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Language Autobiography 2013: My choice

In this unit students analyzed language and it’s pros and cons. Students learned the different themes given by language in broad and were given an assignment to reflect those themes and relate them to our own life and experiences. When doing this project I was stumped at first because there was so much I wanted to say. When talking to my peers and reading stories we were given in class I was able to make a creditable piece of work. My paper focuses on the struggle of “code switching” with my family in the way we talk, sources of control language has and a glimpse of acception because of what the future holds for me. My video shows another aspect of language I wasn’t able to touch on in my paper. My video shows how one man can speak his mind regardless of the situation and people look at HIS language as offensive or subliminal when it had good intention and genuine emotion.



I grew up in a home of verbal intellect and verbal ignorance. The mixture was very well blended, but very hard to manage. I was taught many ways of expression. I was taught that when speaking to someone of importance or older age you address them as Ms., Mrs., or Mr. to show respect. I was taught black dialect and how to use it in my everyday life... but only with the people who looked like me. I was taught when it was and wasn’t the right time to express my feelings. I also learned very early on that the way you say something no matter your tone of voice or creative way you put words together, meant everything. Those words build you. They hurt you and help you. They cause you to judge and are the first way for someone to judge you.

I grew up watching my mother switch from ignorance to sophistication. When she got to work, had to call companies for bills, order anything from someone who lacked color she often fixed her voice. Her “hey girls” and “that sh*t is crazy” went to “hello ms. such and such” and “this is completely absurd and unneeded.” Her “yeah’s” transformed into “yes” and I never fully understood the relationship language played until now. I’ve realized that speaking “ignorant” is just like black dialect. It’s where people make up their own ways of expressing what they want to say, and just because it isn’t standard english it’s considered wrong. We tend to think of sophistication of this standard language. This is what gets people their jobs and helps them make a living. This is what we depend on and accept without knowing the consequences it supplies to people.

I’ve come to realize that yes, the language we speak is one part of our communication, but there are other things that compliment it as well. We’ve got the power to determine how people judge us, but for people my color, I feel as if we don’t. I feel that when we’re talking to white people we completely change ourselves. Our bodies may be loose when we talk to our friends because we’re comfortable, but when that moment comes that we have to talk to someone who’ll judge and prevent our futures, we might stiffen up and become dull. I’ve seen it happen with my mother. She’s one of the most energetic people you’ll meet, but when the times comes for her to consult with someone who lacks color, her voice changes to one of profession and her body is up tight in person.

You could say that I’m truly my mothers child. I code switch just as often but I’ve realized that language can shape you into so many things. It causes you to adapt to things or oppressions you probably didn’t want to adapt to. It can also cause you to be associated with something that does not represent you at all. So you’re stuck. Gloria Anzaldua once said “Who is to say that robbing a people of its language is less violent than war?” She was correct. The larger idea of control is what overcomes the people. People are robbed of their heritage, forced to change to fit the criteria of what “they” make seem correct in all aspects.

It’s like you either have to become part of the oppression or stay ignorant to society. I don’t like the idea of being oppressed or having to prove myself to other people. If I want to say “ain’t” instead of “didn’t” then let me be. It isn’t fair that I have to fix the way I speak to meet someone’s expectations. I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want to betray myself or my ancestors by becoming into this “white speaking” robot that society tried to mold me into. But the reality of the situation is that I HAVE to. If I want to be successful and be able to provide for my family, i’ll just have to adjust to this miscarriage of fairness and continue living my life but speaking the way they want me to. But in that same breath I’ll always remind myself that no one else is like me and that I design myself. I’ll forever have a choice in what I want to say and how I have to say it, but given certain situations I may have to adjust. I love the way I speak and I love the way I can diversitize my language to benefit myself.



Citations:
Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1999. Print.
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Language Autobiography 2013: The Standard English vs. Slang Dilemma

Stephen White

Iron Stream


Introduction: In this unit my stream learned about language and how it affects people's lives. We were assigned a project that was called our Language Autobiography. In this assignment we were supposed to connect a story from another author and a story coming from our own life about language and how it affects our lives. This assignment was challenging for me but after a couple of drafts and outlines I think it's way better than what it was before, I'm proud of my language autobiography.




It was winter break and I was on the phone with my friend Jaaz. We were talking about the sixers and how they were folding in the fourth quarter. When my Grandmother overheard the conversation she told me to “speak like I have an education.”  She judged my language as a language of ignorance and unintelligence. I felt insulted. She made an assumption that has no connection to my intelligence.



Adolescents are regularly forced to speak a certain way. Just this Saturday I had a couple of friends over my house to play some video games and hang out. We were sitting in my living room playing NBA 2k13. The TV was blasting and the room had the aroma of pizza. Each of us were so glued to the T.V. that our seats were only a few feet away from the screen. While playing we got animated. Jumping up and down laughing, screaming, pointing, and arguing over a game. The game was so close and the pressure was on. My mom heard us speaking vernacular english and using slang terms that me and a couple of friends say often. Such as “that’s dead”, “drawlin’”, and “frying”. While we were talking about Jerry Stackhouse a basketball player who is no longer in his zenith. I said “Jerry Stackhouse? That’s dead.” My mom who also is a sports fanatic responded with “What? Speak regular.” We had to ease up on our vernacular english since my mom joined the conversation. I stated that “Jerry Stackhouse is buns, he’s like 70 still playing in the league. That’s dead.” We all started cracking up almost laughing out of our chairs. My mom seemed troubled. It was because in her mind I was speaking “ghetto” or “speaking without an education.” She made me speak the way she wanted me to speak.


Gloria Anzaldua was regularly forced to speak a certain way as an adolescent also. When she was younger she was caught speaking Spanish at recess when she wasn’t supposed to. Anzaldua was punished with three licks from a sharp ruler onto her knuckles. Her teachers didn’t like that she spoke Spanish when she was supposed to speak English she still had a Mexican accent. When she was older she was required to take two speech classes at Pan-American University to get rid of her accent. Anzaldua and I were both forced to speak a certain way because the people in power above us didn’t like it.


People’s intelligence shouldn’t be judged based on the way they speak. I believe this because the way I speak is a choice. When my Grandmother told me this winter break “speak like I have an education” I was judged that I am not intelligent but I choose to speak that way when I’m with my friends. We all speak a form of Jargon that wouldn’t be understood to the untrained ear of an adult. I believe that I’m intelligent and didn’t deserve to be judged because she didn’t understand what we’re speaking.


Gloria Anzaldua’s intelligence was also judged when she was younger. When she spoke Spanish in front of  her teachers when she was supposed to speak English they thought she wasn’t capable of speaking English and that she should “go back to Mexico where she belonged.” Both of us also speak a form of Jargon when we’re with our friends. The form of Jargon she speaks is called “Pachuco”. Pachuco is a language of rebellion and a secret language for adolescents to speak only. Some words from the secret language that my friends and I use are “that’s dead” which means that’s boring and “Frying” which mean I’m doing good in that area. Some words from Pachuco that she uses is “Ruca” which means girl or woman and “Vato” which means guy or dude. We both speak secret languages between us and our fellow adolescents.


Even though we speak different we are still communicating the same ideas. Even though I speak in a way that my Mom or any other adult doesn’t understand my friends still understand every word I say. My friends and I are fully capable of speaking Standard English but we speak our way because it’s a preference for when we’re comfortable. Anzaldua’s parents or teachers never would catch on to language of Pachuco because it wasn’t made for them. It’s both of our preferences and we or anyone else shouldn’t be identified as stupid or lacking of education because we have the ability to speak proper but just choose not to.


I see adolescents everyday being told to “speak this way” or “speak that way”. All that matters is that you know how to speak Standard English when it counts. The forms of English are infinite and you can’t force someone to change the way they speak and change their identity because you don’t like it. I believe we all should come to the agreement that we shouldn’t stereotype Standard English is for the educated, and Jargon is for the uneducated.



Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1999. Print.



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Language is key !

In this unit we were talking about Language and what it mean to you , and how language is a struggle we all had problems with. The unit started out with a video in which it showed how many people talk and who they thought had the worst accent when they speak, of course no one said themselves. We were then assigned a project called "Language Autobiography". For this project we had to write about how language affected us and how we made it through. For instance in my language biography I told my story when i was in seconded grade and how my peers teased me for the way I talked.We also had to make a video. From doing this project I learned how the way you speak determines how people treat you.

Language is key

Being a kid was rough for me. I never knew the way I talked could be so humorous. It all started in 2nd grade, Ms. Brown’s class. It was the 1st day of school, the first day of being a second grader, I was excited. The sun was shining bright and blazing merrily, the sky was blue, and the wind was whistling a light tune. I was too fresh I had on my cripst new white uniform shirt with the three flower buttons at the top,my navy blue french toast dress, my sockings and my navy shoe shoes from payless. I spent the whole summer in Atlanta with my aunt. As I was getting out of my aunt’s shining bright like a diamond black maxima she said “See ya lata,honey bumkins” the kids laughed.“Bye auntie” they laughed again. I never caught on to why they were laughing about until I got to class and I began to speak once more.

As I walked into room 204, Ms. Brown’s 2nd grade class, I sat next to Brianna , who I thought was one of my close friends. I knew her since kindergarten.
“Hello class,  welcome back! How was your summer? Anybody want to share your  exciting stories you may have with the class?” Ms. Brown said. Brianna raised her hand “Over the summer I went to disney world” I raised my hand next.” Go head , state your name and what you did over the summer” Ms Brown said. “ Hey,my name is Ashley and over da summa I went to Atlanta Georgia with my auntie Tisha” The whole class started laughing , even Brianna. I guess being in Atlanta with my aunt for 3 months really had an impact on me! I started to talk like how them southern people talked. I didn’t hear it at first, but i knew something was up when every time I spoke my classmates would laugh. I didn’t catch the joke. Did I have food in my teeth? Did I not smell good? Did someone stick something on my back, that was suppose to be funny? All those thoughts rushed to my head.I couldn’t and didn’t understand why the hell I was so funny.

It was only 10:00 and already I didn’t want to be there anymore. I stopped raising my hand. I was ashamed, I was embarrassed I was the laughing stock of the class.People who I thought were my friends were laughing at me. That didn’t make me seem good. I didn’t wanna go back to ms. Brown’s class again,I wanted to go home and go to sleep and pretend nothing ever happened. The day went on and I was still in school. It was lunch time now. “Why do you talk so weird now Ashley?” said Nashae. “Weird, what are you talkin bout’ girl?” “You’re talking weird that’s not how you talked last year.” she started to laugh. “What’s so funny, I’m finna punch you in the face!” “See!” said Nashae “Like that what does finna mean? do you mean you’re going to?” Right then and there I noticed I was talking differently! When Nashae finally broke it down, thats when I realized I was talking like my aunt!
Rather than playing in the schoolyard with the other kids I sat by myself on the wall. On the wall I was thinking about everything that happened today , I thought of ways I could change how I talked back so I wouldn’t have to get laughed at anymore. I just wanted to fit in. Isn’t that what every child wants to do? Nobody wants to be left out or an outsider because of the way they dress or from the way they talked. Then some girl named mya came over. “what are you doing over here by yourself” “finna change my talk” “finna?” mya said. “ I mean “I’m going to” change my way of speaking” “ooooohhh, need help?” Mya helped me all lunch period with my speaking. “Now, we don’t use the word “finna” thats so weird just say i’m going to. I heard you say in class the word “da” and “summa” da is not a word just say the and summer say it with me ssuuummmeeerr. there you go you got it!” we worked on my speech for the whole lunch period. From that day one Mya was my best friend and we still remain close till today. Back to the story the bell had just rung and it was time to go in and get back to class.

When we got back to class Jennifer,who I haven’t liked since 1st grade tried to imitate me and tried to hurt me more because she thought the class was finna laugh oops I mean going to laugh. “Ms. Brown i’m finna use the bathroom” she got no laughs before Ms.Brown could say anything I laughed I didn’t let it hurt me one bit. “Jennifer you mean you’re going to use the bathroom” She was salty, embarrassed, surprised and annoyed. The class was amazed, I did a whole 360 before school was even over. I was determined to not be the laughing stock of the class. The school bell rang the day was over. I couldn’t wait to see my mom to tell her all about my day and how crazy it was. Till this day I still reminisce on this topic with Mya we always laugh and joke about it. I’m glad now I can sit back and laugh.


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What I Speak is Who I Am.

This unit was about the many views of language and our outlooks of language. We learnt about “standard” english which is “professional” english. We also learnt about how everyone has their own opinions on how different we all speak. Accent, slang, identity all come together in language. We also learn that experiencing language is very diverse. Throughout learning this unit, I’ve realized a lot about language that I’ve never thought about before.


Language is capable of many things. It can also affect relationships between people, and it can pull people apart, or it can pull people together. Language is communication. Communication is important because it can build a relationship and allow bonding. It’s very hard for me to communicate with my parents at home. What I speak represents who I am. Language is a part of my identity. They relate to each other because my parents often judge me about many things about myself.

Sometimes, I want to speak about something very important to my parents. For example, when I was around twelve years old, I remember being in school and my classmates always joked and talked about sex. Little did I know, I barely knew anything about sex. It confused me and I would sit around my friends laughing along as if I knew what they were talking about. I went home and as I opened my door, I went straight upstairs. I was still feeling confused and curious. I really wanted to learn more about how sex works. As I laid in bed, still in my school uniform, I assumed maybe my parents would know but I wondered who even asks their parents about sex? But I didn’t care because I feel like as a kid turning into a teenager, I have the right to know how sex works. I hopped off my bed and started walking downstairs. As my hand touched the railing, I stopped after I remembered how my parents won’t even understand me even if I attempt to talk about it to them about that. My mom has a very hard time speaking english. She understands more than she can speak. My dad can pronounce fluently in english but he does not understand the type of vocabulary that I use. I slowly felt a bit gloomy that I am not able to communicate to my parents as much as I would like. I turned around on the steps and walk backed into my room. As I walked back up, I also thought to myself “How can I ever open up to mom and dad if they won’t even understand me? What if I need to speak to them about something really important but they won’t understand me...?”

My younger cousin goes through a very similar problem that I do. His name is Cody, he is four years old. He visited me during winter break. It was 10:00 PM, my dad was driving my family in the car to the restaurant we were meeting up with Cody’s family. I felt the excitement of just seeing my dearest little guy that I miss so much. I stared out of the window, it was dark and cold but I was daydreaming about all things I want to do with Cody and how much I want to hear him talk to me. When I arrived, I saw Cody running towards me. I knelt down and we embraced. Reunited after two years, I was the happiest cousin ever. He was a bit heavier, a little taller, his face looked slimmer but he was still that sunshine I always loved. The first thing I asked him was “có đói em?” I asked him if he was hungry in Vietnamese. Cody gave me a clueless look as if I was speaking in a completely different language that he was never exposed to. I was very confused and Cody just stared at me. I repeated the question again, but in English this time. He answered ‘yes’ and ran off to his dad. I was concerned, so I walked over to Cody’s mom. She was sitting nearby the dinner table chatting with my mom. I asked her “Does Cody know how to speak Vietnamese?” Cody’s mom answered, “No, he doesn’t. He’s been spending too much time at the daycare, they only speak English there, he totally forgot how to speak Vietnamese at home” I was shocked. I looked over at him, I saw him sitting on my Grandmother’s lap, and she had a confused look. I figured that Cody was talking to her in English but she did not understand him at all. This is going to affect his relationship with my grandparents because they won’t be able to understand each other since my Grandmother only speaks and understands Vietnamese. This matters because bonding is when you spend a lot of time with someone and try to learn to attach with each other. But how can they both grow together when they won’t be able to properly communicate to each other?

There’s so many complications with language because it really affects my relationship with my parents. Because with language comes with culture. They look down on me, and they’re ashamed that their Vietnamese, Chinese and Cambodian girl cannot speak her own language at home as fluent and as perfect as they wish. There’s multiple times when my mom would say to me “It’s ashamed that you’re bad at speaking Vietnamese, it’s who you are, you need to be more fluent” I even feel stripped from my true identity because of my mom’s selfishness of being insecure who she really is. My mom wants me to embrace being Vietnamese by speaking it fluently but why can’t I embrace being Cambodian? I remember when I was sitting in my living room. Lights were dimmed, I was relaxed on my couch. My fingers were tracing upon my ipod touch as my entertainment. I felt a little sleepy. I started to remember as I looked at my family’s portrait of my mother wearing a long wedding dress, my father in a tuxedo. My mom is sitting in a chair as my dad is standing behind holding her right hand up. I asked my dad, who was standing near the dinner table reading bills; “What was my Grandpop like, dad?” My mother never talked about her dad. I always asked her about him when I was younger but she never gave me a real answer. My dad answered with a sigh as he looked over at me “He’s cambodian, that’s all your mother ever told me”. It hit me after a minute. I realized my entire life, apart of my identity was stripped. I speak vietnamese, I eat vietnamese food, I celebrate vietnamese holidays with my family, I am half vietnamese and chinese. Now, I have discovered I am a fourth cambodian and just a fourth vietnamese and half chinese. But why is that, inside of me, I feel like I’m full vietnamese? I felt angered. It’s got to have something to do with speaking vietnamese. What I speak is who I am. I always feel like being apart of a certain culture, it’s required to know that language. It shows your background, who you are, a slice of your identity.This isn’t who I want to be though. I don’t speak Chinese or Khmer. I speak Vietnamese and English. Therefore I am an Asian-american, my ethnicity is Vietnamese.

What I speak is who I am. Everyone has a different point of view no language and how much it matters to that person. There is so much to language. Language is a big part of this world.



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What are you talking about?


Over the past few weeks we have studied the art of language and why it is very special. We watched a video showing people and the different vocabularies they have from each other and accents. It showed what makes groups different from each other. We were assigned this project called the language autobiography which is what you are reading now. I've learned much from this unit and hope you can learn more from my paper.

My cousin from Washington D.C. and I have two different vocabularies that we use. Here in Philly, our city-wide word is “jawn,” which is pretty much our version of a noun because it can be anything or anyone. In Washington, they have no idea what that word means and have never heard it used in a sentence unless they spent time here. When my cousin was staying with me and my family for a funeral, we were sitting in my room watching sportscenter when his friend called. He started talking on the phone with him and after about 5 minutes of talking he yelled, “Yo I’m so clutch.” I said “What?” He explained that when he said that he was expressing that since he was right about a bet and he won he was now considered “Clutch.” This confused me because this was the first time I’ve heard this. So later that day we went to the basketball court behind my house. I said during a game of basketball that I was “frying him” and that “my jumpshot was chicken”.

He looked at me with a confused look and then he asked, "Ya jumpshot what?”

I said "My jumper chicken. That’s the word we use here. What do yall use in DC?"

He said, "We just say our jumpshot butta."

“Oh okay, we used to say that but then we started using different words like cheese, and chicken, and how when you make a jumpshot in someone face you say “Facial” because it’s funny and it makes sense in this situation.”

He answered back that they say that back home also because it’s pretty much a universal basketball slang term. We continued our one on one game and I posted him up and scored on him. I said “I just took you to the weight room, get your weight up youngboul.“ He laughed because of my statement. I kept forgetting he was from Washington D.C. and they don’t have the same vocab we have. I explained that taking someone to the weight room is just posting someone up and scoring on them and that youngboul is a word we use for someone younger than us or just a word to make fun of someone. Language can help you get a better understanding of people, so you can befriend them and won’t be left out in the dark in a conversation. In the past I believed that language was just something we spoke and was exclusive to a certain race and could be taught to another if willing or forced. I didn’t think it had any meaning behind it or could be looked at with a deeper view.

Over the weekend we continued to have conversations and discovered a few more new words from each other’s vocab. One word he used that wasn’t new to me, but isn’t used in Philly, was “partna.”

I’ve heard that word used before in other states, such as the southern states, and when I visited Washington D.C., but other people have not heard this word before. “Partna” is just another word for friend. When I want to say something like this, I say “mans.” Language is very different and similar in certain places as I’ve stated above. The point I’m trying to make is that language helps people fit into a certain group. Language can help define who we are as person or race.

People will judge you by the language you speak or learned to speak. Last year, One of my friends who attended a different school asked me, “How you black speaking spanish?” He was judging me by my race and the fact that I’m speaking another race’s language. Over the years I’ve heard a good number of languages spoken and I, for one, can say that I’ve judged people on the race and language they’ve spoken. I’ve often caught myself judging someone who is a foreigner living here in America and who refuses to speak English.The environment around me influenced and taught me that foreigners were bad because they “invaded our country, but don’t want to speak our language.” The environment around us can  be a big influence on our language and how we react to other languages. A quote from Sandra Romo, “The verbal environment influences language learning. From ages one to three, children from highly verbal 'professional' families heard nearly three times as many words per week as children from low verbal 'welfare' families.” I hope to influence other people on finding their own language and don’t allow bad influences to make you believe another language is bad. When it all boils down, we need each other to prosper.





Romeo, S. (2012). Factors that influence language development. Retrieved from http://www.ehow.com/list_6018235_factors-influence-language-development.html
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Los Seres Queridos en Mi Vida

Yo - Soy Brittany. Tengo cuartce años. Soy extraña y boba. Me gusta leer y escuchar musíca casi siempre. No me gusta escribir pero me fascina dibujar. 

Ella - Se llama Bella. Ella es algo deportista y increíblemente artística. Le encanta My Chemical Romance. Tiene el pelo cafe y los ojos cafés.

Ellos - Se llama Cameron y Micah. Jugar videojuegos con amigos. Ellos es muy altos y cómicos. Tienen el pelo carta y negro. Mis mejores amigos del individuo

Ellas - Hikma y Adowa. Ellas son muy inteligente. Chicas son cómicas y boba. También súper simpática.

Nosotros - Amelia es muy simpactica y mas o menos loca.Tiene un perro y dos gatos. Un familia pequeña. Una de mis mejores amigas.
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Guión(script)

​Intro- Hola, bienvenidos a mi video.
Yo- Me llamo Brian Torres. Me gusto jugar videojuegos y leer libros, pero no me gusta nada estudiar.
El- A el le llama Brandon. El es mi primo. Le gusta jugar videojuegos y practicar deportes, pero no le gusta estudiar.
Ella- A ella le llama Melanie. Ella es mi hermana. A ella le encanta ir de compras y pasar un rato con amigos, pero no le gusta nada hacer trabajo en la casa.
Ellos- Ellos son Adnan y Kevin. Ellos son mis mejor amigos en Science Leadership Academy. A ellos les gustan jugar videojuegos y a ver videos en youtube, pero no les gustan estudiar.
Ellas- Ellas son Kathleen y Angela. Ellas son mis primas. Les gustan ir de compras i hablar por teléfono. No les gustan estudiar o jugar videojuegos.
Conclusion- ¡Chau!
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Language Autobiography 2013: The Controlling Effects Of Grammar

This unit was basically about how different types of languages are looked at. We read stories about about the lives of real people, and how they had to change their language because they had to speak a certain way in order to get treated fairly. In all of the stories we read, every character had to learn english because learning english was what was expected of them. My language autobiography, is about how much power and control grammar has and how that affects me personally.Throughout this unit, I learned that language really does affect the way people look at you. 




Society gives grammar the power to control us. It wants us to be pressured into having excellent spoken grammar and speech. If we do not have that, then we are criticized. Marilyn vos Savant says, “Be able to correctly pronounce the words you would like to speak and have excellent spoken grammar.” This is the way society wants us to speak. It’s because of this that I ruminate a lot on what I say, what I’m going to say, and how I say it. “Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power.”(Joan Didion). Grammar has power over a lot. It can affect the way people look at you. If you’re interviewing for a job, and you don’t have the best grammar chances are you won’t get hired. Grammar gives you power also. It can give you the power to attract people when you’re giving a speech. It can get you to higher places especially if your grammar is what society expects of you. Although these quotes are true, the only reason grammar has power and the ability to control us, is because we let it.

“Grammar, which knows how to control even kings.”(Moliere). What Moliere is saying is that grammar controls everything. It controls the way some of us think and the way some of us speak. I can attest to this because it has definitely controlled my thought process. Occasionally, I make mental notes about what to say in the correct grammar the next time I speak to someone when I don’t say it correctly the first time. I even correct myself out loud. For example, one day in spanish class I was confused on how to conjugate a certain word. So, I got up out of my seat to go and ask my spanish teacher. He was sitting at his desk, talking to a student teacher when he looked up at me. “Yes dear?” He said with a welcoming smile. “Um...” I started to say. I wasn’t sure how to ask him the question. I wasn’t sure how to start it off, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t use the proper grammar. “Don’t you drop the ‘e’, and add the ‘i’?” I asked. “Yes.” He nodded and turned to continue his previous conversation. Walking back to my seat I thought, “Shoot! I wasn’t supposed to say ‘don’t you’. I was supposed to say ‘wouldn’t you’.” After realizing that I said the improper use of  grammar, I began to feel embarrassed and ashamed. Sitting back down I corrected myself again. This time out loud. “I wasn’t supposed to say ‘Don’t you’. I was supposed to say ‘Wouldn’t you”. Oh my gosh!” I let the use of grammar control me so much, that when I say something incorrectly I automatically feel ashamed. I get embarrassed and I come down even harder on myself. At other times I’m afraid to speak up because I’m afraid of how I will sound, that I may not sound right, or that I won’t make sense. I’m also afraid that will affect how people look at me. I get this way because I don’t want people to look at me as “the girl who doesn’t have correct grammar” or “the girl who doesn’t speak right”. I want them to look at me as “the girl with perfect grammar”, “the girl who has no flaws in her speech”. So, I make it an effort to make sure that my grammar is perfect. And no, it’s still not perfect but I still try. Although I consider my grammar pretty well,  I do make mistakes sometimes. “Look at them people.” I pointed to a group of kids doing silly stunts and tricks. I was walking down the street with my friend when we saw them. “I mean look at those people.” She looked at them and laughed.

I’m so used to correcting myself that sometimes, when someone says something grammatically incorrect, I silently correct them myself. It’s not that I judge how people speak because I don’t at all. They are free to speak however they wish. Especially if that’s who they are. I just do it to help myself. Only so that I will know what to say when I speak to someone who has the mindset that you need to speak a certain way. Another example is when my mom and I were in the car, and she was talking about how much the damage to her car was. “Five hunned..” She said in a loud, silly voice. I automatically interrupted her, “Do you mean five hundred?” I made sure I emphasized the word “hundred”. She just looked at me and laughed. I only corrected her because I really dislike the word “hunned”.  Although grammar is something I strive to be perfect in, there is one type of language that I don’t have to be perfect in. It’s my own type of language. I use words or sentences like, “durp”, “salty grits”, and “you’re doing the most”, when I’m playing around and because it’s fun. I believe at some point anyone should have some type of fun with their language. Personally for me, fun with my language is making up words. What makes it fun is that I know people can’t criticize me with that.



BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2013. <http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/grammar.html>.
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Language vs. Language

This project is about the life you live with language. Language is considered highly effective in everyone’s life. The goal for this project is to write a descriptive story fiction or nonfiction about how language affects your life. I wrote how it could or would affect how people’s life.
Language vs. Language. That’s what I see it as. One of language is used when there is writing to be done and the other one is used when someone needs to take action. But throughout life these languages will never connect. They are strangers living in the same house.

There are two people that live inside of me but they come out at different times. They matter because they both play large parts of each other’s life. They both speak entirely different languages but they still would need each other to communicate with other groups of people. Their existence is because if they didn’t have each other, then they would be limited to not only the people they can talk to but also they are limited to what they can do. Their names are Justice and Jules. I first discovered Justice when I was in the closed box I called my bedroom. The blank paper and the sharp pencil sits there on my desk waiting to be used to write the English story that’s due the next day. First seconds went by... then minutes... and now a hour went by and still nothing. “Maybe eating will help.” I thought. But no. I was fuller than ever but still hungry for ideas. “Maybe sleeping will help.” I thought. But no. I slept for two hours and very well rested but still have no energy to get any thoughts in my head to write. As I get out of my bed and into the chair next to the desk that hold the empty paper I felt something inside me change. For that 30 minutes that I sat at the desk writing my descriptive story I felt like a writer. I had thoughts and ideas flowing out of me. These thoughts filled up 2 pages with at least 700 words. I was pleased with this story. But then I thought to myself, “What happened?” And still till this day i don’t know the answer to that simple question. But I do know that I wasn’t myself. And thus became Justice. I gave her that name because all of Justice’s writing requires some type of equality.

People have a different language from when they write and when they talk. For example, Justice talked more poetic when she wrote and Jules basically talked from her head (her opinions/ feelings). Jules can’t get as descriptive and poetic like Justice does very well. With Justice she really doesn't come out to talk to people she basically stays on paper where she can’t be judge by her thoughts. Before Justice was born, Jules writing was at a 5th grade level. Jules don’t know how to be as descriptive as Justice so Jules would basically go straight to the point with her stories other than breaking it down. Even though Justice don’t know Jules, Justice influence Jules to take action to what she feel is wrong and try to stop it from happening.

And then there’s Jules. She comes out when she have to talk to her family and friends. The first time I learned about this was when I wanted to talk to mom about a very important subject. Justice wrote down what she wanted me to say and I constantly read through it. But now it was time for me to read it to my mom.

As I walk through the small hallway, it seem like it was getting longer the closer I got to my mother’s bedroom. But finally I was in front of it looking right into it watching her watching TV. She didn’t notice I was watching her until I knocked on her wooden door and asked if I could come in. “Yes, What’s the problem?”, she said. As I look at the  paper that had what Justice wanted me to say everything looked wrong. Letters was everywhere. I didn’t make sense to me. I decided instead of trying to from the paper just tell her how I feel. “ Well, you know...”, began to say. What I said worked. She listened to me and she agreed with everything I said. But I realized there was a difference between the way Justice wrote and how Jules talked. They wasn’t using the same language.

You can learn from these two different sides of me that everyone have a language where you would have to listen or read what a person say to understand them or you would have to watch their actions and how they react to situations as their language to understand that person.This shows that people don’t realize that they use a different language from when they have conversation with someone and when they writing a journal, story, poem, etc. It took me long to find this other side of myself because I have always been asked to read a story and answer a prompt other than write my own story with my own feelings. What helped me make my story is I deep thought about the difference between poetic language and action as a language. These languages are set-up to come out at different times. This is why Justice and Jules was created. They are two different people leaving in the same body.
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Code-Switch


In this unit, we learned about the power and need for language. We learned the different applications of language. This essay talking about the pitches and tones that I use to define myself. 

The air around me was chilly, just like winter should be. I shifted my fists a bit deeper into my hoodie pocket, but it only let them go so far. I raised my lip towards my nostrils to check and see if my nose a bit cold. Of course it was, I was sitting on a ledge near a large window in the middle of January. I held my legs closer together and to my body. I shifted my eyes around me and everybody was basically doing them same thing, trying to keep warm. It sounds stupid that we’re sitting near a window in the middle of winter, but there was nowhere else quiet to go. SLA is a loud place in itself, with very few quiet areas. Anyways, it was the normal meeting spot for me and my friends during lunch: Peter, Edgar, Gabby, and Tytianna.


Everyone was talking, talking like they do with friends. We were joking around, making fun of each other and other things. I happened to use my naturally deep and smooth voice, in which I use around people I’m comfortable and close with. “... and then I told my mom no, and then I swear she was gonna -- “ I stopped right in my tracks. I heard footsteps of an unfamiliar person coming towards us. I naturally paused myself because what I was about to say could basically offend any teacher or adult nearby, so I hushed until whoever passed on by. Well it turned out to be Mr. Latimer, my Algebra 2 teacher. I actually had a question to ask him about my standard retake, to see if he got it for next week.


“Hey Mr. Latimer, I have a question to ask,” I asked in a higher-pitched tone, which I use for teachers and adults and the like. It was natural for me to do such a thing. Mr. Latimer perked his eyebrows up, signalling I could keep going. “Did you get my standard submission for next week? I was just wondering because I wasn’t sure you got it or not ... “ I ended in a quiet voice, still quite high-pitched in comparison to my voice from before. It wasn’t as smooth and didn’t flow out my mouth like it did when I spoke to my friends. “Yeah, I got it,” he said nonchalantly. I smiled and nodded, and he walked away like nothing ever happened.


I’ve always switched between tones and the pitch of my voice. I do it subconsciously, out of pure instinct. I usually notice the way I’m talking with certain people  in comparison to others. It’s not like a switch between slang and standard english. It’s a switch between the tone and pitch of my voice. Naturally, it’s deep. Not a grown man’s deep, but deeper than the average female. I’m able to speak in different pitches and tones. With my friends, I tend to use my unchanged, natural voice. It sounds really deep, especially when I get back from talking to someone I don’t talk to often. When around people I’m just acquainted with, my voice tends to raise an octave, becoming a bit more feminine than usual. Then with complete and utter strangers, I use a very quiet and light voice that can be barely heard. It’s not like I necessarily do it because I want to, it’s just natural.



When my voice changes, I feel a little bit of me curl up in the corner and hide away. Using a light voice doesn’t make me feel completely like myself; it’s like I lose a part of myself. I’ve been a bit embarrassed about my voice ever since I was little. Everywhere I went girls had high - pitched voices that sounded feminine. I wanted to be like them, to sound like them. It was even worse when I heard my voice recorded, when I didn’t hear it come out my own mouth. It sounded manly and disgusting, like sharp metal pieces grinding against each other in imperfect harmony. I believe I started to use different pitches around different people because I was embarrassed about how I sounded. Using the higher-pitched voice around people I didn’t know made me sound prettier and nicer than I usually sound. It was like creating a separate identity for the people who didn’t know me.


Everybody bases their thinking of a person on the first impression. Society bring forth these “rules” and expectations that females must sound like females and males must sound like males. Based upon what you sound, look, and act like, people will judge you accordingly. During first meetings, job interviews, even paying for something at a cash register someone will judge you on how you sound and speak. No one wants to sound ugly or funny to someone else. Everybody wants to sound like the way they’re supposed to. Some even go to the extent of changing their voice boxes to make their voice different and more pleasurable. And then you have people like me who just simply change the pitch and tone of their voice when around different people. When you think about it, it’s a shame. It’s a shame that we have to change the way we speak around others to make others happy. We lose ourselves when we try to change the way other people look at us. We feel like if we make others happy regarding us, we’ll be happy too. Personally, I would love to stop changing my voice around others, but it’s harder than you think.


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LanguageAutobiography: Does language determine you?

In this unit of english class,​ we worked on autobiography's about what language means to us. I wrote about what language was like for me growing up and how language has a lot to do with your everyday life and how people view you.

When I was in elementary school, I always wondered why people made fun of the way I spoke. They told me it was because I talked “white”. “What does talking “white” even mean I thought to myself?” The way I speak isn’t the way they were raised to When I asked my mom, I remember her telling me that it meant that I was educated and that I didn’t talk like a normal “black” person. I asked her “does that mean black people aren’t educated”? I knew that my mom was educated, she finished college and got her masters degree and she’s part black. So I knew that couldn’t be true. Most people in my family finished college. Whites still overruled blacks in education. In this society, that’s the way it appeared. More white’s finished college, or even went to college than blacks did. That’s the way it’s always been in America.

As I grew up, all I was told by my peers was that “you talk like a white girl”. I started playing soccer when I was nine or ten years old, and to my african american peers, that was a “white sport”. I listened to songs that were sung by people that were white also. That gave them a bigger reason to call me a white girl. To them, everything I did or said was “white”. They thought playing basketball was a “black sport” so I played to fit in with everyone else. I barely got any playing time, but being apart of the basketball team at my middle school was all I needed to make me seem black. Everything was categorized at my school before I came to high school. I learned to embrace the way I talked.

When I was in 8th grade, I was attending a dominantly african american school. There were less than five students that were of another race. All of the kids there barely spoke proper english. Most spoke broken english, even the teachers, principal and other staff members. Everyday in the school there was a physical fight or close to it. In a private school I thought, there wouldn’t be any fights. The closest thing to a fight would be a argument. I had never experienced that type of environment before. It was different for me because in my household, no one talks broken english, but soon I caught on to the way they talked at my school if I wanted to fit in. But when I was home or around family, I spoke the way i was taught to. Speaking differently than the way I was raised was discriminated against in my household. It was like either you speak the way you are supposed to, or don’t speak at all.

Most of the people I knew growing up stereotyped different races. Each race had a certain way of talking and doing things. My friends portrayed blacks as being loud and ghetto all of the time. In some cases to me, that is true. Despite me being part black, that’s not the way my family acts not that wasn’t the way they were raised. But that being said, the white part of family did act the way others stereotype them. They all spoke properly, ate crackers and cheese and other things along that line. Owned big fancy houses and cars. Had well paying jobs and spoiled children. But that never affected me because I live in a big fancy house, my family has nice cars and I am also spoiled. So to me it didn’t matter what color you are, it’s how you were raised to act. The people I grew up around definitely had a huge impact on me and they are part of the reason why I am who I am today.

I recently read an article on language by James Baldwin. In the article, he discussed how “black” english contributes to standard english and that black english plays a big part in how we all speak today. “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate.” - James Baldwin. In this quote, he is saying that in different places, people speak a certain way to fit in. You wouldn’t speak the same way you speak to your friends while you are in a workplace. People have to switch the way they talk to meet the criteria of certain situations or will be looked at differently.

People are always going to be discriminated and talked about by others who speak differently than they do. But if everyone talked the same, there would be no diversity among us. Every person would be looked at the same.

The way you talk in this world determines who you are to some people. To me, thats not how I think of others. You could be well educated and still speak broken english. Or you could be uneducated and speak better than someone with a college degree. The color of your skin, or even where you come from should determine your class.

In the world, the way you speak determines your place, only if you let it.



Here is the link to my video.




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Language Autobiography 2013: Is it necessary for all to "fit in"?

In this project it was required that each student picks a theme about language that interest them. It could be bad or good they can decide but in that they must help the reader to understand what they are trying to say and relate it to their life. It could be a past experience, scene, or even what's happening in society/the world today. In that you must intertwine it with larger analysis that leads but to a broader idea and add your own reflection. Each student would have to incorporate one descriptive scene along with deeper thoughts and analysis. 

In today’s society it is looked at that to make it one must blend in with the ‘popular and superior’ crowd and allow one’s life to fit that crowd. When the topic of language is raised, English is the most commonly spoken in the US obviously and standard English seems to be the most professional language of all. When living in the US it was something that seemed to be ‘normal’ and ‘natural’ as if being different in that sense is wrong...

In elementary school I never really thought about such a thing much. All I knew and understood was that now that I’m in Philly, away from most of my family English would be the language I’d hear the most and speaking it for me wasn’t an option; I had to. I never was exposed to the thought of how speaking a different language that may be foreign to others could be a bad thing until that day...

My mother had decided to pick me up from school that day and I was happy to have her walk me home and have that sense of security. While walking I noticed some kids who go to the same school as I did walking also on the other side of the road. Two little boys about that same age as I was (about 7). After I noticed their presence my mom called my attention and said in a voice only I hear “Ki jan jou ou te pasé?” (How was your day?) “It was good” I told her. Then her phone rang and she picked up. It was my dad. What I noticed was that she was talking english with him when usually when it comes to him she speaks her home language. Creole. A language which Haitians speak. Then soon I realized it was because she was trying to explain to him how to communicate with his boss at a more professional english level that he asked her advice for. I wondered if everything was alright.

At the corner of my eye I could see and hear the kids snickering say that “she sounds Jamaican” as if there was a problem even if she was. One actually had the nerve to ask with a smirk on his face if she was one. On the phone my mom didn’t notice but I was so mad I yelled “shut up you african booty scratcher! You ugly too!” but with that I did also felt embarrassed. On the phone my mom was loud which made it easy for people a block away to hear her accent. But she’s my mother and no matter how loud she may be it would never change the importance and impact she has had on my life.  

Though she wasn’t from here she made an effort to try and speak the language that was foreign to her and it was bad  that most didn’t even notice that. Too bad back then, I was too young to understand that. But because of that it is to be felt that many with accents aren’t taken seriously when needed because they don’t speak or sound like they’re speaking ‘proper english’. But as I got older and really looked at the American society I came to realize that its prejudice, injustice and more. For example I remember awhile back, my mom ordered a pepperoni pizza on the phone and it was on speaker so I eavesdropped onto the conversation. It was because of my mother's accent the person constantly asked my mother to repeat what she was saying as if she was speaking a different language. On top of that they took forever to deliver. When I ordered the pizza and said the exact thing’s my mother said the last time because I don’t have that much of an accent they understood me and the delivery came under 30 minutes which confuzzles me.

  Even though she had an accent in the end the workers were able to understand what she was saying because we got what she asked for but why give me different service than her? It has been called to my and many others attention that some people in society feel as those people with hard accents aren’t truly educated and can be easily taken advantage of many things such as their disability to speak standard english. Which isn’t true at all. If one were to take a survey of who agrees with this quote ‘one shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover’ many would agree but I feel as though society has never even tried to live up to that expectation. 

All leading up to what I’m trying to say. It isn’t fair for someone to be treated differently just because you don’t understand them. There are other ways to communicate and to automatically assume they aren’t able to have the same skills or intelligence that you have doesn’t sound right or possible humane.. There is such a thing as being open-minded and I believe if more people were able to think it that matter thing would be a lot better. I read a piece by Bell Hooks that is titled "this is the oppressor's language/yet I need it to talk to you":Language, a place of struggle” and that quote means a lot of things. One, she explains how originally Africans weren’t meant to speak English as they do now. It was because when in the time of slavery where they were taken from their homeland, there was so many different Blacks from many different tribes and areas in Africa, with their own type of language that it was complex to communicate with one another, especially their new masters. So they were forced to learn and speak under the language of their oppressor which is what we all know as to be English. It still amazes me till this day of that effect and the same thing happens till this day to foreigners who come to America hoping for opportunity and along that process are stripped of their identity by being forced to speak English and forget about what they use to speak. 

All I can say about my true ethnicity is that its special just like any other kind of race or culture. It shouldn’t be judged because of its differences from other. in fact it should be looked at in the opposite way because being different is what makes it unique and special. I just find it hard to believe but strongly agree that many have a problem accepting that notion. 


Outside Sources:

hooks, bell. Hooks on the Language of Power. New Learning. Web. 11 Jan 2013. <http://newlearningonline.com/literacies/chapter-6-critical-literacies/hooks-on-the-language-of-power/>. 


Baldwin, James. "If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me What Is."New York Times. (July 29, 1979): <http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/29/specials/baldwin-english.html>. 


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Language is key

In some ways spanish was my first language. I was a little girl. I wasn’t quite sure what my first language was, spanish or english? When I was a child my grandmother used to babysit me all the time. My abuela. To her, I was her “chocolate candy bar” due to the fact that I was the only child who was half black and half puerto rican. She said I used to speak fluent spanish. Very fluent, till my father started to babysit me. By then I had forget how to speak in my natural tongue. I started to learn lots of english and how to add and subtract. You know, the little things a parent does to entertain their child with. It’s amazing. How I couldn’t really speak, but I could understand every word my grandmother was saying.


Because my mom makes baby voices to my little cats in spanish so I imagine that she did that with me too. I grew up with her speaking spanglish. Not only that, I used to visit my grandmothers house every single day and I watched her yell at my cousins. When ever she asked me to eat, play, she would speak spanish and  when I would cry she’d say something like “No te preocupes” to calm me down. I feel like it was a natural thing blended inside of me. Like a family insider. Knowing the language that not many of your friends speak. It’s a feeling of acceptance.

Nowadays, I’m still trying to find myself. Sometimes I don’t know who I am and sometimes I don’t know who I want to be. I don’t know if I should feel ashamed because I don’t speak spanish, or should I even care. Sometimes I sort of feel singled out because I can’t speak it and it is like a huge barrier to me. Sometimes it even hurts.  It’s like I’m the odd duckling. It’s so annoying when my cousins try to translate for me and I usually end up snapping saying “I don’t need you to translate for me, I understand!” I partly feel that it is my dad’s fault. Because he babysitted me I forgot all of my spanish and I started to learn a lot of english. One time we were talking he said something like...

“I don’t want to speak spanish. I’m english and spanish is annoying”.


I said “No it’s pretty easy.”


And I felt somewhat offended. Because he’d always try to speak his wife’s language.


He said something like “Well I’m not spanish.”


I should of retorted you’re not asian either so why are you trying to speak the filipino language?


I felt somewhat offended because you’re talking about something that is important to me.

Sometimes people even try to talk crap in spanish right in front of my face and think I don’t understand them. Once when I was young I dragged my cousin across the floor by his pants. We played violently everyday so this was very normal. But this time it wasn’t violent, we were just having fun. Now, my grandparents ALWAYS had visitors over and there was this snooty woman. I could hear her talking in spanish.


“Your daughter was playing rough with this boy and yanking him by the pants” and some other bull. I sat there and I yelled “No I didn’t!” And my mom took me too the kitchen.


“What the hell are you doing over there? Your embarrassing me!”and she popped me in the mouth.


I bet if I knew how to speak spanish I could have protected and stood up for myself from a woman who could not mind her own business. All I could do was stand there and try not to cry. I know that woman dramatically exagerated. She exagerated like crazy. That’s what I hate about my grandmother’s visitors. They exagerate and they always judge and spread things among their church friends. As I got older I started to watch what I do and just quickly pass with a “hola”. I feel as though if I spoke spanish everything would change. I’d have a key that could unlock so many things. Rosetta stone doesn’t help me at all. I get all my spanish from my mom. Even though she lost some of her accent, it’s still tropical like puerto rico itself. “It’s my mother’s tongue” -(Amy tan), so it’s more natural whenever she speaks it goes through me, I interpret it and a part of it stays in me.  I could have a better job and more choices because being bilingual is a great attribute to have. Language is a barrier and an advantage. It all depends on how you manipulate it.




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Language Autobiography 2013: Judgement

When we heard the announcement that school was out early due to the snowstorm, you could hear everyone; even the teachers were happy to hear the news. I’ve never seen such a large crowd clear out that fast in my life. It was as if there was a bomb in the school. I was happy to get out of school early but I didn’t have any plans for what to do after and neither did any of my friends. Then one of my friends said “lets have a snowball fight.”

“Yeah it can be a little like call of duty.”

“Yea bro lets do it,” said my other friend.

“Lets go then” I said.

“Lets make it a free for all said my other friend.

We took position in different parts of the school yard. I choose the east side to stay away from a corner. The rules were simple, hit and don’t get it. It was crazy, snowy projectiles filled the air around me. I barely had enough time to throw because I was ducking and dodging snowballs. Then our principal came out and yelled “What are you doing!” We all looked at each other with a startled expression on our face. She yelled again “Come to the office, now!” We went to the office and sat down. “I will not tolerate such act of insolence at my school. You know I could have all of you suspended for this.”

“We're sorry!” we replied.

“Because you guys are well behaved, I’m not gonna have you suspended, especially on a half day, however, I have to call your parents.” When I came home my mom gave me a barrage of insults. She said the more I use slang, the more non-sense I got into.

In the professional world, I might be seen as an ignorant, immature, incompetent, and antisocial person because of the stereotypes associated with how I speak. I speak with what people would call a ghetto slang. I use it just because it’s what feels the most natural and comfortable to me. People see it badly because it originated in the ghetto, which is considered to be a bad place. It also doesn’t help when it’s always portrayed in big films as ignorant.

I do not believe that my usage of slang makes me inferior. It is important to also realize that speaking with slang can show my intelligence. For example, it takes a large amount of intelligence to learn a second language and an even larger amount to be bilingual. Slang is the same concept. One who can be fluent in modern english and slang shows a great deal of mental intelligence. With my modern english and slang, I speak two forms of english and can switch between either one at will. In a sense that shows intelligence. Intelligence isn’t based on how you speak, its about how you present yourself. My mom once complained to me that I was using too much slang. She then made the reference that it was a sign that my grades wouldn’t be that good (because it was around report card time.) Later that day she came to realize that her connection was false because I had all A’s and B’s on my report card.

One day on vacation, me, my brother, and my twin cousins were on the boardwalk in Ocean City. I was holding a bucket of Thrasher fries and we were going in on it. We had gotten to the point where we were looking for street entertainers and other things that could be of interest. We do this because in the past, crazy things of good, bad, or of absolutely hilarious nature has happened to us. My cousin said “Hey look at that.”

“What?” I replied.

“Ha, it’s some guy using trash as an instrument.” He said.

“He must suck.” said my brother.

“Yeah definitely.” said my other cousin.

To me there was something interesting about him. “Wait a minute,” I said “Lets see what this guys got.”

“Why?” they all replied.

“Because you never know and judging by the crowd this guys collecting he might just make something out of those pots, pans, and cans.” I said. So we stopped to watch him perform. He announced to the crowd, “Now I know this just looks like some crazy kid banging some trash, but you don’t need real drums to be a drummer. You just need some sticks, and something that makes a beat.” When he said that, I thought maybe this guy really was good. He began playing, right out the gate this amazing sensation of sound hit our ears. His hands were a blur as he banged on his pots and pans. After about two minutes of relentless amazement of this performance he stopped and said, “O.K now I know that was good right.”

“Yeah!” cheered the crowd.

“Yeah, but what if for whatever reason I lost my arm... You would think I wouldn’t be able to play right... Think again.” Then another barrage of incredible sounds and mind twisting movements. We’ve never seen such amazing use of any musical instrument, let alone one made from recyclables. When he was finished he said “It would be great if you give me a donation so I can get a real drum set. There was no question about it, we all gave one dollar each to his cause.

This was a prime example of you can speak two languages at once, or how you can justify the language of your surroundings by your own language. His surroundings suggested that he was a sorry excuse for any musician, or just another bad street act to make you feel good about how talented you are. The fact that he had trash has an instrument would’ve set the idea in just about anyones head that he was poor and maybe not that talented, but this was somewhat justified by the amount of dedication and confidence in his language. He spoke with the kind of intensity of a famous musical artist about to perform at a huge concert. Then to set it in stone, his musical language proved to everyone that he was good. The way he played would’ve made just about any musician I know rethink how great they were. That’s how you can speak two languages at once.



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Language AutoBiography 2013: Language Reflects Who I am

Throughout the past couple weeks in English class, we learned about languages that were spoken in different parts of the countries. We watched a video of people talking in at United States and we read four stories about the languages that affected them in their lives because of who they are. We wrote some short scenes of how languages had changed myself when people judge the way I talk to people. The next building block was writing an autobiographical paper that connects to life. We also had to pick a quote from one of the four stories we’ve read and connect them to our personal life. My story is about how languages influence my self and my family at home versus outside. I wrote how languages are very important to the family even though we live in a society where people judge the way we talk.


There are so many different issues with my languages spoken at home and how I speak outside changes who I am because I will need to speak formally towards the older ones. At home, I don’t really care of how I talk towards my family members. If I speak rudely, people will think about my personality. It shows that my mom does not appreciate the way I always neglect speaking in Chinese, and it interferes with our communication when I don’t know a lot of words. I speak two languages; Cantonese and English. There has been numerous times when my mom speaks poor English. I have my own standard language when I may have an accent in Cantonese. I knew what I can say, but the pronunciations were horrible. This mainly affects me because of the languages I speak with my friends versus the dialects spoken with my family members inside that closed doors of my house. At home my family members often tend to correct my Chinese, but when they speak in english its my turn. Many times my sister and I will correct them and it help them have a better understanding with English.

Most of the time, I switch dialogues with my family members, and I end up merging the two languages together into a different language that ends up a blend of both English and Cantonese. An example of this type of situation would be when, one day I was walking down the street with my friends, while my phone vibrated. It was my mom. I picked up the phone and I heard her say “Where is you.” I know how to say that in Cantonese “nay hay bien dou? I ignored her mistake because I knew what she was talking about.“ I’m with my friends....” I switched my language to cantonese so she can understand, “no toun pién yûo hay Movie Theater.” I dislike the feeling of switching back and forth because the languages, makes it harder for me to expand the knowledge of speaking both. Then my mom says “Me pick you up? I meet you at daycare with brother and sister.” I quickly responded, “please talk better in English and I will meet you there in 15 minutes.”

I realized that I was a little harsh my with mother because she tried her best speaking with English to my siblings and myself. My mother didn’t go to college in America nor her hometown. My mother didn’t have enough money for her education and she tries to speak with us more where I respected her knowledge of knowing some english. I was happy for her, but she felt she needed to step up her game of learning more English. I also struggled with English when writing and talking to my friends. Its stereotypical thing when people say asians suck at grammar mistakes. I strongly agree with this and sometimes I don’t because people can work their way on improving. For example I don’t know when to use “has” or “have” in correct terms. Thus, the only solutions for myself is to try to talk often in English and ask people to politely correct my grammar. I pushed myself to my limits where I need to figure out improving with our grammar mistakes in my family. The only ways we can improve is having a conversation with each other, or start reading more novels to pick the English. Cantonese is more complex; there’s pin yin and chinese characters. There are tones on top of the pin yins and the words will mean differently. Thus, I may be losing the knowledge of speaking Cantonese slowly. I asked my mom if she wanted to improve on English. She said yes because it will be better to have a conversation with my two younger siblings, whom unfortunately for them never learned to speak chinese. I realized that my mom never took time for her own education because she was always occupied taking care of us, but still, she was willing to learn. It took me couple days for myself to think about my ethnicity. For most Asians, they are passionate about achieving their expectations and they have to face a lot of expectations.

An example from a text that best coincides with my experiences is the article from “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan she said “It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk , the language I grew up with” (Page 1). This quote reflects my family and myself when I am influenced by them. As I grew older, I noticed that learning different languages are very important when speaking among the group of people. I may fluster with some words that I am unfamiliar with. Incorporating with the languages shows that I want to learn the languages and the culture of their identity. I realized that people adapt to how they talk where languages came from different parts of the area. I believe there’re no one right language. The languages evolve each generations; like the people from the past who talk in Cantonese are more traditional compare to the 21st century.

We are struggling with the grammatical structures of speaking and writing. I listened to my parents English and its wrong most of the time. All I need to do is work harder towards my English by getting help from my friends. Society shows that there are some circumstances between English because people tend to pronounce the words differently. Different parts of the area will be a whole new world because of the strong accent or the background of the person. My parents were not from here and they had to adapt to the society of the language they speak. Now my siblings and I will need to balance the two languages we spoke because of the cultural language is an unique ideal to have its own meaning.There for, Cantonese has been passed down by each generation where the language is a secret value to my family lives. When the language dies off, our generations will forget the language, we speak today in our family.

 

​Bibliography:

Tan , Amy. "Mother Tongue." Home is Where the Heart Dwells. N.p.. Web. 11 Jan 2013. <https://blogs.law.harvard.edu/guorui/2008/02/06/mother-tongue-by-amy-tan/>.   
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Language Autobiography 2013: The Journey

Introduction and Reflection:

This unit, we had been talking about how language affects us. How people view slang, how accent are different in every country. We were given a project to write an essay about how language is related in real life. We had to write an autobiography of how language affects us. A lot of people view slang differently; some people thought that slang is for African American people. Other views it as a way that people talk around their environment. I learned that language is an obstacle that I had to face and it took a part of me and it gain a part of me. I also learn that language can also be stereotype by different race. 

Overall I could have done better because I could add more powerful descriptive scene. However, I believe that this Language essay open me up and make me thing that my story is finally being told. Also I can put this story as something people can learn from. It makes people realize that bullying someone because they have an accent can really change them. It also makes them reflect on their action. Thinking about how powerful language is, it really can bring out the negative image. The hardest part of this project is the “Reflection” because they are so much to be told but a limited on how much can be told. 

The Journey


I was born and raised in New York, Brooklyn. I was taught to speak Chinese first and English second. However, throughout my journey as I grow older, I was quadrilingual. I learned how to speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Foochow and English. When someone asked me, “How am I doing?” I can answer in Mandarin “wu hao” or Cantonese “wo ho” or Foochow “loy hall.” I have an accent when I speak English and I used to get bullied due to this problem. Every time a word came out my mouth, people would say, “I don’t understand you, what the hell are you speaking?” and they will go into making racist jokes. From my experience, I view Language as an obstacle that everyone has to face because the struggle of language brings out the negative image.  

During third grade, every time I tried to talk to someone or ask a teacher a question, I would hear giggling behind my back, people whispered, “What is she saying, does the teacher even understand her?” I start to stutter as words start to come out my mouth. My voice will slowly echo away, until my teacher says, “Amy! Speak louder! I can’t hear you!” At that moment, I nodded my head and stayed silent. Sometime I would get so angry and grip my fist under my table because I’m not fighting back. The smell around my table smell like sour sweat, sour feet sweat, and rotten apple. Sometime I wanted to say, "Why you stink?" I wanted to fit in so I started to talk more often and made fun of other people. I would say stuff like, “why is your head so big? You stink, you need to shower, your stupid.” Sometime when a teacher asks me to stop talking, I reply, “No, shut up” and go straight back to talking.

I started to help them by helping them on homework, letting them copy, and allowing them to cheat on my tests. I know these things were wrong to do, but they guaranteed a friendship between them and I. This fat kid said, “Amy, go punch that kid,” I was hesitating, I wanted to back up but I couldn’t, I went and punched that kid. I heard cheering behind my back and I felt proud. My mouth suddenly open and my smile got bigger. I walked back to my table feeling proud. I realize that I’m finally fitting it. I’m finally not alone. Ever since that day, I started to sit around these kids, laugh and joke around. Sometimes they will make fun of my accent but will soon say, “Amy, you know I’m joking.” Throughout third grade, people will come up to me and say, “Amy, you changed, what happen to you? I thought you were a good kid, not those kind of kids who will hang around people who gets into fights or even got locked up before.” I didn’t know how to respond to that because I thought I wasn’t doing anything wrong.



At home, I feel comfortable with whatever I speak because no one judges me. Most of the time, I speak English with my siblings. Most of the time when I am having conversation with my mom, I would speak English and she would get pissed and reply in Foochow, “loy meohite new gon se mal. New soon gon se mal. New á bit loy meohite loy me tawn enou.”  (I don’t understand you. What are you trying to say? I don’t know English that well.) Soon my mom will start to lecture me that when I go to china, it’s a bad influence on us. It shows shame, you need to speak Chinese at home and English in school.

“Language is the sources of misunderstandings” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery People misunderstand basic on your accent. Sometime they fail to understand you and make fun of me. Many people misunderstand me because my pronunciation is not normal due to my accent.


In my neighborhood, people who are Chinese, look at me like I’m an outsider because I’m hanging out with white and black people.  They say that Chinese people need to speak Chinese and hangout with Chinese people only. Language influence the way I am, the people who I hang out with, and how others view me due to the group I am with. It makes me insecure of my identity.


Language affects the way we are today. It takes and added a part of who we are today. While losing and gaining these part that make us today, your race start to view you differently too. For an example while I was gaining a part which I never had before which was doing bad things that I knew that was wrong such as calling people names, talking their stuff and hiding it, people around my neighborhood who are Chinese are afraid of me because they believe that I will bully their child. They start to stereotype me basic on the people I am hanging out with.

The struggles of language bring out the negative image by doing negative things to fit in such as bullying others, hanging out with the wrong group and talking back to teachers. I noticed that people who have stronger accent are often bully and made fun of because they are not view as normal people and they are also view as weak people.

Citation:

Moncur, Micheal. "The Quotations Page

." The Quotations Page . N.p.. Web. 13 Jan

2013. <http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/37833.html>.


 

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Language Autobiography 2013: Speak Loud

In this unit of our English class, students were asked to write an autobiography based on struggles or conflicts with their language life. For example, trying to adapt to a new language. In my autobiography, I had to try and adapt to a new place but I forgot to be myself.
My voice, it is heard throughout the day. Contemplating about nonsense. Reciting lyrics from the music of my iPod. The things that a normal, you know, teenager would do. It seem to start on my very first day of school. I walked the halls of Feltonville School. Interested by what the walls had to tell me. I gleamed at the posters that hung on the cemented walls. I never understood why they put up these posters if no one would ever listen to them. On poster said, “SILENT has the same letters as LISTEN.” Was this poster telling me to be quiet and calm when at school? Before I could’ve analyse another poster, I was escorted into a classroom, Room 5. I looked back to see my dad waving his hand at me. I looked for a few seconds and turned back.

I walked into the room and saw more posters telling me what to do. We lined along the chalkboard to get our assigned seats. I looked around the classroom and stared at all the posters that continued to advise me to act a certain way. My name was called by a caucasian woman named Mrs. Roth. Guess she was the teacher. I heard her voice. It was interesting, you know to her a crystal clear voice with no accent. I always heard an accent throughout my life, but it was odd to hear her. Anyways, I walked to my seat and stared at the chocolate school chair. I pulled it out and sat in it. I was uncomfortable but I didn’t want to complain. The poster told me to be silent and listen.I reprogrammed myself to be what it told me to be. I live in a semi-strict asian house. And you know how asians can be. My mom always ordered me to be quiet when an asian marathon is on or be quiet when we are at the dinner table. So, I was used to be quiet. Wasn’t school going to be my second home? So,  why act differently was my question.  

The hours flew by with the fall breeze. Suddenly, a bell clang. This was a reminder that it was time for lunch. I sat on a bench with the people I considered “friends.” I watched them talk obnoxiously loud and laugh at jokes they told each other. I wanted to be a part of the crowd so i tapped one of them on the shoulders and told them a joke. Ok, I have a few good jokes in my noggin. You can’t blame me I was five It was a pretty corny joke I heard my cousin say it and I had to tell them a joke. I wanted to tell a kid named Evan. He was a pretty loud kid. So, I knew we could possibly help me talk

“Yo, Evan. I got a joke. What kind of rooms have no walls?”

“What?”

“Mushrooms.” They sarcastically laughed at the joke as if they already heard it. I tried As I tried to converse with them, they weren't able to hear me. I tried to speak up but it seems that my voice seemed to dim down after every word I said. I think they thought I had a disorder or something was wrong with me because my “friends” just stopped talking to me because I guess they didn’t want to go through the hassle in telling me to speak up over and over again. But when the weekend came, it started to change.

When I went home, I wanted to be able to speak to my classmates without them giving me directions or telling me to speak up. But yet the poster, that seemed to be hanging from every wall in every room, stuck to my brain like a fly in a venus fly trap. Silent silent silent. Those words mocked me every time I tried to open my mouth and say a word.
On the next Monday, my whole label of being that slow, smart, quiet asian kid has changed. I mean I’m still that kid, least of the time. But that day, his days were over. The kid that was silent because of a poster became the loudest, funniest, the coolest kid in Room 5. As you can tell, the “wisdom” of that poster has deteriorated from my “perfect” mind. But sometimes I can feel the silence of that poster seems to haunt me. But I never let it stick on that long. Don’t let something silly, like a dumb poster, to hold you back from being what you want, not what you think you need to be.
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Language Autobiography 2013: The Standard English vs. Slang Dilemma

Stephen White
Iron Stream

Introduction: In this unit my stream learned about language and how it affects people's lives. We were assigned a project that was called our Language Autobiography. In this assignment we were supposed to connect a story from another author and a story coming from our own life about language and how it affects our lives. This assignment was challenging for me but after a couple of drafts and outlines I think it's way better than what it was before, I'm proud of my language autobiography.



It was winter break and I was on the phone with my friend Jaaz. We were talking about the sixers and how they were folding in the fourth quarter. When my Grandmother overheard the conversation she told me to “speak like I have an education.”  She judged my language as a language of ignorance and unintelligence. I felt insulted. She made an assumption that has no connection to my intelligence.



Adolescents are regularly forced to speak a certain way. Just this Saturday I had a couple of friends over my house to play some video games and hang out. We were sitting in my living room playing NBA 2k13. The TV was blasting and the room had the aroma of pizza. Each of us were so glued to the T.V. that our seats were only a few feet away from the screen. While playing we got animated. Jumping up and down laughing, screaming, pointing, and arguing over a game. The game was so close and the pressure was on. My mom heard us speaking vernacular english and using slang terms that me and a couple of friends say often. Such as “that’s dead”, “drawlin’”, and “frying”. While we were talking about Jerry Stackhouse a basketball player who is no longer in his zenith. I said “Jerry Stackhouse? That’s dead.” My mom who also is a sports fanatic responded with “What? Speak regular.” We had to ease up on our vernacular english since my mom joined the conversation. I stated that “Jerry Stackhouse is buns, he’s like 70 still playing in the league. That’s dead.” We all started cracking up almost laughing out of our chairs. My mom seemed troubled. It was because in her mind I was speaking “ghetto” or “speaking without an education.” She made me speak the way she wanted me to speak.

Gloria Anzaldua was regularly forced to speak a certain way as an adolescent also. When she was younger she was caught speaking Spanish at recess when she wasn’t supposed to. Anzaldua was punished with three licks from a sharp ruler onto her knuckles. Her teachers didn’t like that she spoke Spanish when she was supposed to speak English she still had a Mexican accent. When she was older she was required to take two speech classes at Pan-American University to get rid of her accent. Anzaldua and I were both forced to speak a certain way because the people in power above us didn’t like it.

People’s intelligence shouldn’t be judged based on the way they speak. I believe this because the way I speak is a choice. When my Grandmother told me this winter break “speak like I have an education” I was judged that I am not intelligent but I choose to speak that way when I’m with my friends. We all speak a form of Jargon that wouldn’t be understood to the untrained ear of an adult. I believe that I’m intelligent and didn’t deserve to be judged because she didn’t understand what we’re speaking.

Gloria Anzaldua’s intelligence was also judged when she was younger. When she spoke Spanish in front of  her teachers when she was supposed to speak English they thought she wasn’t capable of speaking English and that she should “go back to Mexico where she belonged.” Both of us also speak a form of Jargon when we’re with our friends. The form of Jargon she speaks is called “Pachuco”. Pachuco is a language of rebellion and a secret language for adolescents to speak only. Some words from the secret language that my friends and I use are “that’s dead” which means that’s boring and “Frying” which mean I’m doing good in that area. Some words from Pachuco that she uses is “Ruca” which means girl or woman and “Vato” which means guy or dude. We both speak secret languages between us and our fellow adolescents.

Even though we speak different we are still communicating the same ideas. Even though I speak in a way that my Mom or any other adult doesn’t understand my friends still understand every word I say. My friends and I are fully capable of speaking Standard English but we speak our way because it’s a preference for when we’re comfortable. Anzaldua’s parents or teachers never would catch on to language of Pachuco because it wasn’t made for them. It’s both of our preferences and we or anyone else shouldn’t be identified as stupid or lacking of education because we have the ability to speak proper but just choose not to.

I see adolescents everyday being told to “speak this way” or “speak that way”. All that matters is that you know how to speak Standard English when it counts. The forms of English are infinite and you can’t force someone to change the way they speak and change their identity because you don’t like it. I believe we all should come to the agreement that we shouldn’t stereotype Standard English is for the educated, and Jargon is for the uneducated.



Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1999. Print.
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Language Autobiography 2013: Shakespeare and Slang

During this unit, my English class explored many aspects of Language and how it relates to identity. We have read the memoirs of many authors, in which they explain their personal battle with language. There have been struggles with bilingual status and which side to choose. I have learned  here many facets to language and how you use it determines it's advantages and disadvantages. In this project, I took an area of language from my personal experience and related it to the struggle with culture, identity and self-worth. My last thought upon finishing my paper was "How far will I go to be a part of the 'Talented Tenth'? Why is there still a talented tenth?"

"The problem of education, then, among Negroes must first of all deal with the Talented Tenth; it is the problem of developing the Best of this race that they may guide the Mass away from the contamination and death of the Worst, in their own and other races."

---W.E.B. DuBois

Shakespeare and Slang

“Open your books class. 'Their Eyes were Watching God' is a compelling story about identity. Now I must warn you, this book has a strong rural south dialect. Soon enough, you'll catch onto it.”

I stared at the cover of the book, took a deep breath and opened it. “Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others they sail forever on the same horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time.” This is why Zora Neale Hurston was so revered, this is why her name is always mentioned with the greats of the Harlem Renaissance, I thought. A sense of pride and reverence swelled in my chest.
“Who can tell me what they think this means?”
My hand shot up immediately, I knew what it meant, I appreciated what it meant and how it was said. After a discussion, we moved onto the next page in which we met the characters:
Where all dat money her husband took and died and left her? – What dat ole forty year ole ‘oman doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some young gal? – Where she left dat young lad of a boy she went off here wid?
I cringed at the characters' words. The stacks of books, papers, and journals I’d written and read weighed down the top of my head as I sunk into my seat.These words were exactly the stereotype I'd been taught my entire life to fight.  I remembered my mother and my grandmother's constant corrections, “It's 'well', not 'good'. It's 'have' not 'got'.  I was habitually reminded it was not good enough to be satisfactory like everyone else; because I was black and a female, I had to be better than everyone else to get an equal shot. I was and am expected to be more than a statistic and a big part of that for the adults in my life was and is my speech.
People are judged on two things upon introduction: How they look and how they speak, in that order. I was so concerned on breaking the stereotype of the lack of education and perceived absence of intelligence in blacks, that I'd never imagined what I learned could be a miseducation. Why would I desire to sound like  the system that told me I wasn’t good enough everyday. I'd rather be told that I sounded 'white' and ostracized by my black peers than to “stoop to their level”.  It wasn't until I read an essay by James Baldwin (who'd long been one of my favorite authors), that I could understand how someone could look down on me for sounding like I'd read a book before.
“A child cannot be taught by anyone whose demand, essentially, is that the child repudiate his experience, and all that gives him sustenance, and enter a limbo in which he will no longer be black, and in which he knows that he can never become white.”
As a “pro black”, with my natural hair and my disposition to favor black culture. Black language was never something I appreciated, it was something I despised. Speaking any dialect besides Standard English reflected to society, an ignorance and lack of education. I was the one who’d always pushed the envelope of society's expectations and limits, but I would never touch the lingual aspect. It'd never even occurred to me that the way I spoke could be as much as a rebellion, as the things I spoke about.
“You’re so well spoken”, people would always say. I’ve faked out more many meetings and presentations  with my ability to “sound intelligent”, than I am proud to say. I never felt English oppressed me, but it did rule my life, it became my calling card. Not my philosophical thinking, not my personality and not my talents, but my ability to open my mouth and sound like everyone else. I now realize the people and their experience I'd looked down upon countless times, were rebelling consciously or unconsciously. They were fighting to hold onto one of the only things that allowed them to be who they were, regardless of the media's bombardment of people who didn’t look, think, speak or live like they did. It is sad their refusal to conform will cost them many opportunities in life.
With the right words, anything is possible. Words helped Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Adolf Hitler, Malcolm and Gandhiji. Language is used as leverage in a competitive world. However, with any lever, there is something that is held high, and there is something that is weighed and made low. It is our burden to lift the heavy from our tongues and prosper.
Unfortunately, regardless of the culture you hold dear and how they speak, in America, the use of “proper” English is a must to get ahead.




Baldwin, James. "If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me What Is."New York Times. (July 29, 1979): <http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/29/specials/baldwin-english.html>.

hooks, bell. Hooks on the Language of Power. New Learning. Web. 11 Jan 2013. <http://newlearningonline.com/literacies/chapter-6-critical-literacies/hooks-on-the-language-of-power/>.
Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1937. Print.




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Mi seres Queridos

yo- Hola mi nombre es Shadiqua. Tengo catorce años .Soy de Philadelphia. Soy guapa, deportista. y súper inteligente. Tengo ojos marrones  y el pelo cafés . Yo mas o menos loco. Me gusta ver la tele, ir de compras, y dormir. yo fascina Hello kitty y Rihanna.Uf, No me gusta leer o escribir.


 él-mi abuelo de Texas. Tiene muy simpático.  Tiene cafe ojos y el pelo. Mi abuelo fascina dormir. Lo adoro mi abuelo porque es inteligente. te amo abuelo


Ella - Taylor Tengo catorce anos. Ella cumpleaños es el junio veinte y nueve. Ella  guapa,alta,divertida y inteligente. Ella gusta jugar videojuegos y hablar por teléfono.Taylor me mejor  amiga bien porque es genial.

 

ellas- Stephanie, Imani, Taylor ,Sattera,Jada. ella catorce y quince años. Ellas cómca y guapa. Ella muy inteligente. Imani  bien sociable y simpática. Imani es mi mejor amiga.¡Ella es un amor de gente! tienen el perlo cafe y los ojo cafes.Jada súper guapa y inteligente.Jada biensimpática. Me caen bien porque ella es una buenísimo(bear-me-see-mo) amiga. Soy te amo ella! 


 nosotros-Mi abuela y soy. Somos guapa,baja,sociable,inteliente y boba. Somos más o menos loca. Mi abuela gusta leer,dormir,comer y hablar por teléfono. La quiero porque es genial y Es un amor de gente. Te amo abuela


conclusion-¡gracias! amigos y amigas 




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Language Autobiography 2013: A Voice of Culture

For this unit in Mr Block's English class at Science Leadership Academy we focused on language. We read stories about what it means to speak another language and how our world revolves around language. We explored what it means to not be able to keep up with standard english and different cultures relationships with language. In our class we also made a class dictionary of words that we use on a daily basis and discussed what language means to us. Our final assignment relating to language is a language autobiography. In which we must discuss what type of role language has played in our life and those around us. While also looking at bigger issues that relate to language.

In the United States today, there are currently more than fifty million immigrants bringing all different types of languages to America. For people of different countries, cities, and schools language is an identifier. Language is used to show a person's culture, emotional states, and distinguish oneself from others. 

Growing up taking Spanish Immersion I had each of my classes in spanish; math, science, history, reading. I became bilingual after my first year of kindergarten. In many ways, language has opened countless opportunities for me and has allowed me to experience things that I would have not had the option to otherwise. However, in many ways people who do not understand other languages have a ignorance and resistance towards language.

Statements such as, “What do you mean there are different types of Spanish?” or, “Chinese isn’t a language?” are ones I hear throughout the day. I find it a disservice to these cultures and ourselves that we do not acknowledge these other languages, when in many ways in America, they are presented to us on a daily bases. 

A friend of the Maestra Pete came to visit the class one afternoon. She greeted me by saying, “Hola, como te llamas?”  I looked up at her, then to Maestra Pete who I hoped would reassure me it was okay to talk to the unfamiliar woman like she had given me the confidence to speak up the rest of my kindergarten year. I answered, “Me llamo Saide,” which is the Spanish name that I got during my time at Independence Charter School. 

She looked at the row of teachers packed together next to her in order to avoid the soccer game taking place a mere five feet away.  Maestra Claudia, Maestra Leonora, Maestra Kelly were the teachers next to her. She glanced at me then down at the picnic blanket which was laying on the grass. “Ella tenia Maestra Pete,” she said with a tone of confidence in her voice. The women began to laugh, following up with comments like “Como te sabias?” and “Como era obvio?” I stood there still confused about what they were talking about, my face began to turn red as I tried to contemplate a way to walk away from the conversation. I was eventually dismissed and the next kid, Jamie was called over. She answered the questions just like I had. 

This time the unfamiliar woman said “Maestra Kelly, tienes que ser Maestra Kelly.” The ladies then again looked at each other this time chuckling at her so hopeful but incorrect guess. In return, they said, “No era Maestra Pete otra vez.” Jamie then walked away we both looked at each other unsure of what had just went on but not too concerned either. “Pass the ball,” I yelled jumping right back into the soccer game. 

That night, I walked into the house my mom sat at the kitchen table engrossed in her book. I tried to sneak by and get a couple of cookies before she could notice what I was doing. Just as I was on my way out she put down the book, “How was Field Day?” I sat down and told her what happened with the woman and the kindergarten teachers.

“You know why they did that don’t you?” 

I looked surprised that she knew what they were talking about and replied, “No, what?” 

“They were seeing if they could tell by your accent which teacher you had. You know Maestra Pete was from Peru, Maestra Kelly Chile, Maestra Leonora from Ecuador, and Maestra Claudia Columbia.” She looked at me making sure I understood. I nodded and rushed out of the kitchen before she noticed I had taken the cookies.

Each year at Independence Charter School, I had a different teacher from another country. Each spoke Spanish with their own flare and the way that it would have been spoken in their country. In many cases, other people could notice which teacher I had by the accents and words that each teacher used. Just like many  people can recognize that I am from South Philadelphia by my accent and words. 

To people who can not recognize things like what country or part of the city each individual is from it is hard for them to except the other person's way of speaking. In many ways people are closed off towards other cultures and languages because they are not familiar with it. This causes barriers for many people today in things such as communicating with a peer, asking for directions, or even trying to order food. 

We still lack to acknowledge the pride that people take in their individual culture, many ways interpreted by language. Just like in my kindergarten class and my entire time throughout Spanish Immersion each teacher took pride in their countries language. It is important that we as a community begin to do the same for other peoples. Language is an opportunity to explore something new and interact with other people. 

This is one example of how even in small ways language has brought me to experience a larger world. I hurried to put my coat on only for it to be inside out. “Sadie, if I have to tell you one more time, come on!” I rolled my eyes still trying to think of ways to avoid grocery shopping. “Maybe you should just go with out me,” I happily said. Without a hesitation my mom replied, “Right this instance.” I rushed out the house in fear of consequences to come. I followed ten feet behind her with my head down trying to avoid any further confrontation. A ball fell right in front of me. I looked to the park next to me to notice a group of men playing soccer. “El pelota por favor,” they asked, signaling for the ball. 

“Si solo un segundo,” I said back. 

“Gracias,” they said in unison. 

“No es ningun problema.” They all glared at me somewhat amazed at my ability to hold a conversation with them. 

Being able to understand another language I have been able to have interactions with people who I would not have been able to otherwise. Even small things such as this I am proud to say that I can do. Language should no longer be a barrier but an opportunity, a window into something new, a way to see a persons life.


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Language Autobiography- Language, Power, and Personality

Throughout this unit in English. The class looked at many stories over peoples POV’s on Language and how it affects them. This made me reflect on my own language. It made me look back on all the times language had affected me. It made me look at not just my language, but everyones language. When we were given the assignment to apply our view are language. I applied my view on what I learned about language over the years and how it defines me.

Language is a wonderful thing, Though sometimes we don’t see the power it gives us. Instead we let others speak through us as if their voice has more power then or voices ever could. Take me for example. I mumble a lot of the things I say and I think it’s because of my Past. I never talked to a lot of people in my old school and instead had people talk for me.  This made me not truly feel that there was no power in my words. Today though I have much more confidence when I speak now, but sometimes the past comes back and I start mumbling again.

One big example would be in my old school. It was the advvage schools with adverage students, but some were more louder than others. Not even volume wise, but also some students would have a lot of people listen when they spoke and others would have barely any. I was one of the quiet ones and because of that no one would really listened to. So when everyone would start talking when students were trying to focus I could say “Quiet!” and no one would listen, probably not even hear me, but as soon as one of the louder students would talk everyone would remain quiet. This would make me feel that my words had no power. As if the only way to get my voice or opinion out was to quietly say it to whoever i was sitting with hopeing they would hear what I said and agree with it. Then my voice would get out there.

This began to change though as years went on though. I started to hear the confidence in my voice the more I heard people saying rediculous things. I decided to almost force my voice forward to prove to myself that my voice has meaning. After I was finished my old school I thought that now with High School I’m going to have to prove that my voice has power all over  again and this time it will be harder to prove myself.  Fortunately when I got to SLA I couldn’t have been anymore wrong.

My very first class at SLA was African-American history. I was nervous because in Advisory I had not talked much and I was worried that what happen in my old school would happen again. The worst case scenario was happening as the first assignment given was a group based one. I began to worry, but as soon as the assignment was giving people were looking at everyone for ideas. Including from me.  This began a revalation I had where I realized that I had power in my words and that I spent years not believing in them. I could say what I wanted and people would listen.  I was the voice for my group discussing the assignment to the other students and showing that I stand by my and my groups words. I learned that when you speak others will listen, but only if you stand by what you are saying and show your language through it.

In the story Aria the story says “the speech of people in public often be loud and booming.” After that situation in school.  I realized that this is what I wanted. To be able to speak to anyone withh confidence that matched my words.   This quote discusses what everyone should look forward to in life. Being able to say what ever you want to say so that not only will people want to listen, but also process your personality through that language.

Now after my first year at SLA I no longer have fear for my words.  I have found my language and how it matches my personality. I can’t say the same about others though. There are others who feel that their language is suppresed by others and don’t  which to say their words. Instead they speak their language through others hoping that the power of the others person’s voice will help them speak their mind. The only real ways words have power is when you say them yourself. That’s when you show what it is you stand for and why you are speaking. Language is like a persons Personality where for everyone it’s different and there isn’t a set rule for what language truly is. To have someone talk through you ruins your words because you are not saying them with the power of their own language. This is why before you can stand for anything you have to stand by your language.  



Citations:

hooks, bell. Hooks on the Language of Power. New Learning. Web. 11 Jan 2013. <http://newlearningonline.com/literacies/chapter-6-critical-literacies/hooks-on-the-language-of-power/>.

Rodriguez, Richard. Aria. hunger of Memory
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