Learning more about your culture can be a source of pride, and a good way to shape your own identity.
So, when parents can tech their kids their native language it is a gift.
Redditor THROWAWAYRAHALLOWENI encountered this very issue with his wife. So he turned to the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for moral judgment.
“WIBTA if I(28M) don’t encourage our baby learn my wife’s(26F) native language?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“We’re due in about 6 weeks or so ATM.”
“I’m white. Born and raised in the states. My wife is a brown woman from Asia.”
“She grew up speaking Urdu and some other local languages and English, of course. I only speak English and some bits of Spanish here and there.”
“She always wanted our kid to speak Urdu and English as a child so her native language would be passed down.”
“Now, I don’t plan to encourage this because Urdu is not that well of a language and we live in a country where English is enough to get us by.”
“She plans on speaking to him in Urdu and wants me to speak English so we can raise him bilingual.”
“But a part of me is nervous and hesitant because my child would be speaking a language I can’t understand or speak and I feel like it would create a rift between us so I’d rather we stick to just English.”
Redditors gave their opinions on the situation by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors agreed OP was the a**hole.
“YTA. If you’re worried about your child and your wife speaking a language you don’t speak, maybe you should learn. Don’t stop your child from learning something just because you’re insecure about your own knowledge. We should always want our children to be better off than we are.” ~ BL3Moxxxi
“Snarky, I know, but perhaps if their kid learns multiple languages they won’t just learn this parent’s weird English: ‘because Urdu is not that well of a language.’ Had no idea Urdu was sick, OP: you’re both racist/xenophobic and grammatically incorrect in the ‘Murican language you’re so proud of.” ~ Archandincorrigible
“Honestly I had to reread to see if OP disclaimed that he’s not a native speaker. His phrasing is bizarre.”
“I think he meant to say that Urdu is not that well-known of a language, but the grammar is all over the place, so who knows?” ~ elleestchouette
“Some of us think about a hundred different ways to help our children to have better opportunities in life and THIS GUY IS TRYING TO JUSTIFY WHY HE WILL TAKE AWAY HIS SON IDENTITY AND PART OF HIS CULTURE.” ~ ewillbefine1
Many argued Urdu is very helpful in understanding other languages.
“Also, Urdu is close enough to Hindi that an Urdu speaker could get around in many parts of India. More than 60% of Indians – well over half a billion people – speak Hindi.” ~ superiority
“Not only that, but Urdu has overlap with Farsi.” ~ chibisparkle
“As well as Arabic. Knowing Urdu has helped me learn basics in a few languages!” ~ GredAndForgee
“All of those are great reasons to learn Urdu, but totally unnecessary. No one should have to justify speaking to their child in their native tongue to their spouse or anyone else.”
“In my (totally irrelevant) opinion, it would be so much more of a shame if OP’s wife spoke an endangered language that only a few thousand people spoke and wanted her child to speak it, but was forbidden from doing this by her husband.”
“A language doesn’t need to be widely spoken to be worth learning.” ~ funklab
People shared their own thoughts surrounding learning new languages.
“I speak 6 languages, one of them are spoken by approximately 30.000 people worldwide, yet i decided to keep putting an effort into it ones I became a teenager for exactly this reason.” ~ sajolin
“That’s awesome of you. Was it a language spoken by family or did you just decide to go out of your way to learn a rare language?” ~ funklab
“I move to the country when I was 11 with my move because I didn’t wanna live in my home country and convinced my mom it was a good idea to move.”
“My native language is one of the official languages here so everyone speaks that, the other is taught in school and used mainly by the natives since you don’t need to learn the other. But since I went to school there I decided to actually learn learn it and now speaks it. Even though it’s unbelievably hard so I’m not fluent. Unfortunately.” ~ sajolin
“Don’t forget Hindi and Urdu are essentially the same spoken language. Both have a huge overlap with Punjabi, and Bengali, also some with Marathi and Gujarati. I also believe there’s a bit of overlap with Farsi. So all in all, they could have some form of communication with maybe 800mil people.” ~ watfiremo
Being bilingual is always a useful skill.
“My boss speaks Urdu and we constantly have people calling our office for him because of it, being bilingual is never a bad thing.”
“OP has some racism that he needs to reflect upon and really think about why he is resistant to his child learning a foreign language.”
“This isn’t meant as an attack — we all have some degree of racist thoughts or attitudes by the mere fact that we’ve been continually exposed to it through society — but is meant to just call out the behavior for what it is, and hopefully push OP to teach himself to become anti-racist and a better person and parent.” ~ Uma__
“Oh silly you, thinking that anything other than English and Spanish mean anything.” ~ Aetheria1
“We have a lady at our office who speaks Hindi & Urdu. And so do her clients. It’s a huge shame more Americans don’t know more languages & OP is extremely foolish & YTA in his way of thinking. Your son & family will be very thankful he becomes bilingual” ~ ryoko_kusanagi
“Either that or he was doing the thing people with bad grammar do when they’re trying to be “fancy” and swapping good for well. Besides, Urdu is spoken by 70 million people, so it is ‘well known.’” ~ Archandincorrigible
OP has some reflecting to do.