culture/multiculturalism · Hispanics/Latinos · language

I’m more Latino than you

Someone asked me if I feel more comfortable talking in English or talking in Spanish. I told them English. They responded, “I feel more comfortable talking in Spanish. I guess I’m more Latino than you.”

Sigh.

Now, I know how poor Jessica Alba feels. Her family didn’t pass on the language according to her interview with Latina magazine a couple of months back. Latina magazine, which by the way used to be in English and in Spanish, is now in English only with a few Spanish language ads sprinkled in.

My upcoming piece focuses on “losing the language.” How Spanish started on the same foot as English in my life but became the language of my home as I was sent off to school and outgrew early bilingual elementary education. It is based on my blog, Losing the Language.

Being Latino is more than language. It’s about the shared heritage and the blood lines that tie all of us together.
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4 thoughts on “I’m more Latino than you

  1. Well this is something that happens to most ethnic groups in America. When I was single I was close to quite a few Swedish-American families in Chicago and they all sent their college age children for a semester in Sweden in the vain hope their offspring might pick up a bit of “the language.” As a friend in Detroit’s Sephardic community once said, lamenting that her children had no interest in learning Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), “perhaps we can hold on to the recipes.”

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  2. When I grew up I was speaking both English and French, and I attended a school that taught both English and French. Yet, we lived in an area where French was not the vernacular. Also, many people on my father’s side spoke several languages, yet after some time they stopped passing it on. At least now here in Israel I am back up to two languages. In a few years I want to work on my third.

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