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Arianna Martinez September 23, 13 English 1101 Ms.

Hofmann

Martinez

Growing up I was exposed to two different languages, Spanish and English. I was born in Ecuador but moved to Charlotte when I was four. I dont remember how I learned English; to me it feels like it just came naturally. As I got older I realized the differences in accents and dialects people use. Being bilingual has a lot of benefits and I enjoy being able to speak two languages. When I traveled to Ecuador at age 15 I was more mature and started to realize the different dialects people speak in over there. While I had experience speaking and writing in Spanish at home, I was not exposed to these dialects. Over here you can tell a Southern accent from a Northern, over there you can tell a Coastal region accent from a mountain region accent. I think it is really interesting how this concept applies to many countries. In Ecuador someone who lives in the coast might use the simple basic Spanish that people learn in school. But if you go to the mountainous region they speak a lot faster and in a softer tone that may sound kind of like a lisp. It can be complicated to understand them, even when you speak Spanish. They also use different words that mix in with Ecuadors northern region language, which is called Quechua. So they have 2 different languages and Quechua sounds more like an old tribal language. I was never exposed to this language since my family isnt from that region and it is a very old non -common language. My trip over there I heard different word usage of things. At home I would mostly watch American TV but when I watched Spanish channels they mostly play

Arianna Martinez September 23, 13 English 1101 Ms. Hofmann

Martinez

Mexican or Colombian shows. These two countries also differentiate in accent and dialect. The most common difference with these TV shows and speaking Spanish in Ecuador is the word usage for things. For example while in Mexico the word chido means cool in Ecuador we use the word chevere. Its these small differences that distinguish the countries. Growing up in my neighborhood I met my best friend. We were the only two Latino families in that neighborhood. My best friend is from Colombia so I was exposed to different accents and dialects of Spanish with her too. Since she is from Colombia I figured it was because we were from different countries. However, I did not expect that when I went to Ecuador and thats why it came as a shock to me that even in the same country we have different accents. I guess thats what makes language and speech interesting and what makes my form of speech unique from Americans. Another thing that I thought was interesting is that my parents always speak Spanish at home. They are from the coastal region so that is the accent they use when speaking Spanish. I thought I was pretty good at it, but when I went to Ecuador my cousins all told me I spoke Spanish with an American accent. I was confused by this comment, but I guess there are certain words that I say the wrong way. Like over there they have IPhone but they say it with a Spanish accent and when I say IPhone they are fascinated with my American accent. Also when there are more specific descriptive words it is harder for me to say these next level words because I dont live there so I might say it funny. For example in Spanish class when children try to say a word in

Arianna Martinez September 23, 13 English 1101 Ms. Hofmann

Martinez

Spanish but sound it out thats what I sound like to them when I try to say a more advanced word. It is interesting that over here in America I speak impeccable Spanish especially to Americans who arent used to hearing an accent. The only time I spoke Spanish in school was for Spanish class, yet it would still amaze Americans how great my speaking was. But in Ecuador I sometimes have words that I may use and American accent for. This doesnt t necessarily mean that the comment they made about me having an American accent applied all the time. It was only with higher difficulty words that I hadnt been exposed to. This concept makes me really curious because it makes me feel like I am in between the two languages. I know I can speak both languages well but it is still embarrassing that sometimes one of my two accents comes out. Thats what makes my language my identity because I can have a Spanish and English accent unlike other people. I also enjoy code switching. I like the ability to switch off between the languages. It doesnt mean that I dont know the two languages that well, to me it feels like I have an advantage. Like in Tans story, my parents both speak English with accents. When I was younger this embarrassed me, but now as I am older I dont mind it. I admire them because they were able to learn a different language, which I feel like is harder the older you get. My father learned to speak English before all of us. He had learned in Ecuador and knew the basics he just had a heavy accent which was what used to embarrass me. He would say things like beach that sounded like he was saying the bad b word. My mother

Arianna Martinez September 23, 13 English 1101 Ms. Hofmann

Martinez

started learning when I was 7 since she was a stay at home mom and had free time. There are times where I still have to help my mom because sometimes people cant understand her clearly, but I am not embarrassed and enjoy doing it because at least she can speak two languages too. I think that growing up in a bilingual home has made me notice differences in dialect and accents for many languages. My younger sister and I, the majority of the times just speak English to each other. But there are times that if we dont want people around us to understand what we are saying we instantly switch to Spanish. There are also times were we code switch and might start off speaking English, but cant think of the American word or there may not be one so we use the Spanish word in between. I enjoy being able to have this ability and share it with someone else. We also use this as an advantage because if we are talking about something in Spanish and dont want our parents to understand we will code switch to English. This used to work a lot when we were younger, but now as the time has passed my parents have learned more English and can usually catch on to what we are saying. Sometimes my mother will ask us to speak English to her so she can practice her speaking, and now it has gotten to the point where we code switch with our parents and they also understand. I think it is awesome to have this ability and be able to share it with a group of people. Growing up both my parents worked in newspaper companies; this affected my way of speech because I always listen to the way they speak to their clients. They are salespeople trying to gain ads for the newspaper. My father has a very strong tone when

Arianna Martinez September 23, 13 English 1101 Ms. Hofmann

Martinez

he speaks and he is very persuasive. My mother on the other hand is the total opposite. She is very soft- spoken but her way of speaking always comes off sweet to other people. Both of their forms of speech work in their jobs in their own way. My father always feels like he has to talk, even when there is nothing left to talk about. I think he needs to feel like he is in control of things. Thats why he keeps talking. He also likes to always close a sale and wont give up until he does. When I hear him speak to his client his tone is very persuasive. He basically tells them things like look you wont find a better deal than this, I can even lower it a little more just because you are so nice, he knows how to get to clients heads. My mother on the other hand will go in with an open mind and be understanding if they dont want to close a sale. Her gentle and polite tone makes the clients love her and want her to explain a little more. I think that seeing my two parents who are total opposites I have found my balance in between in the form of speech. I feel like when Im talking about a subject I really care about I am like my father. Very strong and passionate and will not stop talking. But in other instances where its situations I dont have much to say I am like my mother, polite and proper and will voice my opinion but not have much to say afterwards. I feel like their forms of speech have really balanced out mine in a positive effect. In high school my freshman year I did cheerleading; I also took a lot of theatre classes in high school. This has influenced the way I speak in many ways. When I did cheerleading I was stereotyped very quickly to the valley girl talk, what did this mean?

Arianna Martinez September 23, 13 English 1101 Ms. Hofmann

Martinez

It basically meant that I was a stuck up girl who wasnt very smart and talked in a ditsy bubbly way. However, that is a stereotype and is not true. While I do admit that my way of talking sometimes might come of girly I am not stuck up in any way. Once people got to know me better they even said that they judged me the complete opposite of what I am. I think that the way you speak can make people judge you into what kind of person you are. However it shouldnt be that way but I feel like that is a big part of speech. You come off the way you sound. I took theatre for 3 years in High School, I feel like this affected my speech a lot because it helped me annunciate and project my words and voice better. It made my speech more clear than before because I use to mumble a bit. In theatre we also went through a lot of old plays and a lot of Shakespeare, that dialect is more complex than the dialect we use now. At first it was really hard and frustrating trying to understand. The English in those plays were more formal. Even though I cant say that I use that type of English everyday, it did help me out for when I go out for job interviews to speak in a more formal way. This helped me advance and expand my language a little more. The terms I learned look better in a professional field so I was glad to learn this dialect. Being in plays helped me with speaking in front of a public audience better. I was able to learn how to project my voice out to a huge crowd without the use of a microphone. It made my form of speech look confidant and controlled like I know what Im speaking about.

Arianna Martinez September 23, 13 English 1101 Ms. Hofmann

Martinez

Volunteer work and service with my church has also affected my speech because I have learned how to communicate better with people. No one is the same and everyone comes from a different background. Sometimes its hard to compare to other people and you may not know the right things to say without offending them. I feel like through doing a lot of service work I have learned the proper things to say in different situations and view things in different points of views. For example when working with homeless foreign women who came to this country and dont have much, I speak to them in an understanding way. I may be able to hear their accent and know that I have to use simple English with them. Or if they are scared to use a soothing voice that will let them know that I am there to help them. There are many different situations and through doing community service I have learned to deal with how to speak in different circumstances. Being able to travel and experience different languages has helped me appreciate and acknowledge the differences in languages. I think that every language has a different form of speech no matter where you go, and there are different situations where you may have to use different forms of speech.