The verb to assimilate refers to (a) the process of causing a person or group to become a part of a different society or country or (b) the process by which a person or group voluntarily adopts the ways of another culture in order to fully become a part of that society. These two definitions have many words in common but clearly illustrate a very important contrast and an intrinsic internal conflict in the term—assimilation by choice versus assimilation by coercion or even by force. Assimilation carries the implication of leaving the culture of origin behind and focusing individual identity on the new culture. This contrasts with acculturation, which carries the implication of adding new cultural knowledge, skills, and attitudes to the existing heritage ...

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