Hace unos años, no fuese capaz de construir en español esta frase tan simple. 

Not many years ago I would have been incapable of constructing in Spanish the relatively simple  sentence above.  Even know, after nine years of study, it does not always come as easily to me as English, my first and only language until I began learning Spanish in eighth grade.  My father was born in México and Spanish was his first language.  However, he made the decision not to teach me (nor any of my siblings) to speak Spanish.  As the Latino population in the United States continues to blossom, more and more of us find ourselves lacking fluency of any extent in Spanish, and are thereby submitted to a glaring absence of an integral part of Latino cultures, sometimes to the point of outright ostracism.  In my determination to understand why many Latinos are not taught to speak Spanish I set out to research the issue only to find very little scholarly or reputable material that addresses it directly.  Where then should my non-Spanish-speaking people turn for understanding?  Obviously we cannot charlar with our parents to get a holistic and accurate response.  We turn to each other to experience a sense of community and belonging, but can only speculate about why we have been denied such a crucial element of our identities.  Without studies on why relatively small, but growing group of non-Spanish-speaking Latinos exists, we continue to suffer.  Indeed this lack of interest in our plight , frustration and confused identity is exacerbated by a lack of scholarly interest.


3 Comments so far

  1.    Michelle Kaster on April 19, 2013 1:17 am

    I really like the fact that this argument is based off of personal experience because it makes it very interesting to read! I think this introduction is an example of starting with a specific personal experience (how your father did not teach you spanish early on) and then uses a more traditional approach (expanding the argument to the latino population in the US.) I think this style of introduction works very well for this topic since it is so personalized.

  2.    Claire Bowen on April 19, 2013 6:15 pm

    As you already know, Emma, I think beginning this paper in Spanish is spot-on. That said (and while I agree with Michelle in principle that personal narrative will certainly inform this essay) it’s still not true that scholars (particularly sociologists and sociolinguists) haven’t studied this issue.

  3.    Caroline Blank on April 19, 2013 7:53 pm

    Emma, this looks really promising. I agree with Michelle and Professor Bowen about their comments above, but I also want to commend you for taking on the task to explore your culture. It’s a really great start and I can’t wait to read it!

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