The Language Of A New Country And Culture

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Once families from Central America have immigrated to the United States of America, one of the first issues they will face is the language barrier. Acclimating to a new country and culture is already complicated; not being able to speak or read the native language adds to the challenges and demands immigrant families face. Six out of the seven Central American countries recognize Spanish as their official language, with Belize being the outlier having English as its official language. While the majority of Central Americans speak Spanish, there are also many indigenous peoples that speak many other languages, including several that are included in the Mayan language family. Because children emigrating from Central America will often only know Spanish, learning in American schools taught completely in English will be a new challenge. Fortunately, both Spanish and English use the Roman alphabet so children should already have a basic knowledge of phonetics. Other languages, such as Mandarin and Japanese, use logograms, which are symbols or pictures to represent words, rather than spelling it out with letters. English and Spanish share many cognates, or words with similar spellings and meanings, which helps when learning new vocabulary terms. According to the American Community Survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau in 2013, it is estimated that of the foreign-born population from Central America ages 5 and older, 92.9% speak another language than
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