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Growing up, I still wished to live in a community with a diverse set of languages, perhaps because I was unfamiliar with them. I grew up in a remote country town where the majority of the residents were white and spoke only English. It never occurred to me how difficult it would be for families who speak Spanish to live in a country where English is the dominant language.
Language variation can also lead to inequality in culture. The aim of this paper is to learn about the various languages that exist in society. I was raised in Pooseville where I had very little varieties. Most of the people here are white there was very little difference in ethnicity thrown here and there. In elementary school and middle school, the common language known was English; this had its advantages and disadvantages too. The advantage of it was that communication was made easy among the white children especially me my friends were all white. The disadvantage of it is that children who were not familiar with English seemed to be left behind.
Due to my lack in varieties in languages and living in a community where most of the people were white and spoke English this made me learn how much diversity there is when I went to high school Montgomery County, MD. This situation gave me a craving to get to learn a different language to English. Due to the global program in my high school that is, it selected students from all over the county to join the high school it gave me a broad understanding of the different languages there are. I never realized how Montgomery County was diverse until when I joined high school. The way people dressed captivated me, but most of all the languages spoken by kids were more fascinating. My high school also had foreign language classes, which is common to most schools in the United States.
Spanish and French were the main foreign languages that students could choose. Most students chose French because it was termed to be more emphasized on than Spanish. I took Spanish class because I had an earlier experience with it at my working place, I figured that it would be of more use since I had not heard anyone speak French before. It was one of my most difficult classes, and to this day I wish I had gone through with it and taken it seriously.
At the age of fifteen, I began working at a restaurant where the Spanish language was much spoken in the kitchen. I was captivated by this and wondered how it was like being raised in a community where your first language was not being spoken. During my travel to the Dominican Republic this year I learned that Spanish is the only language that is familiar to them, those who knew English it were very few and I was broken. It gave a point of view on how it felt to speak another language other than English in the United States of America.
Spanish in the United States is becoming more common among people and slowly the second language of America now. Even at a workplace if you can speak Spanish usually your salary will be more than that to those who are unfamiliar with the language. Some jobs are even recommending it to a requirement now.
As the years go on, America is having a variety of languages. As days pass, I wish I had gone through with my Spanish classes and take it seriously. As Gloria Anzaldua (774) declares in Linguistic terrorism, "By the end of this century, Spanish speakers will comprise the biggest minority group in the United States." and I couldn't agree more. This situation creates a community that is diverse. Due to growing up in a white community and lack of diversity in languages Spanish was a very foreign language to me, but always strived to learn it because it seemed to be a fascinating language. This experience gave me a close look at how people speaking Spanish had a difficult time in a community where most people spoke English.
According to Gloria Anzaldua, how a person speaks it demonstrates who they are and it is linked to their identity. Ethnic language is a twin to linguistic identity; hence the criticism of how one speaks also evaluates who the person is. Language shapes a person and also the environment. Gloria terms this as "Linguistic Terrorism" because it makes people shape what is acceptable and what is not, hence creating a hierarchy.
Even if we are of different languages that does not mean that one is more authentic than the other. We should embrace all languages and accent to the community. With the rising of different ethnic identity in our community, people should learn how to respect one's other native language. Therefore, it is crucial for people living in a community with diversified languages to respect that no language is superior to the other.
Bender, Margaret Clelland. Linguistic diversity in the South: changing codes, practices, and ideology. University of Georgia Press, 2004.
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