Boys and Girls Ultimate: State Championships
Teams must qualify.
My Languages that I use
When I talk to someone that I don't know I become quieter. Also when I interact with strangers I usually play with my hands and avoid eye-contact. But when I talk to someone that I interact with often I become more open with that person.
In my old circle of friends, we would talk about Yu-gi-oh and video games. To my parents and other people, it's like a whole other language. It's like “this card would go great with this card” and other people look at us with a blank face.
In Video Games, kids play extremely violent games that either make them "Rage" or make them violent in life. The Call of Duty Franchise and other "Shooters", all the kids play these and when I see people(including my friends) play these games, they just get mad whenever they start losing. A Shooter is a game where you basically run around and kill people with guns. I do play these but not often, I mostly go towards games that Do NOT involve killing people with guns. People just want the newest games and I lay back and play 2-D pixelated games. Game Boy Advance/Color, Nintendo 64, Arcade games; These systems are old and to me they are just as good as the high-tech systems.
"What games do I like?", If I get asked that I usually reply with, "Fighting games and anything that involves Swords. "What kind of Fighting games?", "The ones that let you move around freely or pin you against another opponent." "So like Mortal Combat?", "No I don't like seeing people getting their heads split open. Soul Calibur is more of my choice."
Mortal Combat?, Soul Calibur?, these are names that describe a franchise. Left, Right, Up, Down, Square, Circle, Triangle, X, L1, R1, L2, R2, L3, R3…These terms are names of the buttons on a Playstation 3 controller. Video games are just getting more and more complicated…before it was just directions, A, B, Start and Select. I tend to stop playing games that are complicated because it would be a pain to remember all those combos.
"Do you like Minecraft?" I have gotten asked this many times, my reply "No because I don't understand the game." or "I just can't get attached to it." Minecraft is a "3-D" Pixel game, to me Pixel games should be 2-D because they look better and all you need to do is move 4 directions not ∞. (∞ was used because if I was to include the number of directions, it would be un-writable.)
Card games? Yu-gi-oh is my choice because it's simple and easy to understand. but now it's getting way too complicated. To me when a game gets too complicated, I start to lose interest because I need to remember all these "new" rules.
Some video games are different than others. By this I mean that they have something that other don’t. “Mods” are what these game have. Mods are usually files that Modify the game in some way. Either it be Characters, Weapons or Maps. “Maps” are the areas where a Character can move, sometimes a Glitch or Bug will occur and the Character can go outside of the Map. Glitches or Bugs are when something wrong happens with the program and was not checked. These can be when you fall through the ground, become invisible or when you gain experience at an abnormal rate. These can be problematic for some, helpful for others and hilarious for most.
Being social is a hard thing for me to do, and when there is an uncomfortable topic usually I change the topic well without the person knowing. However my social abilities rely on interacting with people a lot. But I don't get to talk to people much, only at school I can do such. But the wonders of the phone!, it easier for me because I do not have to look the person in the face. Yes it is hard for me to look people in the eye and so I usually look away. Some think that it's disrespectful when I look away but it's something that is hard for me to not do.
When I first moved to Philly, I barely talked and to this day I don’t remember how I talked. In middle school, I didn’t know anybody and to tell the truth, the majority of the school was african american. I was the only caucasian person there, except for the teachers. I met my friends one by one, and slowly I started to talk like them.
“Hey(instead of Hello), how’s it going?”
“It’s pretty good...”
“Yo, there’s this video I saw yesterday, it was so funny.”
“Yo”, that was my most commonly word used in that school. I actually became known for using it so much.
“Really, what was it about?”
“Man, this guy did some crazy moves on his skateboard and he fell.”
(At this moment my friends and I would just start to crack up”
“Awww man, how did he fall?”
“He flipped and landed on his head!”
(Another moment of laughing)
Why did I think that people getting hurt was funny? I don’t know but it’s probably because all the other kids laughed about it. I slowly over time stopped laughing at it.
And over time new phrases were made by my friends,
(This means not literally that you are finished but it means that something abnormal happened or surprising)
“That IS a shame...”
(Yes, it mean’s exactly how it’s written, When something that is hard to believe or when something happens, such as someone falls off their bike or if we lost in a video game.)
“How’s that Salt?” and “You got played!”
(They technically mean the same thing, “So close and you mess up” or “You got played like a violin”)
When ever someone laughs at what I do and I do not think it’s funny, I say
“How is that funny? Please explain to me why that it funny?”
Sometimes I add, “I want to laugh too”.
Most people can’t say anything
Language, to me is sound when it is negative and words when it’s positive.
Music is a natural language to me. I currently play the piano and enjoy it often. It allows me to channel my feelings through the instrument. Practicing is a required part for an instrument, but it becomes extremely annoying when I want to do other things. It’s not that I don’t like piano but having to practice is a hassle.
Language is not just words but also it’s sounds. Music is an example of that and being able to express myself through my piano gives me yet another way to communicate.
“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”, my history teacher, Mr. Sanchez joked.
It was true, I told him, I did. “Well, not that one,” I admitted. “I have a couple.”
This part was true as well. I am an avid “code-switcher”, I even have my degree in street talk. I find it easier to keep a collection of dialects rather than attempt to drag one around all day. I switch from mouth to mouth, talk to talk, slang to “proper English”. But I am not alone, no. The majority of American teens and young adults share this trait, as well as a good percentage of working class adults. This idea of a collective identity, or rather multitude of identities unifies, not a people, but a generation. It accomplishes the same thing that an accent does for a region.
In his essay, “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me What Is?”, James Baldwin says, “People evolve a language in order to describe and thus control their circumstances, or in order not to be submerged by a reality that they cannot articulate.” The youth of today (and yesterday, and perhaps for generations to come), seeking to evolve themselves into what they believe to be a righteous and fulfilled picture of a modern teen or young adult, have constructed a system by which to identify themselves and others as fitting and familiar. We call this system “slang”. It is as much a part of a generation as you are to your’s and I am to mine, and it intends to provide an escape from conformism to a much easier way of speaking.
In the midst of a generation that searches for definition and identity, perhaps it is vital to have a an open mind and an open voice. That is, I believe, the reason behind this need for an always-changing dialect in today’s youth. We find the best way to represent our intentions is to mask them in a shroud of yolo’s and ratchet’s. It, not unlike and somehow a factor of slang, comes and goes with the tide of social nuances. It is a passing fad. That being said, something must be said for the persuasive power of slang on a generation. Think about it. When was the last time you stopped and turned when you heard the latest Oxford Dictionary entry being used by man sitting down the aisle of your bus? Often it is the unexpected blatancies of slang that draw our attention. Slang accomplishes what it intends: it get’s people heard.
But where do we draw the line? When does slang become the odd one out and “proper English” gain a foothold? Oddly, society seems to draw the boundary in certain situations and not others. “Job Interview” dialect is a term often used by comedians to describe the physical and psychological change in demeanor used by millions of people every day. This change happens when these people feel the need to substitute their everyday dialect for something more formal. This is just another code switch. Familiar and unprofessional dialect is replaced with a white-collar, almost jargon, dialect.
At school, I talk at a loud and slang-controlled, almost rambunctiously diverse, tone. My words are short and to the point. The way I see it this is because to be heard in an environment such as school, one must be loud and to the point or his audience loses all trace of interest. You have to be funny, familiar, personal. During my commute, my dialect takes on a much blander and quieter approach. My words become slow, drawn out syllables. I lean more towards saying nothing at all rather than saying something that would seem out of place on something so diverse as a rush-hour train. When I do say something, it is often an apology or a quick thank you. It is funny how silence is the greatest weapon we have on trains against familiarizing ourselves with those strangers around us. Thirdly, my home dialect is one of passion and meaning. Not that I speak in a poetic or even an emotional way, but rather that my voice is open and free for expression. This is because I have already come to know those that I live with. I’ve had fifteen odd years to do so.
“You don’t act like that in public, I hope.” My mother probed. “What are you going to do when you take a girl out on a date?”
“Don’t worry, Mom, I know how to act on a date.” I assured.
There are many ways in which code switching is beneficial to society. It provides a route by which teens and young adults (as well as many adults) can seek to find themselves and not lose their identity along the way. They may explore the possibilities of both sides of slang and what each entails without pledging fully to one or the other. It is, like a fad, a passing dialect, passed down from generation to generation, always changing, not unlike the people it represents.The purpose of a dialect is to express, and by no means do code switchers miss the mark. Code Switching is both a dialect and an intense display. Wielding it as a sword, young men and women everywhere hold the power to give and take away power over language. Code switching is the future.
Advancing from my last blog, (The link to the blog is posted here http://www.scienceleadership.org/blog/You_And_The_World-YATW-Pay-It-Forward) I have been exigent to get more involved in the Pay it Forward movement while still keeping you guys versed on what is milestoning. I surmise that if I indubitably strive to make a difference then there is nothing out there desisting me from my goal. I wish to achieve global cognizance on how philanthropy and magnanimity can really shape our world for the better. I hope to be some spark that ignites the flame of truly good moral amongst the human race. To invigorate the honorableness in peoples’ hearts which will set in motion a path towards peace. Before I can even work to becoming this spark I must investigate whether or not humanity is capable of such a change. Also if I am to be confident in myself I must dive into creative research. This inquisition can help give me an idea on where I stand in my plan. Maybe if I find out where everyone else poses in this predicament I will be apt to come out stronger in my campaign. Like everything big, I must start out small. I should inaugurate in my community first. The only problem that arises is what can I possibly do?
Humility, generosity, chastity, meekness, temperance, kindness, and diligence are the seven main virtues that are instituted to students in Catholic schools everywhere. They are responsible for building teens’ personalities into righteous and forthright good samaritans. If you live your life by these seven virtues I am confident that you could really make a difference in your hometown or city. As a result I felt that my journey to making this world a better place should start around here. I attended Catholic elementary school for eleven years and each day was being educated that everything Pay it Forward stood for was the way to live, in an indirect sense. In this environment we had to constantly be kind, generous and forgiving. My friends that I knew in elementary school were the exact image of eleemosynary samaritans. They treated everyone, including strangers, like a friend. Always being willing to pay for another kid’s lunch, these people are the perfect model of exactly who you're suppose you be if you join Pay it Forward. To find out more on what it means to truly be a good person I interviewed my brother Vincent. Vince is in his freshman year at Roman Catholic High School and always has a story to tell on how teens at his school enact deeds of kindness. Roman Catholic High School is filled with courteous and debonair children who are always ready to learn. Here is the link to Roman Catholic’s website if you want to learn more about them http://www.romancatholichs.com.Thus when I conducted my interview with my brother I had the utmost confidence that he would for sure tell me tales of how students in his school love to act like christians. The interview between him and I is written down below.
Unlike Vincent’s inspirational account on what it means to be a good samaritan, this pie chart shows that not everyone can have a truly generous heart. Out of all thirty people I used in this survey only 7% said they would try to return the clip. That is only two people! I was upset, discouraged, driven to the point of nihilism. Surely this couldn't be real. It was inconceivable for this to be real. I went over the results over and over again but to no avail. It seemed that greed persisted in people’s souls no matter what. It was time for me to change offense. Pay it Forward is routinely educating people around the world about the seven virtues and how to live by them. Did they ever think to mention the seven vices and talk about how not to live by them? Greed, lust, sloth, wrath, pride, envy, and gluttony. The tools of the devil; the 7 notorious archenemies of Pay It Forward. The ones that prevent us to fulfil our lives as right and just people. To raise knowledge on how to avoid these deadly offenders I created a chart on what to do when evil is on your doorstep.
|VICE||WHAT IT IS||WHAT YOU CAN DO TO AVOID IT|
|Pride||Pride is an inflated look on yourself and your achievements. If you are very prideful you might have a big ego.||It’s always good to be happy for yourself and to keep your head high;sometimes too much of that is a bad thing. To avoid pride you might not just want to be enthusiastic about your pros, but about other people’s too.|
|Wrath||Most definitely the most violent of the seven vices, wrath is an over amount of explosive anger towards a person or thing.||Wrath can be really dangerous to the people around you and that is why it is important to try and sidestep it. A good way to make sure you never are responsible for horrible deeds caused by anger is to think things out. If you try to put things in a different perspective, then you might see there is no real reason to be that mad. Try to see the outcome of a situation before you do anything you’ll regret.|
|Gluttony||Gluttony is the overindulgence of food or drink just for spite. If you and your friends ordered pizza and you eat the last piece not because you're hungry but because you did not want your friend to have it then that is gluttony.||Never look at food as a luxury but as nourishment. Once you feel that you eat just for pleasure then that is the first step towards gluttony. Try to only consume in an amount of food necessary to keep you alive. Remember there is people out there that don’t have the money to buy food.|
|Greed||Greed, I personally feel, is one of the worst of the seven vices. Greed is accountable for hundreds of atrocious deeds committed in history. It has started many wars and domination in the world. Greed is the need for wealth.||If you realize that you do not need money to enjoy life then you will be walking farther away from greed than you know it. See money not as a necessity but as an asset. You might not believe me but the goal to happiness does not involve wealth what-so-ever.|
|Envy||Assassinations and broken friendship can all be found in history caused by the evil of being envious. Envy is jealousy of another person’s possessions or status in life.||Envy is tremendously evil and you should always approach cautiously if you ever feel jealous of another person. If you are unable to avoid jealousy then here is a simple tip to make sure it doesn’t brew into envy. No matter who a person is and what they own you can always fulfill your dreams if you set your mind to it.|
|Sloth||Sloth is emotional, physical, and spiritual apathy. Sloth can be something as facile as not getting up to get the TV remote because you're lazy or even neglecting to socialize with people because you don't want to waste a breath.||A good way to maneuver sloth is to try to get active in the world. Make it a habit so it sticks. If you join a sports team or repeatedly do simple tasks such as holding the door for someone then you will be less tempted not to do something in the future.|
|Lust||Lust is a strong emotion of intense desire in your body. Lust takes many forms such as lust for knowledge , lust for power, and or lust for sex.||Lust is always knocking on everyone’s door. The temptation to do, say, or have whatever you want is not something you take lightly. To counteract lust you can try to think about other things when your desire for something comes up. Starting a hobby or hanging with your friends can help distract you from any desires.|
Pay It Forward movie cover.
It is hard to sleep at night knowing that humanity might be growing mature from some its old and ridiculous ways of life. The ways of life where people have to filch and murder to get by. You wonder why it is hard? It is hard to sit back and not join the cause. I have such a strong opinion about helping everyone around the planet that I have been boiling with enthusiasm ever since day one. The pullulating eagerness I feel to get my hands on some project that could inevitably make another person smile is inconceivable in amount. I am willing to put gargantuan volumes of devotion in my crusade to embodiment true values of justice in our country. Unfortunately reviewing the steps leading up to this second blog I realize that my research was pointless. I'm still left wondering whether or not even Philadelphia is ready for something like this. I am timorous that support might be problematic to acquire. It unsettles me not to be confident that I’ll receive reinforcement in what seems to me an epic battle of good and evil. Although I know that history repeats itself and I'm aware that throughout history it was always the will of one person that breaks and bends the turn of events. Anyone can make a difference own their own and I am determined to have my voice heard. I can’t help still being candidly moronic on what Im doing to do for my agent of change. Everytime I think of an idea it feels like it isn’t enough to create a spark herculean enough to wake people up. I will strive forward in my research until I find the ‘treasure’ of real enlightenment. If you have any ideas or are interested in service to the world then you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next is Domino, who is also a pit bull who appeared to have had a little bit of a harder time. His old father took him to her office since he could not take him to his new home. He also “always raised his cane at him” and as a result, Denise welcomed Domino into her home with open arms. “The first night was awful and we almost called the guy to say it was not working. “After he was neutered, he did not settle down but the torment to my girls did,” Denise said. He is also so terrified of hollering that whenever someone does holler, he cowers behind her. Domino needed a subdued environment where he does not feel threatened by his owners, and Denise's home provided that.
Finally, is Toni, a Shepard mix who was named after her dad. She acquired Toni from someone’s front yard where “she was out in all weather tied to a tree” and then moved to the front yard on a short leash after she dug holes in the backyard. She and her partner “went on a dog napping caper” to save her since Denise had seen the dog everyday while taking her son to school. When she first brought her home, Toni had never seen stairs before. As a result, Denise had to carry her up and down the stairs in the house and even to get to the car so that Denise could get her to the vet . Also, when Toni saw herself in the mirror, she would pee all over even while Denise was still holding her. Toni also dislikes men especially when they are wearing hats; so much so that Denise, “had to make my father in law remove his baseball cap before he entered the house.” However, with lots of love and attention, Toni is much better now.
In recent news on this topic, PETA wages war on Pokémon for virtual animal cruelty. PETA says, ‘"The amount of time that Pokemon spend stuffed in pokeballs is akin to how elephants are chained up in train carts, waiting to be let out to 'perform' in circuses."’ They are so upset about it that they have made a ‘spoof’ Pokémon game called Pokémon: Black and Blue. In the game, the characters fight their trainers for freedom by using attacks such as group hugs, protests, quick attack and thundershock. This is not the first, and most likely not the last time that PETA will be “taking jabs at video games.”
My name is Joseff Filamor. If you have not seen my LAST blog post, I am here to talk to you about the Afghanistan war; the war on terror. I last discussed what the War on Terror was about and why we should end it. I also discussed how both the troops and families are affected by stress due to the war. Today, I will discuss the most common illness that veterans inherit over the years after war, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.Here compares a normal brain to a brain under PTSD.
Everyone reacts to traumatic events differently. Each person is unique in his or her ability to deal with fear and stress and to cope with the threat posed by a traumatic event or situation. For that reason, not everyone who experiences or witnesses a trauma will develop PTSD. The type of help and support a person receives from friends, family members and professionals following the trauma may influence the development of PTSD or the number of symptoms.
Most people who experience a traumatic event will have reactions that may include shock, anger, nervousness, fear, and even guilt. These reactions are common; and for most people, they go away over time. For a person with PTSD, however, these feelings continue and even increase, becoming so strong that they keep the person from living a normal life. People with PTSD have symptoms for longer than one month and cannot function as well as before the event happened.PTSD is most common within troops after they come back from war. All the more reason that the war on terror should end.
Welcome to my 2nd blog! If you missed my first blog click here. Since I made my last blog post, I made a survey about people's pets and where they have gotten their pets from. Most of the people who answered said that they got their pets from a pet shop. Some people rescued them from a shelter and others didn't remember. But the majority of the people who answered that question had other ways of getting their pets like a friend gave it to them or their cat got pregnant. Also I asked them what kind of pet they had. 45% of the people said that they had cats and 36% said that they had dogs. If they had a dog I asked them if they knew what breed the dog was because I realized that people might not want to adopt a dog because of its breed. Most of the people said that it was a mix and that they did not know what kind. But out of the certain breeds, the most popular was a German Shepard. Pitbull was listed as a choice and close to nobody chose that.
I wonder if they didn't choose Pitbull because of embarrassment for their dog or for their reputation. Some people believe that owning a Pitbull makes you a bad person because of the reputation that breed of dog has. But truthfully it doesn't make a difference. the stories about Pitbulls are that they are aggressive and that they all are dog fighters. These myths can be true but most Pitbulls aren't like that at all. The people at the shelter test the animal to see if they can fix the aggressive behavior and they test to see how they react to different types of situations before they put the animal up for adoption. The dog fighters only choose Pitbulls and train them because Pitbulls can lock their jaw and hold on for a very long time. But that is only if they are trained to do that, trained to kill.
But back on the results of my survey. I got 66 responses from classmates and people I don't really know and they all contributed to helping with this problem of euthanasia and reputations of dogs. As I read my results of my survey I realized that people could have some biased opinions about different dog breeds and I decided to bring together two topics that I feel very strongly about. I think that I will narrow down my topic to reputations of certain dog breeds while continuing euthanasia of animals in shelters. For blog 3 I think that I will do so more research about what people think about different dog breeds. I made a survey about Dog Reputations which I will include the results in next blog post. Also I have to wrap up the project so I will try to volunteer at a shelter and see what they need me to do. I might ask if they need pictures of the dogs so that they can advertise them on petfinder.com. I will make sure to post some pictures of the dogs on my next blog post. As I wrap up this blog post I am still left wondering about reputations of dogs and how I can change the fear of dogs and Pitbulls in general. Click here for my bibliography.
When I was a child, around eight to ten years old, I began to see the differences in language. My home language was a completely different dialect than those used by my schoolmates; others alienated me. At my home, I spoke “Proper English;” I spoke with “correct” grammar, proper subjects and predicate, and knowledge in my words. When I was in the fifth grade, I learned quickly how to adapt to my surroundings, language-wise. Around a month after school started I began to realize the way that my classmates spoke and the tone and stressing of certain letters and words used. To me, at the time, it seemed completely irrelevant to speak in that manner. But, in need for friends, I tried to adapt to the language . Not just the language of verbal, but the language of clothes, hobbies and act.
I began to scope out the words that were used more than others such as: Dawg, nigga, yo, chill, damn, bitch and more. I also taught myself quickly how to dismember someone mentally. I started to watch sports more often so I could talk about it with others. I also began to use language with girls jokingly that I would never use near an elder.
It was lunchtime; so as we were at lunch, this day I sat with Dede, Christian, Nelly, Jose and Brandon. Brandon and me were already friends; Jose was like a bodyguard to me. I helped Jose in schoolwork, and in return he watched my over back. Nelly and I rarely spoke, but because he was husky like Jose, I decided it was best for us to be friends. Dede and Christian were the two most popular kids in fifth grade and I would have preferred them as friends than just voids. I was not that unpopular in my grade, so it wasn’t a big deal about where I sat, but I wanted to get in deeper. As I sat down we began to speak, let me remind you, this is one of the first times I used this “Slang”,
“ Wat up KaBoni?” Jose asked
“Nothin’ bruh, chillin. How are you doing?’” I replied.
“I’m on my grind, cuzzo.” Jose said.
“ Yo, big head KaBoni, you saw da Eagles game last night?” Christian asked.
This was my moment to prove my worth in language, so of course I was nervous. As the words of bliss left my lips, I mentally smiled with glee.
“Yo fat ass, you know I saw da game yesterday. McNabb: booty cheeks yestaday’ but McCoy, dat nigga fast as hell; he run like a fat bitch chasin’ em!”
As the sound of cheerful laughter from the kids filled my ear drums, the sound of acceptance entered my heart. I was accepted by the other school kids as the funny kid and the class clown. At the time, this didn’t seem very major to me, only that I was in the clique. From that point on, I began to tell stories and tales that would make other laugh. I would talk about someone to get respect and props from individuals. From that point on, I began to dress like them. We had a school uniform, but I would start to sag my pants a little, let my jeans flow past the anklet of my shoe and wear head attire in class. We all thought it was cool at the time, but little did I know that it was only slowing me down. What was realized later on was that I was only halting my mental and language capacity. The more that you adapt to language, the less you will be able to as you gain age.
To this day, I still preserve the language that I learned in elementary school. It is helpful in situations where I am not familiar with the crowd and if I have to adapt to new environment. In high school now, I still use this language with certain crowds when it is necessary to code-switch. For example, I will speak a certain way with Nadir and Richard then I would when I speak to Ronald and Stephen, even if I do not mean to. It is “Proper” vs. “Irregular”. But it is a different kind of hard to put a label on the way that people speak; you cannot just say that there is a proper language because there are many languages/ways to speak and to express your opinion. So with that being said, speaking in any way is just . . . expressing who you are. As an individual though, I was subjected to adaptation. If I did not adapt, I did not fit in. It is an incentive for many to fit in so they feel like they belong somewhere in the “World” where you are alienated. It is the same reason why people who don’t smoke cigarettes would start smoking to get in cahoots with their boss. It is a way to make things better than the norm.
What I happened when I learned to adapt in middle and elementary school still follows me to this day. Without intending to, I learn how to mimic the acts and language of others easily by taking out key words and incorporating them into my own language. But there is always a cost to substituting yourself. A piece of me is now missing; the piece of me that was myself.  Everything changed when I adapted to what was not myself: I lost the part of me that was raised with my mother for 11-12 years, I lost the part of me that took what I like into incorporation before others. Changing or adapting your language has a very high price, regardless if you realize it or not, you will change. It takes a real man to look inside of himself and say, “I’m different, how can I find myself again.
“Hey Honey! How was your day?”
“It was gucci.”
“What does that mean?”
Mom never remembers my slang words. Then again, I don’t remember her version of slang words either. Its a two way street. Yet, there’s always that one moment when I enter the house, where our voices meet.
“Mom, it means good. We went over this.”
I raise my arms at her, signaling to her that she never gets my vocabulary through her head. If I use my Italian gestures, then she gets the picture. This is a daily routine for my Mother and I to go through. She just never catches on. This is until she picks up the language of mines that she knows how to understand. I thicken my Italian accent in the kitchen, and everything turns clear to her.
“Oh yeah, yeah. Now I remember.”
Like any other night, in the Cohen’s residence, actions speak louder than words due to hand motions being used (like any other italian family), conversations that turn into arguments while my inner Italian kicks in, and normal speaking turns into strong dialogue from the root of Italy. So many things going on at once while at the dinner table, inhaling a bowl of pasta. Typical Italians.
“Forget it Mom. You just don’t understand.”
“I’m right, and you’re wrong. Get over it.”
I clamp my five fingers together on each hand, shaking them back and forth to communicate with her. Using the gestures that an Italian chef would make after taste testing his food. I raise my arms and at times clench my fists. If you haven’t heard, Italians have a way with hands more than a way with words.
That fast I can change the tone in my voice, or the thickness in my accent. I can go from “Gucci” to “Benissimo” (good) in minutes.
Now, I don’t just sound Italian because I am italian. From the audience taking in my speech, I appear to seem like I am from several other parts of the world. To others, I’m apparently claimed to be from New York, the South, and others. But who said I have to be from a certain place just because I “sound” like I belong there? People chew up bits and pieces of my voice, and spit it out. They interpret glimpses of my voice and pay no mind at all to other parts. Once again, its a bittersweet, two way street. People tend to pay attention to how you say things rather than what you’re saying. Ouch.
I speak one way, and one way only. I may sound like I am from Italy, or New York, or even have the typical “South Philly” tone in my voice. Its not like I have an on and off switch for how to speak when I am with certain people. I have a strong accent. I can’t sit here and define the style of the way I speak. However, I can sit here and admit that my voice and the way I talk, have several different variations to itself. There are moments where variations of my voice are stronger than others, but that’s never in my control. I think a lot about how people actually claim what they sound like, or what kind of voice they have. Is that possible? Is it possible to sound the same, and say things the same way, every time you do say something?
When I enter my household, with the smell of pasta, and loud voices flooding the doorways, I enter the house to my Italian family. This for a fact is the only time where I know which variation of my voice comes in handy, on purpose. I am more Italian than anything when I am home because I am surrounded by people that have personal connections to the roots of Italy. Throughout the day, I use my hands very strongly to express myself. It just so happens that when I come home, my Italian accent gets thicker, the raising of my arms get higher, and the identity of my voice becomes clearer. Environments do influence a person’s own influence on how they want to present themselves. Now, I am influenced at certain times by certain things to encourage the variations of my speaking. But, once again, what is that called? The thing is, I choose to not call it anything. I don’t want to say a term of how to define my voice. I can’t define something that has too many meanings.
I never liked the label of having just one label to my voice. I don’t like being claimed as “She sounds Italian.” Or, “You sound just like a New Yorker. You have to be from New York.”
The author, James Baldwin, who wrote a story called “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What is?” couldn’t of said it any better. He quotes, “It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify. It reveals the private identity and connects one with, or divorces one from the larger, public, or communal identity.”
I rather have my voice be divorced from the others, rather than connected with. I want my voice to be vivid and crucial to others. My voice is my identity. It is in safe keeping for myself to adjust, and for the audience to take in. If I sound like the others, than my identity would be hidden. I like my voice the way it is. If there are so many sides to me, and so many sides to my voice, why call it one thing? I don’t define myself as one thing, so why do it to my voice?
People should care a little less about what people sound like, and why they sound that way. I have one voice and several variations of it, but I come from one place. There’s nothing wrong with that.
All images found in this blog post, and only this blog post were taken by me via screenshot.
For our second blog post we needed to create an interview or survey. I decided to create a interview and ask a fellow classmate questions. I based my interview off of Heads Up! The Interactive Challenge which is a stimulator-type game. The game was created by a partnership of Toyota’s Teen Driver and Discovery Education. In the game you are a teen driving behind the wheel of a car of your choice. You choose wether you are left- or right-handed and begin the game.
Thank you to Dillon Hershey, 15 years old, for allowing me to interview her. She has no prior experience driving a real-life vehicle. All the questions were written by me and all the answers were written by Dillon. The game is a creation of Discovery Communications, LLC © 2012.
A: I had 10, and it was hard to learn how to drive. My attention was split a little but not much.
In 2008, as the statistic above shows, 63% of teenager passenger deaths happened in vehicles driven by an teenager. Click here to learn more.
A: It was hard to because when you would stop and eat, the car would start to move around again. Also they had your attention be focused on eating and stopping at the stop signs.
The statistic above : About 2/3 of fatal teen crashes involve the driving making an error. This error is due to inexperience and distractions. Read more here.
A: It was really hard to keep track of what radio station you had change it to. I was really distracted!
The statistic above shows that 84% of teenage girls and 69% of teenage boys are likely to adjust music selection and/or volume while driving. Lean more here.
A: I ran off the edge so many times!!! I had 20 and 1 missed sign because I let up the break too early. I was VERY distracted because I had to choose what I wanted to text back to the person.
In my opinion, the above statistic is the most important because texting or talking on the phone while driving is the most dangerous! Please, I urge you to learn more here.
Q: Was there any point in the game that you felt the feeling of being overwhelmed by too many tasks might happen to a teen driver? Did it happen to you, a person who has not driven yet?
A: YES I WAS SO OVERWHELMED!! It was overwhelming because of all the tasks that I had to do. I really like the idea of the game because the driving is really hard and that is how it really is.
Q: At what age do you think a teen is allowed to drive? Would you allow your child to drive at that age?
A: 18 and I would let my kid drive but after I had the talk about texting and driving.
Q: Is there any other points you would like to bring up? Do you think the real experience will be harder, easier?
A: The actual driving is not very real but the distractions are real. Also I think that the real experience will be harder but of course I won’t text and drive.
Thank you again to Dillon for participating in this interview. Please read her You and the World project concerning Pet Euthanasia. Check back soon for my third blog post. My bibliography is here. My third blog post is here. Thank you.
I’ll try to keep at my own speed by switching lanes and letting everybody go past, but it is hard. My brain is a sweatshop. All of the work it has to put up with and the only reward is knowing that you’re living to do it all again the next day. When I’m in my speech class I speak at a more slower and relaxed pace and my speech tends to be more fluent. I may only stutter a few times, but for the most part I’m very smooth in my talking. My heart's not beating fast, and I’m comfortable. I think the reason that happens is because of my speech teacher. She expects for me to stutter and since she already knows it’s less pressure. Besides, if I didn’t then I wouldn’t need to go to speech class. I do change up not just the speed of my voice, but the way it sounds. Most of the time it’s natural. Especially when I’m with my friends, It sounds a little different from when I’m talking to my family or talking to adults.
“Okaay classs. We’re goin ta foe-cus on thuh Alphabet.” said Mrs. Scholtes. “Say Ayyyy. This is the letter Ayyy.”
“Ayyyyy” said everyone in the class except me.
“Nikki hun, darlin’ you neeeeed to participate. Ya hear?”
“But that’s not how you say it. My mom said it’s Ay. Not ayyyyyy.”
To this day, I still don’t know how I got the courage to confront my teacher.
“Okaay, well f-ah-ine. Can you saaay thuh l-eh-tter “baeeee””
“Do you mean “bee”? As in bumblebee?” I was on a roll.
“Yes baee as in bayyycan. You know whut! I’m tai-erd uhv yur smart mouthin. This iz thuh waay ta say thuh alphabet. Go dowwn ta thuh office little ma’am.”
As I walked to the principal’s office I was confused on what I did. Was I being sent down because I spoke proper English and that wasn’t what she was teaching? Or because the teacher realized her student’s phonics was better than her own? My parents and I settled for both reasons, but we didn’t tell my principal that, because she spoke the same way as Ms. Scholtes did. That long, slow, southern accent bothered me not because it wasn’t proper but because I didn’t speak that way. My parents aren’t from Mississippi so they didn’t grow up with that accent around them and neither did I. I already stood out because I didn’t look like everyone else. My proper tone of English made it worse, so I just decided to fake it.
It took a few days for me to come up with my master plan. I had made a decision. Recess. My classmates were playing indians and cowboys so my little mind thought this was a perfect time to interrupt and let them know that I, Nikki Adeli, was an average Mississipian.
“I love tah go huntin! D’yall like tah go too?”
Why are they looking at me like that? They’re catching on. Oh no. Play it off Nikki.
“I’m gon tah church this Sunday, y’all gon too? Oo! Then ahhhh-fter, I’m gon to my meemaw’s home to get me some collard greens. Y’all down?”
“You’re an odd one darlin.” said my teacher my table buddy.
I remember at the time that making friends wasn’t my forte. It wasn’t me, I swear! It was because I didn’t have light brown hair and blue or hazel eyes. I had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes...not a very usual sight for a person living in Mississippi.
In the fifth grade, we were studying how people look different based of where they come from and their heritage. She held up cards with people from 4 different countries. China, Africa, Saudi Arabia, and America. She held up each card and the final card was China. She explained to the class that they didn’t speak like we did here in America. Later that day at recess, the lesson was still plastered in the minds of my table mates.
“Nikki, iz you an y’alls family frum Chiiiiina?
“No? Why would I be from Chiiiiiiiina Blake?
“Well ya don’t soun’ lyke mah freends or mah family an’ Ms. Oswalt said that people frum Chiiiiina don’t soun’ lyke us.”
“I’m not from China, Blake. I was born in the same hospital as you were right here in Starkville. Just my parents are from Iran.”
“Iz dat een Chiiiiiina?”
I didn’t really care what Blake thought about me since he wasn’t anything but a table buddy to me. But it was the limited amount of friends I had that I wanted to fit in with that mattered most.Years went by and I stayed close to my friends. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe faking a little didn’t hurt, I mean look! Now I have friends. Friends that I could invite to birthdays and friends that wouldn’t belittle me because of the way I spoke. Or so I thought.
I was ready to open presents at my 11th birthday party. I was psyched! All my friends were around and nothing could go wrong! I fit in.
“Baba!” I said to my father. “Can you bring me my presents?”
“What’s a baba Nikki? Haha, that’s so silly and weird,” said my friend Flannery.
“Oh yeah totally! Silly me! Daddddyyyy! Dad!”
My dad stared me down and laughed. I don’t know if it was my wide eyes that signaled for him to play along or my flushed cheeks that showed how embarrassed I was. Whatever it was, he played along. Until it was time to cut my cake. He personally brought out my cake, placed it in front of me, looked at me and said “here ya go darlin’” in the strongest country accent he could force out of his voice box. I smiled and listened to everyone sing “Happy Birthday” off key and blew out my candles. I slowly heard it creep out of the side of my ear.
“Tavalod! Tavalod! Tavalodet mobarak!” screamed my family.They began to sing “Happy Birthday” in Farsi. My friends started whispering. My cheeks were red once again. But this time it wasn’t out of embarrassment. It was out of joy. In the story “Tongue-Tied” by Maxine Hing Kingstan, she mentioned in her story that “A telephone call makes my throat bleed and takes up that day’s courage.” When my grandparents from Iran call me, I’m always terrified to speak. Not that I’m not confident in the way I speak, it’s just that until the day of my birthday, I had placed this facade over my face that I would take off and put on whenever I felt like it. At this point, I was confused to who I was. Had this mask become my identity? No. I wouldn’t let it become who I was. I would not let others’ opinions define who I was.
From that day forward, I learned to embrace my inner awesomeness. This awesomeness of mine came from centuries of Ancient Persian history to the day I was born at the Oktibbeha County Hospital in Starkville, Mississippi. I was different, and this was something I never wanted to accept. But what did it mean to be the same as everyone else? I don’t want a southern accent. Well besides for basic humor. I don’t want to be the same. I like the way my voice portrays who I am. It took me a long time and a move up north to realize this. In Philadelphia, no one pointed my out for being different. There was no different. There was no normal. Everyone varied. I no longer had to fake a voice to sit with table buddy at lunch. I no longer had to pretend that shooting animals was a hobby of mine. I could embrace who I really was and push my voice to new heights without having to worry about other people and what they would say about me. I finally fit in.
A Band, English
What Language Do You Speak ?
Many people have always asked me, why is me voice so light, or why do I talk strange. Well, at times I speak differently than others would usually speak. When I was in third grade I got into an accident involving my the insides of my mouth, which lead to me having to getting surgery done. After that my whole life would change from their. I would have problems pronouncing some of the hard sounding verbs that has two through three syllables and I received a different accent then the one I had before.
“Dalfin (dolphin), eyerin (iron), elementree (elementary) and woofle (waffle)”
My speech/ accent was effecting me mostly when reading, since my voice had got lighter. When I was in forth grade I wanted to write poetry, so my teacher Ms. Buchanan entered me in the Delaware County Young Poets Competition. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to place in the competition because the way I would talk or read. Until one day in school my teacher had an idea and decided that all the kids in my class were going to write poems.
“Emmanuel I would like to speak to you after class, involving your poem” said Ms. Buchanan.
“Ok I won’t forget” I said.
It was the final class of the day and the bells rung.
“Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring”, the bell stopped ringing.
The kids in my classroom were packing up to go home.
“Everyone enjoy your weekend and work on your poems, so we can read them in class on Monday.” in a cheerful tone “Don’t forget to be creative and to put on your thinking caps when writing.” said Ms. Buchanan.
As all the kids exited the classroom I walked up to my teacher in a curious way. I thought to myself. What would she want to speak to me about?
“Emmanuel”, Ms. Buchanan voice shortly paused “I noticed that you and a couple other kids in your class have very special talents. I think you could win this competition if you put a lot of time and effort into it.”
At first I was shocked what I was hearing, then she began to speak about how I would win. I had faith in myself, but for some reason I was more fortunate to win she said. I was thinking that even if I didn’t finish in first place that I would like to win something.
“I want you to go home and work on you poem. Relate it to things around you, so when you’re going home everything you see you can include it in your poem”, said Ms. Buchanan.
“That is a very good idea for me to start my poem, but I’ll just see you on Monday. I have to leave my friends are waiting for me outside”, I replied in a quickly tone.
“Have a good weekend”, we both said as we exchanged goodbye’s.
As I was on my way home walking down Ruskin Lane I was thinking about what I would see that would give me ideas on what to include in my poem. Today was the first day of spring, so many things grew since winter was over. I took out a book noted everything down I saw and went home. I took out my book of ideas and started to brainstorm stanzas for my poem.
“Spring is here. Whats in the air ? Birds are flying far and near”, I said.
After writing the first line of my poem I had other ideas, but I just couldn’t focus. When I read it to myself it wouldn’t sound right, so later on I continued to work on the poem. For a while I would continue to channel all of my ideas on the paper, but it wouldn’t sound like me.
“Would I say something like this”, as I thought to myself.
I paused for a brief second to get help from my mom, but she had went to the supermarket to get some groceries for dinner. I was helpless for a second, until I decided to call my teacher Ms. Buchanan. I called her, but it went straight to voicemail, meaning she was probably very busy.
“You’ve reached the voicemail of Karen Buchanan. Sorry I am not available to answer your call at this certain time, but please leave a message and I will surely get back with you. God bless you and have a nice day.”
I left a short message containing my poem and hung up the phone.
(It’s early Monday morning and school has began. 8:00 and the kids start to enter the school and goto their classes after eating a healthy breakfast. The teachers awaits them at the door with a friendly greeting)
“Welcome to class kids. If you can remember we read example poems and essays about the different types of languages people occur to have.”, said Ms. Buchanan. “I’d like you all to relate your language to one of the stories that you read. You have the full period to work.
I started writing about my relationship to a story I read. I still had thoughts of the Delaware County Young Poets Competition stuck in my head. With only one more day to it began. As I began the class writing assignment I started putting all my brainstorms together.
“Out of four stories that I read in English class I can relate myself to the story Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez. The main character Richard had issues with adjusting to his language. Most of his life he learned words while pronouncing the wrong sound. He would be used to speaking in two languages, at home Spanish and at school English. He would basically code switch in different environments since his parents spoke mainly Spanish. A way I can relate to Rodriguez is after I had surgery done I too had issues with speaking properly. We both have minor accents, have pronunciation problems, but we are also fixing that problem.” I wrote.
After that I felt relieved for some apparent reason. I had a special felling that I could relate to someone else rather about language difficulties, than be laughed at or questioned.
It was the next day. An early Tuesday morning. It was time for the Delaware County Young Poets Competition to finally begin. Emmanuel still had school, but he was excused from three class periods.
After the final contestants recited their poems it was my time to present mines. Walking down the isle to a big stage to present in front of a crowd over 300 people wouldn’t be easy.
“Introduce yourself and you may began reading now”, one judge said.
“My . . name is Emmanuel Kouadio. I am a third grader who attends Stonehurst Hills Elementary school.
I began to read my poem, as the audience watching me listened and lowered their tones.
“Spring is here. Whats in the air ?
Birds are flying far and near.
The insects are soaring, as the mowers are mowing.
I goto school and explore.
Learn new things more and more.
After learning, then we play.
That is why I love spring everyday.”
The crowd applauded and I went to go set next to my teacher. After five minutes of discussions the judges came to an agreement on who the winners were.
“In first place. . . John Reynolds from Bywood Elementary” said one judge.
“In second place. . . Lisa Vincent from Westbrook Park Elementary” said another judge.
“Last, but not least third place goes to. . . Emmanuel Kouadio from Stonehurst Hills Elementary” said by the last judge.
At that moment I felt so confident to hear my name be called and people cheer me on. My poem wasn’t that bad, the judges understood me when I spoke, and I represented my school by winning. That was one of the best memories having to do with my language involving speech/ the way I talk. From that day on I promised to always have confidence in my own area of language arts and try.
Another friend walked up to me and ask me, “Yo did we have any homework last night”? At first I thought he was my other friend Thanh who was also Vietnamese. So I told him, “Cong, Cong we don’t have homework.”
My friend Michael started laughing and ask me, “What did you just say”?
As I felt embarrassed I told him again but this time in english, “No we don’t have homework last night”. Thats the moment where I realize the I have been mixing the two languages a lot. Right there at that moment I made a promise myself that this will never happen again,but sooner or later it happened again.
My whole life was ruined because I kept mixing my native language Vietnamese with my secondary language English. I am use to speaking one language so much when I get to school I tend to mix these two languages together without noticing. Ever since I learned english when I was 6 years old. I started having this habit of mixing 2 languages. Having a knowledge for both languages confused me. Learning english is the most complicated process of my life. Taking ESOL classes (English for Speakers of Other Languages) doesn’t help at all. The stuff I learn in ESOL and English class makes me even more confusing. Then at the same time learning one language is hard enough. I have to use another one at home. The constant mixing and switching of languages from school and home left a permit mark on me. The permanent mark that was left on me was memories of laughter and frustration.
Then one day I was working with my mom in her nail shop. A customer came by and ask, “Does your mom have time to do my nails today?”.
I replied, “No my mom has no time to do it for you today, xin loi.”
As I realized what I have said I heard her ask me, “Excuse me, what did you just say?”
At that moment I thought she was going to laugh at me for what I have just said, but I answered her anyway. “I was trying to tell you that my mom does not have time to do nails for you today I’m sorry.”
“Oh well thats interesting. What language do you speak? What is your native language?”.
“Well I speak Vietnamese at home.”
“Oh thats cool I have a friend who speaks Vietnamese and I think its an interesting language to speak.”
As I heard that I felt as though my language does mean something to her. It gives me strength to be not feel embarrassed, but also to feel proud that I speak a language that some people find it interesting.
I can imagine myself in the future speaking in mixed languages more, instead of just avoiding it in all because speaking in mixed languages makes me who I am and thats what makes me special. Speaking in a mixed language can also helps me understand things that I learn in school. It makes it more simple to me to understand. It could make me forget the permit mark that was left on me long ago and move on improving myself. Now I can just close my eyes and see myself using my abilities of speaking mixed languages to communicate with my friend Phu more.“Hey,xin chao” (Hi)
“Oh vay a, you’re doing nothing.?”
“ Yeah man, cong cho di hat. Just doing homework thats all.”
“ Oh thats cool man, truong tha di choi later ok?” (We are going to go out later)
“Ok thats sound good.”
Now, because of that one moment in the past has affected my future with my languages. The girl from the story “ Tongue Tied” by Maxine Hong Kingston hates speaking out loud and has been laughed at before. She thinks her accent is making her different. In the first part of the story she has told us about the story of the knot-marker. She said that the knot-marker after a while in China has been outlawed. Then she stated, “ If I lived in China, I would have been an outlaw knot-marker”. She was trying to compare her accent to the knot-marker. She is trying to tell us that if the knot-marker was outlawed in China. Then here in America her accent is breaking the rules of the way you speak as well. She is trying to show us that she is not proud of her accent. During the time that I had trouble with two languages. I wasn’t proud of myself either. I tried hard to change to fit in, but the changing doesn’t work as well. I still continue to mix the languages and suffer the laughter from my peers. She made another statement about her accent later in the story. She stated that, “ The teacher, who had already told me everyday how to read “I and here”, put me in the low corner under the stairs again,where the noisy boys sat.” Now her mind set is giving up on perfecting her accent. Even the people she know, her teacher has paid her no attention at all and decided to ignore her. Thats why the girl in this story hated her accent.In my case the laughter and torture to change my accent and my mixed language has made me think that I want to improve and speak it more. My story about the mixed language and the girls’ from “Tongue Tied” has the same situations but different results or change. I went from being laughed at to speaking more and being inspired to learn more about both languages. Instead of just abandoning them. Meanwhile the girl from the story is on the verge of probably giving up. Some people just give up while others take their time to realize that their accent or language is something that they can never let go. It make them who they are and symbolizes the unique traits that the person have. For me I have kept that unique thing and I am trying to improve as well. I decided to keep it because I have spent some time learning new things from both languages while I was making my decision and the influence that these two languages brought affect my thoughts and my decision. The fact that I can speak more than two languages makes me an interesting person to most people, but then to others they think I’m a topic for their jokes. Even though I had a complicated time fixing the habit of speaking and mixing both languages. The fact that knowing them and learning them makes the pain go away. Theses languages and their culture makes me who I am today.
Never Giving up the Lisp
It all started when I was in grade school on the yellow school bus.
“What’s your name”,
“Piercesuss” I reply. Immediately I get funny faces from whomever I’m talking too.
“Why do you talk like that?”
“Do you have a speech impediment?”
Speech impediment? I think to myself what’s that. To me the way I sounded was always normal but apparently it wasn’t. I was being criticized for my so called “speech impediment” that I didn’t even know about.
“What are you talking about”,
“I don’t have a shhpeech impediment.”
“Yes you do! , you have a lisp!”
It has a name, my so called speech impediment has a name, now I will be labeled as the boy with the the lisp.-- I’ve always had problems with kids with their teasing. They would get me to try say words or they would mock me, “Say twizzlers or snake”. I didn’t really care what people would think so I would humor them and repeats the words. “Twishulers” and without even trying there was a lot of miss pronunciation in the word and I sounded kind of ridiculous.Yeah I can admit it, this was the first actual time I felt insecure about my accent but in a way I thought it made me different. As I talked more using new vocabulary as I grew my lisp seemed to get worst. No one would try to get me to mock things anymore because they got use to me. I still had a heavy lisp which would really be a disturbance to me when I was trying pronounce new words in English class. I felt like my lisp was my enemy when it came to just that class. I almost felt normal in other classes but in that class, I felt like it attacked me.
“Hello Class, we have new vocabulary for the week, please repeat after me.”
“Say parenthesis!” As I am in the back of the room I slowly try to pronounce this word.
“Paren, Parentheties, Pa, Pa!”
My lisp was making this new word way too difficult.
I couldn't even pronounce this word I just mumbled in the back of class. My lisp was so bad that I would me get tongue tied on words that still to this day hold a challenge.
“Say Surfeit” , I didn’t want to be that kid who mumbled in the back of the class, I wanted to be that kid who stood out, so out of know where I got a sudden urge of confidence I blurted out loud “Shhurfeit”. I immediately knew that all eyes were on me and I just put my head down from embarrassment. But later on as I thought about what happened, I shouldn’t of been embarrassed I should of been proud of me giving it a try.
As the years past I became more comfortable with my lisp and what people had to say about it. I use to not talk at all in class even if I knew the answers because of how I sounded to others. But now I have no problem of raising my hand. Other students in my middle school would still try to get me to repeat words. I actually looked forward to this because I became comfortable enough with my lisp to laugh about it. As long as people didn’t go overboard with mocking then I essentially had no problems.
All my life I’ve felt the most accepted in the comfort of my home. My parents and Siblings never brought me through torment that I experienced through school. Didn’t they hear my lisp? Is it really not that noticeable or are they just ignoring it because I’m family?
As a young child growing up on the rough streets of West Oak Lane, you had to make sure you could defend yourself. I don’t mean a physical defense either but I’m talking about a verbal defense. Back when I was really committed to basketball, I would be at the park playing a game of Basketball and as always on the Simons community court there would always be a problem. It might be the littlest problem from arguing about untied shoelaces to a hard foul. If you got into one of these arguments you would have to have smart, smerky, offensive remarks using curse words with a solid firm voice that I just didn’t have. If you came into one of these arguments with good comebacks but a light lispy voice like mines then you would surely be ridiculed by the other people at the park every time you went there. I would always try to avoid conflict and if I did get into one of these arguments I would put on a sort of facade to make me seem tougher. I had to talk slow and clear to get my point across.
Random person “ You ugly as shit youngin”
Me “You are just mad because I beat you in ball. You ain't nothing but a noodle.” As I said with a slow strict and firm non lispy voice.
This was the only time where my lisp wasn’t my enemy and thank god for it because if I had a strong lisp during these arguments I would have surely been embarrassed off the courts.
In the essay “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”, by James Boldwin, Boldwin talks about how language is a powerful influence. Stated in the essay it says “ It goes without saying, then that language is also a political instrument, means and proof of power.” Language can be used as an instrument or tool by the way you use and compose it. The way you sound and how you talk can make an influence on people, so if you talk with a deep slow clear voice thats the first impression you give off to people.
Through my life language and speech has had an impact on my life as well as others. It’s affected me through school and socially with my peers. I’ve learned to not blame or ridicule myself for something that defines who I am. Know I am proud to be known as the boy with the Lisp.
Although Mandarin is the official language in China, there are also a lot of different dialects. Sometimes for people in different parts of China, it is hard to understand each other by oral languages though the written languages are similar. My families and I live in the Northern China which is close to Beijing, and we have some relatives in Guangdong Province which is in the Southern China and close to Hong Kong. I decided to visit my relatives during the summer vacation two years ago because my parents were busy. I told my parents about this idea, and they supported me. I was afraid that there might be some troubles in communication so I sent an e-mail to them. They replied to me at once and I could understand it. Therefore, I wasn’t worried anymore and went on my trip delightfully. But I found out I was wrong when I met them.
I greeted with them at first, “你们好!”(Hello!) They showed a strange emotion, and I guessed they didn’t know what I was talking. But I believed that they greeted me, too. It sounded like “Niehoe!” Then, I said, “好长时间没见到你们了。”(I haven’t seen you guys for a long time.) I didn’t know what they were talking about, but they said something like “Hoegorxigandoeni”. I felt embarrassed and didn’t know what I should do next. They also found out that we couldn’t understand each other at all, and one of them who is my uncle pointed at a building. I understood that they wanted me to go to their house with them, and we walked together.
Then, I knew that they spoke Cantonese which is a southern dialect in China! I felt that I was an outsider although they were friendly to me because we always failed to communicate with each other. Since we couldn’t understand each other by speaking, if I needed something, I had to write it down on paper and give it to them. I was like a mute while I was living in their home. According to my plan, I would spend my whole summer vacation there. But I couldn’t stand life like this and returned home after a week. This is a failed trip, but it let me understand more about language.
You might ask why there are a lot of dialects in China. As you know, Chinese history is long and complicated. There were seven kingdoms in China during the Warring States Period, and it lasted about two hundred years. If the people in one place couldn’t communicate with the people living in somewhere else, they had to form their own language or dialect. People in each kingdom had their own oral language and written language, but it was hard to communicate between different kingdoms. After the king of one kingdom called Ying Zheng united the other six kingdoms and established Qin Dynasty, he realized this problem and stipulated a unified written language, but he had no idea about unifying the oral language. Although he was the emperor and had the strongest power in the whole country, he didn’t have the power to change the way which people spoke. The oral language can’t be limited and unified because it is a kind of habit which can’t be decided by a certain person. In Han Dynasty, a foreign nation called Xiongnu which is next to the northern China communicated with China frequently during the whole period. So, the oral language of northern China was influenced by Xiongnu inevitably. After Han Dynasty, there were a lot of foreign nations communicating with the Han nationality which is the main nation in China, and this influenced the language in China, too. In Qing Dynasty, a nation called Manchu united China, and their tone influenced oral Chinese in the northern China so Mandarin was formed. After People’s Republic of China was established, Chinese government popularized Mandarin. But people who lived in Guangdong Province in the Southern China were used to using Cantonese, and Cantonese had already become a part of their culture. They didn’t want to change the way which they spoke, so they continued to use Cantonese till today. Dialect is connected with history. Dialect is a tool for communication and a kind of habit, and the reason of formation of a dialect is complicated. Wars can help form a dialect, because the tone of soldiers might be influenced by their enemies. Conquests can help form a dialect, because the conquerors might force the slaves to accept their languages, and the tone of slaves might be different from the conquerors so that a new dialect is formed. Also, trades can help form a dialect. If a person wants to deal with another person who speaks another language, he/she must communicate with the person, and their tone of speaking their own language would be influenced by each other.
There is also a dialect in the United States called black English. In the article If Black English Isn’t a language, Then Tell Me, What Is by James Baldwin, the author says that black english is a language, and it influences white english and culture. It introduces the reason of formation of black english. “Subsequently, the slave was given, under the eye, and the gun, of his master, Congo Square, and the Bible--or in other words, and under these conditions, the slave began the formation of the black church, and it is within this unprecedented tabernacle that black English began to be formed.” Black english is a kind of language which was spoken by black people in the United States. The reason of its formation also connects to history. Blacks were ruled by whites before the American Civil War, and they couldn’t communicate at all because they came from different tribes and used different languages. They wanted to find a way to communicate with each other, so black english appeared.
The reason of formation of dialects connects to history. It might be wars, conquests, trades, etc. Dialect is a way to communicate with each other in a certain area, and it is formed since it is chosen by history. Since this is the historical trend, no one can change it and that’s not necessary.
During the murky early mornings I am a man of very few words. My thoughts are focused on my dreams which I miss intensely the instant I wake. My eyes are towards the ceiling, and my back lays flat on the cushion of my nice soft warm bed. The darkness is a clown which fools with my mind. He bends the fine line between what’s real and what’s only fantasy. Which is why I lay silent trying to figure out the clear difference.
“WILL!” That’s my father yelling from downstairs. I’m still in my dream phase thinking about women and riches. I flop over sideways facing my bedroom door and try to respond to him with a happy hearty “Good morning,” but before I can, my true feelings break loose, and I respond by saying a depressing, miserable, “MmmmWha?”
“Oh.” He says surprisingly. There is a short pause, then he continues, “I think it’s time you start thinking about getting up.”
“Mnnn Kay— one minute.” I fall out of bed and quickly get dressed, walk my dog, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, pack my bag, and then I go to school. It all feels like one movement.
In the classroom I am a mouse, even though I’m totally there, I’m quiet and I speak with my eyes. Sometimes words are as meaningless as a Thrush who cannot sing. However, sometimes, if the right words are used by the right person, they can save a life. In the end, some words are beautiful works of art, like the pieces that are admired in museums and some words are stupid and are only meant to be used for The Mindless Small Talk of everyday life.
“Sup Will.” Someone says.
“Sup man.” I say plainly, and with a sarcastic crescent-shaped smile glued on my face, I shake their hand. That to me is as low as it gets, the words I use for small talk have no personality or charisma. They’re boring and dimwitted, and there is no art or true beauty to them. There’s just that sort of, “I say this, you say this feeling”, you get when your talking to someone you don’t know and or care about. I feel like a social robot, until I get to lunch.
At lunch, with my friends, I am Out Going, I am Free Spirited, and I am Happy— which is not a word I use often. Do I speak out art? I don’t know, but its eccentric and natural and my words mirror my personality— and that’s all that matters.
“Will.” Tom says to me.
“Tom.” I reply.
“Sawyer.” I joke.
Tom throws a fake punch at my face. And I pretend to get hit in the eye, and start to grow fake tears while crying out a fake sob.
Then someone says, “Yo. Guys we should definitely go bowling.”
“I know, we really should.”
“Whites versus Asians again?”
“Hell yah bitch.”
“Were gonna kick your asses back to Viet-Nam.”
“Oh my god. You guys are so messed up.”
“You’re the one who can’t say one sentence without saying the word fuck.”
“He looks like Hitler.”
“Lamborghini Muci Damn deez chicks are thirsty...”
“Shut the hell up.”
“Wait hold on I like that.”
“You see me rollin...”
“Oh my god. Will. Play that country music you like.”
“Its not country. Its folk man. Bob Dylan. See country is like yeee-haaawww grab your partner round ‘n’ round. Folk is expressive and sad like blowin’ in the wind and stuff. I like folk a lot better cause it’s like real poetry made into song.” There is a brief moment of silence. “Plus its fun to play on my guitar.”
The conversations I have with my friends are valuable because they are so natural. The words from my mind, spill out of my lips, like the water that runs out my faucet. It’s a time where my words reveal the most of myself and the mouse in me becomes a lion. I am my own jungle. I roar instead of squeak. I swear instead of shake and I am not alone.
I’m alone on my way home, I’m a shadow, and although I am happy, I am not me. As I walk through familiar streets and smell the familiar smells and hear the familiar sounds, my shadow grows. By the time I get to my door— no, by the time I get to my street, I grow my flesh and bones. I walk into my house, fully skinned and fully clothed. What you see of me is enough for you to know— I’m there. Dragging along my book bag, I parade up the stairs, and walk into the living room. There sitting on the couch is my mother. I am not a lion but I am also not a mouse. At this point, I don’t know what I am. However, I know what I follow. I follow a behavior and manner owned and invented by the house I live in and the roof I live under. I ask questions, instead of answering. I don’t declare or claim anything. I am innocent and ignorant.
“Sup mom.” I said. “What’s for dinner?” I asked.
“Well. Why don’t you look on the counter and find out for yourself.”
“Oh yah.” I turn around and...
“But wait, tell me about your day.” Demands my mother.
I answer her in a few words more than one. I speak, but like the robot I am before lunch, I do not tell. I follow the rules and act as I am supposed to. The world inside the tower which I live in revolves around a small round table. Together we call it the dinning room. We sit and eat and speak and drink.
“I got a eighty five on my spanish test.”
“Thats good.” My mother admitted. “How are you doing on all your other subjects?”
“Pretty good.” I reply.
“Yah, you keeping up on all your assignments?”
“Yes.” I say emotionless and calmly. I finish up my meal and head up to my room.
All through the night, until early in the morning, I’m alone in my room. Once again I am speaking, but not through my eyes or mouth, but within the inner roots of my body. I speak with my heart, soul and mind. These words, they are different than the ones that I say out loud and to me and me only— they are truly beautiful, a masterpiece made out of letters and vowels. Art. These words come from a big bright cabinet located in my dark dreary mind. These words, which I ponder all day keep me occupied and I become excited. These words have personality, style and grace. My heart is finally speaking and my soul is finally free from the tower I am forced to live in. There is no better way to use these words, so why use them at all. Words that are said out loud aren't special, they are wasted, wasted on something that is soon to be nothing. Nothing more than a memory, not worth being memorized.
The words that are meant to be memorized have a true meaning that shows who you really are. Not as a human, but as a individual. Its poetry, art, truly beautiful, Bob Dylan and blowin’ in the wind, eccentric, natural, or whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t really matter, as long they reveal your true self.
“It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify. It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity.” James Baldwin typed that.
“My words depend on my personality, my personality depends on my attitude, my attitude depends on who’s at the door. For I speak out my own creation and my creation is nothing more.” I typed that.