This is a common concern amongst parents of today. How much retention of Punjabi language will the coming generations have?
My husband is solely an English speaker so I posed this question to him. Although he understands everything being said to him in Punjabi he hesitates to respond in Punjabi. He said he fears that he will say the words incorrectly and be made fun of. I asked him if he had any suggestions on ideas to help him practice. He said why don’t you start conversation classes for people like me who don’t have the confidence in speaking amongst fluent Punjabi speakers? Brilliant idea I said.
Every week we have a meet up class where people like my husband can come and practice their Punjabi language skills in a supportive environment where everyone is in the same vote.
The confidence in my husband has escalated to new levels. It is the most endearing thing when he speaks to me in his two word phrases with a thick Canadian accent – cha peeny? do you want to drink tea? bha jao sit down. chalo chalyay let go or holee bolo meaning speak slowly. Maybe this is not such a bad idea to begin with. Especially with our children.
I had the same fear of speaking Punjabi all throughout elementary school, high school, and university. Whenever I was in a Punjabi class I was scared to speak Punjabi as I was worried I would mispronounce a word. Even when interacting with my parents and relatives I would avoid it as I didn’t want others to make fun of me for it. I can completely relate to your husband Raj!!