Chinese-English Dictionary

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

Right before getting on the plane from Hong Kong to NYC in 1972, my dad bought this dictionary in the airport bookstore, and it's been with him ever since. When I was a child, he would tell me stories about how he was made fun of in his high school, Fort Hamilton High School, because he would constantly be translating words and flipping through this dictionary in class, and he spoke English with a horrible accent. He explained how he recorded all of his classes, and translated his notes from English to Chinese every day when he got home, and how this process took hours. My dad doesn't use this dictionary often anymore, but occasionally, he will pull out the dictionary to search up a word that he's never encountered. Now, this dictionary sits on our bookshelf not only as a symbol of pride for my dad, who can speak relatively fluent English, but also a reminder of the struggles that a language barrier can pose for all immigrants, even today.

Year: 1972

– Teresa Chen

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant