Soy Nuts!

This is one of the problems of being bilingual (Spanish/English). You walk into a store like Trader Joes and read “Soy Nuts” on a package of nuts and can’t help but laugh hysterically. In a totally different grocery store where my abuelita lives you’ll find “bimbo” bread, also amusing to someone like me whose bilingual language “switch” doesn’t always turn off, if you will.

If the world thought in bilingual, trilingual terms so on and so forth they wouldn’t name an IQ society/organization “Mensa,” which means “dummy or stupid” in Mexican Spanish. I think that’s the best one yet.

This bilingual thing goes beyond reading. I was in Argentina last summer speaking in Spanish all day, but traveling with a friend who mostly spoke English. You can only imagine my bilingual “switch” going on and off, on and off. We were on our way back from Colonia, Uruguay in the buquebus listening to the lady on the loud speaker give standard instructions (like they do on an airplane prior to take off). I was so tired from our day in Colonia that as we were listening to this lady I complained to my find how annoying it was that she kept repeating her self!!! My dear friend was confused and said “What do you mean?” Thats when I realized the lady was simply translating everything she said in Spanish into English. Que locura!!!! Aveces si pienso que soy un poco nuts!

Language Deficiency

I’m sure I have read this somehwere and it is how I have concluded to the following observation. I believe that part of the reason adults have a language deficiecncy is not only due to being raised by parents who have less education, but also to socioeconomic status, and less exposure to an array of information. By “language deficiency” I am referring to knowledge and use of vocabulary. In addition to the way individuals express thoughts about anything really. This is another area of research I plan to explore….

This language deficiency, is very specific to individuals who speak something other than “Standard American English.” I can’t say that I have drawn this conclusion purely by what I have read in educational articles or textbooks.

This is something I have lived.

Stream of thoughts about Spanglish…..

I am so intrigued as to how my students use “Spanglish” terms. Earlier this week I heard “cheatiando” and the ever-so popular “lockiado.” Another word commonly used it “so.” Kids throw the word in Spanish and English all the time. For example, “Maestra ibamos ir al parque para jugar pero hacia mucho frio so no fuimos.”

I’m starting to notice that the Spanglish terms students use are words that may not have a literal one word counterpart in English. Another word that comes to mind is “eskipea.” For instance, “Tenemos que eskipiar lineas cuando escribimos un ensayo.”

Though I am intrigued by Spanglish I also struggle with the way I identify with it. I grew up in Southern California and my parents speak Spanish beautifully. My extended family has always lived in Texas and use “Spanglish” terms. I remember as I child hearing Spanish in my house all the time, though my parents never asked us to speak in Spanish. I remeber seeing my abuelita smoke for the first time. I was so shocked, I said, “Abuelita tu smokas.” A toda la familia se les saileron las carcajadas! I was so embarressed. This experience was certainly not very encouraging to speak Spanish. At any rate, language and identity are two areas I plan to explore…….Feel free to share your experience with language and identity with me. I would love to hear them.