Language Autobiography Isabela Aznar

Language Autobiography Introduction:

This Language Autobiography is about my life growing up and how the things i've experienced have made me more aware of culture and language. Growing up in a bilingual family, and loving writing from a young age always brought me to notice how people spoke, and it what languages they spoke. I also talk about finding my path as a girl growing up in the world with the struggles of being extremely consious of my culture and the way I spoke, and how I over came them with a new perspective.

Language Autobiography Reflection:

When I started this paper I really didn't have many expiriences to write about, but what I learned as I wrote more and built my paper was that language is all around me. I have had about 10 encounters with people from all over about the way they speak and the way I speak since I started this paper. I took a lot from this project and really enjoyed it, I just wish I had known what I know now when I started!

Isabela Aznar
Copper Stream

I was born bilingual, and I was born a writer. Words spill out of my brain, they drip on my lips, and leak dow my heart. All I’d ever known was that I had the urge to write them down. I guess it’s like the real entrance into my heart, when my parents divorced my only way of coping was writing word after word, page after page, diary after diary, and although I kept my mouth shut, I was constantly speaking. My words were powerful, spiteful, raging, hurt, vulnerable, and the emotions I had were sealed up on the pages of my over emotional, over flowing heart. Poetry poured out and anything overwhelming I ever felt I let float out onto the paper. I wrote songs, diaries, stories, and poems. The words just never stopped coming, that’s what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

The day  I was born into the world, different languages were already bieng poured into my newborn delicate ears. My mother is Mexican, and speaks Spanish as her first language and English and French as her second and third. My father is American, but speaks Spanish too. Growing up in a household with multiple languages made me  very conscious of the way I spoke and the way others spoke as well. I used to resent my background because I thought it was bad to be different from everyone else. I started hating the fact that I was half Mexican when my parents began to separate. I guess the heat of a divorce, the drop in my stomach that told me that I wasn’t like all of my friends with two happy parents, that tragedy had struck me? made me completely resent being “different”. I told everyone I was American, and completely denied that fact that I was Latina at all.  I was  more aware of the connection between culture, judgement and language than the other kids my age. By this I mean that I had a strong sense of knowing what I spoke and how I spoke, and I knew it would define me in the world. In my mind, It already

The first time I really felt proud of myself for speaking two languages, I was at the movies with a bunch of friends for a birthday party. we were watching harry potter, I remember it clearly. Two of my friends whispered across the isle to me that they had to go to the bathroom, and so I decided to tag along. When we got out of the bathroom, we began looking for the theatre in which our movie was, but they all looked the same. We ran in and out of maybe five theatres frantically searching for ours, and being only about twelve years old it was scary. 

Finally we saw people who worked at the theatre, and my friends were on the verge of crying. Emma walked up to the woman and said “excuse me do you know which theatre Harry Potter is playing in??” The woman shrugged and looked confused, but I noticed she looked Latina so I walked up to her and asked her in Spanish. “Compermiso, estamos perdidas. usted sabe cual es el teatro en donde estan enseñando Harry Potter?” I let her know we were lost and that we didn’t know which theatre was the one we had come from, and immediately she understood and smiled, lit up her flashlight and signaled us to follow. She walked us back to our seats in the correct theatre and we were extremely relieved. “Oh my god Isabela, if you hadn’t spoke Spanish...” I remembered my friends praising me for getting us back safely, and that was the first time I truly felt proud of my heritage and language speaking abilities. It’s silly how people try to forget who they are, to become just like everyone else. On that day I promised I'd never resent who I am again.

What makes people embarrassed or afraid of speaking in other languages is being thought of as different, which society advertises as bad. In the cities, it is said that southern accents are bad, because it’s slow and unsophisticated. But in the south, people think that people in the city talk like their angry or in a rush constantly. It’s almost like society tells different cultures all around the United States, and even in other countries that they have to speak a certain way to be seen a certain way, and anything else is bad or a nuisance.
When I finally realized that the way people speak is really something to embrace was on my cruise over winter break. I made a group of lovely friends who will forever be close to me, from all over the world. One night we all went out to dinner together at a restaurant on the boat named “the blue lagoon” and we all talked about the way we spoke. We were a group made up of boys and girls from all over New York, Conneticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Mexico, Canada, and Massachussets. don’t remember how the conversation came about but we started talking about the slang in where we each lived. In New York they say “You’re buggin’” to say “you’re crazy” or “what are you thinking?” In Pennsylvania we all say “You’re drawlin’” to express the same thing, and in boston they say “You’re wacked”. We all exchanged slang and taught each other different pronunciation of words.
I can honestly say that sitting around a table in the middle of the ocean with people from all around the world made me really appreciate all the different languages we consisted of. We opened up to new cultures, and talked about our languages.
Culture is tied into everything, it’s become linked to religion, belief, location, and language. With language, it’s almost as if people think in their heads “since these people speak this certain language or with this certain accent they must have grown up in a very conservative culture, or a very provacative one, etc.” which will define the way someone might look at someone else. Unfortunately, I think this has become true, but I also think it’s something to embrace, and that people shouldn’t be so afraid of learning and experiencing new things, maybe then they wouldn’t have to differentiate themselves through the way they speak.
I once was laying in bed, dreaming of beautiful things, my head rested on a blue pillow that was being smothered under my hand. I saw colors, and laughter, and then I was in Mexico. I was next to my friend Valeria and we were walking back up from her house to meet Fernando who was picking us up in his car. The sky was a vivid blue as we walked around the asphalt roads of Queretaro, chattering about the heat that pressed into our bodies and foreheads. There were bright palm trees and flowers all around as we walked down past all the big houses of our small town. We passed my grandmothers house and sat down on a curb near by waiting in the heat. The hot rays were coming down thick, but comfortable and not sticky. Fernando rolled up in his jeep and we got in “como estan?” he said, giving each of us a kiss on the cheek “Bien” we both responded smilling. All of the sudden the colors faded out again but I was still driving with Valeria and Fernando.
“Isabela?” I heard a familiar voice and felt my eyes open “Si?” I responded “Are you awake?” I turned and saw Emmi who had slept over at my house, sitting next to me “tuve un sueño tan lindo” I said, letting her know I had had a lovely dream as I came back to reality “what was it?” she asked and I thought back to what words we had just exchanged, confusion washed over me. “Was I just talking to you in Spanish?” I asked my best friend, who had picked up a little bit of Spanish from being around me and my family so much “Yeah hahaha, but I understood you so it’s cool” I put my hand on my forehead and laughed “that is so weird…I just woke up speaking Spanish” I said, and we both laughed again incredulous at our moment that had just occurred.
Emmi is an example of someone who embraces language as well, her parents are both white, but her mother was raised in Italy. She embraces culture, and does her best to adapt to it without resenting the cultures she grew up with. When she comes over and my mom is playing Latin music, or cooking us some sort of Mexican dish, Emmi is always the first of my friends to understand the transition and not feel uncomfortable. I think that this is the point that everyone should reach, when they can be invited into a different language environment, and not be intimidated by it but instead try and grasp a better understanding of it and take things from it.