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The Routes of English - BBC Radio 4
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Immigrant is an American word used to describe the huge influx of people to the States between 1800 and 1910. This included five million Germans, four million Irish, and five million Central Europeans and Italians - enough foreign language speakers to destabilise, if not overwhelm English.

But these new immigrants wanted to become part of American society so wholeheartedly embraced English bringing with them words like schlep, kosher, capo, pizza, delicatessen, spiel and many others. At home, they may have generally used their respective mother tongues but, in society, English was used. Even now, many Americans are bilingual.

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