Forgetting a Language, and Learning it Anew

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

As an adult, Pueng Vongs is relearning how to speak her native language. When she was a child, her family emigrated to the U.S. from Thailand. Isolated from other Thais in the Midwest, her parents decided that they should speak only English in their home.

Because of her parents' limited English, Pueng Vongs says that it limited how intimate her parents could be with their children, and she'd listen to them speaking Thai in secret. As part of our series about students and teachers, she takes us to the Thai Buddhist temple where she is studying Thai.

We also follow her as she test-drives her Thai language skills, bargaining in a Bangkok market. Pueng Vongs is an editor at New America Media.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from