. He attended Kean University, in Union, NJ, after moving to Elizabeth, NJ. There, although his...