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Smithsonian Folklife Festival

Language and Culture Schools

Preserving a native language is one of the most significant actions immigrants take to maintain their culture. Even as they learn English and new ways of interacting in the United States, many immigrants still use their ancestral tongue to communicate with family and friends by mail, telephone, or Internet.

Like most big cities, the D.C. metropolitan area contains dozens of APA language and culture schools. Classes in the written and spoken language are often supplemented with dance, music, and sports activities. Children learn to appreciate traditional Asian and Pacific Islander foods, and develop respect for ancestral religious and social practices.

Retaining pride in one's roots poses no hindrance to developing strong ties to the United States. Millions of European Americans continue to promote their ethnic roots even after many generations in this country. African Americans look back with pride to longstanding cultural traditions developed on the African continent.

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