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These maybe an odd combo - but I have been thinking about both lately. What are the stories of immigration in your family? Who immigrated here, when, why, and how? And what are the dialects/languages/culture in your family? I will likely delete this in a few days in case anyone shares doxxy stuff.

Immigration: On both sides of my family, it was my great-greats who immigrated here. On my dad’s side, they came from Holland and moved to Michigan. I know nothing more than that. On my mom’s side, my great-great grandmother on my grandfather’s side was an indentured servant from Bohemia, and moved to New York. We don’t know anything about my mom’s mom’s family.

Language/dialect/culture: Interestingly, my parents’ generation was the first on both sides of the family to marry outside our countries of origin (with one exception - my mom’s dad’s second wife was not Bohemian - but that marriage was the result of a wife swap, so it is all around weird). None of my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side married anyone who is Bohemian/Czech. On my dad’s side, his oldest brother married someone who was Dutch - but he was the only one.


Oddly though, the culture didn’t get passed down on either side. My mom got to learn about Bohemian culture more - ate the foods, heard the language. That was lost sadly. I don’t know how much Dutch culture surrounded my dad (the only Dutch thing I know about his is that when he was in the merchant marines, he went to the Netherlands and really liked the prostitutes .... he was married to my mom at the time, and I had been born I believe).

So, I know no dutch (except what I learned and promptly forgot from duolingo), and know two things in Bohemia (Merry Christmas and “I’ll give you such a hit in the head”).

The dialects in my family are kind of interesting - moreso on my mom’s side. My dad was born in Michigan, but moved to Florida when he was a kid. He had some more southern pronunciations of some words (like crick instead of creek). But no one in his family have any kind of discernible dialect.

My mom was born on Long Island, NY. Her father had a very strong NY dialect, her stepmom didn’t - and I don’t know about her birth mom (I’ve met her a few times but barely remember her*). But weirdly, even though all of my aunts and uncles were raised on Long Island, only a couple of them have NY dialects. My youngest uncle and my youngest aunt both do - very strong dialects. Weirdly, my aunt hasn’t lived in NY for a very long time (now lives in Hawaii - and probably has for like 15 years).


My oldest aunt has no NY dialect, and I don’t know if she ever did. She does have a slight british dialect though (her mom - my stepgrandmother was British, but had an American dialect). This aunt lived in Africa for years as a peace corps volunteer and as a health researcher. She was fluent in french as well. She also lived in Papua New Guinea and Australia. She got pregnant with one of my cousins in New Guinea - and both kids were raised in Australia until they were like 10-12, and then moved to the US. For a while, they had pretty interesting dialects - but neither have any lingering Australian accents any longer.

My mom though - she was born on Long Island, but lived most of her life on the West Coast. Yet, she still pronounces some words like a New Yorker - and even some words like a Bostonian (even though she never lived there). One of the weirdest things is that she cannot pronounce words that have a hard or soft AAA sound followed by an OOO sound. For example, she cannot say “law and order.” She says, “law and ahdah.” If pressed to try and concentrate, she says, “lor and order.” Same with aorta (and I am a mean child and make her say these things in front of others because it fascinates me) - she says, “aaaohhtuh” and if pressed, says, “ayorter.” It’s just the weirdest thing.


I sound pretty much like a west coaster - I worry I am picking up some of the chicago flat a. I have been told that I sound european by polish people in chicago. I have also been told, when I say I moved here from Oregon, that I “speak english really well.”

Anyway, tell me any or all of the above about your family. I’ll delete in a couple of days in case anything is identifying.


* sadly for my mom, my grandpa destroyed ALL photos of my mom’s birth mom (she took off when my mom was 12). This past christmas, I showed her we had 2 pics of her in our album from the times she came to visit us.

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