Do certain words hold more value than others?

The other evening, while sharing some drinks at the local pub with some friends, we got to talking about food. Big surprise. If you know me, you know that I love food. Not a big cook, but really do enjoy yummy food.

Well I guess the conversation was a little unique because one of our friends there is a private chef. At any rate, we were talking about food and then we got into talking about the names of some food. At any rate, I remembered the first time I went into Central Market about 10 years ago, here in Austin. I started sharing how I was there to buy dinner. I was perusing their delicious cooked meals when the guy behind the counter asked, “What can I get for you tonight?” I had my eye on the “souffle,” but couldn’t make up my mind. So, I went ahead and said, “Umm I’ll have the “so-full.” The guy laughed and said, “Do you mean the “souffle?” I really didn’t care that he laughed. I giggled back and said, “Oh. Is that how you say it? Yes, the “souffle (holding the accent on the “e” a little longer than he did).” At any rate, as I was sharing this story with our friends my significant other says, “Suzanne, you aren’t actually supposed to admit that happened.”

I immediately said, “Really? Why can’t I mispronounce a French word, like souffle, when so many people mispronouce “quesadilla (qweh-sa-dilla)” or “salsa (sahlza).” I could go on and on with the mispronounciations I have heard, really all my life. He got the point.

That’s when it occurred to me. Do certain words hold more value than others? Is it the same as the perception that certain accents hold more value than others? For example, French vs. Mexican. Even local US accents. For instance, West coast vs. middle of America.

¿Quein sabe? No en serio…¿quien sabe? ¿Que opinan?

One response to “Do certain words hold more value than others?”

  1. Glad to find another person who promotes bilingual life. Me too! I am a big fun of bilingual education, bilingual parenting, and bilingual life as you are. Right now I am teaching my baby to learn Chinese, hoping she will become a bilingual in the future.

    Why don’t you join in our bilingual forum ( and share your bilingual insights and experience. See you there!

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