Growing up in an immigrant neighborhood, in an immigrant city, I didn’t know that there were places where everyone spoke American English all the time. In my family, Hungarian, Polish, German, Romanian were all native, but the most common language was an improvised version of English.

Mixed with words from several languages.

This seems to be the immigrant experience that I’ve observed everywhere in the United States.

First generation to arrive barely speaks English. Next generation, there is a comfortable facility with the native language and English.

By the third generation – my generation – there is a small familiarity with the native language as a child, but only a smattering of words of the native language remain once we are in school…and by the time we grow up those are mostly gone. And that’s both good and sad.

But in the United States, we all simply assimilate into the dominant culture. And that’s a good thing.

Why would Syrian immigrants be any different?