Papi Chulo

“Yo quiero un cheesesteak with onions.” I said to my dad.

“That's all, tu no quiere ketchup” Replied my dad.

“Yeah, that's all” I said

“Ok mijo”.

When my dad first arrived in the US he didn't know English. He worked in a “bodega” as we call it in our language, or a “Papi store,” as the Americans call it. Most Puerto Ricans and Dominicans were known for owning stores like these. When my parents had me, my brother and sister, they had to learn English. My father still currently does not know a lot of English but when he talks to us we mix our conversation with Spanish and English, same with my mother. I call it “Spanglish”. When we do talk in Spanglish, sometimes it's intentional and sometimes it's not. When we don't know a word in the language we are speaking in we usually say it in the other language to see if the phrase we are trying to say will get across.

My language has been a problem at home, although only for tiny reasons. I speak both Spanish and English at home. Both my parents speak both as well but don't know as much English than they know Spanish. For me it's the opposite. I know more English than I know Spanish. This is where the Spanglish kicks in. The reason  language is a tiny problem at home is because when me and my parents are having a conversation in Spanish, I stutter a lot and don't remember the words I want to get across, so I use Spanglish.

In school, my language has been a minor problem as well. People has commented on my accent my whole life. Although it’s not a very thick accent but when you get used to my voice you start to notice I have a tiny accent. Having this accent make me pronounce things differently.

“Laffy Taffy and Frooties would probably be my favorite candy,” I said.

I was with my friends and we were discussing different types of candy and which ones were our favorites.

“Ehh, those two are good but aint’ nothing gon’ beat chocolate!” Said Johnny.

“Eww, Choawcolet! That jawn nasty, I hate Choawcolet” I replied.

“Did you just say Choawcolet? Haha dude, it's chocolate not Choawcolet!” Said Johnny.

Everyone laughed.

“Chocolate...Choawcolet same thing.” I laughed.

Chocolate wasn't the only word I pronounced weird. Same goes with hockey. I feel like the differences on how the O’s are presented in both languages is what makes me pronounce it weird. I also pronounced pizza strange as well. The way you pronounce pizza is “pete zuh”. The way I pronounce pizza is “Pee suh”. I think this is just a Spanish and English mixture problem.

I had two different types of speech. I consider myself two different types of people when I talk in those two different types of speech.

“You talkin’ bout’ boul?” I sai

“Yea, that boul real funny.” My friend replied.

“What boul say that make you laugh?”

“He just be saying the funniest and stupidest stuff”

“I make you laugh all the time, I'm a comedian myself yameant.”I laughed

“Keep dreaming young boul”

“Is you crazy? I make everyone laugh all the time, you juss hatin’.”

When around my friends I have what I call a ”loose tongue”. I don't have a limit on how I speak. I curse unintentionally like it's part of the language. I don't speak proper english when around my friends because I know they wont care and I don't need to impress anyone with my speech.

“Hello, my name is Alexander Torres.” I said.

“Hey how's it going, my name is James. Let's get started. Tell  me about yourself.”

“Well, I'm from North Philadelphia. I'm Dominican, I can speak both English and Spanish. I work very well in any environment.”

“That's interesting. How did you learn Spanish?”

“As a kid I learned Spanish first then as I started school, I learned English.”.

If I were to speak  to someone who is trying to hire me for a job or if I was going to an interview for some reason. I would speak more proper just so they can get a good first impression of who I am.

Now since my parents do not know a lot of english I try to speak more proper in front of them as well as with any other stranger I come upon. Although with my brother, sister and cousins I'll speak with my loose tongue. I would speak “ ghetto” with my friends because I know that they will understand me. Not to get you confused but I do not speak ghetto intentionally, if I'm speaking to you I'll probably speak ghetto first and then change my way of speech according to who you are.  In this generation people have confused “speaking ghetto” with “speaking dumb”. Speaking ghetto does not have to do with anything in your education. If we were to compare education through grades, between a person who speaks ghetto and a person who doesn't, I believe you would not have told the difference. People have also confused speaking ghetto with speaking smart. They have labeled speaking smart as speaking white, speaking ghetto as speaking black. Now as much as I hate this saying I won't be getting into it.

Having a Spanish accent isn't the only problem causing me to speak weird. I also have a “north philly accent”. I talk less proper and speak “ghetto”. When I first came to SLA, some people commented on how ghetto I talked. When I talk I make up words that has a similar meaning to the original word. For example, the phrase “do you know what I mean”, I would use “Yameant”.  it is a quicker way of saying the original statement but just a faster way. This accent has affected me a lot. Not only did it make me speak weird but also help me find friends that have a similar accent. If I could find someone with a similar accent  I would know that they are similar to me in some way. Accent can be a big factor in determining  who you are and where you come from.

Comments (7)

Ijustice Avery (Student 2018)
Ijustice Avery

I learned your struggles switching from Spanish to English at a young age and how it is affecting you today. I think it cool how you just embrace it and be yourself no matter what other people say about the way you speak….. You should teach me "Spanglish" though.

Kawthar Hasan (Student 2018)
Kawthar Hasan

Till this day I have those same issues with speaking my heritage language Arabic (Moroccan dialect). At home with my mother we speak Arabic and English in one sentence. My mom always thought that it is weird for me to communicate with her and the rest of her side of the family like that. I personally feel like if you speak another language at home besides English you would comprehend the concept of how others may communicate with their families.

Ijustice Avery (Student 2018)
Ijustice Avery

I learned your struggles switching from Spanish to English at a young age and how it is affecting you today. I think it cool how you just embrace it and be yourself no matter what other people say about the way you speak….. You should teach me "Spanglish" though.

J'Lynn Matthews (Student 2018)
J'Lynn Matthews

I learned a lot about you just from reading this. I learned that your parents came from DR and that they do not speak the best english. I loved that you have more than one accent and Ialso love how you explained how each acent affects you. Keep up the good work.

Nicholas Shaw (Student 2018)
Nicholas Shaw

I didn't know that you had a problem with your speech. The "Big Understanding" was that language changes around who you are. I liked that you explained everything well.

Cindy Chen (Student 2018)
Cindy Chen

I love how you explain yourself thoughtfully! I learn that the author have more than one accent and how he is affected by it. Reading this, I can tell that he changes the way he speak around different kind of people. Good Job!

Laith Abuharthieh (Student 2018)
Laith Abuharthieh

I think it's cool that you speak "Spanglish", it's kinda the same thing for me. I speak Arabic but when I try to talk t my mom I would mix up Arabic with my English when I can't think of the word in Arabic. I knew most of this information except I thought you knew more Spanish then English.