Language Builds Connection

The phrase, “I am my language,” speaks volumes about what makes us all different and how language exposes our many cultures and identities. Language gives us a sense of connection and understanding with others. Not only do our languages define us, but in language there are dialects spoken in different countries or different regions of a country. In particular, our dialects are one of many ways that make us feel part of a community. In “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” Gloria Anzaldua expressed all languages and dialects she speaks. She mostly speaks about her relationship with Chicano Spanish. In the beginning of the passage, I felt a connection with her when she explained the situation between her and the teacher. The teacher said, “If you want to be American, speak ‘American.’ If you don’t like it, go back to Mexico where you belong” (69). Although I speak English in class, my family and I only speak Spanish. There have been occasions where we have been told to speak English because we are in “America.” I personally believe the United States of America is the land for all languages and for all to be free. There are many languages and dialects spoken in the United States. The “typical Americans” need to accept that we should all be able to embrace our cultures. 

I would consider myself a person who prioritizes my family and puts their needs before mine. My family is very close and we share a strong bond. I am not just talking about my parents and my sister. I am taking about uncles, aunts, cousins, and second cousins. Being that they are all from Medellin, Colombia, they speak in a specific accent and dialect. The people of Medellin are known as “paisas.” The word paisa brings me joy because it represents the connection I feel with my family. The sayings, the jokes, the pronunciation, etc. We understand each other in a way that no one else will. This goes back to how your own specific language, shared with others, can result in a strong relationship. Although Anzaldua only speaks about how we are our language, there are many other ways we can feel a connection with others. People might share similar hobbies, similar jobs, the same race, etc. Some of my friends and I get along well because we share similar hobbies. We all enjoy fitness and talking about our nutrition. I feel a connection with them because I know I can always come to them when I have a question, or a concern about exercising correctly. Building relationships and connections with others is a very beautiful thing and brings joy into our lives. We should all feel comfortable to share a connection with others and not be criticized for it. 

3 thoughts on “Language Builds Connection

  1. I’m glad “paisas” brings you some happineness (and the associated sayings, jokes, and so on). What are some of your favorites?

    If you don’t know the history of this word “Paisa,” check it out! I just did and apparently there is some connection to the word “paisano” which my dad (who was Italian) used quite a bit. The way he used it meant like peasant but in a proud way. Apparently in Colombia it had to do with a political movement from the 19th century. Interesting stuff.

  2. I see how in your text you talk of how language gives you a connection with your family and Colombia, that is really significant. I specially understand what you mean with Paisas having a unique way of speaking, their accent is usually very distinctive in Spanish. I do also agree each Spanish-speaking country has their own unique accent, slang words and expression.

  3. No one has the right to tell you what language to speak just because you’re in America, so shame on them. One thing that I have noticed about hispanic families is the importance they place on family and it sounds like this is very true for you. I think this is very admirable and other cultures could learn a thing or two from it.

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