“How to Tame A Wild Tongue” details the story of a girl growing up in the United States with one major difference- she did not speak very good English, as she came from Mexico. The problem? She did not speak very good Spanish either. The author talks about how outcasted she became because of the language difficulties she faced. I can relate to the difficulties of learning a new language and getting words mixed up and “butchering” the language as I took French all through high school. However, that does not mean the article was free from fault.
… while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate.
This is the part of the article that I most strongly disagreed with. Moving to a country where “x” is the language that is most commonly spoken and expecting everyone to conform to you and learn language “y” instead of you learning language “x” is extremely egocentric. Instead of putting forth effort to conform to the country’s language standards, she’d rather have everybody else put forth effort instead. Learning and speaking a second language does not delegitimize the first language, but allows to help understand the people of the second language and allows for more efficient communication. If I spoke Mandarin and moved to Mexico, no one there would accommodate me and learn Mandarin because I did not want to learn Spanish.
Adapting is part of what makes us human. Instead of looking at adapting to another culture is a loss of the previous culture, we should see it as the expansion of our own cultures. Instead of using the English to replace the Spanish, use both Spanish and English interchangeably. The exploration of different cultures is a truly remarkable experience, something that learning the language really helps. Learning new cultures is not the replacement of a culture, but the expansion of the culture. We should not get upset when we immerse ourselves into another culture and do not learn everything right away; that is the beauty of new cultures- they are constantly expanding.
There will always be different dialects of the same language no matter what language one speaks. Even for English, the variety of the language is astounding. The ways Americans speak English is different from the way the Brits speak English, which is still different from the English that Australians speak. These regional differences are what makes each culture unique, which is a beautiful thing.