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December 18, 2018By legaltranslationsGeneral

How a Migrant Learns a New Language in a New Country

Every year, more than a million migrants find their way to the United States. They play three main roles. The first is the income earner, the second is the caregiver if a family is involved and the third is the role they play in community life. Crucial to integration is learning enough English so that integration is a smooth transition. Without the ability to learn English means limited opportunities and poor integration is likely to be the outcome.

Typically, an English as a second language classes takes up between 3 and 6 hours a week depending on the time the immigrant has available to attend classes. The first set of classes will last for 120 hours which starts to provide limited but useful competency in English. The emphasis at this point in time is learning English to help them understand matters concerning their family, financial matters and healthcare. For a migrant who wishes to become a naturalized citizen, there are specific language requirements in the naturalization test that need to be covered. Some migrants are more concerned about their employability and want to achieve English competency as quickly as they can.


    There are numerous ways a migrant family can work together to improve their English and that’s spending time practicing the language together. For example, reading to one another out loud every evening a chapter taken from a popular book that all the family will enjoy. This helps to listen to English as well as gaining knowledge about pronunciation. Playing Scrabble in English with all the family packs in a lot of word practice too and requires concentration.

    Enjoy an Evening with other Migrant Families

    Arranging an evening with fellow migrant families who don’t necessarily speak your native language offers plenty of opportunities to practice oral English.

    English may be your Gain at the Loss of your Native Language

    There is probably no one country that encourages migrants to forsake their native language in favor of their host country’s language but the loss of one’s native language and all its association with your culture is an inevitable sacrifice when moving to a new country with a different language.

    Statistics indicate that in homes of first-generation immigrants very few of the family will have a target level fluency in English unless they were born in the United States and have commenced school in the country. This is more the case with refugees than those who have immigrated based on the country’s skill categories which require a certain level of competency in English before acceptance into the country is permitted.

    When both parents were born in the country most of the knowledge of their parent’s native language has been lost and they only speak English unless they have made a concerted effort to keep the original native language alive.


    The statistics indicate that in the end migrants do make a life in a new country, even if it takes years to achieve. Given that there are many methods a new immigrant is able to make use of to enhance their English competency and feel more integrated into their new country’s way of life these should be utilized as much as possible.

    Fluency in your new country’s language means you and your family are able to keep a job, qualify to become a citizen of the new country and overall feel more at home in the country you have chosen to be your new home. None is forced to migrate to a new country but learning the country’s language opens more opportunities.

    Last Updated On:  March 10, 2023 By legaltranslations General

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