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Do I Sound Familiar ?

Octavius Collins

Do I sound Familiar?


“ I had a dream like Martin Luther lil bit of hope. Say if Rosa never at, and Malcolm never spoke. Prolly catch me the woods hanging from a rope.”


“ Damn Tav who said that?

“Meek Mill.”

“You listen to him?” My friend says in a cautious voice.

“Yea, that’s my boy. (Finishes lyrics)


            Whenever I’m with my friends I tend to speak with a lot of slang. Half the time I don’t complete my words, substitute correct words for slang words and I do a lot of cussing. I speak in a way that defines myself, but I change up when necessary. I think of myself as a “slang slinger.” Sometimes I even talk to my teachers in slang. Trying to teach them something new. I know how to use proper English, & I’ve never been told I say certain things or that I have a problem with my pronunciation.


From my mother’s prospective I talk like “ an angry black teen.” To myself, in a way that identifies myself as a young black teen. My language reflects my childhood. I use words with my friend’s just express a certain feeling or meaning during the conversation. I’m not just full of profanity and slang, like I said I was taught to use proper language, I just chose when it’s appropriate and when I should use it.            


I had a job interview during my freshman year for The Franklin Institute. I manage myself well I as greeted everyone in the room with a “Hello” or “Good Evening.” Questions like:

“Why would you be a good explainer for the PACTS program? What changes could you positively bring to the PACTS program if given this job opportunity? Who do you look up to in the PACTS program and will you step up and take someone else under your wing when you’re apprentice leaves?”

I answered every question, brought up by my fellow explainers, in complete sentences. An individual from the group of explainers and supervisors pulled me to the side and went on about how impressed he was, as a peer of minds, to as how I handle myself in the interview room. He admitted that he didn’t think I had the type of language in me considering the fact that he spent 4 years of his life with me outside of supervision or adults.            

        I’ve learned when and when not to use slang and proper language as I’ve grown up. There has been a time when I was young and I’ve walked up to an older adult such as my grandmother and said

“ wassup.”

“Don’t ever talk to your grandmother like that again!”

That was similar to the response I was given from my mom. 

From the moment on slang coming out of my mouth was only used around my friends but as I got older if I was to use slang around my mom it was I who was joking, playing around. My 8th grade year was when I learned how and when to use proper English. I had to get ready for upcoming interviews so my mom began prepping me. I learned to sit up right when I answered questions. I learned to answer questions in complete sentences, and to keep a positive mindset throughout the whole interview. The more practice I received with and from my mom I by the date of my 8th  grade interviews I was superfluous. Walked in greeted the interviewees with firm handshakes, and continued on with conversations that started like, 

"How are you today?"
"I'm fine yourself?"
"I'm excellent, lets began this interview."

"What made you apply to our school?"
"I applied after reading a brief overview about your school, and then further during research about the school to see if I'd be interested in spending the rest if my years at your school."
For the most part I answered the whole interview with answers like that. I was asked questions further on in the interview about how I could change the school, positive effects I could bring etc. there was a connection between interviews from school and work and how I handled myself. They all consisted of questions that would briefly have me answer and define why and how I could bring change to school/work. " A language which can connect their identity to, one capable of communicating the realities and value true to themselves." To me that quote means, someone who can't be real with themselves as they communicate to others isn't capable of communicating with others.
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The Power of One's Voice

"Shut up fatty, go eat a burger!"

"Can't catch us, Fat Albert!"

"He can't climb that rope, he's too fat."

Just an everyday routine at my lower grade school, J.S. Jenks. I was about 7 years old and I was constantly made fun of because I was a little chubby. I wasn't fat. That's what I wanted to say, but it was if my voice was taken away from me because people had stronger voices than I did. I could speak well in class and solve problems but when it was recess or that short period of time where it's time to change class, or if there was that 'class talk' where everyone starts talking for some reason, my classmates always wiggled in a few moments to tease me on my weight. 

These 'friends' (they told me to do X, or else Y will happen. Peer pressure.) of mine always found a way to make me feel lower than I was. And I started to believe them. Not to an extent that I believed that I was fat, but the fact that I couldn't speak out to them and prove them wrong. 

I talked with teachers and my parents about it. My parents didn't help much. My mom told me to ignore them, and if that didn't work, tell the teacher. I didn't want to tell the teachers because then I'd look like a snitch, and that'd put me in a worse situation than I was already in. I probably wouldn't be able to step into the school if I told a teacher I just couldn't speak out. I was muted by them.

That's when I told my parents enough is enough. I didn't want to hear this broken record play for the rest of my life. I asked them if I could change schools. They took this into consideration and we eventually found Green Woods Charter School, a nature school in the middle of a forest. I liked the fact that the school was in a forest, because I loved animals at the time, but I was sort of afraid of what people would think of me. 

The first year came awkwardly for me. I tried to get into some of the lingo that passed around the school, but, to me, it felt unnatural. I'd listen to what words and inside jokes the kids used, like 'salmon cannon' or 'weapon' (they pronounced it Wee-pon) and I repeated them, but they gave me this look of confusion. It was a good idea in my head to mimic my classmates, but when I said what they said, it just made my classmates feel awkward and make me look stupid. So I dropped the idea of trying to sound like them and continued to remain silent and do things on my own. When I was paired up in a group, I let them plan without objections, and if there was any work they wanted me to get done, I would do it.

The months went by and I started to grow taller and thinner. I was pretty happy about my thinning up, also knowing that the kids wouldn't make fun of my weight. I also started to learn the tones in which people speak in; like whether or not this person is good to talk to or not. I had a few verbal tussles here and there before I started to get the hang of it, but I still didn't know how to prove someone wrong about somethings. I'd either stay away from the person or people that would try to take me down, or just ignore what they say and keep silent. It made things slightly easier for me to use my voice, but I wanted to make it so that that person wouldn't confront me about dilemmas, like how I ran, or how I spent time with a person with some sort of mental disorder that liked anime. (He probably had ADD or something. I'm not trying to sound rude. Just saying what I observed over the years).

That's when the 3rd year of school came along and I met 2 important people who are still my friends today. The first person I met and became close friends with was a girl named Avalon. Our meeting was somewhat spontaneous; it happened when I was playing my recorder. She commented on my music, saying, "Isn't that song from Naruto?". Fearing that if I said something, she would retort in such a way that would make me feel like I was at Jenks, I turned the other cheek, put my recorder away, and left her. The next day, I saw her sit in front of me on the school bus and pull out a hard back covered book. Tempted, I peered over the seat to see that she had various drawings in the book. Being a novice artist myself, I asked if I could see. She obliged and gave me the book to look through. I was bedazzled by how good her drawings were. I gave the sketchbook back, saying that she drew very well.

"Thanks," she replied, "You play recorder pretty well."

"Thanks," I replied, "It's… the song I'm practicing is from Naruto. It's like when they're going to fight and stuff."

"I knew I heard that somewhere. Cool stuff!"

"What's your name?" I asked.

"Avalon. And yours?"

"Phoenix. Good to meet you."

And the friendship began there with her. Awkward way to meet, huh? Sometimes, I pondered with Avalon how we had met up and how strange it was.

We had much in common with each other. I learned about her and her past experiences with people she didn't like and how she actually spoke out at them. I was amazed at how she was able to do that. I didn't know I couldn't speak up for myself if my life depended on it then. 

We formed a tight bond together, before I found my second friend who is a junior at the school I'm writing I'm at now. Her name is Quinn. Avalon had struck up a conversation with her while I was doing something for someone. I can't quite remember what I was doing, but Avalon had introduced her to me and, after sharing our similarities, differences, and life experiences, we became good friends as well. It was weird to me at the time. I didn't know how to feel about how my friend's ways of speaking out. Avalon spoke her heart when needed, and Quinn did the same, or kept quiet about some situations.

Their care-free ways of speaking comforted me in a way. They made me comfortable with what came out of my mouth. They gave me a feeling of confidence in myself, something I didn't really have when I was at Jenks. That confidence soon turned into a strong voice which stumbled across some words and tended to over-elaborate, but 'twas a strong voice nonetheless. They helped me gain my voice again and they later gave me the ability to use what a person says against them. 

For example; if a person insults me in a way, like say, "Man you are an idiot," I'll turn their voice against them and maybe say something on the lines of, "How dare you call me an idiot! I'm a moron, I prefer to be called as such!" This will either cause whoever insulted me to either look confused and not talk to me, or lead into a pointless argument before they figure out I'm toying with their voice.   I plan on keeping this ability if I'm in a a verbal situation that I want to get out of.

Later I read up about how people in stories had problems with their voices, like me. I read a story called 'Black English Language'  by James Baldwin. He had said that, "What joins all languages and all men is the necessity to confront life, in order, not inconceivably, to outwit death. The price for this acceptance and achievement of one's temporal ability." What I could understand from this is that what makes us speak is to survive and not be alone. I could relate to this. I wanted that connection in my life. I wanted to survive in the world, but I had nothing to cling to. I don't know what would happen if I stayed alone and silent the rest of my life. I understood now how important it is to speak and not let my voice be capsized by others who dislike the unique sounds that escape from my mouth. 

Now, I'm not afraid to use my voice to counter what a person says when someone tried to mute me. I will never be what I was when I was 7; one without confidence in my voice. I know now to keep my voice strong and in check.

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El País, 738 Grakyn Lane

 Vivo en Roxborough, una comunidad muy bonita. No hablo con muchas personas en mi barrio, pero tengo unos amigos quienes viven en Roxborough. La mayoría de las personas quienes viven en Roxborough son blancas. No hay muchas razas, y no me gusta eso, pienso que debe haber más razas. Quiero más diversidad en mi barrio. En Roxborough hay otros lugares, y vivo en Andorra. Se llama Andorra porque es como el país, hay muchos árboles, y parques. Mi casa está casi en un bosque, y me gusta esto mucho, así lo veo que es muy bonito, para mi que todas las comunidades deben tener un bosque. No quiero que mi comunidad cambie, porque me gusta tal como es ahora. Otras personas quieren más casas, pero pienso que debe ser como el país todavía. Muchas personas en Andorra son amables. No hay muchos murales en Andorra, pero la comunidad va a ser mejor cuando los tenga.

Mi mural ubicado en 738 Grakyn Lane, en la pared de un casa. La tema mayor de mi mural es el medio ambiente, y que el medio ambiente es muy importante para el mundo, y Andorra también. El medio ambiente es muy importante para Andorra porque Andorra se llama Andorra porque el país tiene un medio ambiente el mismo de Andorra, y cuando no tenemos muchos árboles, y flores, va a ver diferente como el país Andorra. Mi mural no cuenta la historia de Andorra, porque no es una historia muy interesante. Muchos de los imágenes en mi mural son verdes, este es porque muchas flores son verdes. Verde es el color que muchas personas piensan de cuando ellos escuchan la palabra medio ambiente. El propósito de mi mural es que las personas quienes ven el mural son que el medio ambiente es muy importante. Desde mi punto de vista,  Lo más importante es el medio ambiente, porque el mundo no vas a ser el mundo sin el medio ambiente mismo.

Así lo veo, el arte público no es necesario para la comunidad, pero es muy bonito, y la comunidad es mejor con el arte publico. El grafiti es arte público, pero es un delito. El grafiti pueden ser muy bello, y es bueno para la comunidad cuando es bello, o en un lugar bueno para la comunidad, cuando no es mal para unas personas. En mi opinión, mi mural es arte publico, porque es de una pared que es no muy importa, y la comunidad pueden ver que es importante a nosotros.  Mucho de el arte público está creadas por personas quienes son muy talentosos. Mi mural es arte, porque todas las cosas, como grafiti, y también el vandalismo son arte, y el papel de el arte público es para ser bonito. Así lo veo, que mi mural es bueno, pero puedo tener más de la diversidad, porque debe ser más diverso en Andorra. También debo tener más colores en mi mural, verde es bueno y representa el medio ambiente, pero más colores son buenos.

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Mi Barrio, Mt Airy.

Taylor stover

January 10th 2011

Espanol 3


Mt. Airy, barrio es muy diversos. Hay muchas personas diferentes. Hay mucho familias, y todos son interesantes. La familia es muy grande en mi barrio, casi todo el mundo es agradable. La gente es muy de bienvenida, es por lo general tranquilo excepto en ave de Germantown. Durante los fines de semana, la gente va al ave Germantown para la diversion. Los restaurantes y las tiendas son grandes! Mucho de mi amigos vivir cerca de mi. Hay varias familias de todas las razas y muchas relaciones diferentes. Hay muchas formas de transporte y todo muy seguro. Hay muchas maneras de involucrase en Mt. Airy. La basura recoge, andar de perro, y ser bueno persona. Casas pueden ser muy largo y muy pequeno. Hay muchas cafes y resturantes. Escogi Mt. Airy por todas razones. No tenemos rico que hacer rico. Hay muchos lugares para comer, muchos opciones para los vegetarianos. La criminalidad es muy baja en Mt Airy. Todas personas es civilizada y saben como comportarse. Todas personas premite sus animals de correas y los gatos estan en todas partes fuera. Hay parques para los animals y a los ninos en Mt. Airy. En Mt. Airy los ninos se encuentran en la escuela, y el parque, los ninos son tranquilas. No hay nada perturbacion. Muchas balnearios y yoga y relajarse lugares. En Mt. Airy hay toda tipo de persona. Gay, rectos, blanco, negro, y la lista continua. Nadie los juzga sobre nada. Esta bein que usted mismo. Hay muchos homosexuals y transexuales en me barrio. Ellos son aceptados como lo deben ser no hay una persona los discrimen porque es no justo. Mi familia es biracial y sentimos suficiente. Mis vecinos son de Iraq, y son ejemplos como alguien puede vivir aca y sentir seguro. La gente puede caminar tarde por la noche y no tiene que preocuparse. Sugeririo esta barrio para las familias, es pecialmente con los ninos pequenos. En mi mural, representado la gente y idea de mi barrio. En Mt. Airy no hay graffiti o vandalismo, hay pintura mural y mucho arte. Todo es muy bonito y comfortables. 

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Who I Am and What I Want

When you take a glance at my slide, you may see a couple of butterflies, flowers with a cool design, a purple back-round and my name in an aqua blue. We all that thats the only thing on my slide but theres more to it!
When you see my slide design the first thing you will notice is the color scheme. The main colors used are purple pink and blue. Those three colors are very appealing to they eye and are also my favorite colors. Presentation Zenk stated that the text should be as big as i wants. Theres never a limit. But I disagree because my name Chaveliz, would not catch the audiences attention if its written across the entire slide. The slide also contains a lot of repetition. Not by word but image. I have a many butterflies because it brings peace in every single country. There is a lot of bleeding. All of the images on the corners are cut off because it catches the audiences eye. They would wonder where the images are coming from and/or going to. Remember to pick the leaset colors as posible. Not to light or bright because then you won't catch the audiences attention. Have fun designing your next presentation because you will be surprised with your outcome.
Redo for tech
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~~Enfrentar Lo Qué Es La Realidad~~ Localizado En: La calle Howard en la dirección norte y la calle Cambria en la dirección oeste.

  Saludos! Mi nombre es Arianny Valdez y tengo catorce años. Para mi, el arte público me facina porque es muy creativo y expresivo. Personalmente, a mí me gusta formar collages de arte a mano es algo muy divertido.Por otro lado, mí mural se llama “Enfrentar Lo Què Es La Realidad”. Mí mural está ubicado en ambos calles.La calle Howard en la dirección norte y la calle Cambria en la dirección oeste. Ademas, en frente de el mural mío hay una bodega y tambièn un restaurante chino pero al lado derecho de mí mural hay una escuela llamada Issac A Sheppard que fue construida en el año 1897. La comunidad mía no es tan grande. En total hay 33 edificios incluyendo la bodega,el restaurante,y la escuela. La populaciòn es aproximadamente de 95 personas. Los grupos què viven en esta comunidad son Dominicanos y Puerrtoriqueños. La sensaciòn de esta comuniad es muy negativa. El delito y vandolismo de propiedades privadas es lo que destruye este barrio.

Los diferentes elementos en el mural mío representan muchas cosas importantes y adémas complèjo.Por ejemplo hay varios temas y algunos significan la educación,el crimen,la población y finalmente la culturas como los Dominicanos y los Puerrtoriqueños. Como lo mencióne en la oración arriba lo voy a explicar ahora también pero en una cantidad de gran profundidad. En mí perpesctivo lo mas importante en mí mural y de mí communidad es la educación.La educación  significa en mí comunidad casi todo.Los niños pobres y ricos reciben una educación en escuelas publicas pero los menos afortunados asen cosas ilegales como vender drogas para darle esta opportunidad a sus propios hijos.Los colores son brillantes y vivos pero algunos son opacos y oscuros para representar el humor, la felizidad y el sufrimiento.Hay varios temas en que quiero enseñar desde este mural pero el mas principal es como las cosas de nuestras vidas diarias es en realmente enfrentar la realidad cada día más. El mensanje que quiero comunicar es que la verdad duele por que sólo esta hecho por errores que cometemos pero en verdad al fin del día uno se da cuenta de que es todo la REALIDAD.

 Como yo lo veo, el papel del arte público es eliminar lo feroz eventos de una comunidad para de nuevo reunirse con el mensaje que esta demonstrado por esta arte con el uso de fotos y frases. Sin embargo, mí mural si hace el exito de el papel porque yo misma coji los ejemplos de los murales que vi en el paseo para relacionarlos con mi propia comunidad y estos ejemplos también fueron el comienzo de mi mural “Enfrentar Lo Qué Es La Realidad”. Claro, mí mural si es arte aunque esta localizado en un lugar público porque es algo hermoso y con sentido en vez de estar hecho inadecuadamnete ilegal como las marcas. Mí opinión de mí mural es sorprendida, yo no sabía de lo qué era possible con mucha información histórica de lo qué en realmente es la arte. Despues, me di cuenta que si es totalmente posible formar una obra maestra muy especial y uniqa. Finalmente, estaba muy alegre en las etapas que coji cuando comense y termine esta obra maestra. 

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Language Autobiography - Ahinson


The purpose of this project was to reveal the connection between language and identity. In our unit we talked about how language is used in various ways with different people such as family, friends, and strangers. We connected the concept to our personal lives. In my paper i discussed how language has effected how I see people. Things like accents and pronunciation of words. I also talked about other concepts like code-switching, changing how you talk while around different people. Code-switching is my most commonly used language concept. 

Language Autobiography-

“Language is a central feature of human identity.”-Kari Gibson of University of Hawaii. Language has played a very important role in my life. I have moved a lot in my childhood at a young age. In my elementary school life I attended 4 schools in 5 years in 3 states. At an essential time for my character development. While moving I’ve heard various very unique accents and slang. Each and every single accent, slang word, and language has contributed to my life in a different way. While living in Savannah, Georgia I got more than a taste of every one’s thick accents.

I believe that language can change people’s thoughts of you. Like how when I hear a southern accent I tend to take offense to what ever they say to me. There was a time when I had adopted a few words from the south. I was in the 4th grade in a southern Georgia elementary English class. Ironically the teacher had the most proper pronunciations I have ever heard, even until this day. My English pronunciations were the best in the class, but never the less still only meeting the standards for good English in that town. Standards that were below hers.

It was a Monday morning and the teacher was becoming very frustrated with the class’ skills. We were downgraded to counting to ten. “One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, ate, nine, ten” the class repeated adding emphasis on every E, O and I. I was doing pretty good until it came to “four”. “One, two, three, foe”. I was slipping up & the teacher noticed immediately. “Mr. Moore!” she yelled. “One two three four, four!” she tried to correct me but it was too late. I lost control of part of my tongue to southern slang and there was no going back. When I returned to Philly I could always see a person’s disgust hang from their face when I passed that number.

It showed me that an out of place accent singles someone out. People very often complemented me on my good grammar & when they heard “foe” I could see in their face how they regret past complements. Being that I only had slight slang from the area, I often wondered how people from the south are viewed and judged when they go to other parts of the country with an accent. I believe people do the same thing with race. For example, if you lived in a world were one race discriminated against yours you would most likely grow to not like that race. But if that race was always nice then you would like them. If someone with a certain accent has left a good impression on you you expect people also with that accent to also be kind & nice.

That tells us about how language cant effect identity. I’ve had person experiences with that. When attending my elementary school filled with kids that used bad grammar and slang most of the time I was sometimes shunned for speaking properly and with correct grammar. But in interviews when people heard me talk some would say things like “I bet everyone in your school is such a scholar like you!” I would nod. But the reality was that the school made me shy especially when presenting, when I had to be proper. It was like the girl in “Tongue Tied” how she was always told to speak up from being quiet. I can relate to her quote “What did you say?’ or ‘Speak up’ so I would have to preform again, only weaker the second time.” on page 165. That was a common dilemma in my early school life.

One of the best abilities you can have in this world is to be able to adapt, alter, and control how you say your words. In class we talked about this same concept. “Code-switching” changing the ways you talk for different people. Most people do it between elders and their peers. I am able to do it with individual people. There is a significant difference in the way I talk on one friend as opposed to another. Also the same with adults I am becoming better at this. I could talk to my friends saying things like “Wassup bro, whats poppin’” and have the intellectual capacity to hold a interesting discussion with my teacher, or write an essay.

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The Best Of Both Worlds

Language comes in various forms and dialects. It is what allows us as humans to effectively communicate with one another and has constantly evolved over time, with new words and sayings always being incorporated in the way we utilize language. However, language can also pose as a barrier when individuals belong to different ethnic backgrounds. For example, in the United States the official language is English whereas in Mexico the majority of the individuals speak Spanish. Therefore, if two individuals from both respective nations were to somehow communicate with one another, this situation could prove to be difficult.

            As an individual who is bi-lingual, my personal experience with balancing different languages has at times proved to be trickier than one would think. Being born and raised in a place where the majority of the people I encounter on a daily basis speak English was quite different from the language I spoke at home. My parents are immigrants from Ethiopia, where the official language there is known as Amharic. The language is apart of the many Semitic languages that are native to that area of the world. As an Ethiopian-American I would initially master English, before being able to learn Amharic. Once I turned 7, my parents would send my brother and me to Ethiopia, to spend a whole summer with extended family before school would start. There is where I would be exposed to a different lifestyle, one that was exceptionally unique from my life in the United States, but ultimately being forced to take up a new language.

It all started when my uncle Tilahun would greet us at the airport.

He yelled out, “Enkwan dena metachu!”

This means “Welcome home/here!” I smiled hesitantly, for this man was absolutely new to me, but I knew I was with family. My brother at the time would be the one to engage anyone in conversation for he had already managed to master the language. He replied back, “Enkwan dena kwayachu” which translates to “Glad to be here.”  We made our way to baggage claim to get our luggage and soon afterwards we were in the back of my uncles old-school truck. The trip to his house took forever, as my brother and I would occasionally glance at one another, while we both looked out the windows observing what would be our new home. We finally arrived and would be met by four of my male cousins who were eager to see our faces. We made our way inside and were shown to our rooms, as we were starting to unpack, my grandmother came in, “Tsion, yene lidge adegeshal, ende enastash te meshlialish” which translates to “Tsion, my child your getting big, your starting to look like your mother.”  I replied back with the little Amharic that I knew; “Egserestelin” (Thank You) and I smiled. My grandmother knew that I had a lot to learn still, while she hugged me.
            Yet, I would manage to pick up the language relatively fast, for over the next the couple of weeks, the biggest lesson I would learn wouldn’t come from my family, but from the kids in the neighborhood.  It was a warm day, I wore my white dress that my mom had bought back in the states and I was eager to show it off. I was accompanied by one of my younger cousins, for he was my guide while my brother was away with my uncle exploring the city. My cousin introduced me to his school friends and I met two other girls named Gelila and Wusho. They were friendly, with two white bright smiles, long hair, and their jean jacket outfits. For a second, I even thought they were twins. One of them carried a jump rope and the other a bright set of colored chalk. “Enechawet!” said Wusho, which meant, “Let’s play”. I replied back, “Ishe”, which means, “Okay”. 
            We started jumping rope and would take turns when one of messed up and got caught up in the rope. They taught me different words as we played while they sang songs. I would repeat what they would say and gradually I would end up managing to speak more fluently. The sun was soon making its way westward, which meant that we needed to go home. We said bye to one another, “Chow Tsion” and I replied back “Chow Wosho” “Chow Gelila”. My cousin and I made our way back home, to find my brother drinking coffee with my uncle. “How was your day, Tsion?” my brother asked, “It was good, I think I’m getting Amharic now”, I replied back. 
            If it wasn’t for those two girls that would spark my interest in learning Amharic, I think I wouldn’t have ever let myself learn. My parents were amazed to see me speak it so fluently, when we came back, because I was able to understand every word they would say and be able to respond back. This relates to James Baldwin’s “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me, What is?” in which he states, “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order to not be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate.” This factor is what forced me or influenced me to take up a new language, because of the situation that I was placed in. Ultimately, it made me draw further connections to people and further/better my communication with others.

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Language gives you power, now shut up, you're saying it wrong.

Over the years, I’ve been told, and I’ve experienced myself, how language gives you power. What you say and how you present yourself while saying it can make an immediate impression on the people your talking to. But what not many people realize is, that while language can give you power, it can also take it away.

I never really thought about the way I spoke. I always just assumed that I sounded normal, nothing out of the ordinary, and definitely not too far off from everybody else. My friends in grade school never mentioned anything about my way of speaking, and neither did my family. Everything went on as usual, until I began going to Summer Camp. People that went there were from all over the place. Everyone talked a bit differently. As we were all introducing ourselves one boy asked where I was from

“Oh, I’m from Philadelphia.” I said, assuming he was just wondering which region I was from.

“Really? I didn’t think people from there had any accents.”

“…What?” I thought it was odd, I didn’t have an accent. “I don’t have an accent.” I defended myself, but he wasn’t trying to insult me, so he just laughed,

“Yeah, you do. It’s cute.” Of course, I just thanked him, but it lead me to think about other things. I began noticing the way other’s talked more, and the way I talked. I now heard and recognized which words I may be pronouncing differently, I don’t know why I did it; it was just how I’d always talked. Throughout my time there, people had kept on mentioning it, I’d gotten used to it and just responded with a simple ‘I don’t actually know why I have an accent. I guess I just do.’

            As time went on, I began to notice it more, I noticed when I did it and what it sounded like. I realized I had an accent when I got angry or upset, and I realized when I tried to hide it. Accents, and just language in general can have a big affect on a person and those surrounding them. The way I speak and present myself entirely depends on who I’m with and where I am. When I’m with my family, I’m loud and less cautious of how I sound, but more cautious of what I say, and what terms I use. Around my friends, I’m more cautious of keeping my accent reigned in and less about what I say.  I think the cause of this is, while I can still be myself around my friends, I know I don’t have to impress my family, or try to gain their approval with anything. This lead me to realize the fact that my persona when I’m alone and my persona in public are so different. When I’m alone, or with close friends, I tend to be louder and less reserved. I tend to share my opinions more because I know that they will more or less not judge me on it. When I’m in public, or in a place where my opinions and what I say may be disregarded or I may be judged on what I say, I definitely take more time to think about what I have to say and make sure I sound smart when I say it.

 Now, sounding ‘smart’ to me meant enunciating my words, regardless of the accent, and making sure I know exactly what I’m saying before I say it. In society, a generally accepted idea is that having a voice gives you power. Speaking out and making yourself heard and having your opinions recognized are all things that gives you power. But I think something that isn’t often recognized is that a voice can also take away a lot of the power that you have. If someone deems the way that you speak to be ‘wrong’ it makes you insecure about the way you speak. I have been told that the way I pronounce some words are wrong, which ultimately leads to me trying to change the way I speak, or just not speak at all. I don’t want to be told that something I’ve been doing all my life is all of a sudden wrong and that I should change it, it knocks down my confidence and takes away any power that I had before.

There are many key roles in the way that we speak, one of them being the company we keep, and one of the others being our history. We don’t necessarily have to be from a certain place to pick up an accent, or a saying, or other ways of speaking from that region. My grandparents are Italian, and although even my grandmother doesn’t fully speak Italian, there are some words and phrases that she uses. From being around them so much, I’ve picked up some ways of speaking from her, such as the way I use an accent when pronouncing Italian foods. When we were kids, my grandma would pinch me and my sister’s faces and say

“Look at the faccia” ‘faccia’ being the Italian word for face. Throughout time, I began picking it up and found myself saying the same thing with my little cousins, that along with ‘bambino’ the word for ‘baby.’

            Although I’ve picked these things up and using them has become sort of involuntary, I’ve had to stop saying them in the company of people who don’t exactly know my background. People have asked me if I spoke Italian, which I don’t, and when I tell them that, they accuse me of faking it. This reminds me of a the writing “ If Black English, Isn’t a language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” In this story, they're arguing whether something is or isn't a language. They say that some people take speaking "black english" as just being wrong. But I don't think there is one right or wrong way to speak, and nobody has the right to take anybody else's speech away.

            I have seen this problem with many people, not just myself. The way that they speak is criticized to the point that they have to change everything about it. Something that once gave them power, is now a burden.             


Language Essay

Kyler Jones                                

 I’m drafting an essay for english class when my teacher comes over and gives it a read. It’s supposed to be about my feelings about language and how it relates to me and society. But I end up writting a 2000 word manifesto about society, capitalism, imperialism, and the english language. And what language is and how it changes the World and defines cultures.

“ This is too much, this is a manifesto” says Ms. Pamohov.

 I was honestly surprised at myself, I knew that I went too far, but I didn’t expect it to go so far out of the topic. How did I turn an autobiography into a complete historical dissection of society?


Read anything by me one can’t not hear the terms “civilization” “patriarchy” “society”“objectification” “imperialism”“slavery” “myth” “Economics” “religion” “science” “hypersimplification”“Leftism” “capitalism” “poverty” “conquest”“rape” “nature”“zombies” “disease” “cosmetic”  “superficial” “hierarchy” “indigenous” “lies” “land” and “industrial”.


My language is how I perceive the world, and how I see through the chains and insanity of our society. Everything I see, I attempt or sometimes involuntarily see how it relates to the centralized purposes of distant powers. It all started as soon as I entered highschool. I just started to question everything and see the truth.


When my teacher said language the first thing I could think about was how different types of languages actually alter perceptions of reality, I thought about the Nords taking over Britain and giving the English language swear words, and I just couldn’t help thinking cultural white-washing, and the stupidity of relationships built on pretence.


Now I think about how seriously far attached I am from my peers, and the majority of this society. Most people don’t even truly understand what “civilization” or “science” is. They don’t give a damn about “nature” or “overshoot”. I often get laughter and smirks whenever I read things I journal in history class. I’m not sure if it’s either jealousy, malaise, or misunderstanding. Am I really that alien?


That’s why I rarely talk outside of class, no one to talk to, nothing to talk about to them that won’t leave me saying something that sparks controversy and arguments. Rarely can I go about daily activities without comments or the input of other people, guess it just makes them uncomfortable that they can be wrong and I can be right.

I can’t help to see the reality of traditions fully based on cloth. It would be pointless for me to waste my time trying to censor and numb my thoughts because of what is passively accepted and upheld in the mainstream.


My pier’s vocabulary only ranges from “Homework!”, to “Hipster”, to “OMG!”.  They may talk of every flavor of Snoop Dogg blasts, but they would never talk about how many salmon are sacrificed in the manufacturing of those disgusting beverages, like me.

 They’ll talk about how awesome it is to get baked, I talk about how sad it is that marijuana is the only plant people think is worth saving. They say “iphone 4”, I say technology is not neutral. They say Obama to sound political, but I’ll talk about how he is just another capitalist warhead.

  I’m not sure of whatever power that entitles me, or If I honestly gain anything from accept constant depression when I look humans.

“It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is the vivid and crucial key to identify: It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity” In this quote from James Baldwin’s “ If Black English, Isn’t a language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”, I definitely don’t agree the “Black English” is language, but just a variant of English, and I don’t think that language is the crucial key to identity- it is agreeable that language is most definitely a political instrument for me, separating me from public and or common thought and opinion.


I worry about language not on a basis such as what judgments people are going to try to make about me, being that I’m black, or how I was raised, or if I’m a know-it-all. As a political instrument I want to utilize it to the best of my abilities so it can be understood by anyone regardless of how well they know the English language, and I want my words to communicate every passionate rage, every fact, and reality to inspire the cynic and nihilist into actions. To cure the hedonists from his/her naïve ways, and to devastate the perpetually blissful. If I intend to.


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Sup.” I said.

“Tired.” my friend replied with a yawn.

“What Class we got first.” I asked.

“Spanish.” he replied.

“We mine as well get up dere now.” I said.

“Mine as well its already 8 o’clock.”

This is an example of my normal dialogue when I just get into the school building and greet my friends. I talk like this because it is a relaxing and much way easier to speak. Also, its something I have become accustomed to because this is how most of my peers and I communicate on a daily basis. Mostly because to us its such a easy and leisurely   way of speaking to one another. Though we are educated enough to realize that this is not the grammatically correct way of communication in qworking field or  profession. This is why during situations in school or the workplace I code switch. I switch my dialogue so the listener will pay attention to the information I am trying to tell.

For example, if I was to have a interview for a job I would not go in the employers office saying “Wats up I’m here for dat job interview jawn.”. Instead I would walk into the office and say “Hello I am Robert Jenkins I’m here for my job interview.”. As you can see this is a huge difference between the way I greeted my friend  at the beginning of a school day, and how I speak to people of higher authority. The reasons for making this change is so that the employer does not look at me as something that I am  not or to fit in with the kind of workers already with the establishment. For example I could be one of the best people for the job just as James Baldwin said in If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell me What Is?  “To open your mouth is to put your business in the streets” and this could cause people to have the wrong opinion of me. They could believe I am a poorly educated young man and is not truly serious about this job or my future. Even though this is completely untrue I could not blame the employer for coming up with that assumption because what else would that kind of speech apply. This the kind of Code Switch that I have to make for many different occasion through out life.

Another reason I might code switch  is because I am uncomfortable with the people who are surrounding. Most of the time I use this kind of switch when I am going to new school, Church, or any other place that I am unfamiliar with. I remember the time I was in a similar situation when I was shadowing at SLA.

 “Wassup”  “Hi” I replied, “You ready for the day.”, “Yes I guess.” I replied. My Conversations with my Student Tour Guide went on like this for most of the day until I got use to the school a little and him. Once I was able to develop this relaxed relationship with my surroundings I was able to switch back to my usual sense of dialect.

A time where I mistakenly for got to code switch was when I was talking to my mom about the cost about of some Watch The Throne Concert Tickets. “How much are for good tickets.”, I said. “The Best Price and Seats I could find was 200.” “Are you serious!” I replied. “Very.” “Damn it” I said. Completely forgetting that I was having this conversation with my mom and not one of my friends in school, but luckily she really catch what I said so I was able to get out of it with ease. This is a situation where using the wrong dialogue could of got extremely ugly.

I change my way of speaking for many different occasion but they each are similar in the reasoning behide it. I do each change to try to either fit or to not be judge by others. I do not  do it in the sense of being fake to new people and make them believe that I’m not because I truly am ok with my own personality, but the comfort of not being judged is always a plus. But Code-Switching is not something that I just personally have to do but everyone in the world might have to change their dialogue at some point in time.


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