4515 Willard Ave. #2210
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
eniko.basa at verizon dot net
Fri, 07 Sep 2012 10:51:53 EDT by admin, 125299 views
Nordonia Hills City Schools, Ohio
Education paper by Szentkirályi, Endre (all papers)
Only 10% of Hungarian-Americans speak Hungarian at home. Why?
Of more than a million Americans who listed Hungarian ancestry in their census questionnaires, only about 8% speak Hungarian in the family. In Ohio, that ratio is about 10%, and in Cleveland, about 11%. Why? What are the factors that allow some second and even third generation Hungarian-Americans to maintain their Hungarian language despite these overwhelming odds? Nine in-depth interviews were conducted with a variety of second and third generation members of Cleveland’s Hungarian community, most of whom were born in the Cleveland area and all of whom grew up in Cleveland’s Hungarian community, to ascertain the factors impacting their language use in the family and in the community, as well as to analyze the formation of their cultural identities. Using their own insights garnered from the interviews, the presentation will show the importance of consistent parenting and peer friendships, and illuminate the role that involvement in scouting and other community events can play. It will show the value the interviewees placed on speaking a second language, as well as the importance of strictness. The presentation will also share linguistic insights, reasons for assimilation, and the role of American spouses. Odds are that 89-92% of those with Hungarian ancestry will assimilate into American culture. These case studies, examples of Cleveland Hungarians who maintain their language and culture even late into the 2nd and 3rd generations, will show how to beat those odds. By preserving the past of their parents and grandparents, these interviewees show how to find a way to the future.
Brief Professional Bio:
Endre Szentkirályi studied English and German at Cleveland State University and earned an MA in English at the University of Akron. He has edited several books of oral histories including 56 Stories (assistant editor and website content manager) and Clevelandben még élnek magyarok? He published a study of the émigré writer Áron Gábor in Hungarian Quarterly, and consulted for the 56Films documentaries Inkubátor and Hazatérés. Material from this presentation will appear in the forthcoming issue of Hungarian Studies Review. He currently teaches English and German at Nordonia High School near Cleveland.