Shrinking; This Concept Is an Oft-Cited One Term Paper

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shrinking; this concept is an oft-cited one in discussing international relations, the blinding speed of worldwide communication, and global travel and migration. Ideas like moving to another nation or even another continent are significantly more feasible today than they would have been even half a century ago. This closeness of various linguistic, ethnic, and cultural groups has created an urgent need for a better understanding of assimilation among these varied groups.

Cultural assimilation has a broad definition due to the broad nature of "culture;" it can refer to an actual intermixing of races and "the genetic dissolution" of a certain group; it can also refer solely to more immediately changeable concepts such as language, religious belief, familial relations, and other traditions of a certain ethnic or societal group (Moran 2005, p. 169). In today's globalized society, different groups are encountering one another with increasing frequency, significantly altering the importance of these types of assimilation and inter-group relations. For purposes of this essay, only the idea of assimilating societal practices (i.e. language, traditions, etc.) will be addressed.

Assimilation may be seen as an attempt by a minority group to "fit in" to the dominant cultural model; it is also utilized by migrant and diasporic groups in an effort to better function in their new societies. Language is the most obvious factor in these assimilation experiences; the large Hispanic population in the United States is almost entirely assimilated in terms of language -- over 80% of these individuals speak English (Grow 2004).
This large group of migrants has assimilated their language skills to that of their "new" environment so as to better work, socialize, and live in a nation where their native tongue is not the language of choice for a majority of the inhabitants. Another study of language as an assimilating factor among immigrants to the United States found that most (88%) immigrant children preferred English to their native tongues (Davidson 1998). This assimilation is a significant influence on the family and social personalities of these children as they become more incorporated into life in their new culture. "The force of linguistic assimilation was incontrovertible" in studying the overall assimilation of these immigrant groups (ibid.).

The debate regarding cultural assimilation focuses not on what the phenomenon is, but instead what it means for the existence of minority cultures in a global society. Is the type of linguistic assimilation in the above example a death knoll for bilingual immigrants, or successive generations of immigrants? Is it possible for alternate languages and cultures continue to exist in a nation or region where the dominant social mores and language are different from the original traditions of a group? Ideally, this alteration of culture would be "a positive attempt by groups to become more at home in new surroundings and to integrate into the host society" (Karlson 2004,….....

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