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Many Voices Essay

574 words - 3 pages

Many Voices
In Susan G. Madera’s literacy narrative, “One Voice”, the author refers to bilingualism as a curse rather than a blessing due to the experiences she had speaking her neighborhood language; a language full of slang words and colloquialisms. Throughout Madera’s writing there is a resounding indication regarding how bilingualism affected her, as she emphasizes “Once outside the neighborhood, this language hindered me” (78). Madera lets her situation get the best of her in the sense that she allowed her so called “handicap” dictate her self-worth, sabotaging her educational path. In college, Madera states, “One of my professors decided to make my life miserable” (79). Madera’s Speech 101 professor went as far as to humiliate her in regards to her education and her heritage. In ...view middle of the document...

As an American of Hispanic decent raised in Miami FL, my background defines and enhances a lot of who I am at a psychological, spiritual and even at an intellectual level. More often than not, I have been able to use my bilingualism to my advantage, while in other situations I’ve had to put a slight effort in toggling between languages. Similar to Merda’s community, Miami has helped my transition due to the fact that Miami offers many opportunities for both Spanish and English. With that being said, Medea’s “trauma sicologico” as we say in Spanish (physiological trauma) is in my opinion an exaggeration. Firstly, her concept of a second language is perplexing. She claims to speak an entirely different language when in reality she merely has a peculiar speech pattern that mixes English and Italian phrases and/or words. Similar to Medea, most Hispanics with bilingual skills combine Spanish and English in an informal dialect which we call “Spanglish”. It lacks rules, grammar and diction, in short, just a lazy unofficial dialect not a language. Despite the definition of language mentioned above, let us entertain the idea that Medea (although incorrect) sees her dialect as a communication obstacle. Like Medea I believe what Jose Torres writes is also true. It isn’t logical to allow someone else’s opinion affect a person’s self-worth. Any individual can have many different voices; and a single language shouldn’t define who you are. I have many thoughts and ideas that can be lost in translation between English to Spanish and vice versa; however I wouldn’t allow that “struggle” to close down my educational opportunities. I work with what I have and I’m proud of the person my bilingualism has molded me to be. Although I concede that Madera is entitled to her opinion and outlook, I insist that being bilingual is more of a blessing than a curse.

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