Richard Rodriguez's Definition Of Bilingualism

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“Hola, tu hablas espanol?” “Si, mas o menos.” I responded to the friendly doctor. “ Cual es tu nombre” “Me llamo Peter” I responded nicely. The doctor smiled and continued to speak in English. Being able to respond to something so little made the spanish doctor and myself feel happy. I realized bilingualism, isn’t just about speaking multiple languages, it’s retaining, your culture and identity, while trying to accept learning a new language. Martin Espada and Richard Rodriguez have their own views of bilingualism. Espada’s definition of Bilingualism is speaking multiple languages, but to make sure to focus on your original culture and identity. Rodriguez's definition of bilingualism is that you should try your hardest to learn a new language …show more content…
Rodriguez assumes that to be accepted into public places and schools you have to speak the language of the public. For him, that language was English. He grew up speaking spanish and was shamed in school for it, until his parents finally told him he had to speak English always. He now assumes people should speak the language of the area even if you have to lose your family's culture. He shows this in his essay “Hunger of Memory.” At one point in the essay he explains when he finally felt american. He says, “At last, seven years old, I came to believe what had been technically true since my birth: I was an american citizen” (Rodriguez 120-122). This occurs when he was little and finally started to understand and have conversations with people in English. He believes he was not accepted in public until he learned English. Rodriguez continually shows this idea of bilingualism through the essay. An occurrence of this happens at the end of the essay. Rodriguez implies, “I spoke in a loud voice... I moved very far from the disadvantaged child I had been only days earlier.” Rodriguez states, then goes on to finish his thought, “The believer, the calming assurance that I belonged in public, had at last take hold” (94-100). He felt disadvantaged before when speaking spanish in the classroom, but he now feels like he fits in and the kids understand him. Rodriguez believes in adapting by learning the English language is how to be …show more content…
My position on bilingualism is: I believe people should attempt to retain their culture and identity, but also should try to accept and learn the language of the area, but should not be shamed in the public place. The first example of my idea comes from Espadas essay, “The New Bathroom Policy at English High School.” Espada implies, “I have never met a single person who didn’t want to learn English. What they want to do is also retain their own language, culture, and identity.”(164-168). This directly correlates to my idea of bilingualism. People want to accept the new language while still retaining your original culture. To continue on this idea of bilingualism, Rodriguez also touches base on the idea. He begins with this statement; “Supporters of bilingual education today imply that students like me miss a great deal by not being taught in their family’s language” (1-3). Then through the essay his idea kind of changes with the statement, “I was obliged to hear my mother and father: ‘Speak to us en ingles.’ Only then did I determine to learn classroom English.” Through his essay his idea doesn’t directly correlate to my belief, but it still relates. He said that it would be helpful to be taught in his original language, but he then claims that if he wasn’t forced to speak English he wouldn’t have adapted to speak it. This is showing that people should be taught in their language in able to retain their culture and identity while

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