According to every biography of Lawrence Welk I cam find he was born in Strasburg, North Dakota in 1903 to German-speaking immigrant parents. He always said that he did not learn English until age 21 and always spoke with a heavy German accent. This is very late and poor assimilation compared to today’s standards.
Today all schools in America teach English to non-English speaking students as their top priority and I have never met or heard of anyone born in Amercia (or who came to this country before the age of 10 or so) who does not speak English fluently without an accent.
So what do these facts do the often heard contention that immigrants today are not assimilating as quickly as previous generations?
Although poorly assimilated by today’s standards Lawrence Welk was no threat to the American way of life, of course. He enriched, strengthened and broadened our culture and, like most immigrants, made America a better place.
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