The Strange Persistence of First Languages

This is a long read, but a fascinating one in many ways. It also provides a strong argument for those of you who are lucky enough to speak more than one language: be sure to speak to your children in your non-English language from a very, very early age; that’s when it gets imprinted. You will be giving them a gift.

Musings and Wonderings

The Strange Persistence of First Languages
After my father died, my journey of rediscovery began with the Czech language.
BY JULIE SEDIVY
ILLUSTRATION BY SARAH MAZZETTI
NOVEMBER 5, 2015

Several years ago, my father died as he had done most things throughout his life: without preparation and without consulting anyone. He simply went to bed one night, yielded his brain to a monstrous blood clot, and was found the next morning lying amidst the sheets like his own stone monument.

It was hard for me not to take my father’s abrupt exit as a rebuke. For years, he’d been begging me to visit him in the Czech Republic, where I’d been born and where he’d gone back to live in 1992. Each year, I delayed. I was in that part of my life when the marriage-grad-school-children-career-divorce current was sweeping me along with breath-sucking force, and a leisurely trip to the…

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