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YATW Blog Post #2

Welcome to my 2nd blog! If you missed my first blog click here. Since I made my last blog post, I made a survey about people's pets and where they have gotten their pets from. Most of the people who answered said that they got their pets from a pet shop. Some people rescued them from a shelter and others didn't remember. But the majority of the people who answered that question had other ways of getting their pets like a friend gave it to them or their cat got pregnant. Also I asked them what kind of pet they had. 45% of the people said that they had cats and 36% said that they had dogs. If they had a dog I asked them if they knew what breed the dog was because I realized that people might not want to adopt a dog because of its breed. Most of the people said that it was a mix and that they did not know what kind. But out of the certain breeds, the most popular was a German Shepard. Pitbull was listed as a choice and close to nobody chose that.


I wonder if they didn't choose Pitbull because of embarrassment for their dog or for their reputation. Some people believe that owning a Pitbull makes you a bad person because of the reputation that breed of dog has. But truthfully it doesn't make a difference. the stories about Pitbulls are that they are aggressive and that they all are dog fighters. These myths can be true but most Pitbulls aren't like that at all. The people at the shelter test the animal to see if they can fix the aggressive behavior and they test to see how they react to different types of situations before they put the animal up for adoption. The dog fighters only choose Pitbulls and train them because Pitbulls can lock their jaw and hold on for a very long time. But that is only if they are trained to do that, trained to kill.

But back on the results of my survey. I got 66 responses from classmates and people I don't really know and they all contributed to helping with this problem of euthanasia and reputations of dogs. As I read my results of my survey I realized that people could have some biased opinions about different dog breeds and I decided to bring together two topics that I feel very strongly about. I think that I will narrow down my topic to reputations of certain dog breeds while continuing euthanasia of animals in shelters. For blog 3 I think that I will do so more research about what people think about different dog breeds. I made a survey about Dog Reputations which I will include the results in next blog post. Also I have to wrap up the project so I will try to volunteer at a shelter and see what they need me to do. I might ask if they need pictures of the dogs so that they can advertise them on I will make sure to post some pictures of the dogs on my next blog post. As I wrap up this blog post I am still left wondering about reputations of dogs and how I can change the fear of dogs and Pitbulls in general. Click here for my bibliography.

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Language Autobiography 2013: Adapting to language

In Mr. Block's class, (English) we wrote an experience we had where we had an incident with language; good or bad. In my story, I wrote about being forced to change your language. I learned through my work and reading that everyone has had a bad experience with language.


When I was a child, around eight to ten years old, I began to see the differences in language. My home language was a completely different dialect than those used by my schoolmates; others alienated me. At my home, I spoke “Proper English;” I spoke with “correct” grammar, proper subjects and predicate, and knowledge in my words. When I was in the fifth grade, I learned quickly how to adapt to my surroundings, language-wise. Around a month after school started I began to realize the way that my classmates spoke and the tone and stressing of certain letters and words used. To me, at the time, it seemed completely irrelevant to speak in that manner. But, in need for friends, I tried to adapt to the language . Not just the language of verbal, but the language of clothes, hobbies and act.

  I began to scope out the words that were used more than others such as: Dawg, nigga, yo, chill, damn, bitch and more.  I also taught myself quickly how to dismember someone mentally. I started to watch sports more often so I could talk about it with others. I also began to use language with girls jokingly that I would never use near an elder.

 It was lunchtime; so as we were at lunch, this day I sat with Dede, Christian, Nelly, Jose and Brandon. Brandon and me were already friends; Jose was like a bodyguard to me. I helped Jose in schoolwork, and in return he watched my over back. Nelly and I rarely spoke, but because he was husky like Jose, I decided it was best for us to be friends. Dede and Christian were the two most popular kids in fifth grade and I would have preferred them as friends than just voids. I was not that unpopular in my grade, so it wasn’t a big deal about where I sat, but I wanted to get in deeper. As I sat down we began to speak, let me remind you, this is one of the first times I used this “Slang”,

“ Wat up KaBoni?” Jose asked

“Nothin’ bruh, chillin. How are you doing?’” I replied.

“I’m on my grind, cuzzo.” Jose said.

“ Yo, big head KaBoni, you saw da Eagles game last night?” Christian asked.

This was my moment to prove my worth in language, so of course I was nervous. As the words of bliss left my lips, I mentally smiled with glee.

“Yo fat ass, you know I saw da game yesterday. McNabb: booty cheeks yestaday’ but McCoy, dat nigga fast as hell; he run like a fat bitch chasin’ em!”

As the sound of cheerful laughter from the kids filled my ear drums, the sound of acceptance entered my heart. I was accepted by the other school kids as the funny kid and the class clown. At the time, this didn’t seem very major to me, only that I was in the clique. From that point on, I began to tell stories and tales that would make other laugh. I would talk about someone to get respect and props from individuals. From that point on, I began to dress like them. We had a school uniform, but I would start to sag my pants a little, let my jeans flow past the anklet of my shoe and wear head attire in class. We all thought it was cool at the time, but little did I know that it was only slowing me down.  What was realized later on was that I was only halting my mental and language capacity. The more that you adapt to language, the less you will be able to as you gain age.

To this day, I still preserve the language that I learned in elementary school. It is helpful in situations where I am not familiar with the crowd and if I have to adapt to new environment. In high school now, I still use this language with certain crowds when it is necessary to code-switch. For example, I will speak a certain way with Nadir and Richard then I would when I speak to Ronald and Stephen, even if I do not mean to. It is “Proper” vs. “Irregular”. But it is a different kind of hard to put a label on the way that people speak; you cannot just say that there is a proper language because there are many languages/ways to speak and to express your opinion. So with that being said, speaking in any way is just . . . expressing who you are. As an individual though, I was subjected to adaptation. If I did not adapt, I did not fit in.[4]  It is an incentive for many to fit in so they feel like they belong somewhere in the “World” where you are alienated. It is the same reason why people who don’t smoke cigarettes would start smoking to get in cahoots with their boss. It is a way to make things better than the norm.

What I happened when I learned to adapt in middle and elementary school still follows me to this day. Without intending to, I learn how to mimic the acts and language of others easily by taking out key words and incorporating them into my own language. But there is always a cost to substituting yourself. A piece of me is now missing; the piece of me that was myself. [5] Everything changed when I adapted to what was not myself: I lost the part of me that was raised with my mother for 11-12 years, I lost the part of me that took what I like into incorporation before others. Changing or adapting your language has a very high price, regardless if you realize it or not, you will change. It takes a real man to look inside of himself and say, “I’m different, how can I find myself again.


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One Voice, Several Variations

“Hey Honey! How was your day?”

“It was gucci.”

“What does that mean?”

Mom never remembers my slang words. Then again, I don’t remember her version of slang words either. Its a two way street. Yet, there’s always that one moment when I enter the house, where our voices meet.

“Mom, it means good. We went over this.”

I raise my arms at her, signaling to her that she never gets my vocabulary through her head. If I use my Italian gestures, then she gets the picture. This is a daily routine for my Mother and I to go through. She just never catches on. This is until she picks up the language of mines that she knows how to understand. I thicken my Italian accent in the kitchen, and everything turns clear to her.

“Oh yeah, yeah. Now I remember.”

Like any other night, in the Cohen’s residence, actions speak louder than words due to hand motions being used (like any other italian family), conversations that turn into arguments while my inner Italian kicks in, and normal speaking turns into strong dialogue from the root of Italy. So many things going on at once while at the dinner table, inhaling a bowl of pasta. Typical Italians.

“Forget it Mom. You just don’t understand.”

“I’m right, and you’re wrong. Get over it.”

I clamp my five fingers together on each hand, shaking them back and forth to communicate with her. Using the gestures that an Italian chef would make after taste testing his food. I raise my arms and at times clench my fists. If you haven’t heard, Italians have a way with hands more than a way with words.

That fast I can change the tone in my voice, or the thickness in my accent. I can go from “Gucci” to “Benissimo” (good) in minutes.

Now, I don’t just sound Italian because I am italian. From the audience taking in my speech, I appear to seem like I am from several other parts of the world. To others, I’m apparently claimed to be from New York, the South, and others. But who said I have to be from a certain place just because I “sound” like I belong there? People chew up bits and pieces of my voice, and spit it out. They interpret glimpses of my voice and pay no mind at all to other parts. Once again, its a bittersweet, two way street. People tend to pay attention to how you say things rather than what you’re saying. Ouch.

I speak one way, and one way only. I may sound like I am from Italy, or New York, or even have the typical “South Philly” tone in my voice. Its not like I have an on and off switch for how to speak when I am with certain people. I have a strong accent. I can’t sit here and define the style of the way I speak. However, I can sit here and admit that my voice and the way I talk, have several different variations to itself. There are moments where variations of my voice are stronger than others, but that’s never in my control. I think a lot about how people actually claim what they sound like, or what kind of voice they have. Is that possible? Is it possible to sound the same, and say things the same way, every time you do say something?

When I enter my household, with the smell of pasta, and loud voices flooding the doorways, I enter the house to my Italian family. This for a fact is the only time where I know which variation of my voice comes in handy, on purpose. I am more Italian than anything when I am home because I am surrounded by people that have personal connections to the roots of Italy. Throughout the day, I use my hands very strongly to express myself. It just so happens that when I come home, my Italian accent gets thicker, the raising of my arms get higher, and the identity of my voice becomes clearer. Environments do influence a person’s own influence on how they want to present themselves. Now, I am influenced at certain times by certain things to encourage the variations of my speaking. But, once again, what is that called? The thing is, I choose to not call it anything. I don’t want to say a term of how to define my voice. I can’t define something that has too many meanings.

I never liked the label of having just one label to my voice. I don’t like being claimed as “She sounds Italian.” Or, “You sound just like a New Yorker. You have to be from New York.”

The author, James Baldwin, who wrote a story called “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What is?” couldn’t of said it any better. He quotes, “It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify. It reveals the private identity and connects one with, or divorces one from the larger, public, or communal identity.”

I rather have my voice be divorced from the others, rather than connected with. I want my voice to be vivid and crucial to others. My voice is my identity. It is in safe keeping for myself to adjust, and for the audience to take in. If I sound like the others, than my identity would be hidden. I like my voice the way it is. If there are so many sides to me, and so many sides to my voice, why call it one thing? I don’t define myself as one thing, so why do it to my voice?

People should care a little less about what people sound like, and why they sound that way. I have one voice and several variations of it, but I come from one place. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Here is a link to my video.

Teen Driving : Distractions, Part 2

Teen Driving : Distractions, Part 2

All images found in this blog post, and only this blog post were taken by me via screenshot. 

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Hello again! My name is Lauren Thomas. I am a freshman from Science Leadership Academy. I am writing a series of blogs called You and the World. For more information, I urge you to read my first blog post. 

For our second blog post we needed to create an interview or survey. I decided to create a interview and ask a fellow classmate questions. I based my interview off of Heads Up! The Interactive Challenge which is a stimulator-type game. The game was created by a partnership of Toyota’s Teen Driver and Discovery Education. In the game you are a teen driving behind the wheel of a car of your choice. You choose wether you are left- or right-handed and begin the game. 

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Thank you to Dillon Hershey, 15 years old, for allowing me to interview her. She has no prior experience driving a real-life vehicle. All the questions were written by me and all the answers were written by Dillon. The game is a creation of Discovery Communications, LLC © 2012.

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Dillon’s results on Challenge 1: 

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Q: How many road-side collisions did you have? How did you feel taking the first level? Was your attention split? 

A: I had 10, and it was hard to learn how to drive. My attention was split a little but not much.

In 2008, as the statistic above shows, 63% of teenager passenger deaths happened in vehicles driven by an teenager. Click here to learn more. 

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Dillon’s Result on Challenge 2 :
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Q: Was it hard to drive, stop, and eat at the same time? 

A: It was hard to because when you would stop and eat, the car would start to move around again. Also they had your attention be focused on eating and stopping at the stop signs.

The statistic above : About 2/3 of fatal teen crashes involve the driving making an error. This error is due to inexperience and distractions. Read more here

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Dillon’s result on Challenge 3 : 
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Q: Did you find it difficult to keep on hand on the mouse and the other efficiently tuning a radio?  What was your distraction rate? Did you feel distracted looking at the radio and road?

A: It was really hard to keep track of what radio station you had change it to. I was really distracted!

The statistic above shows that 84% of teenage girls and 69% of teenage boys are likely to adjust music selection and/or volume while driving. Lean more here

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Dillon’s results for Challenge 4 :
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Q: Texting and driving is the most dangerous. How did you feel when driving and typing at the same time? How many road-side collisions did you have? Missed signs? How much were you distracted? 

A: I ran off the edge so many times!!! I had 20 and 1 missed sign because I let up the break too early. I was VERY distracted because I had to choose what I wanted to text back to the person.

In my opinion, the above statistic is the most important because texting or talking on the phone while driving is the most dangerous! Please, I urge you to learn more here

Q: Was there any point in the game that you felt the feeling of being overwhelmed by too many tasks might happen to a teen driver? Did it happen to you, a person who has not driven yet? 

A: YES I WAS SO OVERWHELMED!! It was overwhelming because of all the tasks that I had to do. I really like the idea of the game because the driving is really hard and that is how it really is.

Q: At what age do you think a teen is allowed to drive? Would you allow your child to drive at that age?

A: 18 and I would let my kid drive but after I had the talk about texting and driving.

Q: Is there any other points you would like to bring up? Do you think the real experience will be harder, easier? 

A: The actual driving is not very real but the distractions are real. Also I think that the real experience will be harder but of course I won’t text and drive. 

Thank you again to Dillon for participating in this interview. Please read her You and the World project concerning Pet Euthanasia. Check back soon for my third blog post. My bibliography is here. My third blog post is here. Thank you. 


The battle within

For as long as I can remember, I have been in a battle with Language. For most of my life Language has won. I have been asking people for help with my struggle, but in the end this is a battle that I will have to win on my own. There was one point in my life where I was ready to give and let Language win, but running away from my problem wouldn’t have helped. Only way to overcome my fight against Language is to accept it and beat it.

One way to tolerate my struggles with Language is speaking differently when I’m in certain environments. When I’m around my friends everything seems to move faster where saying everything in one breath is up to speed, but pausing every now again to catch my breath and make sure I’m fluent, is too slow. I try to ignore the speed of today’s language, but it is as if he’s screaming at me, rushing me every chance he gets by increasing the speed of those around me.

“Hey Marcus” Sieanna says while waving.
“Hey Sieanna.” I reply
We both lean in for a hug.
“What class. Were you coming from?” I would say.
“We had block. We just had a work period though so his class was cool.” She would reply.
“The whole. Class? He didn’t... teach or anything?” I would say in response.

I’ll try to keep at my own speed by switching lanes and letting everybody go past, but it is hard. My brain is a sweatshop. All of the work it has to put up with and the only reward is knowing that you’re living to do it all again the next day. When I’m in my speech class I speak at a more slower and relaxed pace and my speech tends to be more fluent. I may only stutter a few times, but for the most part I’m very smooth in my talking. My heart's not beating fast, and I’m comfortable. I think the reason that happens is because of my speech teacher. She expects for me to stutter and since she already knows it’s less pressure. Besides, if I didn’t then I wouldn’t need to go to speech class. I do change up not just the speed of my voice, but the way it sounds. Most of the time it’s natural. Especially when I’m with my friends, It sounds a little different from when I’m talking to my family or talking to adults.

“Marcus, go take out the trash, you see that it needs to be changed.” My mom would yell.

“Oh my gosh. I didn’t even know that the trash was like that. Besides, everyone else that’s in this house noticed that the trash was full, but yet I’m the one that gets yelled at. Y’all all got hands, y'all can do it too.”

I would mumble to myself as I’m taking out the trash. I was angry and to myself which caused me to be more fluent when I was mumbling.

I notice that I rarely stutter, if at all when I’m talking in a rhythm (singing/rapping). I have noticed that, that may be my key to taming my language problem. I tend to talk really fast and that is one of the problems I have because it pertains to my stuttering. If I can slow my breathing down and talk in a very subtle rhythm, then my language problem should decrease. Holding out certain vowels and sounds a little longer than normally, that should help. The only problem with all of that is remembering to do those techniques. it’s easy to say all of these things, but it’s another to do them. That is like another mini battle to go along with the war that going on with my vocal cords and Language. The way the technique will work by forcing more air out of my throat because that’s where the problem occurs, also inside of my stomach. Stretching everything out and it eases the tension that builds inside of me. When I sing or rap to a song I never stutter. I would sing a Drake song or rap Meek Millz and I don’t stutter. Even if I talk the words I still have the rhythm in my head which keeps me at a steady pace which prevents me from stuttering. It won’t necessarily prevent me from stuttering, but it will ease some pain. Mr. Kay also does this when he recites his poems. He has what I like to call a “poetry voice.” He gets a certain rhythm when he speaks. The words and sounds are held a little longer and it seems to help because he told me that he has never stuttered one time while performing a poem.

Language also attacks me physically. If we are going around the room and I have to read something aloud to the whole class or just speak in front of them, I tend to get nervous. My hands will get cold, my heart will beat fast and I yawn. It’s like my whole body is in a fight with language as well as my mind. It is as if my body is trying to distract itself from what the problem is by having all of these other things going on, but in the end my defense is broken and my struggle with language begins to set in and I begin to stutter yet again. One time in Mr.Block’s class he told the class to read aloud the quote that we used for our chart that we had to complete for hinduism. My table was the second table to read aloud and the closer it got to my turn the colder I got, the more I began to yawn and the faster my heart began to beat.
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Media Fluency - Slide 2

I decided to make these changes because there a few errors: First of all, the book's original background was different from white, so I had to make it transparent. Second, I made the photo of myself and made the other pictures next to me so that people will know that they are orbiting around me (I even made arrows to make the orbit line.). Lastly, I changed the letters in my name a little bit bigger, and rotated them a bit so that it looks more like a collage.
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New Slide !

I wanted my slide to simple and clear to my viewers. My last slide was everywhere and just too much on one thing. This slide is much more clean, your eyes would know where to go. its not all over the place. I chose bright color words because my picture is so dark and it needed color. I know that my words are really big but I didn't want there to be empty space around my picture. I think that it actually fits the picture and I made sure that the spaces and font was the same or else it would look weird and out of place if they weren't. I didn't want you you look at something you weren't suppose to look at. I used a simple background, black so there wouldn't to another that didn't mix well with the picture and text. My words say Imani Weeks because thats my name and when I look at a picture of somebody I would like to know their name, then I added Thug Life because of the fact that I have the piece sign up and because it add a sense of funniness to the picture.  
New Slide

To be the Same, or not to be.

Whether it’s in school, at home, or at soccer practice, every kid wants to fit in. The thought of knowing that you are different than everyone else, as a child, is hard. I found myself being that kid. Growing up in Mississippi, I didn’t sound like anyone because my parents were from Iran.  They taught me English at home to make sure I spoke English properly rather than having an accent. I didn’t mind it until people starting pointing it out beginning in grade school.  

“Okaay classs. We’re goin ta foe-cus on thuh Alphabet.” said Mrs. Scholtes. “Say Ayyyy. This is the letter Ayyy.”

“Ayyyyy” said everyone in the class except me.

“Nikki hun, darlin’ you neeeeed to participate. Ya hear?” 

“But that’s not how you say it. My mom said it’s Ay. Not ayyyyyy.” 

To this day, I still don’t know how I got the courage to confront my teacher. 

“Okaay, well f-ah-ine. Can you saaay thuh l-eh-tter “baeeee””

“Do you mean “bee”? As in bumblebee?” I was on a roll.

“Yes baee as in bayyycan. You know whut! I’m tai-erd uhv yur smart mouthin. This iz thuh waay ta say thuh alphabet. Go dowwn ta thuh office little ma’am.” 

As I walked to the principal’s office I was confused on what I did.  Was I being sent down because I spoke proper English and that wasn’t what she was teaching? Or because the teacher realized her student’s phonics was better than her own? My parents and I settled for both reasons, but we didn’t tell my principal that, because she spoke the same way as Ms. Scholtes did. That long, slow, southern accent bothered me not because it wasn’t proper but because I didn’t speak that way.  My parents aren’t from Mississippi so they didn’t grow up with that accent around them and neither did I. I already stood out because I didn’t look like everyone else. My proper tone of English made it worse, so I just decided to fake it. 

It took a few days for me to come up with my master plan. I had made a decision. Recess. My classmates were playing indians and cowboys so my little mind thought this was a perfect time to interrupt and let them know that I, Nikki Adeli, was an average Mississipian. 

“I love tah go huntin! D’yall like tah go too?” 

Why are they looking at me like that? They’re catching on. Oh no. Play it off Nikki. 

“I’m gon tah church this Sunday, y’all gon too? Oo! Then ahhhh-fter, I’m gon to my meemaw’s home to get me some collard greens. Y’all down?”

“You’re an odd one darlin.” said my teacher my table buddy.

I remember at the time that making friends wasn’t my forte.  It wasn’t me, I swear! It was because I didn’t have light brown hair and blue or hazel eyes. I had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes...not a very usual sight for a person living in Mississippi. 

In the fifth grade, we were studying how people look different based of where they come from and their heritage. She held up cards with people from 4 different countries. China, Africa, Saudi Arabia, and America. She held up each card and the final card was China. She explained to the class that they didn’t speak like we did here in America.  Later that day at recess, the lesson was still plastered in the minds of my table mates. 

“Nikki, iz you an y’alls family frum Chiiiiina? 

“No? Why would I be from Chiiiiiiiina Blake? 

“Well ya don’t soun’ lyke mah freends or mah family an’ Ms. Oswalt said that people frum Chiiiiina don’t soun’ lyke us.”

“I’m not from China, Blake. I was born in the same hospital as you were right here in Starkville. Just my parents are from Iran.”

“Iz dat een Chiiiiiina?”

I didn’t really care what Blake thought about me since he wasn’t anything but a table buddy to me. But it was the limited amount of friends I had that I wanted to fit in with that mattered most.  

Years went by and I stayed close to my friends. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe faking a little didn’t hurt, I mean look! Now I have friends. Friends that I could invite to birthdays and friends that wouldn’t belittle me because of the way I spoke. Or so I thought. 

I was ready to open presents at my 11th birthday party. I was psyched! All my friends were around and nothing could go wrong! I fit in. 

“Baba!” I said to my father.  “Can you bring me my presents?”

“What’s a baba Nikki? Haha, that’s so silly and weird,” said my friend Flannery.

Oh yeah totally! Silly me! Daddddyyyy! Dad!”

My dad stared me down and laughed. I don’t know if it was my wide eyes that signaled for him to play along or my flushed cheeks that showed how embarrassed I was. Whatever it was, he played along. Until it was time to cut my cake. He personally brought out my cake, placed it in front of me, looked at me and said “here ya go darlin’” in the strongest country accent he could force out of his voice box. I smiled and listened to everyone sing “Happy Birthday” off key and blew out my candles. I slowly heard it creep out of the side of my ear. 

“Tavalod! Tavalod! Tavalodet mobarak!” screamed my family. 

They began to sing “Happy Birthday” in Farsi. My friends started whispering. My cheeks were red once again. But this time it wasn’t out of embarrassment. It was out of joy. In the story “Tongue-Tied” by Maxine Hing Kingstan, she mentioned in her story that “A telephone call makes my throat bleed and takes up that day’s courage.” When my grandparents from Iran call me, I’m always terrified to speak. Not that I’m not confident in the way I speak, it’s just that until the day of my birthday, I had placed this facade over my face that I would take off and put on whenever I felt like it.  At this point, I was confused to who I was. Had this mask become my identity? No. I wouldn’t let it become who I was. I would not let others’ opinions define who I was. 

From that day forward, I learned to embrace my inner awesomeness. This awesomeness of mine came from centuries of Ancient Persian history to the day I was born at the Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville, Mississippi. I was different, and this was something I never wanted to accept.  But what did it mean to be the same as everyone else? I don’t want a southern accent. Well besides for basic humor. I don’t want to be the same. I like the way my voice portrays who I am. It took me a long time and a move up north to realize this. In Philadelphia, no one pointed my out for being different. There was no different. There was no normal. Everyone varied. I no longer had to fake a voice to sit with table buddy at lunch. I no longer had to pretend that shooting animals was a hobby of mine. I could embrace who I really was and push my voice to new heights without having to worry about other people and what they would say about me.  I finally fit in. 

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Mixing Cultures

Azaria Burton
Culture Mix

"I know right! I axed her where she wanted to go.She ain't know. But you know how it be, cuz she was neva the type anyway. I be fed with her!”

When I'm with my friends I use a lot of slang. I don't feel like they will judge me or look down at me if I speak this way and so I feel comfortable. I believe that slang shows more of my personally than speaking “proper” english. By adding your own flavor to your words people can get a better understanding of who you are. In a group of my friends we could’ve made a whole new dictionary. Everyday someone was making up new words off the top of their head because different situations caused for different vocabulary. New words spread like fire  in New York and before you knew it everybody knew what the word meant and how to use it. But, there were some special words that were already in the dictionary. Such as violation. The word itself was not special, when we used violation in a sentence the definition would stay the same.However, the way we said it made violation our own word. The o became longer and your voice would become squeaky making the simple word “violation” not only sound completely different but also making it sound like slang.

When speaking with my friends, my true personality came out.  When going home however, I turned into a different person. My mother always told me that in order to survive in life you must know when to turn the “hood switch” off. This meant that I needed to know when and where slang could be used. When speaking to her I would use “proper” english with  no slang what so ever. Whenever I would slip up and use a word that was slang she would quickly remind me who I was speaking to.
“Chalee, you are not in the streets with your little friends.”
“I know mom. Sorry.” I would reply
It never actually bothered me when my mother told me to stop acting so “hood” all the time because I must admit that I think she is right. Slang should not be used all the time. Sometimes using slang can make a person believe you are less than them or think you have no education. Having my mother in one ear and my peers in the other added some balance to my life. I knew how to speak to my elders and I knew how to speak with my friends. It was great, I felt like I understood everybody and everybody understood me.
This all changed when I moved to Philadelphia a little over a year ago. I didn’t believe it would be too different from New York due to how geologically close they are. However, I was wrong. After one week of living in Philadelphia I hated it. It looked nothing like New York, the people looked very different to me and I felt out of place. I thought once I started school I would feel more comfortable. But, I was wrong once again.

" Yea, she was mad dridd!" I screamed
"Dridd? What does that mean?" Lily asked
I looked at Lily very confused by what she had said. Everybody knew what dridd was why didn’t she? I laughed thinking everybody would laugh with me. But, nobody laughed with me, they all laughed at me.
“What did she just say!? Dridd! What in the world is that?”
“I don’t know, but why she sound like that?”
I could feel my body trembling with disgust. I was being teased for the first time and to add salt to the wounds it was about the way I spoke. Never had someone commented on my speech in a bad way. I was humiliated and for the rest of the day I kept to myself. While on my way home I listened closely to how the civilians talked to each other. I didn’t hear many differences in speech, I thought that maybe the kids in my school were just being rude and that there was nothing wrong with the way I spoke. Still, not too sure about whether or not my idea was right

I decided to ask my father and brother how different my speech really was. Not too long after asking my brother and dad about the way I spoke to people I realized it was a bad idea.
“Yeah you have this accent sometimes.Like you have a speech impediment. Oh! And you use words nobody has ever heard about.” my father responded.
My brother agreed with my dad about the situation saying that sometimes I have a little accent. Once again a very discombobulated look came to my face.I thought to myself, “So not only do I have a speech impediment but, I also have terrible vocabulary. How great!”
That comfortable place where I understood everybody and everybody understood me was gone. As the days went on everything just got worse.People started to use words that I didn’t understand and when I would ask what they meant I became more of an outcast.  One day while getting on the train with my friends my transpass stopped working.
“Girl you sody!” Niya screamed
I looked back at her and then at the rest of my friends.
“Sody? What’s that?”
With just three words I became a laughing stalk. I laughed along with them although the situation did not make me happy I would rather laugh with them than be laughed at.These types of situations happened daily and I would always end up being laughed at. Nobody ever answered my question about what these words meant so I decided to ask my brother. He would tell me what they meant and how to use them but I could never catch on. The words made no sense to me they didn’t sound right rolling off my tongue so even when I would try to use them I would be stared at because of how silly I sounded. I felt defeated and belittled. I was out of my zone and whenever I needed help I would always call my grandmother to get her opinion on the situation.
“Mom I don’t know what to do. I keep getting laughed at and I don’t really understand why. “The way I sound and the way I speak is normal so why are people laughing?”
“Nobody sounds normal Chalee because everybody is different. You can’t expect everybody to sound just like you.How about, instead of feeling upset, embrace how you speak and be proud
of it.There is nothing wrong with standing out.”

This conversation made me think completely different. My feelings towards this conversation are very well interpreted by author James Baldwin. In “If Black Isn’t a Language Then Tell Me, What is?”, he says that, “Language is also a political tool”. This quote means that the way a person speaks can be used as a way to get ahead especially in politics but also, in everyday life. Not until this day I never thought that I could use the way I spoke as a tool. I decided that I would not allow my voice and different slang get the best of me. Whenever people ask me where I’m from and why I sound the way I do I always pick my head up high and answer with a smile, “New York”.

Moving to a new place can be stressful and tiring.You might not know where the supermarket is or what school to go to. But, the way you speak can also be a huge issue. I have learned to accept the fact that I don’t sound like everybody else in the world and I may even get teased about it. However, I know that being proud of who you are, where you come from and how you speak is a very important part of having others accept you.
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What Language Do You Speak ?

Emmanuel Kouadio

A Band, English


What Language Do You Speak ?

Many people have always asked me, why is me voice so light, or why do I talk strange. Well, at times I speak differently than others would usually speak. When I was in third grade I got into an accident involving my the insides of my mouth, which lead to me having to getting surgery done. After that my whole life would change from their. I would have problems pronouncing some of the hard sounding verbs that has two through three syllables and I received a different accent then the one I had before.

 “Dalfin (dolphin), eyerin (iron), elementree (elementary) and woofle (waffle)”  

My speech/ accent was effecting me mostly when reading, since my voice had got lighter. When I was in forth grade I wanted to write poetry, so my teacher Ms. Buchanan entered me in the Delaware County Young Poets Competition. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to place in the competition because the way I would talk or read. Until one day in school my teacher had an idea and decided that all the kids in my class were going to write poems.

“Emmanuel I would like to speak to you after class, involving your poem” said Ms. Buchanan.

“Ok I won’t forget” I said. 

It was the final class of the day and the bells rung. 

“Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring”, the bell stopped ringing.

The kids in my classroom were packing up to go home.

“Everyone enjoy your weekend and work on your poems, so we can read them in class on Monday.” in a cheerful tone “Don’t forget to be creative and to put on your thinking caps when writing.” said Ms. Buchanan.

As all the kids exited the classroom I walked up to my teacher in a curious way. I thought to myself. What would she want to speak to me about?

“Emmanuel”, Ms. Buchanan voice shortly paused “I noticed that you and a couple other kids in your class have very special talents. I think you could win this competition if you put a lot of time and effort into it.”

At first I was shocked what I was hearing, then she began to speak about how I would win. I had faith in myself, but for some reason I was more fortunate to win she said. I was thinking that even if I didn’t finish in first place that I would like to win something.

“I want you to go home and work on you poem. Relate it to things around you, so when you’re going home everything you see you can include it in your poem”, said Ms. Buchanan. 

“That is a very good idea for me to start my poem, but I’ll just see you on Monday. I have to leave my friends are waiting for me outside”, I replied in a quickly tone.

“Have a good weekend”, we both said as we exchanged goodbye’s.

As I was on my way home walking down Ruskin Lane I was thinking about what I would see that would give me ideas on what to include in my poem. Today was the first day of spring, so many things grew since winter was over. I took out a book noted everything down I saw and went home. I took out my book of ideas and started to brainstorm stanzas for my poem.

“Spring is here. Whats in the air ? Birds are flying far and near”, I said.

After writing the first line of my poem I had other ideas, but I just couldn’t focus. When I read it to myself it wouldn’t sound right, so later on I continued to work on the poem. For a while I would continue to channel all of my ideas on the paper, but it wouldn’t sound like me. 

“Would I say something like this”, as I thought to myself.

I paused for a brief second to get help from my mom, but she had went to the supermarket to get some groceries for dinner. I was helpless for a second, until I decided to call my teacher Ms. Buchanan. I called her, but it went straight to voicemail, meaning she was probably very busy. 

“You’ve reached the voicemail of Karen Buchanan. Sorry I am not available to answer your call at this certain time, but please leave a message and I will surely get back with you. God bless you and have a nice day.”

I left a short message containing my poem and hung up the phone.

(It’s early Monday morning and school has began. 8:00 and the kids start to enter the school and goto their classes after eating a healthy breakfast. The teachers awaits them at the door with a friendly greeting)

“Welcome to class kids. If you can remember we read example poems and essays about the different types of languages people occur to have.”, said Ms. Buchanan. “I’d like you all to relate  your language  to one of the stories that you read. You have the full period to work.

I started writing about my relationship to a story I read. I still had thoughts of the Delaware County Young Poets Competition stuck in my head. With only one more day to it began. As I began the class writing assignment I started putting all my brainstorms together.

“Out of four stories that I read in English class I can relate myself to the story Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez. The main character Richard had issues with adjusting to his language. Most of his life he learned words while pronouncing the wrong sound. He would be used to speaking in two languages, at home Spanish and at school English. He would basically code switch in different environments since his parents spoke mainly Spanish. A way I can relate to Rodriguez is after I had surgery done I too had issues with speaking properly. We both have minor accents, have pronunciation problems, but we are also fixing that problem.” I wrote.

After that I felt relieved for some apparent reason. I had a special felling that I could relate to someone else rather about language difficulties, than be laughed at or questioned. 

It was the next day. An early Tuesday morning. It was time for the Delaware County Young Poets Competition to finally begin. Emmanuel still had school, but he was excused from three class periods.  

After the final contestants recited their poems it was my time to present mines. Walking down the isle to a big stage to present in front of a crowd over 300 people wouldn’t be easy.

“Introduce yourself and you may began reading now”, one judge said.

“My . . name is Emmanuel Kouadio. I am a third grader who attends Stonehurst Hills Elementary school.

I began to read my poem, as the audience watching me listened and lowered their tones.

“Spring is here. Whats in the air ? 

Birds are flying far and near. 

The insects are soaring, as the mowers are mowing.

I goto school and explore. 

Learn new things more and more.

After learning, then we play.

That is why I love spring everyday.”

The crowd applauded and I went to go set next to my teacher. After five minutes of discussions the judges came to an agreement on who the winners were.

“In first place. . . John Reynolds from Bywood Elementary” said one judge.

“In second place. . . Lisa Vincent from Westbrook Park Elementary” said another judge.

“Last, but not least third place goes to. . . Emmanuel Kouadio from Stonehurst Hills Elementary” said by the last judge.

At that moment I felt so confident to hear my name be called and people cheer me on. My poem wasn’t that bad, the judges understood me when I spoke, and I represented my school by winning. That was one of the best memories having to do with my language involving speech/ the way I talk. From that day on I promised to always have  confidence in my own area of language arts and try.

-The End

Apologize for the inconvenience, but Vimeo couldn't cooperate with me. I provided three other school approvable websites where you can watch my video. Enjoy and please leave feedback. Thanks.



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My language affect my past, present and future, Speaking spanish with an accent and speaking spanish differently than other people around you, Its like speaking spanish with a spanish person,and your sounds like another language and then their face looks puzzled . It was an early morning in Mexico, I was visiting my grandparents for the summer, like everyday I always woke up next to my sister, and a spider on her back.

“AHHHH!” i screamed.
“Que pasa ?” My grandma said. 
“Una..una..” i said forgetting how to say spider in spanish. 
so i point to the spider. 
“Una araña ?” she said. 
“Mhmm” i say, remembering. 
“Aver de araña” she says. 
“Araya” with a face of scared i said it wrong.
“Ajaja” she starts to laugh. 
“Asi no se dice” she responds. 
“Oh...” in a face of disappointment. 

Speaking spanish for me is difficult, I spoke so much english growing up and in school that when I go to Mexico, or go home, or even when I am with friend that speak my language and speak spanish it sounds like I have an accent. My family and friends have told me that I sound like an American trying to speak spanish. I couldn’t say some words like other spanish speaking people, I would sound weird saying the words, and when I did speak spanish, I would have someone laughing at me. My spanish speaking friends would expect me to talk spanish all the time like they do because I come from a Mexican family, but I cant speak spanish all the time, because of my accent in spanish. My family would expect me to speak spanish well because when I was little I use to speak spanish all the time and my parents are from Mexico, but growing up I start to speak english more and spanish less, or I would mix my spanish with my english. I started to get gain an accent with my spanish, it would sound like a spanish word mixed with english. I got made fun of with my family, and it was kinda funny, but then again that made me feel not confident with me speaking spanish, so now that I am in spanish class, I don’t like to speak spanish because I am scared to say a word and say it with my accent I have, I just wont speak. I would only say some words I know how to say them clearly, with the accents but sometimes my accent will slip out. This will affect my future because I would be shy to speak my second language because of the accent I have when I speak spanish. As well where I got the nickname “blanca”  because my friends say I a “wanna be white” because I wont speak spanish around them because of my spanish accent and afraid to get made fun of because on how I speak spanish.
Most people would think, “oh she is embarrassed of her culture and her language” but thats because they don’t know what is really going on. I am happy being Mexican. I am fine speaking spanish but if only I could speak it with out the accent. It sometimes brings people to hate me, because people think I don’t want to speak spanish and I am embarrassed. I would only speak some sentences that I know my accent won’t come out. 
As this quote says “The range (and reign) of accents on that damp little island make England coherent for the English and totally incomprehensible for everyone else. To open your mouth in England is (if I may use black English) to "put your business in the street": You have confessed your parents, your youth, your school, your salary, your self-esteem, and, alas, your future.”  the day I opened my mouth and spoke spanish to my grandmother and she saw that I had an accent in my spanish she knew what would happen, as well as my friends when I spoke spanish to them, they called me “blanca” why ? because I would speak spanish with an english accent and everyone knew what would happen, I would be shy to speak my own language and speak it to them, because how I speak my spanish. 
My spanish accent started with me hanging with my best friend Alexis, I was with her so much that I started to talk like her, then I started to realized when I spoke spanish I sound different than others, I felt sad because I felt like when I spoke spanish to others, they would just look at me like “what kind of spanish are you speaking” so I just talk to my spanish friends in english. As the statement says, they will tell my future because now I am not confident with myself speaking spanish, and when I am older, I wont be feeling any better about my spanish. What makes me sad about me speaking spanish with an accent is that every time I say a long sentences and my accent would come out, my family, and friends look at me in a strange way, that makes me sad because they look at me different. Sometimes I think, maybe if I speak spanish a lot, they will get use to it, or my spanish will get better after a while, but sometimes I am just not ready to speak spanish fully with other people. When the quote says “sland make England coherent for the English and totally incomprehensible for everyone else. To open your mouth in England is (if I may use black English) to "put your business in the street" 
It does feel like I am putting my business out there because to me my I don’t speak spanish for a reason outside my house because I feel like if I do I am telling everybody that I can’t speak spanish with out an english accent, well Wendy thats me, plus spanish my language equal oops, why? because I make a lot of mistakes when i speak spanish. 

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Language Struggles

For Q2 Bm we had to write about a language, different language in the world or our own experience, struggle and etc.. It wasn't so hard for me because I straggled a lot with language when I first moved to U.S.A.

My family and I have always struggled with english since we moved to the U.S.A. It was hurt for my little sister and I the most because we had to go to school and couldn't make friends or speak to anyone. We use to sit in ESAL class for hours with a teacher who was trying to teach us english and made us read kids books. Then after 6 months I started speaking basic english but more curse words. After all the struggles and confusion with words like “Than,Then and There,their”  a year later I started to speak fluent english and got out of ESAL class but I still had a very strong accent and my classmates used to make fun of me for that. It wasn’t a fun experience for me. I struggled  a lot with language and still am a little. Now the most hardest part for me is when i have to translate for my parents whenever they come to my school or go see my doctor.

The things people said about my language and my accent have always made me nervous to talk in front of people, because I always think people are going to make fun of me or make bad comments about my accent.

Last summer I Went back to my country with my family and thats why I there’s a difference between the way I speak english and how they speak english. When I use to speak english they couldn't understand me because the way I pronounce the words were different than them. When we say the word we sound out the letter but they don't do that they just read the letter. It would be difficult  for me to talk to people in my country if I only knew english but I remember the language.

English isn't my first or second language for me. Other than english I learned 4 other languages just by watching tv. It wasn't so hard for me to learn them but I guess english was really hard for me to learn. I am also taking spanish classes in my high school hopefully before I graduate from my high school I will be an expert in spanish.

Language always have been a huge part of my life and it helped me to get a lot of fun memories. Fun memories because I cough so many people in the train/buses talking in their language and saying terrible things about me or my friends so it was a really fun experience for me.

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Kids Vs Adults

Kids are changing up language everydays. The make up words that are call slang. It’s like there cord to talk to other kids. But when the start to talk to an adult it change. They sound like they when to school and very educated.  Everyday I see kids talk like they don’t speak english. Yo wha you doin’? Nuffin chillin abou to go to class. Wha class you have? Why u askin all them question? You ratched. YOLO! That dead. You don’t have any pics. To Adults they are asking themself what are y’all saying, speak some english.

One day in math class. We were all sitting to talking to our classmate doing math. Our teacher Mrs. Thompson came up to my table. Ask me Lala What dose bars mean?? Everyone in the class started to laugh.  I hear everyone say that word but I don’t know what y’all mean. I know y’all not using it like music note. Ron said Bar in a line from a rap. It you got bars then it about rapping.

Everyone one of my friends says that they don’t talk like to talk to the parents like that  like my friend  Emily she told me this. I'm in 5th grade, watching Full House on my couch. My dad's in the basement, and my mom's in the kitchen. I have a bookbag filled with homework, which i ignore. "Em!" mom shouts. "Yeah?" i respond, eyes glued to the tv. "It's 7 and you still haven't started your homework?" muting the tv i yell back "My bad! starting it now."  unzipping my bag my mom sits next to me. "I'd appreciate it if you'd stop saying 'my bad'." "why? i'm not curisng." im confused. "i know, it just... makes you sound.... i dont know...." i know where she's going with this so i interrupt and say "okay mom, i get it. sorry." she smiles and goes back to the kitchen.

What I am trying to say is we change the way to thing to people. We never talk to the older people that same. But we talk to are friend in code.
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Mixed Ngon Ngu

“Hey”, Phu said.
“Hi”, I replied.
“You co lam homework trua?”, I ask.
“ Co chu sao ma cong co.”, Phu answered.
“ May cong co lam di you’re in big trouble.”, I replied back.
“ Toi biet roi.”, He replied.

Another friend walked up to me and ask me, “Yo did we have any homework last night”? At first I thought he was my other friend Thanh who was also Vietnamese. So I told him, “Cong, Cong we don’t have homework.”

My friend Michael started laughing and ask me, “What did you just say”?

As I felt embarrassed I told him again but this time in english, “No we don’t have homework last night”.  Thats the moment where I realize the I have been mixing the two languages a lot. Right there at that moment I made a promise myself that this will never happen again,but sooner or later it happened again.

My whole life was ruined because I kept mixing my native language Vietnamese with my secondary language English. I am use to speaking one language so much when I get to school I tend to mix these two languages together without noticing. Ever since I learned english when I was 6 years old. I started having this habit of mixing 2 languages. Having a knowledge for both languages confused me. Learning english is the most complicated process of my life. Taking ESOL classes (English for Speakers of Other Languages) doesn’t help at all. The stuff I learn in ESOL and English class makes me even more confusing. Then at the same time learning one language is hard enough. I have to use another one at home. The constant mixing and switching of languages from school and home left a permit mark on me. The permanent mark that was left on me was memories of laughter and frustration.

Then one day I was working with my mom in her nail shop. A customer came by and ask, “Does your mom have time to do my nails today?”.

I replied, “No my mom has no time to do it for you today, xin loi.”

As I realized what I have said I heard her ask me, “Excuse me, what did you just say?”

At that moment I thought she was going to laugh at me for what I have just said, but I answered her anyway. “I was trying to tell you that my mom does not have time to do nails for you today I’m sorry.”

“Oh well thats interesting. What language do you speak? What is your native language?”.

“Well I speak Vietnamese at home.”

“Oh thats cool I have a friend who speaks Vietnamese and I think its an interesting language to speak.”

As I heard that I felt as though my language does mean something to her. It gives me strength to be not feel embarrassed, but also to feel proud that I speak a language that some people find it interesting.

I can imagine myself in the future speaking in mixed languages more, instead of just avoiding it in all because speaking in mixed languages makes me who I am and thats what makes me special. Speaking in a mixed language can also helps me understand things that I learn in school. It makes it more simple to me to understand. It could make me forget the permit mark that was left on me long ago and move on improving myself. Now I can just close my eyes and see myself using my abilities of speaking mixed languages to communicate with my friend Phu more.

“Hey,xin chao” (Hi)
“Hey,xin chao”
“What are you doing?” (Lam cai di)
“Oh cong cho di.”

Oh vay a, you’re doing nothing.?”

“ Yeah man, cong cho di hat. Just doing homework thats all.”

“ Oh thats cool man, truong tha di choi later ok?” (We are going to go out later)

“Ok thats sound good.”

Now, because of that one moment in the past has affected my future with my languages. The girl from the story “ Tongue Tied” by Maxine Hong Kingston hates speaking out loud and has been laughed at before. She thinks her accent is making her different. In the first part of the story she has told us about the story of the knot-marker. She said that the knot-marker after a while in China has been outlawed. Then she stated, “ If I lived in China, I would have been an outlaw knot-marker”. She was trying to compare her accent to the knot-marker. She is trying to tell us that if the knot-marker was outlawed in China. Then here in America her accent is breaking the rules of the way you speak as well. She is trying to show us that she is not proud of her accent. During the time that I had trouble with two languages. I wasn’t proud of myself either. I tried hard to change to fit in, but the changing doesn’t work as well. I still continue to mix the languages and suffer the laughter from my peers. She made another statement about her accent later in the story. She stated that, “ The teacher, who had already told me everyday how to read “I and here”, put me in the low corner under the stairs again,where the noisy boys sat.” Now her mind set is giving up on perfecting her accent. Even the people she know, her teacher has paid her no attention at all and decided to ignore her. Thats why the girl in this story hated her accent.

In my case the laughter and torture to change my accent and my mixed language has made me think that I want to improve and speak it more. My story about the mixed language and the girls’ from “Tongue Tied” has the same situations but different results or change. I went from being laughed at to speaking more and being inspired to learn more about both languages. Instead of just abandoning them. Meanwhile the girl from the story is on the verge of probably giving up. Some people just give up while others take their time to realize that their accent or language is something that they can never let go. It make them who they are and symbolizes the unique traits that the person have. For me I have kept that unique thing and I am trying to improve as well. I decided to keep it because I have spent some time learning new things from both languages while I was making my decision and the influence that these two languages brought affect my thoughts and my decision. The fact that I can speak more than two languages makes me an interesting person to most people, but then to others they think I’m a topic for their jokes. Even though I had a complicated time fixing the habit of speaking and mixing both languages. The fact that knowing them and learning them makes the pain go away. Theses languages and their culture makes me who I am today.
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Never Giving up the Lisp

Never Giving up the Lisp 

It all started when I was in grade school on the yellow school bus.  

“What’s your name”, 

“Piercesuss” I reply. Immediately I get funny faces from whomever I’m talking too. 

“Why do you talk like that?” 

“Do you have a speech impediment?” 

Speech impediment? I think to myself what’s that. To me the way I sounded was always normal but apparently it wasn’t. I was being criticized for my so called “speech impediment” that I didn’t even know about. 

“What are you talking about”, 

“I don’t have a shhpeech impediment.”

“Yes you do! , you have a lisp!”

 It has a name, my so called speech impediment has a name, now I will be labeled as the boy with the the lisp.-- I’ve always had problems with kids with their teasing. They would get me to try say words or they would mock me, “Say twizzlers or snake”. I didn’t really care what people would think so I would humor them and repeats the words. “Twishulers” and without even trying there was a lot of miss pronunciation in the word and I sounded kind of ridiculous.Yeah I can admit it, this was the first actual time I felt insecure about my accent but in a way I thought it made me different.   As I talked more using new vocabulary as I grew my lisp seemed to get worst. No one would try to get me to mock things anymore because they got use to me. I still had a heavy lisp which would really be a disturbance to me when I was trying pronounce new words in English class. I felt like my lisp was my enemy when it came to just that class. I almost felt normal in other classes but in that class, I felt like it attacked me.

 “Hello Class, we have new vocabulary for the week, please repeat after me.” 

“Say parenthesis!” As I am in the back of the room I slowly try to pronounce this word.

“Paren, Parentheties, Pa, Pa!” 


My lisp was making this new word way too difficult.

I couldn't even pronounce this word I just mumbled in the back of class. My lisp was so bad that I would me get tongue tied on words that still to this day hold a challenge. 

“Say Surfeit” , I didn’t want to be that kid who mumbled in the back of the class, I wanted to be that kid who stood out, so out of know where I got a sudden urge of confidence I blurted out loud “Shhurfeit”. I immediately knew that all eyes were on me and I just put my head down from embarrassment. But later on as I thought about what happened, I shouldn’t of been embarrassed I should of been proud of me giving it a try.

    As the years past I became more comfortable with my lisp and what people had to say about it. I use to not talk at all in class even if I knew the answers because of how I sounded to others. But now I have no problem of raising my hand. Other students in my middle school would still try to get me to repeat words. I actually looked forward to this because I became comfortable enough with my lisp to laugh about it. As long as people didn’t go overboard with mocking then I essentially had no problems. 

    All my life I’ve felt the most accepted in the comfort of my home. My parents and Siblings never brought me through torment that I experienced through school. Didn’t they hear my lisp? Is it really not that noticeable or are they just ignoring it because I’m family? 

     As a young child growing up on the rough streets of West Oak Lane, you had to make sure you could defend yourself. I don’t mean a physical defense either but I’m talking about a verbal defense. Back when I was really committed to basketball, I would be at the park playing a game of Basketball and as always on the Simons community court there would always be a problem. It might be the littlest problem from arguing about untied shoelaces to a hard foul. If you got into one of these arguments you would have to have smart, smerky, offensive remarks using curse words with a solid firm voice that I just didn’t have. If you came into one of these arguments with good comebacks but a light lispy voice like mines then you would surely be ridiculed by the other people at the park every time you went there. I would always try to avoid conflict and if I did get into one of these arguments I would put on a sort of facade to make me seem tougher. I had to talk slow and clear to get my point across.

Random person “ You ugly as shit youngin”

Me “You are just mad because I beat you in ball. You ain't nothing but a noodle.” As I said with a slow strict and firm non lispy voice.

This was the only time where my lisp wasn’t my enemy and thank god for it because if I had a strong lisp during these arguments I would have surely been embarrassed off the courts. 

   In the essay “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”, by James Boldwin, Boldwin talks about how language is a powerful influence. Stated in the essay it says “ It goes without saying, then that language is also a political instrument, means and proof of power.” Language can be used as an instrument or tool by the way you use and compose it. The way you sound and how you talk can make an influence on people, so if you talk with a deep slow clear voice thats the first impression you give off to people. 

   Through my life language and speech has had an impact on my life as well as others. It’s affected me through school and socially with my peers. I’ve learned to not blame or ridicule myself for something that defines who I am. Know I am proud to be known as the boy with the Lisp. 

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Listen To Our Words

Little kids are constantly told “Use your words!” in an effort to convince them to communicate effectively with their peers and others. I was told to use my words many, many times as I’m sure you were too.

Picture this: Kids are screaming, babies are screeching, and teachers are frantic. It’s chaos in Best Friends Preschool. Some babies have escaped from their pens, and the teachers are trying as hard as they can to get them back. I am sitting in the corner of the room, wanting to show someone the art project I made, but no one is listening to me. Something had to be done. Someone needed to see my art project. I had to think fast. The only smart decision? I drag a chair into the center of the room, climb on top and shout, “LISTEN TO MY WORDS!”

Since the beginning  (or at least since before I can remember, which is a good enough beginning for me) I have had a love of words. My parents used to tell babysitters that if I start to cry, all you have to do is open up a book and start reading. I would immediately hush and become absorbed in the words, even before I knew what they meant.

I was an early talker. One day when I was a little girl of about two years old, I had been sitting in the backseat in my dad's VW camper all day doing errands. My two old year-old self was beat. It's exhausting being a toddler. We were finally pulling into our garage at home when I said to no one in particular "Sometimes I get so tired riding around in my car seat.”

This is where it gets tricky. It may sound as though I’m bragging, and that’s not what I mean to do. Here’s my point. Most people confuse early talking with being smart. Cute? Definitely. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re smarter than kids who talk or whose vocabulary widens later. I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I went to daycare with mostly Pueblo Native American and Chicano kids who didn't talk as much as I did. I grew up hearing "Nomi, you are such a smart kid." The other kids who I played with didn't. I think talking got conflated with my being white. Tracking started at a young age.

On the first day of kindergarten, my mom had things to do in the school. Each time she passed my classroom door, she noticed my hand waving in the air, confident I knew the answer to whatever the teacher was asking, even before she asked it. My mom say’s, “You were like  ‘I got this! I know, I know, I know!’” Remember, I’d been told since I was two that I was “smart.”

By the time I was in second grade, I had moved from answering the teachers questions to questioning the teachers authority. We were given “picture prompts”, which were drawings of scenes that we had to respond to in writing. One particular day, one of the scenes was a picture of children in the olden days in a sleigh, surrounded by snow. At the time, I was living in California. I had never seen snow, much less a sleigh. It was the umpteenth prompt I had been given that year. After staring at it for some time, I wrote “Face it, I have nothing to say.” My parents hung it on the refrigerator with pride in their authority challenging second-grader.

In “The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingston, the author says “The teacher who had already told me everyday how to read ‘I’ and ‘here’ put me in the low corner under the stairs again, where the noisy boys usually sat.” Because the author didn’t talk, or wouldn’t, instead of being encouraged, she was grouped with other kids who weren’t doing well. None of them were encouraged to excel. Often when that happens those kids are not given help because the teacher is focusing on the “smart” kids. People associate talking with being smart.

In the younger grades, I noticed more of a range in my vocabulary than other kids’. I usually knew the vocabulary words we got assigned before we got assigned them and used words my friends didn’t know. As I got older the edge I had on others diminished until it was hardly noticeable. But what mattered is I had a head start. Teachers granted me intelligence they didn’t grant others. They gave me a huge advantage.

It matters what we tell kids. If we tell them they’re smart from the very beginning, they will believe it. They live up to the expectations set for them. It is important not to tell young kids that someone else is smarter than them just because they know more words, talk more, or talked first. I want all young children to be told they are smart, have something important to say, and deserve to have their words listened to when they stand on a chair in the middle of a pre-school room and demand it.

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The Link of Dialect and History-Ziheng Liu

What kind of language do you speak? Have you ever met someone who speak dialect? I do have this experience and can’t forget it until today.

Although Mandarin is the official language in China, there are also a lot of different dialects. Sometimes for people in different parts of China, it is hard to understand each other by oral languages though the written languages are similar. My families and I live in the Northern China which is close to Beijing, and we have some relatives in Guangdong Province which is in the Southern China and close to Hong Kong. I decided to visit my relatives during the summer vacation two years ago because my parents were busy. I told my parents about this idea, and they supported me. I was afraid that there might be some troubles in communication so I sent an e-mail to them. They replied to me at once and I could understand it. Therefore, I wasn’t worried anymore and went on my trip delightfully. But I found out I was wrong when I met them. 

I greeted with them at first, “你们好!”(Hello!) They showed a strange emotion, and I guessed they didn’t know what I was talking. But I believed that they greeted me, too. It sounded like “Niehoe!” Then, I said, “好长时间没见到你们了。”(I haven’t seen you guys for a long time.) I didn’t know what they were talking about, but they said something like “Hoegorxigandoeni”. I felt embarrassed and didn’t know what I should do next. They also found out that we couldn’t understand each other at all, and one of them who is my uncle pointed at a building. I understood that they wanted me to go to their house with them, and we walked together.

Then, I knew that they spoke Cantonese which is a southern dialect in China! I felt that I was an outsider although they were friendly to me because we always failed to communicate with each other. Since we couldn’t understand each other by speaking, if I needed something, I had to write it down on paper and give it to them. I was like a mute while I was living in their home. According to my plan, I would spend my whole summer vacation there. But I couldn’t stand life like this and returned home after a week. This is a failed trip, but it let me understand more about language. 

You might ask why there are a lot of dialects in China. As you know, Chinese history is long and complicated. There were seven kingdoms in China during the Warring States Period, and it lasted about two hundred years. If the people in one place couldn’t communicate with the people living in somewhere else, they had to form their own language or dialect. People in each kingdom had their own oral language and written language, but it was hard to communicate between different kingdoms. After the king of one kingdom called Ying Zheng united the other six kingdoms and established Qin Dynasty, he realized this problem and stipulated a unified written language, but he had no idea about unifying the oral language. Although he was the emperor and had the strongest power in the whole country, he didn’t have the power to change the way which people spoke. The oral language can’t be limited and unified because it is a kind of habit which can’t be decided by a certain person. In Han Dynasty, a foreign nation called Xiongnu which is next to the northern China communicated with China frequently during the whole period. So, the oral language of northern China was influenced by Xiongnu inevitably. After Han Dynasty, there were a lot of foreign nations communicating with the Han nationality which is the main nation in China, and this influenced the language in China, too. In Qing Dynasty, a nation called Manchu united China, and their tone influenced oral Chinese in the northern China so Mandarin was formed. After People’s Republic of China was established, Chinese government popularized Mandarin. But people who lived in Guangdong Province in the Southern China were used to using Cantonese, and Cantonese had already become a part of their culture. They didn’t want to change the way which they spoke, so they continued to use Cantonese till today. Dialect is connected with history. Dialect is a tool for communication and a kind of habit, and the reason of formation of a dialect is complicated. Wars can help form a dialect, because the tone of soldiers might be influenced by their enemies. Conquests can help form a dialect, because the conquerors might force the slaves to accept their languages, and the tone of slaves might be different from the conquerors so that a new dialect is formed. Also, trades can help form a dialect. If a person wants to deal with another person who speaks another language, he/she must communicate with the person, and their tone of speaking their own language would be influenced by each other.

There is also a dialect in the United States called black English. In the article If Black English Isn’t a language, Then Tell Me, What Is by James Baldwin, the author says that black english is a language, and it influences white english and culture. It introduces the reason of formation of black english. “Subsequently, the slave was given, under the eye, and the gun, of his master, Congo Square, and the Bible--or in other words, and under these conditions, the slave began the formation of the black church, and it is within this unprecedented tabernacle that black English began to be formed.” Black english is a kind of language which was spoken by black people in the United States. The reason of its formation also connects to history. Blacks were ruled by whites before the American Civil War, and they couldn’t communicate at all because they came from different tribes and used different languages. They wanted to find a way to communicate with each other, so black english appeared.

The reason of formation of dialects connects to history. It might be wars, conquests, trades, etc. Dialect is a way to communicate with each other in a certain area, and it is formed since it is chosen by history. Since this is the historical trend, no one can change it and that’s not necessary.

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Will Amari— Wordz

Will Amari




During the murky early mornings I am a man of very few words. My thoughts are focused on my dreams which I miss intensely the instant I wake. My eyes are towards the ceiling, and my back lays flat on the cushion of my nice soft warm bed. The darkness is a clown which fools with my mind. He bends the fine line between what’s real and what’s only fantasy. Which is why I lay silent trying to figure out the clear difference. 

“WILL!” That’s my father yelling from downstairs. I’m still in my dream phase thinking about women and riches. I flop over sideways facing my bedroom door and try to respond to him with a happy hearty “Good morning,” but before I can, my true feelings break loose, and I respond by saying a depressing, miserable, “MmmmWha?” 

“Oh.” He says surprisingly. There is a short pause, then he continues, “I think it’s time you start thinking about getting up.”

“Mnnn Kay— one minute.” I fall out of bed and quickly get dressed, walk my dog, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, pack my bag, and then I go to school. It all feels like one movement.

In the classroom I am a mouse, even though I’m totally there, I’m quiet and I speak with my eyes. Sometimes words are as meaningless as a Thrush who cannot sing. However, sometimes, if the right words are used by the right person, they can save a life. In the end, some words are beautiful works of art, like the pieces that are admired in museums and some words are stupid and are only meant to be used for The Mindless Small Talk of everyday life. 

“Sup Will.” Someone says.

“Sup man.” I say plainly, and with a sarcastic crescent-shaped smile glued on my face, I shake their hand. That to me is as low as it gets, the words I use for small talk have no personality or charisma. They’re boring and dimwitted, and there is no art or true beauty to them. There’s just that sort of, “I say this, you say this feeling”, you get when your talking to someone you don’t know and or care about. I feel like a social robot, until I get to lunch. 

At lunch, with my friends, I am Out Going, I am Free Spirited, and I am Happy— which is not a word I use often. Do I speak out art? I don’t know, but its eccentric and natural and my words mirror my personality— and that’s all that matters. 

“Will.” Tom says to me.

“Tom.” I reply. 


“Sawyer.” I joke.

Tom throws a fake punch at my face. And I pretend to get hit in the eye, and start to grow fake tears while crying out a fake sob. 

Then someone says, “Yo. Guys we should definitely go bowling.” 

“I know, we really should.”

“Whites versus Asians again?”

“Hell yah bitch.”

“Were gonna kick your asses back to Viet-Nam.”

“Oh my god. You guys are so messed up.”

“You’re the one who can’t say one sentence without saying the word fuck.”

“Fuck you.”

“He looks like Hitler.”

“Lamborghini Muci Damn deez chicks are thirsty...”

“Shut the hell up.”

“Wait hold on I like that.”

“You see me rollin...”

“Oh my god. Will. Play that country music you like.”

“Its not country. Its folk man. Bob Dylan. See country is like yeee-haaawww grab your partner round ‘n’ round. Folk is expressive and sad like blowin’ in the wind and stuff. I like folk a lot better cause it’s like real poetry made into song.” There is a brief moment of silence. “Plus its fun to play on my guitar.” 

The conversations I have with my friends are valuable because they are so natural. The words from my mind, spill out of my lips, like the water that runs out my faucet. It’s a time where my words reveal the most of myself and the mouse in me becomes a lion. I am my own jungle. I roar instead of squeak. I swear instead of shake and I am not alone. 

I’m alone on my way home, I’m a shadow, and although I am happy, I am not me. As I walk through familiar streets and smell the familiar smells and hear the familiar sounds, my shadow grows. By the time I get to my door— no, by the time I get to my street, I grow my flesh and bones. I walk into my house, fully skinned and fully clothed. What you see of me is enough for you to know— I’m there. Dragging along my book bag, I parade up the stairs, and walk into the living room. There sitting on the couch is my mother. I am not a lion but I am also not a mouse. At this point, I don’t know what I am. However, I know what I follow. I follow a behavior and manner owned and invented by the house I live in and the roof I live under. I ask questions, instead of answering. I don’t declare or claim anything. I am innocent and ignorant. 

“Sup mom.” I said. “What’s for dinner?” I asked. 

“Well. Why don’t you look on the counter and find out for yourself.”

“Oh yah.” I turn around and...

“But wait, tell me about your day.” Demands my mother. 

I answer her in a few words more than one. I speak, but like the robot I am before lunch, I do not tell. I follow the rules and act as I am supposed to. The world inside the tower which I live in revolves around a small round table. Together we call it the dinning room. We sit and eat and speak and drink. 

“I got a eighty five on my spanish test.” 

“Thats good.” My mother admitted. “How are you doing on all your other subjects?”

“Pretty good.” I reply.

“Yah, you keeping up on all your assignments?”

“Yes.” I say emotionless and calmly. I finish up my meal and head up to my room. 

All through the night, until early in the morning, I’m alone in my room. Once again I am speaking, but not through my eyes or mouth, but within the inner roots of my body. I speak with my heart, soul and mind. These words, they are different than the ones that I say out loud and to me and me only— they are truly beautiful, a masterpiece made out of letters and vowels. Art. These words come from a big bright cabinet located in my dark dreary mind. These words, which I ponder all day keep me occupied and I become excited. These words have personality, style and grace. My heart is finally speaking and my soul is finally free from the tower I am forced to live in. There is no better way to use these words, so why use them at all. Words that are said out loud aren't special, they are wasted, wasted on something that is soon to be nothing. Nothing more than a memory, not worth being memorized. 

The words that are meant to be memorized have a true meaning that shows who you really are. Not as a human, but as a individual. Its poetry, art, truly beautiful, Bob Dylan and blowin’ in the wind, eccentric, natural, or whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t really matter, as long they reveal your true self.

“It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify. It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity.” James Baldwin typed that.

“My words depend on my personality, my personality depends on my attitude, my attitude depends on who’s at the door. For I speak out my own creation and my creation is nothing more.” I typed that.  


Wordz-The Movie
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The Accented Tongue

“Mingxue, can you read the third passage please?”
“The shep is singking.”
“THE SHEP is singking.”
“Class! Read that one line out correctly.”
“The ship is sinking.” The class screamed this sentence at me.
At that moment, I just wanted to dig a hole and escape from this embarrassment. From that point on, I would always put my head down and avoid eye contact when my teacher asked for a reader. I hated the way I sound. Why am I the only Asian who couldn’t enunciate the words correctly as my classmates? The more I thought about it, the dumber I thought I was. My friends also made a joke out of me behind my back--but I heard it anyway.
“Do you know that Mingxue got called on again by Ms. Tang?”
“Yeah. She sounds awful.”
“Right. She’s so dumb. How can she mispronounced one syllable words?”
“I can’t believe we’re friends with her. She is so stupid.”

The humiliation was just too tough for a 8 year old to handle. I became more diffident as I moved on to third grade. I would always daydream about myself talking as fluently and precisely as my classmate Rob would. Every word that was coming out of his mouth sounded just like one of the Fox News reporters. He always participates in class discussions but I didn’t even have the guts to speak a word out loud. I hated their judgement on my “funny accent.” I felt that all of the people in my class were more superior than me because they could speak English better than me.

I felt powerless, just like the author named Richard Rodriguez. In the “Hunger Of Memory,” he portrays himself as a language problematic child who was expected to be unsuccessful based on his Spanish accent. He came to an American school with just fifty basic English words and explains the painful path he took to be a part of the American society. This quote, “But, by being firm and so clear, the sound of his voice said that he was a grimy...he belonged in public society,” shows that Rodriguez thinks that the fact that he can’t speak with an American accent prevents him from being a part of the society he lives in now. To have the same or similar accent in a specific place means the distances between you and the person you’re talking to are closer. It is hard to be a minority who has a complete different accent from the majority of the population. You will feel overpowered as if the people who are fluent in the appropriate accent are suppose to be more superior than you. Your foreign accent is a symbol that reminds you are the minority. It is a voice in your brain that screams, “Your strong accent is more likely to be made fun of, than to be accepted by the people who speaks different than you.”    

To escape from the feeling that the people who speaks fluent English are better than me, I need to be audacious enough to face the judgements.The most terrifying place is school. Schools are made to correct and properly educate people. There is no mercy for foreigners. People would correct your grammar, your pronunciation, and your vocabulary. These humiliations I had in my elementary school are not the only incidents that pluck holes on my self-esteem. These incidents happen in my high school as well.

When I was typing up my first lesson plan, somebody's parent corrected my grammar while my friends just praised me for being an overachiever. At that time, my mind and my facial expressions weren’t cooperating. My mind wanted to erase this memory as if nothing had happened. I guess I probably looked embarrassed or furious after she said, “Please excuse me. That is my job. I am a book editor.” I tried to distract myself from this conversation by looking strongly at my screen, but a tap on my shoulder from this lady woke me up from the shame. Even if I am an overachiever, so what? This is not quality work. It is just quantity work that was rejected in the eyes of an editor, rejected from the cruel society. Even around my  friends who speak excellent English makes me feel insecure when they’re editing my essays.
Also, when my Asian friends praised my fluent English, I feel the guilt of accepting their compliments.

But, the feelings of comfort to speak Chinese is not as pleasant when I am speaking English. The timorousness to speak a foreign language as Rodriguez interpreted as “Not to understand this is to misunderstand the public uses of schooling...a family’s language...conveyed through those sounds was the reminder of being home.” It means that people are more challenged or uneasiness when speaking a foreign language because it overstepped their comfort zones. To speak your primitive language with a familiar accent that had been with you for all of your life is alleviating. School is made for public and you have to face obstacles as if you’re an adult. Language is a way to communicate but it is also the process to get the bitter taste of the world that let you step away from being nurtured. But, after the painful road to speak in a certain way in which is accepted or viewed as “professional,” you can be respected and gained power in a place you once felt so distant.

But, I have speak ten years of English, I become more open and stellar in articulating my English. When I was in ninth grade, one of my teachers, Ms. Kaita-Doe was astonished when she noticed how my grammar had improved over a thousand bounds through a report I sent her.
“I saw your report. It is awesome!”
“How is my grammar?”
“I got to admit that your grammar is perfect. It is a huge surprise to me considering the essay you wrote in seventh grade.’
“Yeah, I remember that you want me to edited it three times but I failed every time.”
“It seems like SLA is a great place for you.”
“It sure is. I have become more candid and more garrulous.”
“Before you graduated from Tilden, the only thing I was concerned about is your English. But, after I saw your report, I am not worried. So, good luck in high school. Bye”
This video chat made me feel that my hard work, and humiliations I faced pays off. The feeling of being accomplish is too great to be expressed in words. I have regained my confidence after such a rough journey and returned in triumph. Now, many people wanted me to edit and give feedbacks to their essays and is willing to listen to my ideas.

Learning a new language can stressful for a foreigner. However, the process to be multilingual becomes one of the greatest achievement a person can earned through their hard efforts in which they would always remember.   
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Black Language

Hmm ... Where do I begin my language has changed for many years I am a dot on the face of the earth, compared to the change in my language throughout the past decades. To the wisdom of our father's father’s to the “ghetto” poetry of being poets and rappers. I am Black Language. Black Language now what is that really is that the evolution of my ancestors who put this country on their back and made it what it is today. The real idea is the disappearance of a beautiful language and all its speakers. My rhythm is an extension of me. I am the legacy that my brothers left. “The way I speak“ain’t”yo damn business.” Because I am the language.

Proper manners and speech are a  certain type of racial bystander to make others think of you better they are just another way society has put us in this deep hole of racism. My slang has changed I don't know anybody that talks like me. I know of many languages such as, Krio, Modern English, Mandingo, Spanish. All originate from their father Latin. Is that so terrible or is it just change that made us, Us.

We are pawns to the beautiful language known as Black Language. Underrated some would say. I thank god. This is life. We make mistakes, hated that's the way of life. This is my language that turns us to the pressure that we under. This is race, and I am a Alien in this line. Ready,set, Go! I'm off light years away on top of my game. I am Black Language.

In my life there have been moments that power is my language and how I can use that to my advantage. In this particular example the individual was a older white man that in my opinion was very racist. In the climax of the scene my language was my sword.

“ You old racist man you really think you can shut me and my people down, I gonna be me you arguing over a damn parking spot? This ain’t gotta be this serious!” This is probably the maddest I have ever been on something so simple like a parking spot. It was like someone was controlling my every word.
In my own right there some moments in life I don’t regret but this is not one of them. Another that was important me was when I was just with my friends talking about the All Star Weekend, and we used different words like “Flames” and Bangin’” These are simple words that mean something was good and we can see that our teachers were looking at us. They probably thought we were talking about sex or some inappropriate activity.But that's the stereotype that is automatically assigned to me because of the way I speak.
I try to ignore but it always seems to get to me. I asked my mom and dad why does the world still have to be Black and White? They replied the normal, “ Haji that’s how life is. You can’t let things get to you.” Then I told them about what happened in school that week.And their answer to this was baffling, But one thing that made me really mad, was when they said maybe you should change how you speak Haji. I thought about that at first I said, But then I thought why should I change myself for the benefit of someone else's selfish reasons. That don't make no damn sense! Who are they to judge me. "Imma be me!" I said.

  Black language is what unites people it's what gave my ancestors hope to be free the white man! We are people. What is the white man you say? White man is Pork. They are the oppressors. They rigamortis by the death we will still shine cause, we are the people. A dying language.

Racism will never die it will only multiply and this the hard truth. My name is Alhaji Sheku Taylor Koita. I got it from my grandfather. He was born in Mali but grew up in the city of Freetown in Sierra Leone. He was a famous taylor there that's how he obtained the middle name taylor. My name is very hard to say. Every new class, every new year. Never can my name be said correctly. The 1st year of the 3rd grade my teacher was taking role, she pronounced my name" lhahgi coyote" as 8 years old you could imagine my anger towards this teacher but I needed to realize that we are all different people and that we have different accents. And these accents make us who we are, for the rest of our lives.

I guess you could say that these accents are another muscle and you can be weak or strong. There are many examples of how Black Language truly exists and its full of unique and beautiful people. But know like this quote I picked from no other than, James Baldwin. He is a famous author, for his many inspiring lines and essays of dialogue. But it was a line in the essay he wrote called, “If black English Isn’t a language then tell me what is”. This actually got me started to writing this essay. But in the text he says, “Now, I do not know what white Americans would sound like if there had never been any black people in the United States, but they would not sound the way they sound.”. I thought this was confusing at first, how would they sound different you may ask? Well because like I was saying accents are like muscles and muscles can be many different shapes and sizes and can be strong or weak. But it also goes back to how you use it in your advantage.

All in all, this is a language that has been matured from since it was an infant. Back when my ancestors were being enslaved. Trust me there is no enemy here. In fact without this most ridiculous times in American History I wouldn't be who I am. Hell I wouldn’t be able to write this essay. This is just a twinkle in the fire soon it will be raging flame thrower breaks the street of America. And then we can say,“Who will survive in America?”

Here is A link to my mid-portion to up right battle. This is my Black Language.

A Struggle With Privilege

“Hello, sir, it’s a pleasure to see you once again.” 

“Oh, the pleasure’s all mine, dear boy. How are your studies?”
“They’re just fantastic, thank you. All A’s, you know.”

“As expected! You read a lot, don’t you?”

“Every day, sir.”

I’ve had this conversation countless times. I was raised, surrounded, and accompanied by the decrepit, aged, and uptight white men and women whose minds were locked in the 1940s. The pure insincerity in the dialogue above was the way I lived my life for many years. With a facade, I followed my parents to neighborhood parties. Parties. A word that concealed the reality of one hundred large, white men stuffing their faces with the delicious pastries their wives slaved over for the majority of the day. I squeezed my way through the victorian-age houses, another term I heard very often, and pretended to know the meaning of. I tried so hard not to be seen, developing techniques of in-and-out pastry missions, but they never worked. 

It was a bitter winter night, and I was sheltered in another victorian age cesspool of boring conversation. I felt a cold, pudgy hand on my shoulder. It squeezed roughly, turning me around to face the bland, dark blue tie of a scratchy grey suit. The suit held an apparently impressive man. He boldly told me he was the “Assistant Coordinating Manager to The General Assignment Contributor of The FFSA (Firefly Financial Service Advisors)” and had the nerve to ask me what I thought about that.

Luckily for me, I had mastered the art of pretending to be interested in someone else’s transparent successes. “That sounds like a big job, sir! You must have a lot on your plate, not to say you can’t handle a load.” Today, I was beyond uninterested. “I’d better let you get back to those pastries.” I walked away as quickly as possible, weaving in between these pure, civilized, undoubtedly drawl citizens. 

A greying housewife stopped me before I could pull open the unnecessarily heavy, maple wood door. “Oh, thank goodness. Won’t you be a dear and fetch me a few more bottles of 1978 Montrachet from the cellar?” 

“No.” I walked out, finally taking a breath of fresh air.

I was just fifteen, and already feeling the heavy effects and the rebellious attitude that came with the year. By this time, I was aware of the warmth in this world, no longer comfortable in the ice chest of privilege. I wanted to experience the relaxed atmospheres of the world made possible by casual language and rhythmic speech. I wanted to hold a conversation rich with expression, as opposed to the boring speech patterns that filled my life with a redundant story of white entitlement.

In James Baldwin’s short essay “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” he said that “...language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power.” In privileged white speech patterns lies power of society, automatic success, and unearned wealth. Unfortunately, there is no single person in influential political power who speaks in “Black English,” for the history of the language is tarnished in an “equal” world. Yet I was intrigued by the language, by the dialect. As I grew and began to associate my own language with a stifling future I saw before me, a pathway already paved, others fascinated me. I observed true freedom only in dialects different from my own, while my language oppressed itself, suffocating its people in a self-invented stereotype.

“Son, why are you sitting out here all alone?”

“I can’t stand it in there.”

“These are our neighbors, our friends. Be respectful.”

“They’re your neighbors, not mine.”

“You should consider yourself lucky to be born into this culture.”

As I walked home, I thought about what my dad said, and what my language said about me. This world relinquished control to pale skin and expensive suits a long time ago, giving power to a community who would quickly grow accustomed to it, stepping on the feet of those climbing the ladder below them. A culture associated with power gained by trampling the potential of those different from them, never impressed me. No, what impressed me were the countless cultures who rose from nothing, stepping up each rung slowly, yet diligently, striving to be heard in society. The minorities of this earth have accomplished more than the “successful” ever did. There’s a certain pride that follows these successes. Something you can not experience if you enjoy what you have not earned. I wanted to be proud. 

In an essay by Richard Rodriguez, “Hunger of Memory” he spoke of his comfort with the Spanish speech patterns. “Conveyed through those sounds was the pleasing, soothing, consoling reminder of being at home.” I can say with certainty that as I grew, and my ear developed, the words I heard at home became sharper, rougher, another reminder of my humility. Instead of the linguistic comfort described by the minorities I admired, was the tasteless reality I was raised to carry on.

Fifteen was the year I broke the cycle. Growing up in privilege stifled my expression, and conformed me to a majority I would soon distaste. I knew the history of my culture, and I spoke the language associated with it. I hated to think what the sound of my voice triggered in the minds of my peers. It impacted my pride, my sense of belonging, and my view of the reality I knew. It changed me, made me want things out of my reach, and created a distance in my family. I still speak the language, but with reserve, an attempt at the absence of pompous inflection. In a simple alteration of linguistics, a change in attitude, a new culture is spawned within me. I was born privileged in all aspects, and died, born again, humbled. I struggled with privilege, but then rose above, victorious.

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Language autobiography

Accents are everywhere and everyone has one even if you are born in the country you live in. If you hear an accent that sounds weird to you they probably think the same thing about your accent. My essay is about how my mom was judged on her accent and how people judge people on the way they speak and see them as less. 

Having a mother that is from Mexico and is English is not here first language it can sometimes be tough to understand her. People sometimes treat her as less because she has an accent but when she speaks english it is pretty understandable the only problem is her accent. Sometimes people immediately think that she is an illegal alien and speak to her as if she had never spoken or heard english before when some of them know that she has been here for more than 22 years.

People that are not native speakers from the country are mistreated and seen as less just because they have an accent or don't seem to speak the language the “right way”. Whenever the people that supposedly say they are the native people from here are actually not .They came here as immigrants too and don't have the right to judge someone just because they don't speak english correctly. If they were to go to another country where they don't speak english they would run into being judged too, for not speaking the language correctly or having an accent when you speak it.

Like the other day I was with my mom at a store and she was paying a cashier and the cashier started talking to my mom as if she was a baby because my mom had an accent and it was obvious that she was not born here the USA. My mom reacted because the lady was over reacting by saying that she could not understand her and was acting in a rude way towards her.

After the incident at the store my mom said to me “Esa senora era muy ruda” I answered back “I know she was mama, she was just trying to make you make but you did the right thing by talking to her manager” she said “sometimes people here can be so rude and not know how to treat people the right way, this would never happen en mexico” I said “I know it wouldn't, she did it cause she is not happy and her life is miserable just let it go” she said “i'll let it go but if it happens again I will not accept it”

Another instance was when my mother and I were returning from a trip to mexico we were on the plane and we we were speaking spanish, I guess a guy was in a bad mood so he said to us “ We are going to america so speak english”, My mom and I both thought that he had absolutely no right to say that and we could speak any language we want, There is not a law that says we can't speak our native tongue. Everyone has the right to speak whatever they want and how ever they want, No one can take that away from you.

The connection with what happened was that sometimes people judge people based on the language they speak, And that people sometimes think they have the right to say whatever they want because the feel superior. Just because you speak the language we were going to it does not mean you can treat us as lower and tell us what we can and can't do.

link to my video- 
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Preamble - The United States Government will pardon prisoners on death row if and only if they go into the custody of West African governments as reparation for slavery in America.
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Just a little different by Alexis McCormick

     Language can make you who you are. It can help you in some cases and in others, hurt. Sometimes using a different language others may look at you questionably. Language can tell a story about who you are. One language may comes with several different accents. Having an accent makes you even different as a person. You have to understand that even if you or anyone else had a slight accent there’s nothing different about that person, the only thing different is the way they pronounce a word. You can’t judge a person based off their accent, everyone has something they can’t control and their accent is what it is. 

     With that I will tell you my story. I am a girl that comes from south Philadelphia, born and raised. I can say I live in a pretty good neighborhood, which people generally call “dego land”, but if you go up or down a few blocks you will hit places you wouldn’t want to go. My surrounding are mostly asian and black with hints of white here and there. If you closed your eyes and get a white and black person to speak, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but for some odd reason, im different. I hang out with every race, nothing particular. The questionable wonder from people about my accent is unanswerable. With this some accent judgement comes to play. And the even worse thing is that I get judged by some of my best friends.

      Have you ever been asked that question “where do you come from?” Well I do, all the time. Its all because of the way I speak. Its only a few words I pronounce differently. The worst feeling is when your own family and friends the ask the same question. The way I pronounce some words puts a slightly small toll on my life. I guess just because I grew up with a better education and payed attentions to the speaking test that I was blessed by being able to say words you would hear in the rich south.

     I’m very dedicated to my sports. If someone is playing a sport I’m interested in, then I’ll ask to play. But one day something happened at softball that I wasn’t expecting. That day it felt like it had to be at lease ninety five degrees out, and with the sun beating down on you makes it ten times worse. I needed a drink of water, I was so parched.

“Hey bri, throw me a watuh?”

“Sorry lex, we only have wateeeerrr, you know W-A-T-E-R.

     That day, was a day where I felt less than everyone else. That day at that moment, I was very tempted to quit something I really loved. All because my whole team was laughing at me because I said one word different. I realized that day that my accent could ruin things I really truley loved. 

     After that day I started to realize that I pronounced other word more differently. The first was “watuh”, then it was “bull” instead of “ball”, “gulf” instead of “golf” and “dughter” instead of “daughter”. What I learned through out this time period is that I was different from some others and it felt good. I was happy that I found out that I talk differently from others. Who wants to be just like everyone else? I know not me, because I like being my own person. 

      Something interesting was that some other people that passed through my life also spoke similar to how I pronounce words and others really liked the way I talked. So my little accent helped me meet new people who wanted to consistently engage in conversation just to hear me speak my words just a little differently. I kind of felt special after a while, people introduced me to their friends just because I tend to take away the “R” in water and the “A” in daughter.

     You can’t take something so miner to the head because you’ll never really know who’s going to like you for who you really are. I learned that my little accents helped in situations like when I have to talk to an important elder. When I encounter this situation I speak more properly. So in cases like that I feel like I do have an advantage.

     With that something else came to mind. The worst feeling is when you and your best friend get into a fight, right? Well one day me and my best friend Briana got into a little disagreement about something completely childish. She came at me with “I think im better then everyone and I act to grown for my age”. That right their lead into so much more, but she was referring to how I don’t talk with so much slang like every other child from around my neighborhood does. I told her, its not that I think im better then anyone. Im just a person who was raised with class and It was tough to speak with manors.

     I no longer get upset when people make fun of my little accent that I have, I just tell myself every time that this accent that people torture me with is what makes me different from a lot of other people. My accent makes me who I am and I wouldn’t change my experience with this accent for anything because it showed me a different view on life. This small accent I have helped me in many ways and I believe that it will help me because a very important part in many peoples lives and my very important future. 

     Don’t ever let something so little get you down, remember the people who hurt you with anything are just people who are mad, and if it is your friend, in any case, they aren’t true friends. Be who you are then you’ll realize that the people who come through your life and stayed are the people that will be there forever.  

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The War Of The Worlds

It Is crafted to show correlation between The War Of the Worlds and the war in the city I live. In the lyrics I connect to the violence in the streets and how I live in this world everyday. I feel the way the main character feels in the story, he’s brave but not afraid he is aware of the danger that he has been faced with the difference in my case I never know who the danger comes from or could come from. In inner-cities People are killed almost everyday which is the point that it is difficult to make it in inner-cities. In the song one line is “A city street where a mom could lose her son at any moment”, which is true. At any point I could be faced with a life or death situation; someone was recently shot on the train a large number of students who live in the west section of Philadelphia, it could happen at any point to anyone. My main reason for writing the song was to show how I can relate to the story. This was most important to me it depicts the life that everyone in Philadelphia is a part of; I think I am best at writing my feelings through rhymes. 

The War of The Worlds is about Martians who come to earth after they have faced major climate change in their own planet so they then came to earth to seek out a new home planet. Astronomers in the story take interest to the rapidly growing subject. Ogilvy (one astronomer in the story) goes to investigate the meteor form which the martians had fallen. He goes off to warn everyone of his findings. Later on there is a large crowd around the pit where the meteor had crashed. The martians are described as being about the same size as humans, with tentacles and big black eyes. The narrotor goes to tell his wife of the danger that they could possibly be faced with. The civilians who stayed around the area were killed by the Martians. As the death toll rises the military becomes involved. As the narrator attempts to gain more insight on the Martians another cylinder lands on earth with Martians in it.

The Martians begin to use heat rays which kill civilians of the surrounding area of London. So the humans in desperation to escape head for the docks which are letting people leave on ferry’s. As the narrator and his wife get away the fifth cylinder lands. Now the narrator comes across of house to take shelter in. Policeman walk from door to door to warn everyone that the Martians are basically unstoppable. After fifteen days of hiding in a coal cellar he comes out and goes to London where he is astonished to see that there are dead bodies everywhere. There was literally a war outside that no one is safe from. He looks around then he hears a strange sound and realizes that the Martians are dying. The earthly bacteria in which the Martians are not accustomed killed the Martians. Life becomes normal again, the narrator returns home.

The way my song and the story connect is in the song I explain how life is like in an inner city and how it is a war in itself. I know kids my own age who have been shot, or even killed. The story is about how no one is safe in the society at one point in which the Martians were there but it is like that everyday in Philadelphia; at any moment it could happen to anyone. One line in particular I said was “this is not opinion ; nor fact versus fiction this is my mission to make it to twenty-five not dead I don’t mean mummified, all they know is Killadelphia because that’s what surrounds us walk in to a dark room they found trust in what surrounds us.” That to me means for young men or teens who are in the street will be lucky to make it to the age of twenty five, but since ‘Killadelphia’ or Philadelphia is all they know they become used to it so they put their trust in their guns.

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