Becca Schultz
Rare Languages in Your Country

I tutor students who speak minority languages in their own country. Sometimes these are referred to tribal languages. In the U.S. they are called refugee languages if the speakers are from a refugee group.


My students speak minority languages in Burma (Myanmar) called Karen, Karenni, and Chin. There are a few other minority languages spoken in Burma as well.


My city and many others in the U.S. are suffering an interpreter crisis since there are so few interpreters that speak these rare languages. There is also a lack of awareness of who these ethnic groups are. When they go to the hospital, they tell the doctor "I speak Karen" and the hospital staff get a Korean interpreter on the phone.


My question is, what rare languages exist in your community? Is there a need for interpreters? Do you think there is a need for outsiders to learn the language to improve communication? Or do the speakers prefer to learn the majority language at their own pace?

Jul 23, 2014 11:30 PM
Comments · 1

We have 5,000 Burmese immigrants in my city (Indianapolis), mostly Chin, but there are some Karen too. They all live in a one-square-mile area, so they all go to the same school system. The only way to deal with the interpreter crisis was to give some of them intensive English classes, and then hire them to interpret. I briefly looked at learning their language, but decided it was too difficult :P We have the same issue with Somali immigrants, but not on that kind of scale.


There is a great Chin restaurant here too. If you haven't tried their food, I highly recommend it :)

July 23, 2014
Becca Schultz
Language Skills
Burmese, Chinese (Mandarin), English, Russian, Spanish
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)