I constantly code switched all the time without even realising. I remember when I was younger having to move all around the country and even outside of it. I also remember throughout all of this my voice changing. It would change from being a VERY strong southern accent to a very moletone casual accent. The part that was exceedingly bad about it was the amount of judgment I received in the process. Everywhere I went they said I had an accent because by the time I truly got used to a certain voice I had to move. It’s amazing how much people’s opinions change of you solely because of the way your voice sounds. Your voice is a tricky thing and can make or break your relationships if the other person isn't very fond of it.
I remember from the very early stages of my life having a very southern accent. I never truly noticed my voice changing until I moved so while I was in South Carolina (my birthplace) I never noticed anything wrong or different with my voice. Since it was normal for everyone else it became normal for me. Along with the voices I heard there, the culture was very different as well. People down south generally group themselves around their families and the families down south are HUGE. Everyone just seems a lot more connected. Also people down south seem to keep themselves busy a lot more often, they never seem to have nothing to do. They also eat a lot more seafood such as: Crabs, shrimp, and clams. Another thing I found that they cared about more was going outside. They always made sure you had enough time outside each day and made sure you didn't come in.
The next place I remember moving to was Barbados in the Caribbean. They also like A LOT of seafood, I actually kinda believe they like it more. They also like to have a lot of outside time. They are even very connected with one another however not as strongly as they are in the south. However everything is way more fast paced including the speech. The speech there is very hard to comprehend if you have recently come from the U.S. The language there is very slanged and doesn't even seem like English half the time due to it’s very strong accent although I don’t particularly think the people who live and have grown up there believe so. Plus everything comes out with such speed and aggression that sometimes it can be intimidating. I always thought to myself if there is any accent I would least like to be yelled at it is definitely without a doubt a Barbadian one. It just sounds so fierce and aggressive when they are just trying to be gentle. Then when the first time I got yelled at came I didn't know what do because not only was it scary I couldn't even understand. Barbadian voices completely change whenever they have any kind of strong emotion. You can always tell how one another feels just by the way you sound.
The next place I remember vividly was when I moved to Washington (State). Washington was a very slow paced take it easy laid back sort of State with a voice to match along with it. Everyone there talked so sslllooowww and melancholy I began losing my mind it felt like. I believe that this was one of the hardest transitions for me primarily due to the fact that no one understood me. To them it was like I was speaking Latin, if you asked them what language I was speaking they probably wouldn't be able to tell you. It was so fast and aggressive to them with a few words only used in Barbados. For a few months I was unable to communicate with most people I encountered wilts I was there. When my voice changed I hadn't even realized it I guess it was just a psychological thing because whenever I ask my Mom about it, it was kinda what I expected to happen. My voice slowed down to be on par with everyone else's however I still said a lot of Bajan words. I also still had the accent but, it was like the perfect mixture of the two.
A couple months after my brother was born there my family moved to Virginia. Nothing really happened here however their speech was a bit quicker and they said my voice sounded funny. However the real memories were from when I moved to New york. It only took a couple of weeks for my voice to adjust back to being faced paced and I immediately gained friends. It was as if my voice made people dislike me prior to it changing. Although I had gotten used to the speech in New York I remember then having to move to Philadelphia. Philadelphia wasn't too much of a change because speech here hardly differed from New York so it was extremely easy for me to adapt to my new environment and make many friends rapidly. So after thinking back to all of this now as a teen and realising how much peoples views/opinions on me changed along with my voice. My voice now changes extremely fast according to whoever I’m speaking with. Code-switching happens all the time sometimes without us ever even noticing but, it can change your whole relationship with somebody from the very first word you speak out of your mouth.
Average, bland, plain, boring, and proper english fell out of my mouth every time I talked. It grew into me dashing in a little slang, threw in some philly made words and then add the dominate bland english, congratulations! You have made my voice. My communication tool. I was the white boy, “The inside-out oreo”. I enjoyed it. My friend Vaughn told me “You got the perfect flow of urban and ya whiteness.”
My voice and dialect has changed a tremendous amount for each interaction I have with different people. The interactions are teachers and I, parents and I, family and I, and friends and I. Some interactions with the way I talk has grown more than others like friends and I and parents and I are the two biggest ones that have expanded and grown. A good example of me saying to a friend when I saw him when I was little.
“Whats good bro?”
Then the conversation would go something like,
“Want to ask your parents to have a play date after school?”,
and then now it would be
“You wanna chill after school and grub, man?”
Then my conversations with parents started off as,
“Daddy (or mommy) what’s for dinner?”
and now it would be like
“Yo, what ya gonnna make tonight?”
The transition of our language is just natural, we all do it. We will not live our whole entire life speaking like we are 5 years old but the step into talking like a young adult may be different for all of us. Some people may stick with the complete proper english and talk like that. Some others like me, may make the transition into adding some slang and talking a little more “urban”.
I feel as if the case for me were the multiple transitions of my surroundings. When I was 7 years old I moved from Society Hill where everyone speaks with proper english to West Philadelphia where it starts to get more african american populated. The other big transition in my life was leaving a private school (The Philadelphia School) where everyone responded to proper english. From there I changed schools to a public school (Meredith) where the language completely changed.
There were a lot of things I learned from that school like that South Philly kids talk weird. Water was now “wooder”. I learned what “jawn” meant. “Ratchet” was now a word. Sauce and Gravy had two completely different meanings and “Crayons” was now “Crowns”.
Even the non South Philly kids also had a special way that they talked. “Yo” and “bro” were thrown into every single sentence. We did not eat anymore, we “grubbed”. Wearing nice basketball shoes was now cool and the recess sport was now kickball and not soccer.
At The Philadelphia School, it was only proper english. You never heard “Black English” in the school. It’s not like it was prohibited it was just the amount of african american students in my grade. There were two out of the 36 of us. Then, at Meredith you even heard “Black English” come out of some teachers mouths. Out of the 62 of us it was probably about around 60% african american and then 30% white. That is when it really started developing into my voice today. It was after the move but when I came to that school it picked up intensely.
I started there in sixth grade and that is the point where we turn into teenagers. It was a really big change for me and I had no clue what to expect from the school. That is when I was “The white boy.” The jokes were all in good fun so that was not a bad thing. As the year went on the way I talked was changing a little bit. I started using some of the slang words, hey turned into yo. He wasn’t my friend, he was my bro. We weren’t a group of friends hanging out, we were homies chilling.
From noticing what everyone has said to me about the way I talk, even things I do notice, I know that I am distinct. I am my self. I enjoy very much being who I am. I come from a proper english Jewish family, and I come from a proper english German family. I am different and it is amazing to know that. Philadelphia itself has made a huge impact on my life. This great, diverse city.
In James Baldwin’s essay; If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is? I have found a quote that ultimately describes why my language has changed and how it has changed. “People evolve a language in order to describe, and thus control their circumstances.” What this quote is saying that a language is evolved based on their circumstances meaning what is going on in their lives. My circumstances were living in a heavily white populated neighborhood and then moving to a greatly diverse neighborhood, those were my circumstances thus my language evolved.
By doing unique art projects such as painting ceiling tiles or making some sort of jack-o-lantern, art became fun again. The only art that I practice outside of school is photography but as I continue with this class, I believe that I will become inspired by the other students in this class and by the other artwork that I will create.
The hardest piece of work that I completed was the self-portrait drawing. I'm not good at making my pencil move in the strokes that my mind thinks of, but I did learn something about myself as an artist: I need to keep trying. Even though it was extremely challenging, I simply kept with it and ended up with a product that while I know is not spectacular, I am proud of.
I am excited to see what the second quarter brings. I am ready to open my heart to inspiration and create artwork that I take pride in.
As an artist, the "E Band Senior Art" class has to be my favorite. It's so easy to put your earphones in and get lost in the art work. This quarter my art work varies from paintings, charcoal pieces, and drawings. I'm usually all painting, but how can I be an artist and have no variety? As you view the video below, over time my work gets better and better. Miss Hull allows you to practice individual skills using different mediums and materials.
Although I'm not the best artist around, my classmates and Ms. Hull sure do make you feel like you are. It's good to know that you`ll have the materials and help all at once in one classroom. Scroll below and view the pieces I have created for this quarter.
I am not an artist, I am just a person who copies what is portrayed in my head onto paper. My “artwork” is nothing more but an interpretation of how I view the world around me. It is not the most well crafted piece of work, however it is the way I view my surroundings. When I take a pencil in my hand to design a new piece I am not focused on the way to product looks but if it relays the message I want to send. When looking at my work keep in my that I am not composing work that looks nice, but I am composing work that forces my audience to look at it through my perspective.
I urge my audience to keep an open mind when viewing my work to allow themselves to step into my mindset as the composer. I hope my pieces leaving my audience with room for conversation, I was it to trigger questions and thorough observations.
Art for me is an outlet, a way to show people what is going on through my head,I feel a personal connection with this work, and hopefully to all of the people who can relate. With this being said, I give you the, the audience to freedom to take my work, and with keeping in my my vision, to make whatever interpretation you would like off of it.
I wanted to show people that no matter what if there are happy or sad situations going on in our lives we should always think about happy events or details that had to do with those situations.
Language and Identity
Language, the way you speak, shows a lot about your identity. Where I live, the way I talk might sound really strange to someone who lives in Canada because they’re both different accents. Language has a huge impact on people’s lives. Say if you were going to a job interview and you talk with a kind of slang and the person who is also going for the same interview talk more “properly”, the person who talks in a proper way is more likely to get the job. Why? Because it is easier to understand what they are saying, and they seem more professional. This might not be fair, it might not be your fault if you talk with slang. It might just be where you grew up or the people you were around most could influence the way you speak.
“Ms. Bier told me my legs were completely bent doing basically every trick. Now she’s making me practice pointing and straightening my legs. I my routine was good, she never comments on the good things I do.”
“Sometimes when you talk your accent gets really bad. It’s so easy to tell you’re from Roxborough. It’s really funny.” My friend Vanessa really confused me when she said that. What did she mean Roxborough accent? Roxborough’s only ten minutes away from where she lived, she talks the same way I do. My friend would make comments like that all the time, she would say I talked almost as if I was from South Philadelphia, which apparently sounds different from other places in Philadelphia. Vanessa said it’s really easy to tell where I live. That got me thinking about the way I speak. It was the first time someone has ever commented on the way I talk. I didn’t think I sounded any different from the way she did. She almost made fun of the way I would say some words, and would repeat them in almost a mocking way. When she would point out the words I would say “weirdly” I would become very aware of the way I pronounced my words. Before I’d say a word I’d make a conscious effort not to sound like I was from Roxborough because my friend almost made it seem like my accent made me sound dumb. I started to listen to the people from my neighborhood speak, and I too began to think they did have weird accents. Because I was so conscious of the way I talked in front of my friends not from Roxborough, I think I trained myself to lose the accent, if you could even call it that. I would also listen to the way my family spoke to see if I could tell a difference in their voices. I noticed my grandma talked different from my aunt. My grandma was raised in North Philly, and my aunt was raised is Wissahickon. My grandma didn’t have a very distinct way of talking, she talked “normally” but my aunt sounded like most of the people in my neighborhood.
I’m really aware of the way people, including myself, talk now. I don’t necessarily judge them and put labels on them if they speak different then me. I find it interesting when I listen to the way people in my neighborhood speak, if you go down to lower Roxborough a lot of people have a very distinct way of talking. You can really hear it when they say words with r’s because they kind of drag it out in a way. Now that I pay more attention to speech, I’ve noticed that people that are higher up when it comes to jobs, don’t talk with slang. They pronounce every word in a way that is very clear and understandable. You don’t see a lot of people who speak in almost a slang type way in higher up job. When you think of the president, you think of an all American man or woman who is very proper and prosise not someone who . When people hear someone talking with slang, they assume they are not well educated. That could be why people who talk with slang either change the way the speak so they can have to higher job position, or they do not get hired. Just because someone does talk in slang may not mean they are not well educated.
I never realized language was a part of my identity. Nor did I realize I had an accent, people from places like where I live generally don’t realize that the way we speak is different. We aren’t really known for our accents like other places may be, like some of the southern states, or Boston. I never realized that it was a part of my identity until it was pointed out to me. Of course, I associated accents with the identity of other people because it was so obvious, if english was their second language. Language is a huge part of everyone’s identity. It doesn’t identify how educated someone is, as many people associate the two. It does however show where you live in the world because of the way you talk. Many people never think of language as something you can be identified with, personally I do.
By- Lucia Santaniello
Since middle school I have always involved my art work compared to other historical and famous artist. When I came high school I started to look at myself as an artist and see how I could improve my artistry. I am starting to look at my work and making sure that I have attention from people that have expertise on art work. I also feel that many times I seem to compare my artwork to people that are very advanced and I need to make sure I start on my level.
What influences me the most is the things around me. I look at the cultures and the fads nowadays, and look at what I can continue my artistry on. I also think that the things that I have done in this class is juxtaposition to what I want I think are recent and popular nowadays.
I want other people to understand that my artwork is very free. It has no constrictions or follows any rules. I like how I can make my art very open to my audience and make them interpret it anyway they want. I also think that I kind of put my twist into my artwork and make it so people know that it is my art work.
Thus making me grow from my artwork. I like that I can change my artist depending on what is popular or how I adapted. I like how I adapted throughout middle school and through high school. I think that my art has been interpreted through the projects I have done this quarter.
Fashion In Music
The way people are is a reflection of someone else or a collection of things deriving from other people. The way hip hop affects violence it also influences many of its sub-cultures. In the 80’s when hip-hop began to take on the face of hardcore rap with groups such as NWA is when rap was born and it completely took over the minds of people. Rap gains more negative attention than it does positive. The way rap artists carry themselves in most cases is considered ‘ghetto’ though they influence more than just black people that is often the misconception. When the consumer sees something in a magazine naturally someone might want it. Rap music videos have this same affect on the minds of people which helps formulate the minds of them at a young age. Fashion can influence the minds of people Fashion can also make them feel obligated to be a consumer because of popularity of the project.
Artists have casual fans, but also dedicated fanatics who support them despite the ongoing evolution of them. For example, Kanye West is one of the most influential artists of all time; his following of both kinds of fans is huge. Kanye has a large catalogue of not just music but clothing and footwear as well. Kanye arguably has the largest sneaker of all time; the Nike Air Yeezy series has made itself one of Nike’s largest releases besides competitors under Nike such as Jordan, Kobe, and Lebron’s sneakers.
Recently, the Air Yeezy 2 ‘Red October,’ which retail for $245, caused a lot of excitement to Kanye fans and the sneaker world. There has been much speculation as to whose sneakers are more popular between Kanye and Michael Jordan until Kanye in his song “New God Flow” silenced all critics when he said “Hold up I ain’t tryin to stunt man but the Yeezy’s jumped over the jumpman, went from the most hated to the champion god flow guess thats a feeling only me and LeBron know.” Here he clearly states that his sneaker has reached a standard as the “God” of shoes; he quotes his Air Yeezy’s jumped over the jumpman.
In these very instances the consumer does not realize that Kanye is marketing himself and his brand the consumer only hears what he is saying and they feel inclined to have that shoe in addition to the fact Kanye is comparing himself to GOD! He later makes his longing for Godly status more apparent in his most recent 2013 album titled “Yeezus”. The relevance of Kanye makes him one of the most powerful entertainers on the planet. After the discontinuation of Air Yeezys the Red Octobers released making the value of them extremely high.
The Red October released back in February on nike.com selling out worldwide in only 11 minutes. Nike released these shoes in the midst of a feud between they and Kanye; Ye’ later went to multiple radio stations to remind the world of how displeased he was with the release that no one saw coming. Nike’s website along with footlocker were crashed due to sneakerheads and Kanye fans combined itching to be the first with the Red October priced at $245 retail. In consignment stores such as Flight Club NY & LA they carry the Air Yeezy series these sneakers are priced from anywhere to 2,500-1,000,000. The consumer spends their last to afford this shoe just to be like Kanye he projects himself as a godly figure people follow him like he is Jesus which is why he calls himself Jesus.
After the excitement of the Red Octobers went down fans always wanted to know what was next from Kanye. The biggest Kanye fans buy all of his highly expensive clothing whether it be the Yeezys, his A.P.C. line or his collaborations with Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, and other big named designers. People feel that the way he projects himself as an artist makes fans feel as though they need his product, his Air Yeezys are so rare that he cannot sell them in stores at that retail price, which is why they were released online. Jordan release lines are often around the corner and down the block but never do they crash twitter and the nike website.
Hip-Hop as a whole has major influence on what its followers feel like they must have in their closets, yet again fashion combined with music influences the minds of people and makes them feel obligated to be a consumer.
If an art has a huge effect on a large group of people it is important that it promotes positive things. In addition to the fact that people will spend their last to look like who they look up to it is important that the consumer understands that the artists specifically are promoting other brands to generate revenue and not to overspend.
Website Title: Shmoop.com
Article Title: Kanye West Influences
Publisher: Shmoop University, Inc.
Electronically Published: November 11, 2008
Date Accessed: October 23, 2014
Author: Shmoop Editorial Team
Website Title: Refinery29.com
Article Title: The Kanye West Guide To Everything In Fashion
Publisher:JULIANNE ESCOBEDO SHEPHERD
Electronically Published: June 17th 2014
Date Accessed: October 23, 2014
Website Title: Terapeak Blog
Article Title: Terapeak Trends: Nike’s Air Yeezy Red October Does $1.4 Mill[…]
Date Accessed: October 23, 2014
Website Title: KicksOnFirecom
Article Title: Nike Air Yeezy 2 - KicksOnFire.com
Date Accessed: October 23, 2014
Website Title: AskMen
Article Title: The Most Influential Man In Music
Date Accessed: October 23, 2014
In the United States only people 21 years of age or older can consume alcohol. Despite of the this, many teens go ahead and drink anyway. The strict law has encouraged teens to drink more. This law has an negative impact on the teens in the country. The drinking regulations and lack of education in the U.S. has triggered a rebellion and therefore, influencing teenagers to overly consume alcohol.
Parents are always striving to raise their children the best they know how. While doing that that parents may weigh their children down with harsh regulations. This is restricting kids to be a kid and live their lives. According to Dr. Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist, “strict parenting deprives children of the opportunity to learn self-discipline”. Life is a process and you learn from it, parents should allow room for lessons and mistakes. Those things are vital for character development and for room to grow. Strict parenting may also cause teens to act out and develop behavior problems. For example, when some young adults enter college they do a lot of wild partying, drinking, and experimenting with drugs. This may be a result of strict parenting mixed with a lot of freedom.
This strict parenting relates to the strict drinking regulations in the U.S. The fact that teens aren’t allowed to drink make them want to drink even more. Therefore they might binge drink or drink and drive. If the drinking age was lowered teen dui rates and binge drinking would decrease. The U.S is one of the six countries that have a drinking regulation as high as 21 years of age. 132 countries have lower drinking ages. In the United Kingdom where the legal drinking age is 18, only 20% of accidents were caused by drunk driving in 2011. Whereas in the U.S. in 2011, 38% of the accidents were caused by driving under the influence. That’s almost a 20% difference. Teens in the United Kingdom have experience and are not as eager to rebell in comparison to the teens in the United States.This proves that if teens were given more opportunities to be responsible they would be wise.
In Bermuda the legal drinking limit is 18. Bermuda has a population of 64,564. Out of that population only 9 people have been killed by automobile accidents. These are just accidents not detailing drunk driving. That’s impressive, even if the population there is smaller.
The National Minimum drinking Age act was put into place in 1984. Before that the standard age for drinking was 18. Regulators noticed that the chaos on the street was at an all time high. Therefore they decided to change the age. Back then, people were not really educated about drugs and alcohol. Now people can learn about those things in health classes, commercials, through the internet, and though many people. Now that people are educated, drunk driving has gone down. Every year it seems as if the percent of drug related fatalities have gone down tremendously. In 1982 60% of driving fatalities were caused by drunk driving. In 2010 only 31% of of driving fatalities were caused by drunk driving.
In the United States 18-year olds are given a pleather of opportunities. They can lease an apartment, join the military, vote, open up a credit card, and do many other things. If 18- year olds can do this then they should be given the right to purchase alcohol. If at this age they can be trusted with guns to defend our country they should have to right to purchase alcohol.
Lowering the drinking age to 18 would be economically good for the economy. If more people are allowed to purchase alcohol then businesses would make more revenue. Bars, restaurant, and other establishments would highly benefit from this. There would also be a greater tax revenue.
Alcohol is becoming less of an issue in the U.S. People are realizing the issue and striving to
State University of New York. "Minimum Legal Drinking Ages around the World." Minimum Legal Drinking Ages around the World. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
"Drunk Driving Statistics." Drunk Driving Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
"Alcohol Education Trust - Facts and Figures." Alcohol Education Trust - Facts and Figures. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
AlcoholAlert.com 2011 Drunk Driving Statistics. "Http://www.alcoholalert.com/drunk-driving-statistics.html." 2011 Drunk Driving Statistics. N.p., Winter 2011. Web. 19 Sept. 2014.
Griggs, Brandon. "Should the U.S. Lower Its Drinking Age?" CNN. Cable News Network, 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 22 Sept. 2014."Drinking Age ProCon.org." ProConorg Headlines. N.p., 18 July 2014. Web. 11 Nov. 2014.
“Whuya Meee! STOP KECKING! Para, Por Favor, Me duele!” I yelled
“NO, Shut up, you STUPID MEXICAN!!? ENGLISH!!!” Yelled the boy that was kicking.
“Stop, PLEESES!?” I yelled as the pain started burn as if they sat my body on fire.
I was the bullies punching bag, or as they said “The MEXICAN trash bag”. I’d sometimes wish that I was die. Not being able to pronounce word in the third-fifth grade, it makes you stupid, dumb and worthless, that you're no good in this world. I didn’t know why people bullied me for. I’d cried all night, wishing that someday it would stop, and wishing to correct my english too! English is too hard!
“I no like thet projeck” I get made fun off for a long time from these stupid project, reason was about me and where I’m from and all the other thing. This was my second year at Olney Elementary School. The year before, people kept asking me where you taco, other asking “Can you go do yard” I’d cried because I was scared, I never did nothing about, because I was weak, fat and slow at everything. People didn’t like me, maybe because I wasn’t cool for them. Many people said that I was stupid for what I did, for example I’d help the teacher clean up in whatever we did in class. My parents raise to help people and care and not be mean or rude to other, so that people wouldn’t do back. I was that one kid that the teachers like but not the student.
“Go make me taco! Or go my yard!”
This was all 4th grade year. It was that dumb project, people don’t need to know where I’m from and what I do or don’t, what I believe and don’t. All I had is to go thought the year, i’ll start soft, but end strong.
A year later, school is about to start in 2 weeks for now. Summer was a peacefully time where I don’t have to worry about people messing with me or other thing like that. Summer goes by fast, it splits by our hands and you have to go to school, that is when my worrying start, only for me (sadly!!!).
“Mi hijo, despertate, la escula esta a punto de comenzar...Rapido Mi Hijo!!!”
“No, madre, no quiero, Por Favor!!! “
“Rapido o te meto tu chinga!!”
“Ok, ja voy!!”
Who knew that even days could go by fast too! School was up now. (I’d wished that I was dead!!!)
“What the hell is he wearing on his feet?”
“Theyua a tiype uf shoes in mexico…”
“Yo bro, you homeless or wat!”
Great, my day stupid is starting off crappy. One special thing that help me go through the day was learn, learning help ignore these dumb people didn’t know any better. The first day has end, now I have a whole year of school. Great, that was amazing. Second day, it might be better than, yesterday. When I got to school, people were hearing to rape song, in my opinion I didn’t like rap, because they didn’t make sense. Everybody got hype and that, it was just song!
“Yo these song tough right!”
“What! You GUESS, Yo something is wrong with you, bro, this song is the shit
bro. Oh right, you're mexican, you wouldn’t understand, LOSER”
Why was he so rude about, it is just a song. I guess I was supposed to get hype,
just for a song. I got bullied for not liking rap song. People got hype for the most stupidest thing in the world, that they don’t realize that the most important thing the world is your family, not the material that you get. For example, I was happy that I got new shoes, other people in school super hype that they got the new, very prices shoes that were $200 or a shirt that was $50, in my head, that was stupid.
Into the month two, a very big boy was coming from home and I was walking next to him. “HAAA!”(uh-oh, I got to get beat up) I tripped on my shoelace and scrapped his shoes, I think they were jordan.
“Sorry, I’m very sorry. (Inside of me, I was scared as hell, my body was paralyzed)”
“What, loser… look what you did, clean or else you trash bag”
Obviously, I did it, because so far I did get beat up, not yet!! I was happy that he didn’t punch or something like. (Hopefully this school year goes by fast, I need it to)
“Madre, ja es Junio, la escuela java terminar!” I yell to my mother.
“Ja lo es!”
“El verano ja va a empezar!”
School, this school year was a lot better, this was the very first great school, that I had ever have in my 5 years of school. All I had to do is survive the last 4 more day of school.
“3….2….1….I DID IT!!! Summer, YES!! No School, Mean No Worries”
My heart was rushing fast because I had made it through the year, without big problem.
Overall, now I bigger, older, smarter and braver. I’m now in 10th grade, my english has gotten a lot better over the years, and english has many way to be spoking. Identity and language are a great mixture, reasoning why is because without language you wouldn’t like the Identity, and if you know the identity and don’t know the language then what is the point of having that identity, if you don’t know it.
It was the night of my SLA interview. My mom dropped me off in the morning, around 9 am and we all traveled up to the fifth floor and settled in the 10th and 11th grade english classroom. The huge windows showcased the picturesque Philadelphia skyline. The suns rays reflected off of the buildings and made room warm and cozy. It was beautiful. As the hours passed, the kids left one by one, until, I was the only person in the medium sized classroom. It was pitch black outside and the room was dead silent.
“It’s your turn.”
I slowly stood up, made my way to the door, and we walked around the corner in the vacant hallways. My hands were clammy and shaking from my uncontrollable nerves. We approached the classroom door and the girl turned over slightly to look at me. ”It’s ok to be nervous. Just be yourself and you’ll do great.”
“Thanks.” I tried my hardest to create a smile that didn’t look overly forced. I failed. I pushed open the door. The man and the student next to him both smiled and welcomed me in. I kept making mental notes to remind myself to enunciate my words and pronounce all of my vowels. The last thing I needed was for them to think I was unprofessional. The man and the student began to ask me questions about my project. The whole time I was zoned out trying to suck back all of um’s, like’s, and so’s that were forcefully trying to creep their way back into my sentences.
“What do you think you can bring to the SLA community?”
“I ...ah ...wahhh...I...umm… could you repeat the question please?”My face was bright red and my hands were soaking wet. But most importantly I knew exactly what the man had just asked me, i was trying to think of something that sounded interesting. I was also trying to redeem myself for saying umm so many times I just needed to breathe and put on a different persona.
“Yes of course sweet heart. What do you think you can bring to the SLA community?”
“I believe that I can end cliques and also I could just be a person that anyone can talk to.”
Nervous was an understatement. I felt as if I had to erase all of the “Tianna” out of my system and try to become someone else. In The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingstan, the protagonist’s mother cuts the tongue of her daughter to help her speak, and in his quote she is explaining why. ”I cut [your tongue] so that you would not be tongue-tied. Your tongue would be able to move in any language. You’ll be able to speak languages that are completely different from one another. You’ll be able to pronounce anything.”
The way you talk is sort of like a sponge. It is made up of your environment, your city, your age, in some cases your race or sex. Most of those things are things that people use to make assumptions about your character. It is easy for them to judge you based off of the way you speak because everything that makes up the way you speak can also be used to discriminate against you. So in order to avoid that, people feel the need to code switch so that people can not make false assumptions about who you are and where you come from.
When the author says “cut your tongue ... your tongue will be able to move in any language“, it reminds me of when you code switch. You cut all the ties that connect you to where you come and many more things that make you, you.
Code switching is when you switch the way you talk when you enter a different setting. There are many different reasons why people code switch. One example would be, when you switch from speaking slang with your friends to speaking standard english when you have a conference with a teacher. Another example would be when you speak spanish at home and you switch to speak english outside of the home.
In the passage “Hunger of Memory” by Richard Rodriguez , Richard describes growing up in Sacramento with his Mexican immigrant parents. In the quote on page 13, Richard explains how his parents have two different personas, one in the comfort of their home and one for when they have to speak to people in a more formal setting outside of the home.“In public, my father and mother spoke a hesitant, accented, not always grammatical English. And they would have to strain-their bodies tense-to catch the sense of what was rapidly said by los gringos. At home they spoke Spanish. The language of their Mexican past sounded in counterpoint to the English of public society. The words would come quickly, with ease. Conveyed through those sounds was the pleasing, soothing, consoling reminder of being at home.” Richard explains how his parents had to acquiesce in order to get what they need so that they could get ahead. Similar to Richards parents I also had to acquiesce to a different vernacular that was deemed socially acceptable which was different to the way I’m used to speaking.After the interview I learned how important it is to develope a different persona for when you enter more formal settings like an interview. This is because the way you speak is a label for many things, negative and positive. People seem to take you more seriously when you speak standard english. Although that isn’t right you don’t want to sabotage yourself from getting an opportunity. But you should always be proud of the way you talk speak because it is what makes you uniquely you.
¨ Who is it?¨
¨Ummm, someone named Charles.¨
¨Oh, that’s my client from work. Here, pass me my phone.¨
I grab her purse and blindly forage for her phone.
¨C’mon hurry up!¨
¨Wait a minute...almost got it¨
I quickly hand her the device and watch as she answers the man on the other side of the line.
¨Hello? Charles? Why yes, this is Amy Silveri from Quality Progressions…. Pardon? Yes, I will be visiting your house for a brief meeting regarding the placement of your child...¨
This is a daily routine that I see everyday with the interaction I have with my mom. Now anyone who’s grown up in a black household knows that they’re parents always change the way they talk depending on who they’re talking too and depending on that person’s race. For years I’ve heard my mom’s voice change from her work environment to her social environment. And it wasn’t until recently where I’ve noticed that I do this as well.
There are three types of Jaiye’s.
The white Jaiye.
The black Jaiye.
And the regular Jaiye.
The white Jaiye can be described as the voice I use when I talk to everyday white people. White people I see at school, who I see at supermarkets, who I see walking down the street. My voice suddenly becomes higher and softer and my vocabulary immediately advances. I speak more slowly and my facial expression changes. I make sure to smile and to always appear happy, as if everything is going great. And as I’m doing this, I think to myself, ¨ I hope they don’t think I’m ghetto.¨ and all the other negative stereotypes attributed with blacks. As soon as a white person speaks to me my brain instantaneously reminds myself to ¨Change your voice!¨, and in doing this I automatically become a new person, a new identity, an alternate self. It all becomes a facade.
The black Jaiye is alternately, the voice I use with my blacks peers. It’s the voice where I’m most comfortable with. It allows me to express my individuality better and I feel more accepted with the fact that I’m black. I feel more connected with my roots and the life that we as blacks live. My words become a constant blur; I talk faster, louder and I use slang. ¨Hi¨ or ¨hello¨, becomes ¨Yo¨ or ¨wassup¨. ¨Isn’t¨ becomes ¨ain’t¨. I use words like ¨jawn¨ and ¨drawlin’¨, words that are indigenous to Philly and that I hear everyday . My native tongue.
And the regular Jaiye is a combination of the two. My language neither leans towards the white dialect or the black dialect. My tongue isn’t biased. I find myself using this the most throughout my everyday life. It has the perfect amount of respect and proper mannerism yet it still holds onto my personality and characteristics that derived from me being African American. The slang and the style is still there yet there’s a proper sophistication in the way that I enunciate the words as they leave my mouth. In doing so, I’m not judged for being too black or too white; too ¨ghetto¨”or too ¨snobby¨.
Throughout my entire life I’ve always had these different personas and evidently, the reasons why I code switch is because of the influence that language and dialect has on today’s society and the way we are viewed as people, especially for a young African American woman in America.
James Baldwin, a well known African American writer who tackled the topics of race and oppression as well as the topic of African Americans in the white man’s society, wrote an essay on the influence of language on blacks in America and how it has influenced the way we live today. He explained that the way we speak, impacts the social recognition of African Americans, as well as other people of color, stating that, ¨It goes without saying, then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is the most 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.¨ Our language, dialect and accent gives us power in this world. As black Americans, it is prime that we remind ourselves to code switch, in a society where the mass majority does not see us as intelligent or deemed fit enough into today’s society and a primary reason for this is because of the way we speak. Brought over to this country as slaves, English was never our original language nor was our dialects natural to English. We all developed various accents that people would describe as ¨ghetto¨ and for that, the world views us as ignorant belligerent fools who deserve no chances in life. In doing so, we retain back all power lost and all of the stereotypes pin-pointed towards us are then withdrawn.
As for most blacks, code switching isn't something that we want to do. It’s something that we’re forced to do to reject oppression. People tend to judge us off of our tongue and because of that, we do not get the same opportunities as others. Because of this, the vast majority of blacks live in a life reflected upon poverty, imprisonment, drugs and negativity. But who are we to change who we are to fit the social norm? It is not our fault that we speak like this. We were forced to, and in the end, we've adapted the various dialects and accents that travel across this country. Code-switching is appropriate when needed, but don’t change the way you speak entirely. Language mirrors identity.