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Language - Jennysha Cruz

Language Is All Around Us

Jennysha Cruz

 

It’s funny how a simple “hello” can sound so differently depending on where you are or whom you’re around. The variety in accents could be different from country to country even town to town. Through geographic location and public exposure people take on accents to better adapt to their environment. You learn and change the tongue you use to fit in with others, to feel comfortable, and most of all welcome in the community that you’re in.

 

“W-AH-T-ER, that’s how I’d pronounce it.”

“Really? People from Philly usually don’t say it like that, more like W-O-T-ER with an “O” sound ya know?” That right, I lived in Philadelphia all my life and commonly hear people pronounce water like that. It’s a normal thing to hear that though. On the other hand, he’s a Jersey person if anyone spoke with an odd accent it was him, or at least that’s what I thought.

“Or what about the way people say orange” I asked.

“Like AR-ANGE”

“There’s an “O” in that ya know. It’s OR-ANGE, no “R”.”

“Well you know people usually pronounce things differently depending where they were raised or how their parents expect them to speak.”

 

This was the first time I was actually confronted about the way I spoke, it was in 7th grade my math teacher over heard a conversation I was having with another on of my peers and he explained to me that people don’t only say things different because of where they lived but the way they were raised. He went on to tell me the way he pounces creek isn’t like I would say it but more like “crick,“ instead. It’s an odd thing language is but it’s what got me thinking, do I speak right to others or do I sound as goofy as my math teacher when he tried to say creek. A difference in language was always something I could recognize easily. Though the thought of sounding a certain way depending on where you were from never really occurred to me. I use to think people from different countries had some big fancy accents like the Austrians who greeted one and another with a cheery, “Good ‘ay mate!” or “Top of the mornin’ to ya” as the British would say. Through out middle school I was quite the observer. I didn’t speak much but sure as hell listened a lot. Though once I went to an international camp I was flooded with all different types of accents from so many people. “Hello,” “Hi-ya,” “Ello,” and “Howdy,” were the new greetings instead of my ordinary “hey,” or “what’s up”.  I pretty much had this image of everyone sounding completely the same because; well we were all from the U.S. If anything people from different countries were the ones that sounded differently. I didn’t recognize that there was such a great variety in accents.

 

I went to a camp in 2009, this was my first ever time staying at an actual sleep away camp. People my age had a similar way of communicating yet different at the same time. I made lots of friends that could fit into the stereotypical New Yorker accent or Jersey accent. The Jersey girl had an odd way of saying; “talk” hers would sound more like “twalk” instead. Living in Philadelphia one would think since Jersey isn’t so far away but really she did sound a bit funny to me when she spoke but I’m sure she got the same feeling toward me as well.

 

I took these observations home with me I suppose I can honestly say I started noticing things differently. After camp I thought of the way people spoke and that is how I became interested in making my speech better. Becoming quite the grammar Nazi when I spotted someone saying something incorrectly. I was often judged by my brother’s friends or other family members because I didn’t have the Latin tongue that they had. They’d call me white or the smart one in the family because of the way I spoke to them. I didn’t change from English to Spanish like others in my family did. I spoke English with them, mostly because it was my comfort language. I do have to say the names they’d give me were pretty strange, “blanca” or “cana” which were both words to describe a white girl. My family had this idea that because I spoke properly and didn’t mix my Spanish and English tongues together that I was considered white. They were stating that race had a direct connection with the way someone spoke. Also, they’d frequently told me I was expected to do well in school because I spoke properly. They were always judging me because of that one thing, my speech.

 

Even though my family often judged me I wasn’t always the victim especially in my immediate family, when household members would pronounce or say a word wrong I’d often correct them. For example, one that was commonly used in my house had to be the word of possession “mine” when my parents or brothers tried to say something belonged to them they’d say “mines”. It was really annoying for a long time. Even today they still use the wrong words. I’d still correct them on their mistake though I realized with my brothers especially he couldn’t break the habit. Unlike myself I go to a magnet high school while my brother goes to my community high school. So you see I’ve learned that accents can be found not only in an international environment, such as my camp but also in different communities and where people tend to spend their time the most such as their school. 

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Language has feelings.

Every city states, country, continent has their own unique ways of speaking, or communicating. Language is a big part of our day's. It has always been something that brought us closer. Language has has feelings too, It would tie all together if we let them have their bonds, but for those of us who actually let it happen, know how it feel like to have a united tongue in your mouth. Language can make your identity glow or make it look trashy.



 Language has feelings too


September 1, 2008, was a new beginning for my family and I. It was our first day In America, This was my family’s dream, that one day they’ll see the status of liberty and be able to tell people back home, how awesome America is. It was a dream come true for them, but not me. You might be asking why was that??? Well you’ll find out as I get more and more into the story.

I somehow knew that Mandingo was not too relevant to Americans. Since I was in Africa I always had this thought of why can’t other people be able to speak their languages or express themselves, without being laughed at in America “Land of the free”.  I mean at least that’s what we was told, and this feeling of I will not be accepted because of the way I spoke or what language I knew was going to be a problem. As I got use to the society I saw was I was afraid of.

Right before we landed, the flight attendant was announcing things, and the only phrase I remembered him saying was “Welcome to America”. The plane landed and since we were at the back of the plane, we weren’t out until ten minutes later. After waiting for the others to get off, my family started to get off; I was the last person to get off. When I walked out I started to look everywhere, with a very confuse and slightly happy smile on my face. Everything was beautiful and I was happy because my family was having the moment of their lives. Then we walked to the front desk where we got our bags, and paper work done. The person behind the desk was speaking English to us, and none of us, could understand anything that came out of her mouth. Therefore they found us a Translator who can speak both Mandingo and English. He did an awesome job at translating what my mom was saying. At the moment every English word sounded like gibberish to me. I wish I knew what they were saying. Most importantly I wish I knew what the flight attendant was saying, until this day, I’m still curious of what was said.

        What most people in our Country don’t realize is that English is not the only language that you can use to communicate with others. A language like Mandingo would be totally irrelevant to Americans, most people would think that well since Mandingo is not a well known language and doesn’t break or make us, how about not worry about such thing in our country,  which make sense when you’re thinking of what language will get you more jobs and things like that. It was very shocking when I found out that “America” Has a Mandingo speaker that can actually translate Mandingo to English. It was a sign of respect.


        The night before first day of school was so exciting for me, I was all set for first day of school. I had my uniform whitch was blue tops and khaki bottoms, and a new sneaker I didn’t care about the brand because it didn’t matter to me back then. I tried to go to sleep early, so that the night can go fast, and apparently it did. In the morning I got up and rushed in the shower, after getting ready my dad took me to school along with my brothers and sisters. I was happy and I thought it was going to be good day, but it turned out I was wrong...
        Sitting in the office for about twenty minutes, waiting for somebody to come get me so that I can go to class. After walking up the stairs, and  walked into my new class. My heart was beating very fast like I had just ran a million miles, and if I’m not recording this wrong, I almost peed on myself. I felt the negative energy killing my vibe. I was convinced that I was nothing but a stupid African girl who is going to be bullied. I knew it, I had the feeling. I was up front nervously moving around as the teacher introduced me to the class, and said “be nice to her she’s from Africa and doesn’t know anyone.” Then she assumed I was from Mali and introduced me to a girl named Nahawa. I had to sit with Nahawa, even though I was not Malian I just pretended She was right because I couldn’t say anything to save my life. I sat there and Nahawa and I spoke Malian, I can only understand because I used to live with people that spoke Malian. As the day go by, every time Nahawa and I speak the students in my class starts to laugh and make sounds and noises, trying kill our vibe. They personally had me, because I was very mad about what they were doing, they tried to make fun the language. I was sitting there thinking to myself, do you know what you are dealing with, I’m not quite. Not knowing how to speak English didn’t mean that I was stupid, or anything. But that’s the message they got from me not being able to say anything.
        Some students in America, don’t know what diversity of language means, they just assume you are stupid because you don’t sound like” OMG what is for dinner” Or ayo my nigga what was the homework” Which makes it hard for people like me because not only that I was struggling from language problems, but it also became a form of bullying. Language doesn’t make you smart it  just make you different, and to me if they didn’t think that being different was a good thing, I guess I didn’t want to be in school, nor be bilango. I started losing my identity because I felt  like I could not be cool speaking a language other than English, and when I spoke to Nahawa from that day on I whispered, Not because I was scare but because I wanted to be accepted and cool, but now I can speak any language at anytime, with any accent.
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The Struggle to Learn Spanish

By: Jasmine Nieves

“The Pressure to Learn Spanish”


My two languages that I speak are English and Spanish. My first language that I really didn’t get to know as I grew up was Spanish. Since I don’t know Spanish as much even though it is my “official” language I should be speaking, everybody talks to me in English and it has always been like that. I should be speaking this language because my family and parents were born Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans speak Spanish. I should have known how to speak the whole language already.  My Everyone trys to speak to me in Spanish.It can be hard for me to keep up.“¿Como es tu día para hoy?”say’s my aunt and I would say “Mi día estan bien”.  “No estan muy bueno, porque no muy bueno.”


After this point, I try to answer and then I start to freeze up, I still try to explain myself but it gets too hard. There are times when my original Spanish language gets caught up with my mind and I start to freeze up. But other times when people other than my aunt talk to me in Spanish, I feel more confident but still a tad bit shy about speaking because I might mess up. I guess I have to understand that it’s okay to make mistakes when I try to speak my Spanish language because I’m just learning the language


“¿Qual es tu tarea por a hoy?”, asks my aunt.  I start to think to say to myself, “Oooo, this sounds easy. I could answer her question”, then I answer it.

“Yo tengo Geometria, Ciencia, Ingles, Español y Historia”.
When she asks me this question in English, I feel more confident than me speaking in Spanish.

My first language of Spanish is related to my history because my mom and dad are both Puerto Ricans. Both my mom and dad’s side of the family both speak Spanish. I grew up learning Spanish and then I forgot about it. But it felt more as if I learned more English growing up.When my mom and my dad had me as their child, I could tell as I grew up as a kid to what I am today, that I am born a Puerto Rican. So its a mixture of both languages.


         Even at school, I struggle doing things in Spanish. I have a struggle when it comes to tests or quizzes, I forget everything or some things from when I studied the night before. This is not on purpose, I just don’t know why that happens but it happens all the time.


Don Marcos is my teacher is Spanish Class. “Take out a pen or pen. You’re going to have your test/quiz”. I take out a pencil from my pencil case and try to start the quiz or test he gives the class. When I see some of the questions I think I know them but sometimes I can’t remember some of the words. I usually leave two or three questions blank because I didn’t remember. When its time to hand it in, I sort of look scared and my hand shakes a little because I think I didn’t do so good on it.

“Reflexive verbs have two verb phrases” he says. “A boot verb keeps nosotros the same but the others different” he continued. As he continued to explain what Reflexive Verbs are or just explaining things to make it our notes. I write it down because that is what we study from. I thought I knew it as he was telling us. But when he started to ask questions, benchmarks, quizzes or tests, I feel as if I’m going to fail his class. I seriously need Spanish help.


I don’t know why I don’t understand Spanish more but still know a lot of English. It’s ok for me to speak two different languages and speak the other more. I want to try to speak and learn about Spanish in order to stay in tact with my Puerto Rican background and my family. Also, my family also wants me to try to speak the language too but its hard for me. I wish I had some Spanish tutor to help me better understand how this whole Spanish thing works because I want to learn. Learning Spanish is what I really want to know what it comes to languages and others too, but first I would like to learn Spanish. My national language is very important to me.

         My internal and sort of external struggle, is me speaking Spanish vs me speaking English. The Spanish language came from my mom and my dad. They both had Puerto Rican parents and they had a Puerto Rican family which made me Puerto Rican. The relationship between language and power is that every voice and everybody has a right to say anything they want. This is a basic rule the Constitution gave to the people. When they start to speak about something with a lot of feeling and emotion, it’s called power. What my language says about me is just that. We all have a voice and we should use it whenever possible because it could come in handy one day. I understand that language and identity intersect.

As I got older my aunt kept asking me “Do you want to take at least 15 minutes a day and speak Spanish”? I would say “Yes” but when the day comes we speak it only a little bit. I was made to be a Puerto Rican and I will always be one and that idea will continue to live on. I’m learning about it in high school. I’m improving but not that much on the subject or just at home talking about it with my aunt. Language is not that big of a conflict at my house. I’m just not that confident or I’m just worried of what words to use if I can’t remember them on time when the person, I’m speaking to, is in front of me. It’s the same way at school but a little bit worse. It’s a little bit worse because I have tests, quizzes and benchmarks, I’m afraid I might fail.


         How I feel about it now is the same way I’ve felt about it before, which was confident and felt like I didn’t remember. I should have remembered all these times because I’m Hispanic but I would always forget. When I try to remember, I have a lot to remember from the class and other things on my mind, that I can’t seem to remember what to say. I feel my Spanish will not improve now but as I get older and practicing more and more everyday with my Spanish, I know I will get there like I know my English growing up. I’m trying to say Spanish, in general is my hardest language than my English. I’m fluent when I speak in English but not as much when I speak in Spanish or do anything that has to deal with Spanish.

A quote by Richard Rodriguez could relate to what I saying 50% of the time. “An accident of geography sent me to a school where all my classmates were white, many of the children of doctors and lawyers and business executive.” This relates to what I’m trying to say is because this person spoke a different language and they didn’t feel right at the school because there were different races and he wasn’t comfortable just the same way I am uncomfortable with speaking Spanish.  

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SLA Dance! "This Is How We Do It!"​

"This Is How We Do It!"​

Attention!! The next SLA dance is on February 1st. Tickets are limited so get them ASAP! If you have any questions please feel free to email Adam (aka) DJ Phazze, Mecca, or Zac.


When: February 1st
Where: 22nd & Arch St (SLA)
Time: 7p - 10p
Cost: $5 tickets / $7 at the door
Attire: Dress to Impress


*Feel Free To Bring Friends:

Friends Must Show High School ID!
Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 5.48.16 PM
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YATW Blog Post #2- Poverty and Hunger in Philly

Jesse Shuter

English 9 - Dunn

Orange Stream

Blog Post #2



Hunger and Poverty in Philadelphia is an issue that keeps going under the radar. For our English class at SLA every student is creating a You and the World Project. Each project consists of a world issue that we are then responsible for teaching the public about. Something that I feel is an important issue is hunger and poverty in Philadelphia. I like researching this issue because it is easy to feel close to since it is a local issue. It is also an important issue because millions of people are suffering day after day.

For this blog post I am including original research. The first part of this research was a survey that I had sent around to family, friends, teachers and pretty much anyone that was willing to participate. There was a common theme in the answers that were given. The first question listed was, Where do you think of when you think of hunger? Some people said South and Central America which are both suffering from hunger. Many people said America which is very true. However every single person that responded; whether they listed one place or many; said Africa. Now I’m not going to sit here and say that people in Africa are not suffering from starvation, because that would be absoulutley wrong and ignorant. However at the same time the point I am trying to get across is that people are suffering everywhere; even in our backyards; yet people always focus on Africa.

Why? The answer to this is clear, the reason that everyone connects Africa to hunger and forgets about Americans is propaganda. A few people commented on their responses. One person said, “Because that's all everyone hears about, but there is hunger every where else also.”. Another person says, “It's one of those things there are always hungry kids in commercials from the places I marked”. A few other people also commented saying that the reason they feel this way is the sad faces of the children in Africa that are on television and need our help. The propaganda on television is a powerful resource. Something that I have learned from this is that if the people on television could use this power to inform people about poverty in America, then it could help a lot of people get off the streets.

Something that I found interesting in these responses were that two people said that it is hard to pinpoint certain locations that suffer from hunger, because it is such a global problem. These people are exactly right. Poverty is spreading everywhere. It has always been a lower class problem, but recent studies show that even the lower middle class is starting to get hit with money issues. The hunger is growing and if we don’t stop to feed it, then everyone is going to feel the pain of living without the luxury of 3 meals a day.

Another one of my questions was what kind of community service do you participate in. Majority of the answers were that people donate clothes and toys. Only a few people actually went to help people in person. However I was pleasantly surprised because majority of the people that answered my survey did do a form of community service which is great. 

My favorite question that was on one of my surveys was, “If you faced poverty how would you react?”. This was a multiple choice question so there were multiple options as an answer to this question. The options were: Go to the government/welfare for help; Go to a shelter; Try and get a job; Ask for money from people on the streets; or Become depressed/give up. I had expected the majority of the respondents to answer that they would go to the government for help, or go to a shelter. However nearly everyone that chose to respond to this question said that they would try and get a job. Now while this seems like a logical choice from the standpoint of someone that is not facing poverty, someone that is impoverished would know how hard it is to get a job when you have no money, no references, no college degree, nothing to show for. I also found this response to be thought provoking because most people that are impoverished you do not find good jobs. Most people that become impoverished give up and either go to a shelter, get an extremely low paying job, or ask for money on the streets.

Poverty and hunger is a huge problem that needs more attention. People need to realize what is going on outside their houses every day. To see my blog post #1, which introduces you to poverty and hunger in Philadelphia and gives a better understanding of what is going on, click here. To view my bibliography click here.

In my next blog post I will include what I have been doing to make a change in the world.


To view or take my survey on Poverty and Hunger, click here.





Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 10.07.52 PM
Above is a Picture displaying the results to my question "If you faced poverty how would you react?” (source).



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The image above shows an impoverished man suffering from the cold (source).

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YATW blog 2: Teen Depression

Since the first blog post I’ve written, I’ve done research on new information for my topic, “Teenage Depression.” In my school, I have conducted questions based on the subject and formed a survey to deliver out to the student body. The basic questions were for example, asking their age, their grade, and if they have ever felt sad, and what might be the cause of their sadness. So far, an abundant amount people answered my survey. 



           From the pie chart at the bottom, you can tell that the majority of the participants are females. This shows that the males weren’t as eager to answer as the females in this survey. 



  Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 1.18.45 PM


    This conspicuous question, “Are you Sad/Depressed?” was asked, and the outcome is very close. 57% of the students answered no, while the other 43% said yes. 

    Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 1.16.13 PM


  The students who also answered this survey were between the ages of 12-18.
The people at SLA who answered this survey, was also required to answer, “What do you think causes your sadness?” 


*The highlighted words were all answers that occured more than once.* 

  • Insecurities
  • Low self-worth 
  • Seeing people better than me, or better off. 
  • School 
  • Stress with my relationship with my boyfriend/girlfriend 
  • Changing how I look at myself; disappointment
  • Family
  • Benchmarks
  • Rumors 
  • Bullying 
  • My Past 
  • Loneliness 
  • I occasionally feel extremely dysmoprhic. Or as though I don't matter to others.
  • Love, how I feel that nobody loves me. 
  • Self-esteem 
  • Self image 
  • Life and Death 
  • Hormones 
  • My Weight 
  • Not having any friends
  • Girls 
  • Language problems 
  • Thyroid condition 
  • Negative enviornment 
  • Drugs 
  • Problems of the world 

One of the most popular answers for causes their sadness is family issues. For instance, there could be many problems at home; Divorce, death of a loved one, abuse, arguments, etc. This can have a lot of impact on a teen. Another main problem found in my suvery was stress regarding school. Most people went to school and delt with school work, homework, projects etc. 

My research has gotten me a better understanding on my perspective on teen depression. I found out that most people at my high school struggle from depression like me. My personal opinion about my results is that all of those people who answered to being sad are around my age let alone go to my school. I would love to help and talk to them; to let them know that I'm on their side dealing with the same problems. The thing that I am still wondering about is that what can I do for those teens at my school who are struggling with depression? Well, I can start by listening to them at my support group lunch at school and giving them comfort with their situation. 
My agent of change has been to develop a support group lunch, which was said in the first blog post. I've done a lot of research on how to run a big project like this. For instance, this website has many ideas I am basing my group on. What you see on television about support groups being portrayed as just a bunch of people sitting in a circle talking one at a time nervously is the total opposite of what my support group lunch is going to be like. It's going to be a very safe environment supervised by my school counselor and english teacher. 
Here is my Bibliography
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Language Autobiography 2013: Distanced From Translation

This Quarter in English, we have been exploring the topic of language and identity. I have truly learned a lot in this unit, and when given the idea of being assigned a project based on it, I was jumping at the opportunity. Mr. Block assigned a "Language Autobiography" in which we used writing to explain a way that language affects our daily lives. I used my sister in mine because that was the closest thing to language affecting me daily besides the words that utter my mouth each day and I honestly thought I could go far with this topic. I hope you enjoy reading my Autobiography below and watching the video that follows. Enjoy!

Growing up, there has been (and still is) something that clearly divides our family. It is not the color of our hair or whether we share the same eye color. A speech barrier has affected more than half of my family. In a household where all the adults come from a type of language that seems flawless, it seems odd that many of the children have problems with the way they speak (myself not included). Part of me feels somewhat personally affected by it, but the other part is happy that I don’t suffer from this problem. There is a void in my family, that is filled with the constant battle of “never being good enough” and “never fitting in.” We all have our reasons, but the one that I suffer with is being the one who is  more focused on school and the success of my future. I don’t feel I have to make excuses for why I cannot do something.


One of the family members most affected by this is my four year old sister Alyssa. Alyssa has a very apparent lisp and is facing the brunt of criticism at such a young age.  Some may think it is cute, but sooner or later it will catch up and consume her. Seems like it already has. She tries to speak with my mother to say something that may or may not be difficult in pronunciation and it comes out with a lisp. If we ask her to repeat herself, it’s because we didn’t understand it or because we try to help her, she stops and refuses to say it again. It is like she knows that shes not saying it right and gets nervous which causes her to stop speaking. I ask myself why? Why is society so superficial that it dictates whether you fit in based on someone’s opinion? It is something that is so unreal to me. Something that I see as a true problem. This has happened to more than just my family. It is something that so many can relate to. It’s an unbelievable feeling, being “shunned” in a sense because you have something that makes you unique. Everyone has their own unique way of being and society dictates whether it matters. You either fit into society or you don't, and it starts the minute you are born, a lot depending on the “in” trends of that date and time.

Over time, with the increased amount of diversity in the country, language is becoming the new “in” thing. If you don’t speak a certain way, you are cast out. There is more to life than just the way you speak, the language you speak or where you speak it.

         In school you are required to study another language, helping you to expand your mind to other parts of the world. In my school, that language is Spanish. I have never spoken Spanish, nor have I have ever considered taking Spanish as a second language, however since it is required, I have no choice. Based on this, I know where my sister is coming from. The feelings of being lost, alienated and confused are what come to mind.  I can go on and on about the way not fitting in due to language feels, but in my case, I either get it or I don't. There hasn't really been a medium for me. I am struggling not with the idea of learning a new language or not having a choice. I am struggling with being able to fully understand what's going on. When learning a new language, you need full support from both your teachers as well as peers, but when you are judged and laughed at for pronouncing things wrong, you no longer want to continue. It becomes a different light shed to those who are “different” than us. I ask myself why? Is it because they speak differently than you? The pressure is on in the battle with language and how you choose to fight that battle is up to you. Do you let it overwhelm you and attack at your emotions or do you just try harder to prove to everyone that you can indeed do it on your own and be like them. It shouldn’t be that way. You should want to do better for your own personal benefit, not because you want to fit in with those around you. However, unfortunately in the world today, that is not an option.

In today’s society, you are in a better standing knowing more than one language. That is not a bad thing, however the way that the message is put across may seem scary and  overwhelming. I know personally the pressure is on learning and being fluent in another language. It will give me a headstart when it comes to college and prepare for traveling and expanding my relationships with those who speak a language other than English. There are some things in life worth doing, and language is one of them. There is no reason to sit around and complain about it when you can just act. No matter what you do in the world, there is going to be criticism, bullying and people trying to kick you down. The only thing you can do is want better for yourself and want to succeed. Pick up that want and keep trudging forward, the outcome will be a thousand times better if you do it for yourself, and not because of pressure of others.  
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Daddy?

“That’s some skittle-cake!” I shouted in a room full of relatives, grandparents to the newly born girl sitting with her mother in the corner of the room. According to my mother, my teammate was making too many gestures as she gave the clues. “We should get those points!” I argued. I was always very competitive when it came to playing Taboo, but no one was worried about the score at that moment. They wanted to know what I’d even meant by shouting ‘skittle-cake’.

 

“Skittle-cake? Is that some new word ya’ll using?” My aunt asked. I would’ve said yes, but honestly, no one I knew used the word besides me. Which was a good thing. That word was the first way I discovered how to separate myself from crowds and trends.

 

            When I think of the people who speak the “better” English, those are the people who use it in a clear and educated way. When you’re educated in the English language, it gives you a bigger canvas to express yourself. You can’t play a Jimi Hendrix song on guitar if you only know three notes. However, becoming an English Linguistics major isn’t the only way a person can become better equipped to express themselves through language. As a teenager, I’m beginning to form my own self- image. Part of that is trying to be different than everyone else in every way possible. One of the ways I’ve found effective in doing so is with the way I speak. “I like dem shoes! They tough daddy!”. The usual response I get after I say something like this is, “ ‘Daddy’? What Thomas?”. While some may use loud clothing or wild hairstyles to stand out, I use language to express who I am to the world.

           

            In, If Black English Isn’t A Language Tell Me, What Is?, James Baldwin states, “Language incontestably reveals the speaker.” Different patterns and dialects can automatically be pinned to certain people. With your eyes closed, you could tell your listening to Obama speak just by the deep, calming tone he speaks in. With accents we can tell where a person is from. If actors are using words like jive and right on, you know you’re watching an American 70’s movie. Before even using any words to describe ourselves, people can tell something about us from whatever uniqueness you have to your diction.  The less unique, the less we stand out.

 

            . Slang is something that we all use, which sort of accompanies regional accents. We, here in Philadelphia, have our own set of words and phrases that we also use. However, one thing that I value is being unique. I was never one to follow trends or become too involved in pop-culture. One thing that makes me distinct is the language I use. I’ve transformed what some may call a Philadelphian accent into my own distinguishable speech. I may use the word daddy to represent something I think is cool or nice, or just use it as the suffix to a word due to my goofy nature.

 

            “It’s nip-daddy! I should’ve wore my coat this morning”. My friend stare at me, puzzled by the jibberish I’d just spoken.

 

“Nip-daddy? What, Thomas?” asked Ashley. Once the confusion passed, a burst of laughter erupted from everyone who’d heard me say it, the reaction I was hoping for. That’s the kind of laughter I like. Not the kind that’s ridiculing and harsh, but the kind that gives you a sense of belonging in your community.

 

“I guess we can add that to the bank with scrumptious” replied my friend Pierce. Scrumptious, as the average English speaker knows it, means to taste delicious. For me, the meaning is slightly different. I’ve transformed it into a phrase used to describe something attractive, from people to inanimate objects. Though this word currently exist in the English language, I’ve compromised it’s formality to create my own slang.

 

            Although English is something we all speak, it is spoken in different ways for each person. For me, I use my language to define my uniqueness. I bend and twist words into unorthodox patterns. With my clothes, music, and food choices I’d be an outcast. With language I’ve become a trend on my own.

 

 

 

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The Words Less Spoken

During this unit, I learned about the different aspects of language and the overall different views on it from a great deal of perspectives and opinions. As this unit progressed, we read analytical short stories and quasi-vignettes from many different authors including Richard Rodriguez, Amy Tan, and more, who spoke of their own deeper analysis of languages and personal experiences. As a wrap-up for the unit, we were given an assignment that entailed writing an autobiographical and analytical essay centered on both revealing one’s own experiences in their life, as well as analyzation of languages. We were given many topics to use as the focal point of our essays such as, code switching, regional dialect, and language versus emotion. Throughout the unit and completing the work given in it, I as an individual took an extremely inquisitive approach to what we read. I was highly interested in the multifaceted characters in the works observed. Mainly because of the unique exposures of the authors. In this essay, I attempted to apply the same characteristics that the other authors had within their stories.


The Words Less Spoken


There are many ways in which we represent the different things that were are influenced to how they affect us in every aspect of life, no matter how slight that change may be. This can be any number of things. The people that are around, the places they see and are present in, what they see on tv and the people they are introduced to. Those effects can be observed and narrowed down to the smallest detail. Sometimes, that detail can be as miniscule as the way a person talks around different people and groups. This becomes evident and can become noticeable as more and more people get used to how you talk to them and it can come as a surprise to them if they hear how you talk to other people that you don’t use the same tone of voice and or speech with when you talk to them as opposed to when you talk to that person. Unfamiliarity can be a strange thing. For instance, when you’re meeting someone new, it is always a quick decision on how you will speak to that person. Whether or not you will use your normal voice or something to make you sound more professional or mature. The choices are endless and everyone’s are different. It all boils down to first impressions and creating a persona for yourself.


I have discovered that through time, and through observing by listening, anyone can pick up on the manner with which one person talks to another. Even though at times it may not be apparent, the code switching is still present because everybody does it, no matter how slight it may be. The first time that I started to listen to people when they talk, I didn’t immediately think of it as anything out of the ordinary, but it was peculiar to me how that person’s voice had sounded, in comparison to how it sounded when they talked to me. The first time that I really deeply observed the trait that everyone develops at some point early in their life is when I had involuntarily done it when I was talking to my friends one day. It was about three years ago. I was holding just a normal conversation with my friend, Dave at our grade school. Now, before I get into how I analyzed our conversation, I want to preface my statement with saying that Dave was generally known as a tougher character, one that could throw a pretty hard punch, and take one, too. It was early in the school year, about November or December. Me and a my friend were sitting down in the cafeteria, talking about god knows what. Dave had gotten some of the less than appetizing food offered by the school for those who didn’t bring a lunch from home. Which, when I think about it now, was not worth the money paid for it. He sat down at our table, inhabited only by me and another person. I vaguely remember one of us cracking a joke about something and then I watched Dave look at his “lunch” and grimace with disgust. He then cursed and muttered something under his breathe. We both began to talk about our days and the oddities that tended to occur at our school. We shared laughs here and there and by the end of lunch, I had noticed something about my voice. It had gotten deeper, slightly, and I spoke much more loosely, not caring much for proper grammar or fluid pronunciation. I was trying to sound... tough, I guess is what I would call it then. In comparison to current day, I now call it “making a first impression.” The reason I did this was to... well, fit in. I felt it necessary to do so because I wanted to have that sense of toughness. Now, when I compare that to how I talk to my dad, it’s a whole other story. The words I speak are much softer and completely articulate when I talk to my father. Back to the story. The way I spoke to my friend those years ago, is generally how I’ll speak to strangers when asked a question or just when having a conversation with a store clerk. I always have tried to keep this demeanor and appearance of a tougher person.

The reason that it’s involuntary is because when you become so adept to talking certain ways to different people, it becomes second-nature to us, a passing thought. Not at that specific moment, though. I stopped myself, after I had finished my thought. I noticed that I just spoke in a different tone of voice to my friends... almost out of nowhere. It seemed completely new to me, even though I had been doing it so long - it just never occurred to me because I was unconsciously doing it.


In life, the people we meet and have human interaction with greatly influence and mold ourselves as individuals. One of the very first things people notice when meeting someone for the first time is how they speak and in what tone of voice they do it with. Depending on the impression the person makes, your voice and movement will be influenced. Often times, when a person has become so used to talking one way for a while, they become lost and unable switch their voice when they need to, especially when talking to someone who only knows of their voice one way. The main reason why people in everyday life code switch is to not only develop a relationship with nearly each individual they meet, but to know who they’re around in a sense that they know who they have to impress and who they can be open with. Lastly, people in society use code switching to learn about another person.


Kingston, Maxine Hong. The Woman Warrior. New York: Vintage International, 1976. Print. 


Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands/La Frontera. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1999. Print.

Rodriguez, Richard. Hunger of Memory. Boston: David R. Godine, 1982. Print. 

Baldwin, James. "If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me What Is." New York Times. (July 29, 1979): <http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/29/specials/baldwin-english.html>. 

hooks, bell. Hooks on the Language of Power. New Learning. Web. 11 Jan 2013. <http://newlearningonline.com/literacies/chapter-6-critical-literacies/hooks-on-the-language-of-power/>. 

Tan , Amy. "Mother Tongue." Home is Where the Heart Dwells. N.p.. Web. 11 Jan 2013. <https://blogs.law.harvard.edu/guorui/2008/02/06/mother-tongue-by-amy-tan/>. 
http://vimeo.com/57633545
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"The Pressure to Learn Spanish"

My two languages that I speak are English and Spanish. My first language that I really didn’t get to know as I grew up was Spanish. Since I don’t know Spanish as much even though it is my “official” language I should be speaking, everybody talks to me in English and it has always been like that. I should be speaking this language because I was born Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans speak Spanish. I should have known how to speak the whole language already.  My Everyone trys to speak to me in Spanish.It can be hard for me to keep up.“¿Como es tu día para hoy?”say’s my aunt and I would say “Mi día estan bien”.  “No estan muy bueno, porque no muy bueno.”


After this point, I try to answer and then I start to freeze up, I still try to explain myself but it gets too hard. There are times when my original Spanish language gets caught up with my mind and I start to freeze up. But other times when people other than my aunt talk to me in Spanish, I feel more confident but still a tad bit shy about speaking because I might mess up. I guess I have to understand that it’s okay to make mistakes when I try to speak my Spanish language because I’m just learning the language


“¿Qual es tu tarea por a hoy?”, asks my aunt.  I start to think to say to myself, “Oooo, this sounds easy. I could answer her question”, then I answer it.

“Yo tengo Geometria, Ciencia, Ingles, Español y Historia”.
When she asks me this question in English, I feel more confident than me speaking in Spanish.

My first language of Spanish is related to my history because my mom and dad are both Puerto Ricans. Both my mom and dad’s side of the family both speak Spanish. I grew up learning Spanish and then I forgot about it. But it felt more as if I learned more English growing up.When my mom and my dad had me as their child, I could tell as I grew up as a kid to what I am today, that I am born a Puerto Rican. So its a mixture of both languages.


         Even at school, I struggle doing things in Spanish. I have a struggle when it comes to tests or quizzes, I forget everything or some things from when I studied the night before. This is not on purpose, I just don’t know why that happens but it happens all the time.


Don Marcos is my teacher is Spanish Class. “Take out a pen or pen. You’re going to have your test/quiz”. I take out a pencil from my pencil case and try to start the quiz or test he gives the class. When I see some of the questions I think I know them but sometimes I can’t remember some of the words. I usually leave two or three questions blank because I didn’t remember. When its time to hand it in, I sort of look scared and my hand shakes a little because I think I didn’t do so good on it.

“Reflexive verbs have two verb phrases” he says. “A boot verb keeps nosotros the same but the others different” he continued. As he continued to explain what Reflexive Verbs are or just explaining things to make it our notes. I write it down because that is what we study from. I thought I knew it as he was telling us. But when he started to ask questions, benchmarks, quizzes or tests, I feel as if I’m going to fail his class. I seriously need Spanish help.


I don’t know why I don’t understand Spanish more but still know a lot of English. It’s ok for me to speak two different languages and speak the other more. I want to try to speak and learn about Spanish in order to stay in tact with my Puerto Rican background and my family. Also, my family also wants me to try to speak the language too but its hard for me. I wish I had some Spanish tutor to help me better understand how this whole Spanish thing works because I want to learn. Learning Spanish is what I really want to know what it comes to languages and others too, but first I would like to learn Spanish. My national language is very important to me.

         My internal and sort of external struggle, is me speaking Spanish vs me speaking English. The Spanish language came from my mom and my dad. They both had Puerto Rican parents and they had a Puerto Rican family which made me Puerto Rican. The relationship between language and power is that every voice and everybody has a right to say anything they want. This is a basic rule the Constitution gave to the people. When they start to speak about something with a lot of feeling and emotion, it’s called power. What my language says about me is just that. We all have a voice and we should use it whenever possible because it could come in handy one day. I understand that language and identity intersect.

As I got older my aunt kept asking me “Do you want to take at least 15 minutes a day and speak Spanish”? I would say “Yes” but when the day comes we speak it only a little bit. I was made to be a Puerto Rican and I will always be one and that idea will continue to live on. I’m learning about it in high school. I’m improving but not that much on the subject or just at home talking about it with my aunt. Language is not that big of a conflict at my house. I’m just not that confident or I’m just worried of what words to use if I can’t remember them on time when the person, I’m speaking to, is in front of me. It’s the same way at school but a little bit worse. It’s a little bit worse because I have tests, quizzes and benchmarks, I’m afraid I might fail.


         How I feel about it now is the same way I’ve felt about it before, which was confident and felt like I didn’t remember. I should have remembered all these times because I’m Hispanic but I would always forget. When I try to remember, I have a lot to remember from the class and other things on my mind, that I can’t seem to remember what to say. I feel my Spanish will not improve now but as I get older and practicing more and more everyday with my Spanish, I know I will get there like I know my English growing up. I’m trying to say Spanish, in general is my hardest language than my English. I’m fluent when I speak in English but not as much when I speak in Spanish or do anything that has to deal with Spanish.

A quote by Richard Rodriguez could relate to what I saying 50% of the time. “An accident of geography sent me to a school where all my classmates were white, many of the children of doctors and lawyers and business executive.” This relates to what I’m trying to say is because this person spoke a different language and they didn’t feel right at the school because there were different races and he wasn’t comfortable just the same way I am uncomfortable with speaking Spanish.  


By: Jasmine Nieves



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That's Not My Name

That’s not my name

By: Marteena Johnson

The history of my name is a short one. It’s my moms name, no one else in my family that I know of has the same name as my mother and me. My mother’s maiden name is Martina Elizabeth Williams, and my name is Marteena Saraya Johnson. A lot of people think because my mom’s and my name are pronounced the same that I’m a second. But our first names aren’t spelled the same and we don’t share the same middle or last name.

            There are different variations of my name that my family calls me. Lil Mart, little Marty, or just Marty. My mom is called Big Marty when were together because we have the same nickname. It’s a confusing moment when my grandmother calls one of us but we don’t know whom she’s talking to. So she has to say, “No, little Marty.” Or “Big Marty.” It seems weird when you think about it but it’s something I’ve lived with for a long time and I’m used to it by now.

            Personally I don’t like my name. I don’t like the sound of it. I don’t think it fits me. Like James Baldwin says in his essay, If Black English isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is? “Now, no one can eat his cake and have it too” Just because I identify myself as one doesn’t mean I’m not the other. I may be addressed as Marty, but Marteena is still my name and apart of who I am. I think the name fits my mom better though. My mom is a lot more feminine than me. She doesn’t own a single pair of sneakers that aren’t for working out. I’m used to teachers calling me by first name, but most of my peers and friends call me Marty. I prefer to be called Marty, because it feels like it gives off the boyish quality about me. I don’t like to wear skirts. I usually wear jeans, or sweatpants, and sneakers. Sometimes I don’t respond to Marteena at all, or I’ll reply with “that’s not my name.”

Some people just like the sound of Marteena, more than Marty, and it doesn’t always bother me. Though there’s a distinct difference between Marteena and Marty. Marteena is the type of person to be patient, and polite. A lot of parents joke about trading kids when they meet Marteena. Marty is stubborn and impatient, and often has a bad temper. She also doesn’t like having her sleep tampered with. If she’s sleeping, it’s not the best idea to sit in the hallway near her room.

There were snickers and laughs coming from the hallway outside of my door. My little brother and cousin were in the hallway outside of my room door. I yelled,

“Can you move from outside of my door!”

“We’re not outside of your door, we’re in the hallway.”

“Well, can you move? I can hear you in my room!”

I throw my sheets over my head and lay down. I can still hear my brother and cousin talking. I hate having to get up when I’m tired. I get up and go outside. My brother and cousin are not even a foot away from my door.

            “Can you move from outside of my door?”

They look at me and keep talking like I didn’t say anything.

“Move!”

I hate having to yell to get them to listen. It’s annoying and they always want to act tough and talk back because I am not an adult. I am still older than them, therefore, they still have to listen to me. It seems that they only listen when I yell. As they move from in front of my door, I go back to my room. My chances at getting sleep are at a zero now because I did so much yelling. I lay down anyway, and my mom comes in my room about fifteen minutes later to tell me there is pizza downstairs.

                        Unlike Marty, Marteena isn’t the type of person to yell. She tries not to be rude. She’s also a lot more soft spoken. I think there’s a middle where Marteena and Marty live together. There is not usually just one and not the other a lot of the time. Sometimes there is but its not often, but Marty does show a lot more. Marty is more of a nerd, she like video games, watching comedy, she’s funny, she doesn’t care about much it depends on the situation, and she’s loud. Marty also has the more “do it yourself” attitude, if she wants something done, she’ll do it herself because she’s to impatient to rely on other people and she’s wants it done her way. Marteena is quite, shy, silly at times, a little girly, and she’s more sensitive to peoples’ feelings. Marty is more loose and free while Marteena is more conserved. They also share some of the same qualities. Which is a love for writing whether it be poetry or a story, reading because reading has always been apart of my life, I try my best to make time to read a good book.

I think they both come together on an emotional level, especially when it comes to writing because there’s a lot of feeling in the writing and they share those same feelings. When it comes down to emotions Marty is more conserved with her feelings, while Marteena is an open book. Marteena is the pen while Marty is the paper and the words are the middle, which is where they meet.

 

 

 

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Language Autobiography,

 In our english classes recently, we have been discussing different ways people use language and how language effects people. In my paper and video below it shows how language changed me and how langanguge has the ability to change people also.   



Torn Between the Two
 

  Going from being placed in a community where there is no diversity to a community where your family members are the ones who are diverse is very difficult. In order to make sure that everybody is comfortable, there were some changes I had to make to my tongue. I couldn't say racial slurs that I would normally say when I was around a group of people that are just like me. I couldn't  make jokes about other different groups ethnicities. I am stuck in place where I find myself having to change they way I talk around my immediate family and the way I talk around my general family.

 “I can’t stand white people,” or “These damn crackers don't belong on this Earth” are common terms that you would hear coming out of the mouths of my immediate family, without knowing that these racial slurs could easily offended someone of the race being spoken about. I notice what is being said but I do not speak about it  because it is something that I have grew up on. These types of racial slurs were normal in my house, besides the people who were being spoke about were not near so why did it matter, was what I always thought. My immediate family and I would talk about anyone who were not like us, black of course, when we indeed had people in our family who were of another race.

 My cousin Alexander would always visit us. She was nothing like us. She was a tall white kid that lived in the suburbs with her tall white dad and his wife. Her mom was my aunt making her related to us but she still looked nothing like us. She was nothing like us, but the fact that she was my blood we had no choice but to accept her.  

 Alexander  and I would always sit down and watch tv every since we were younger. While she would shout at a basketball game when somebody did a crazy move I would shout at the tv when a clothing commercial came on “Why the fuck they always putting these boney ass white bitches on tv,” or “I’m tired of seeing these white bitches, they look like walking ghosts.” Looking at my cousin, I would notice her glancing at me and I would try to cover up my bad words of choices with phrase that went like “I’m not talking about you , you know I love you cous” or “I'm just playing, I just want to see some chocolate jawns like me up there ” knowing deep down in the inside that I had hurt her feelings. Its clear that I had struggled with changing the way I spoke around different types of people. Although I didn't intentionally try and hurt her I had did so. It was time I learned how to change my tongue when around people other than my immediate family.

 When I would hear my family talk about other groups of people, I would tell myself not to engage and for the first few weeks I had meet my challenge. When my cousin Alexander would come around I stopped myself from saying racial slurs around her, I had even eliminated them out of my vocabulary completely. I really felt as if I had changed my tongue.

I found a new way of speaking, I found  a new voice. Instead of insulting an entire race  or insulting anyone at all I made suggestions. I went from ““Why the fuck they always putting these boney ass white bitches on tv?” to “I would prefer if I saw more black women.” I didn't have to try and code switch my voices when I was placed in different environments  because I spoke in a way that was comfortable for everyone.

People who have noticed the change in my speech would say that I'm changing who I am to be accepted or that I'm trying to be something that I am not. I would have to say otherwise. I have rearranged the way I use my tongue so that I am able to communicate with any and everyone. I am no longer a prisoner of language to the point where I say something at the the wrong time around the wrong people. Now when I am around or communicating with people who are nothing like me, with people who are a different race than me it feels even more comfortable for me because I have learned that the way you speak and the words you say highly affect the amount of people you are able to have a successful conversation with or even develop a decent relationship with.
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Language Essay

“What are you trying to say?”

By: Jordyn Randall

“Hand me that jawn right there” I said.

“ What does that word mean?” My new classmate asked.

Starting in the sixth grade, I went to a middle school in the suburbs, Havertown to be exact. Before that, I went to Overbrook Elementary in  West Philadelphia. This school was mostly black when I was in pre-school and kindergarten, but as the years went on we became more diverse. Either way, everybody was from the same area so everybody spoke the same. I was very comfortable.

  During my first year in my middle school it took a while for me to get adjusted to this new environment, and the way they spoke. Having previously come from a city grade school, I wasn’t entirely comfortable and  was often misunderstood. I used slang words that were common for me, but were different to my classmates, like a foreign language. Words like “salty”, “drawlin” and “jawn”. They hadn’t heard words like these before, so when I used them they were confused and would stare at me with confused faces. I would have to stop what I was saying and explain the word. They too, also used words or phrases that I couldn’t understand, I would ask what they meant. Phrases like “ You just got owned” , were new to me, but were apart of everyone elses daily conversation. I would also laugh at them when they said things like this because I thought they sounded like weirdos. Then it thought maybe they thought the same thing about me.

Scott, look at you being salty.”

“ Oh now you gonna start using my words.”

In the beginning we had to explain to each other what we were trying to say, but eventually we started talking more and they started using the words that I used. 



Things changed again when I transitioned to high school.

“ GOOD JOB SYMONE!!”

“Why do you sound like that?”

“ Like what?”

“A little kid.”

“I don’t know?”

When I left my middle school and came to SLA a lot people told me that I sounded like a nerd and a little kid. During basketball games and practices, I would cheer for my team or call a play and people would always say I sound like a little kid. I’d always reply: “Oh well I cant help the way I talk it’s better than talking like an old woman.”



My sister always mocked me jokingly in a nerd voice.

“I want some cookies.” I said.

“I want some cookies.” said Martina in a high squeaky voice like Urkel.

  I never thought that I really sounded much like a nerd. That is until i heard my voice recorded, and wondered “who is that??”. I always sounded totally different in my head. I always thought my voice was deeper than the way everybody described it.

“Why every time I bring up boxing, a white man always gotta bring up Rocky Mashiana...Rocky Mashiana, Rocky Mashiana.” I said.

“HA HA HA HA HA HA...Jor why you say it like that?” said Martina. 

“Because that’s how he sound when he says it.” said Jordyn.

Sometimes I like my voice because I say certain sentences funny from movies, from singing a song or just while having a conversation. I like it because I love making people laugh. 

“Hello my name is Jordyn Randall and I am here to talk about Teen Topics.” I said in class one day.

“Let’s play it back” said Ms. Dunn.

“EWWWWWWW I sound nasty on record, I hate my voice.” I said.

There are times I don’t like my voice like when I hear my self on record, and It sounds like a high pitch and squeaky nerdy voice. It doesn’t affect me that much but it does bother me just a little.

My relationship between language and power is that language has a lot to do with power by what you say and how you say it. I think me personally, it has to do with power because of the fact that my voice is so high and squeaky nobody will listen to me compared to someone with a much stronger, deeper and more demanding voice.

My language may tell a lot of people where I’m from because only certain cities say certain words. In Chicago they say “gunnin” which means to be joking on somebody, in Atlanta they say “juke joint” which is a dance club in Atlanta and in Philly we say “jawn” which is a object. So you can tell a lot about where a person is from just by their accent and the words they use. 

“It goes without saying then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power. It is most vivid and crucial key to identity: It reveals the private identity and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity. There have been, and are, times, and places, when to speak a certain language could be dangerous, even fatal. Or, one may speak the same language, but in such a way that one’s antecedents are revealed, or (ones hopes) hidden.”- “If Black Isn’t a Language Then Tell Me What Is” By James Baldwin.

I agree a lot with this quote because language is a political instrument, there are certain things you have to say and theres a certain way you have to say it.  For example, the president, wouldn’t be the president if he didn’t say the right things, like speaking correct english and talking in a demanding but nice tone. I think it also does have a lot to do with your identity, it’s sad to say but people can tell a lot about you by the way you talk. You can tell by your accents so they know what part of the world your from, the way you say certain words or the grammer you use, so they know what social class your in. I also agree that it can be dangerous to use a certain language or talking a certain way can be dangerous. If you go to another town they may make fun of the way you talk or they may not like the way you talk because they don’t like the place where your from so that could be dangerous. It can also be the same for languages.

With your language or the way you speak "You have confessed your parents, your youth, your school, your salary, your self-esteem, and, alas, your future.” - If Black Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is? By James Baldwin.

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Tongues

              

Today in class Ms.P told asked us how many language did we speak. Half of us raised our hands and said we only speak one. We didn’t really have a full understanding of what she was saying.

   “Class, I’m not just talking about Spanish or French”

I raised my hand. 

  “So what are you talking about” 

 “Well Kenayah how to you speak to your friends?”

  Slang is consider a different this language because it a different from when your in school or talking to your mother about something or just want to funny in the moment.

Then it had me thinking, when I’m in church, I notice a lot of the older women speak  in tongues. Now that we started to discuss how we speak different languages it has me thinking about a lot that I never knew or really didn’t pay any mind to.I Learned that a lot of us might talk differently because of the things we hear or know just from our hood.

Now,in my heart I start to look at how I speak

“Hello, my name is Kenayah” 

 when I’m in school talking to a teacher at my school.

“Sup cuz, mi name Na” 

  When I’m talking to my friend outside.But when I’m at a a job interview I feel like I have to speak properly  because I don’t want them to think of me like my mother did not teach me any manners. This paper that Ms.P has us doing is a good one. It has me thinking  about  about how I speak. The other day Ms.P had us write about different types of languages that we speak, and when I sat down to type, I had to say a lot of thinking about a lot because I have to peer edit what I need to stay when I’m around different groups of people who I put my self around. When she explained it to me it didn’t make any sense, after she broke it down to me it start to make some sense in my head.I thought about all my phrases and even words that came out of my mouth when I’m around my friends, family and even when I’m at a job.

 “Yo Na, What you doing tonite” said Briana. I was home and she had called me.

“I don’t know cuz I might just keep my lazy ass in the house ski, aint shit outside to do any way” 

 “ I know but I’m bored and need something to do, plus it a party to nite you trynna to cum” said Briana.

“Maybe, but I’m about to take a nap so just call me when you get ready to leave Im going over to my him house “

“Who tf is ya him” she shouted though the phone. 

“My boyfriend duhhh.”

As I wrapped up the convo with her I started to see how my body language had took over. My hands got to moving and head got to going back and forth, I though i was a bad girl every time I look at my self in the mirror, because if it was my mother, I would have never said this to her.Or have my body language would of never been like this. Then all I could here was my tongues started to move, words started to come out of my mouth. 

Next day I had a job interview and I know that i need to straightening up and take all that Slang talk out of me, If i wanted the job i had to show them,  I was a bright and smart young lady.

“Hello my name is Kenayah Cerdan” I said 

“Well my name is Tytianna I’m the hiring manger” she said.

“Then she said what can you bring to this job,”

“ In my eyes I have a lot to offer you and the work place, I know that I can be the best I can be” I said.

 After it was over we shook hands and she told me that I have the job, on the subway i was thinking in my head that my ways change when I was looking at her,I made sure that my body languages made me look good and it didn’t show the interviewer any sign of me when I’m on my own time,

I learn how to code-switch when I was in the 9th. My english name Mr.Kay told me how to work with it and that it easy to also work around it.Do you know that you’re doing it? 

Sometime, but not all the time because I really don’t caught my self all the time

Do other people in your family code-switch? Have you ever talked about it? No not really I doubt some people in my family even know what code switching is.Are there times where you choose NOT to code switch, where you stand out because of it.Yes there are time because when I’m talking to my friends I know that I can stay in the mood when we go out or if they stay at my house or theres
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Different Language Same Family

                                Different language Same family

"I really want to meet your dad Imani, I want to hear his accent is it really strong?"

"I will let you be the judge of that, here he comes"

"Dad this is Naihema,"

"Hi I'm Naihema, Imani's friend"

"Oh nice, I’m Imani's father I have listen to a lot about you"

As she looks at me then looks at him again confused & not really understand what he meant I decide to step in like usually.

"He was saying I have talked about you before, and he recognize your name"

“Yeah that” my dad replies.

As we begin to leave Mr.Best room and let our parents "talk" or more as try to understand each other. She stops me in the hallway gives me the face of confusion again, not knowing what to do she starts to laugh. As I say I told you so & begin to laugh at how weird & awkward the conversation went. 

This a very common event that takes place only because of language & different accents, from meeting new people to asking directions. In my mind I have to be the outspoken one so I can be able to help my dad. I try my best to appreciate both sides but sometimes its hard to be known as or called the girl with an African-American mom and the Jamaican dad. It took me awhile to realize the amount of difference in my family compared to others. I’m not talking about drama, race, or becoming married makes you a even bigger family everyone family experiences these problem but solve them differently. I’m talking about the fact that one side of my family is separated because of language, but mostly the type of speech like an accent and I'm one of a few people that holds this family together.

"Come now" is the normal greeting for hello, while "you want feeding" is another way of saying are you hungry. I guess since I have been around them for so many of years, I understand it a lot easier than others. Even if I don't quite get their " broken English" all the time, its better to nod or say yes that ask them to repeat it. I learned the hard way its not something the appreciate or they don’t find in polite.

"Wait can you repeat that, I don't understand' 

Is usually the line that is repeated about a thousand times whenever both sides of the family get together for celebrations. My mom side & dad side of the family is so divided mainly because of language and how hard it is to understand each other.

 The common and very annoying questions are "really you don't look it" or "That's cool speak like them, please I want to hear the accent." As I always back out of the deal I fell as it comes off that I'm embarrassed of the other side of me. When honestly I'm just not sure I have the right to even be acknowledge as a true Jamaican because I'm only a percentage compared to my dad side. I don’t speak like them, dress like them, and I don’t even like Jamaican food at all. I think it would be disrespectful to claim a part of my me. As I got older I have learned over the years to try to appericate both sides no matter if you are close to your mom or dad side the most. It's always good to have family you can trust, talk to, and to even count on for money. I think as I get older I might change my views on the way I feel being called a Jamican, but for now I believe in what I say.

"Hey child you want feeding" my aunt would say, as I look at the rice & beans with curry chicken. Not realizing that they might not speak perfect english, but facial expressions come nature to them. I notice it looks nothing like how my dad makes so I make a face of confusion mixed with discussed. So I say 

"No thanks I’m okay"

"No come you need feeding, you need to eat more" my aunt insist

"no Im fine I'm a very different eater"

"oh I see, you need to not be child"

And as that conversation ends pretty quickly, I later on get dirty looks or even being talked about behind my back while facing the language.

In the short story “If black English isn’t a language then tell me what is?” by James Baldwin say’s “People evolve a language in order to describe and control their circumstances.” This quote means to me that for people to be able to communicate with each other sometimes that have to change there language into something new by using something old. This quote relates to me because my dad side of there family, and how they have evolved english. Jamaican speak “broken English” which means a kinda of slang with also accent. That’s why it makes it that much harder for American’s or people that are use to a certain style of words, to understand Jamaican.

When I was 10 years old I was in a preteen beauty pageant, because I would always watch Ms. USA or Ms. Universal and I wanted to have a similar experience to them. I was so nervous not only because you are being judged by a the judges and the fact that I’m not a fan of the spotlight. I was also nervous for the first time in along time my entire family was at a event for me mom & dad side. After the competition we decide to take a family picture to celebrate that night. I didn’t realize it at the time but in the picture my dad family was on one side, while my mom side was in the middle, and of course I was in the middle. This picture spoke a thousand words, about how divided one family can be and not even realize it sometimes.


​https://vimeo.com/57628353 Click here to view the video
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William Derry: You and the world Blog post #2

In my second blog post I have found new information about my topic. My topic is the financial aid system in the world. In blog post number one I talked about the why we were doing the blog posts and talked about different facts ways the financial aid system works. To see blog post number one click here. Blog post number two is about the new information I have found and the a new way I used to find my information. Last of all, I have learned how to use a new way to find information. 


I have found new information about the financial aid system in the world. One new thing that I have found out is what other people think about this topic. I took a survey about the financial aid system in the world.To see my survey click here. One of the four questions that I asked was who was the president of the United States when a reform law was signed to give control of financial aid back to the States? I thought this was an hard question to answer but most of people who took the survey were close to answering the right answer. The one question that all of the people who took the the survey answered was the one that asked what do you think are the factors of being eligible for financial aid in the United States of America? This question was used to see what people thought about the factors of receiving financial aid. Overall the survey went well and It was a great way to find new information. 


The survey was a great way to get new information. I believe that the survey added to my understanding of the issue. The information that I received from the survey was great because I was able to understand what other people thought about the issue. I now understand what people know about the issue. Furthermore I now know that the survey was a great idea and it worked out well.                     


I have personal opinions about the issue. My first opinion about the issue is that the financial aid system in the world can definitely improve. Click here if you would like to visit the Pennsylvania public welfare website. Also I think the financial aid system in the world is a great thing to have and I believe that people who have taking advantage of the system and used the assistance when they did not really need it. Last of all, I believe that the financial aid system in the world will improve and get better.


They’re are many things that I am still wandering about. One thing is how can I help the financial aid system get better? The second thing that I am still wandering about is what new information I will find while I am researching about this issue. The third and last thing that I am still wandering about is why the financial aid system works the way it does. I believe that the process to receive financial aid is too long and should be done quicker. 


The thing that I am thinking about doing for my agent of change blog post number three is to volunteer at my local financial aid office. I want to help them in any way I can. I would like to go to the local financial aid office and learn more about what they do there on a daily basis. Furthermore I would like to learn about ways for everyone to help with this issue.To visit the  Overall I want to learn more about the financial aid system and how I can make a difference.




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This symbol is for the Pennsylvania department of public welfare






Unknown
Welfare can be a stressful thing sometimes. 



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The department of public welfare works works with a lot of families.  

Click here for bibliography   







            
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Im different and proud

I have a certain way of talking when I am with my mom and dad, Then I have a certain way I talk to my friends. Its not really that I use slang its just that when I talk to my friends I have the lack of pronunciation.When I first came to SLA I didn’t know anyone of course. I never told anyone that I was from Roxborough because I had just met them and I didn’t want them to see me as a little rich kid, which I am not. Then at lunch I took the initiative to actually have conversations with people. 

“What up guys”

“Wassup Katie”

“Did yous guys get a lot of homework?”

After I said that everyone looked at me with this puzzled look of laughter on their faces.I had no idea why they were looking at me like that. Did I say something dumb, was there something on face? Thats when someone finally said something to me. 

“Katie are you from South Philly?” 

“Haha no Why?” 

“You said yous guys”

“Im from Roxborough” 

After I told them that I was from Roxborough they looked even more surprised and full of more laughter. I was scared that since people laughed that meant that I had already been a stereotype to them, exactly what I thought would happen when being around new people and a new environment.  I meant many people that day and became more aware of how I spoke and what I said. I had made it through the day with out someone making fun of me because of the way I spoke.

When I went in my house my mom was watching T.V. waiting for me. She wanted to know how my day went, I told her how the kids laughed at me after I said where I was from. Later that evening I was arguing with my sister.

“Yous guys do not respect my stuff”

After I just yelled that at her she gave me that same face full of laughter that the kids at school had given me. Thats when I got upset and wanted to know what was so funny.

“You said yous”

That is when I realized that the kids where not laughing at where I was from but how I said it.I have no clue where I got the word “yous” from, maybe a movie, or a song, or maybe I did pick it up from my friends in Roxborough, I did know that no one in my family used it. The word just developed into my vocabulary without me even noticing that I say it. 

In the  story “If Black English isn’t a language then tell me what is” by James Baldwin he talks about his language and how it reveals who he is. He said “... It reveals the private identity, and connects one with,or divorces one from, the larger public, or communal identity.” This quote represents that the way you speak makes you who you are and makes you stand out from the people around you.This quote is a great example of how saying “Yous” makes me who I am. By me saying a word that no one has ever heard used  in a sentence, it makes me stand out between me and my friends.It doesn’t bother me that I am different, it allows people to see that I am my own person and that I do not follow in others foot steps, I have my own language. 

My language gives me an identity. Even though it is one word that is in my language different than everyone else around me it still separates me from every one around me.  Since people have brought this to my attention I have a habit of using it more often. I also pay more attention to the words others use. I have found myself correcting others words, knowing I use the word “you” incorrectly. Doing this it has come to my attention that I use my language as power, because I have my own language I like to try and make people be more creative with their language, so that they can have their own identity.  

Like Glona Anzaldua said in the story “ How to tame a wild tongue” “ A language which they can connect their identity to, one capable of communicating the realities and values true to themselves.” The reason that I went so long with out realizing what I was saying, or that I had a certain language was because it connected to my identity. Me being who I am, I didn’t see any issues with my language because I made my language my own.Since I was comfortable with it, everyone around me was okay with it. They realized that,that is who I am. My language is who I am.

















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Power in Words

What does it mean to be strong. I used to think being strong meant having big muscles, or being tall, or having a loud voice. Now I can see that none of that matters. To have any type of power, you must be able to make sympathizers of others, instill fear in your enemies, and inspire those around you. The key to this strength, this power over the world around you is your voice, or rather how you use it. The words you say, and how you say them, more than anything else, show how powerful you really are.
Imagine you’re an eleven year old boy, just starting a new school. Your science teacher ask you how you would describe the sun. “Hot and i-il-illuminating.” You respond nervously. The teacher turns from the green chalk board and looks at you, “That’s a very good word Lloyd” He says. All the other kids look at you with anger, or admiration. “Th-thank you” you sputter, as you don’t know it yet but you just had your first glimpse at the power of words.
There is something that most, if not all people in a position of power have in common, the way they talk. From the president, to reporters, and even Adolf Hitler, who while undeniably a terrible person, was a great leader, and inspired his people, through the power of his voice. It makes sense when you think about it, someone who speaks well seems educated, and someone who is educated, is the obvious choice for a good leader, because they are expected to be wise, and cautious. You can also come at it from the other side. If someone who could barely say one syllable words, got up on a stage, and asked you to make them leader, what would you?
“Hearing them, I’d grow nervous, my clutching trust in their protection, and power weakened”. This quote from Richard Rodriguez’s “Hunger of Memory” shows the power of language. In this excerpt, Richard is talking about his feeling for his parents, who couldn’t speak much english. The quote is precluded by him talking about his parents trying to stutter through conversations in english, unsure, and uncomfortable. He says that he felt his sense of protection fade when he heard them speak english. That the way they talked reflected their power, and just hearing them struggle with speaking english for a few minutes made him think of them as less powerful. This is an incredible example of the  power of language. The sense of strength forged by time, the relationship between parents and their child, altered completely due to them not being able to speak “powerfully”.
“Miscellaneous items go here” I said proudly. At this point I was fourteen, and I had learned how to use my “power”. My cousins (age 13, and 14) looked at me, flabbergasted. “That’s M-I-S-C-E-L-L-A-N-E-O-U-S” I said proudly. “It means something that doesn’t fit into any other category”. After receiving no response but more dumb looks I said “Categories, are ways that people group things, like by race, color, or country of origin” I said taking the last part from a dictionary. “I know what category means” Dante, the older of the two responded. “And miscellaneous... Why do you have to use such big words anyway. You think you're smarter than us don’t you.” Of course it was true. I had been using language to hold others in submission. This is the biggest pitfall of using the power of language. No one like a show off,and I was definitely being a showoff.
I said that you use strong language to gain sympathizers, and silence enemies. I also mentioned that in fifth grade, when I used illuminating I received looks of admiration and anger. I didn’t know it at the time, but using the power of speech doesn’t just silence enemies, it creates new ones. My enemies were well deserved, for while in the beginning it was innocent, and I meant no harm to anyone, I soon started trying to control people, to lift myself up, and make myself seem better than them. That’s why when my cousin asked me if I thought I was smarter than him I couldn’t reply. I knew it was true, I was being an elitist.
It’s true that the way you talk gives you strength, but it also makes you weak. It makes you weak to the human desire to be better than someone else, by giving you an excuse, by making you think that you have a right to act better than others. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use what you have, but when you use it, make sure you do so responsibly, because being strong is not worth losing your morality.
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"You have nothing to hide from"

Whenever I hear of the word, accent, it reminds me of America. I always thought that you can only have an accent when you speak a different language. Just like me- I have a Vietnamese accent when I speak English. Until, one day I realized accents are how people speak the word and how it sound. There’s always a funny story of how people speak and I have one too. In Vietnam there are many different  ways to speak one word; every person speaks is differently. I was born in the South Vietnam and my friend were born in North Vietnam. It was clear that I thought the people in Vietnam sounds funny and I can't understand anything they say. Until one day when we were on the train, my friend Anh ask me “How come you don't speak standard Vietnamese?” I was surprised because that’s what I thought about the people who lived in the North. “The way you speak is so hard for me to understand especially some of the words that you’re saying” I responded.
The way we speak and how we pronounce the words are so different and sometime we have to repeat ourselves for each other to understand. We have a lot of common words however some of the word we speak were unfamiliar to each other. One day Anh told me to put my sock on. Instead of saying “doi” for sock he used the word “tat” for sock. For a second it was confuse me so much that I didn't understand what he was trying to say. Until he showed me a picture on google. I then realized even though we are speaking the same language there are always  something in our voice and and the way we use words, that are different from one another. As time passed we communicated with each other better. I also see the change in my voice and the way I use words. Sometime I speak with my family I would use a word from the North and the sound of my voice also changed. I have a little mix of both North and South accent and so is Anh. Both of our voice were change but not so much.
To be able to understand the difference between North and South vocabulary is really difficult. Imagine learning a whole new language. As James Baldwin states in “If black English isn’t a language, then tell me what is?”, “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” In November 2005, I moved to America, at that point I’m completely new to this language. I was in third grade and didn’t know ABC’s. From the beginning English was really hard for me. When I don't understand what people say to me I would shake my head for everything. Speaking of shaking my head, I have a very funny story. When I was in third grade, we were in gym class waiting for the teacher to set up our station. I was sitting by myself and a group of students come over. I wasn’t sure if they were doing to be mean or to be funny but to me is very funny.
“Do you speak English?” the boys ask.
I shake my head.
“Do you eat?”
I shake my head again. They continued to ask me more question, but all I do is shake my head.
“Do you shower?”
I shake my head. The whole class start laughing at me as they cover their nose. I was confused but then the boy stood up rubbing his body and his eyes mocking me. Thats when I know what he was saying. He was asking me if I do I shower. Then I knocked my head and everyone was laughing.
English had alway been a struggle for me. I thought I’d never understand the English language. People always told me that I pronounced words wrong or that my accent was too thick for people to understand. They would laugh at me when I was struggling and I started to feel uncomfortable speaking English.
“My, can you read the second paragraph to the class?”
I was sitting in English class in fifth grade . I couldn't remember clearly what we were doing but I heard Ms.Rehn call my name and told me to read. My eyes went blank then I looked down at my paper, the words seemed like squiggles in a line. I started reading, the words stumbling in my mouth like rocks. A kid behind me started to laugh, and I read slower, embarrassed. Then, in mid sentence, I stopped at big word and tried to pronounce it “Currr-cir-cum-lum?" I attempted. I looked up and felt really embarrassed. That was the last time I ever raised my hand or speak in class. By the time I’m in high school my english teacher was Mr.Kay and he had change the way I feel about myself. He gave me the encouragement to speak in front of people. At first when he picked on me I felt very shy I would just sit there. He pushed me to answer the question that he asked. At the same time he didn’t push me so much to make me uncomfortable. As time went by I began to raise my hand in class instead of him calling me. In the middle of 9th grade I then began to feel more and more comfortable as I speak and share my culture to the whole class. I talk about my personal life, my culture, and things that happened in my life that I never though I can feel so comfortable sharing with people.
Now that I’m in my second year of high school. Attending a very diverse school was also one of the reasons that made me comfortable. I have a friend who are speaking the same language as me. I also have a friend who are also speak something that is totally different than me. I looked at them as a role model. I began to learn how to present in front of people. I speak loud and clear so people will understand even though I have an accent. I’m not ashamed of myself because of my Vietnamese accent and I’m no longer afraid to speak anymore because as Mr.Kay told me “You have nothing to hide from.”









































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Sabian Rosales Bibliography Paper+Video

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,

“I’m done!”

(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.

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Watch Your Mouth

“That’s just the thing. It happens all of the damn time!,” I exasperatedly stuttered.

“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.





Video: https://vimeo.com/57683377
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Pay It Forward Blog #2

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.


Me: Vincent, Pay It Forward is the organization who performs acts of kindness that is sweeping the nation. So far Pay it Forward is responsible for influencing thousands of people to perform good deeds in the world. Soup kitchens have been donated generous amounts of money and stolen items everywhere are being returned all because of Pay It Forward. Nice isn’t it, to have people out there who actually care? Especially today where there is so much evil out in the world. Tell me, how does what the people of Pay It Forward are doing make you feel?

Vincent: It’s heartwarming to see so much compassion and generosity in our society. This is proof that there are still genuine people in the world today who actually care for others.

Me: It’s good to know that this affects you so. I’m glad to have someone like you in our community who takes the time to think about this. Now I believe that you attend a Catholic school and from past experiences I understand that Catholic schools pressure their students to be good samaritans. Some say that Christians are more felicitous to exhibit acts of goodwill in the world because of their teachings of being kind to everyone. Do you see a lot of this displayed in your school?

Vincent: I have often noticed acts of kindness shown in my school. It would seem that there is some connection between students and teachers alike because they all care for each other as if they were family. Whether it is something little like holding the door for someone in the morning or helping someone with a huge task, it is the thought that always counts.

Me: That is very inspiring, I am even more happy to see that kids our age are really trying to get out in the world and spread honorable deeds like that. I think for the most part that growing up in an environment as such can have a huge impact on one’s personality. For example, you have shown that teens being taught good samaritanism not only try to make a difference for the better, but also enjoy it. Do you agree, that if you are born surrounded by other humanitarians that you are prone to lead a life of good doing?

Vincent: If you grow up in a healthy and supportive Christian environment, there is no doubt that you will grow up to be a helpful and successful person. I myself find it satisfying to give to others in need. It is such a great feeling when you know you are truly helping someone.

Me: After thinking about this more do you think you’ll try to get out in the world, maybe? The whole point of Pay It Forward is to make a chain reaction of kindness among the world. Later in the year when I start to pursue making an actual change will you join me and move on to spread beneficence in your own school?

Vincent: I’ll do anything it takes to secure a brighter and better future.

Me: Thank you Vince for allowing me to take some of your time. I hope that talking to you has inspired you to really start thinking about making a difference. I hope you have a nice day my friend.

The interview between Vincent and I gave me hope that this world is ready for a change. Although thinking through the situation made me have an altered view on things. Here was a kid who lived his whole life being educated that you should be a prime person. Was there any doubts that his response would be nothing less than “A savior of humanity’s moral good”? I became concerned that what if normal people living normal lives could be the same. I needed to conduct an experiment to see how willing everyone is to put away their selfishness and actually care about someone else. After much thought I decided to transact a survey. Walking around my neighborhood seeking friends and family I depicted a situation where they supposedly found a clip of one hundred dollars lying in the street. I then asked them if they would try to bring the money to its rightful owner. The amount of persons I asked totaled to thirty. Using a pie chart to record results, I saw that the denouement was quite disturbing.

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.



VICEWHAT IT ISWHAT 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.
WrathMost 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.
GreedGreed, 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.
EnvyAssassinations 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.


I hope you guys can take the time to look over these deadly vices and see if you are under danger of being corrupted by anyone of them. Going back Pay It Forward I wanted to see how much the organization influenced people around the world. Reading articles and consulting people I finally found out that this global phenomenon actually inspired a director to make a movie called “Pay It Forward”. The movie involves a young boy who is given the chance to do good in the world. I watched the movie and introspected it as tremendously heartening. I'm not going to say anymore ( You can learn more here http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0223897/)but the point is that if this movement that is sweeping the world can be strong enough to have a movie made about it then why can’t it do better? After watching the movie I felt better despite the horrible events of my money clip survey. It looks like some people seriously want some vicissitude for the greater good of the human race.


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 jperaza@scienceleadership.org


This is the link to my annotated bibliography: https://docs.google.com/a/scienceleadership.org/document/d/1WHe41_DlnlJDnn1ULc7fNqNr9Tp8edR8O7Unbr8mIsU/edit
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You and the World Blog#2:Animal Abuse and Neglect

Welcome to part 2 of my 3 part blog. If you read my first blog post , you already know that the topic I chose to raise awareness is animal abuse and neglect. Just in case though, this is all for my ‘You and The World Project’ I am doing for English class. We choose a topic that we feel strongly about and gather data on the topic that we then formulate into a blog that is posted to the Science Leadership Academy site. By the end of the school year, my classmates and I will have gathered information from various sources, created and obtained our own research, and have done or made something to help combat the topic we chose. For the second part of my blog I have interviewed Denise Digovanni-Segal, a true animal lover. She owns ferrets, birds and 5 dogs, 3 of which have been neglected or abused.
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Denise's 5 dogs are named Josie, Domino, Toni, Joey and Frankie. I asked Denise if any of her dogs were abused or neglected in some way and she told me that Josie, Domino and Toni were. Josie, a pit bull, was saved from the kill list at the shelter and is very needy and possessive and often “wakes out of sleep, fighting.” But Denise makes sure that Josie gets individual attention and takes the extra time to calm her down when needed.

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.

Screen Shot 2013-01-15 at 6.22.40 PM
A. Josie B. Toni (healing from a hematoma) C. Domino
Denise doesn't regret getting any of her dogs. For Toni, "the only regret is not taking her sooner.” She also has some advice for people who are thinking of adopting abused or neglected animals. “No screaming or hitting ever. Patience is key. Know what you are getting into and be prepared. They are not perfect.” 

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.”

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There has also recently been a new program called New Leash on Life  It is a program for inmates that allows them the opportunity to become a certified dog trainer. This story was just on the 6abc News on January 9, 2013. The people who trained the animals really grow a connection with them along with a new skill set that will help them with their lives when they are released from prison. One man even said that he is sad that he is leaving but that he is really proud of how far that he has come. One of the graduate dogs was Peanut Chew who was found malnourished in a Philadelphia home’s basement. He was in the program for 8 weeks and now he is ready for adoption by a family that will hopefully love him.
I still believe that animal abuse and neglect is wrong and that something serious needs to be done about it to help rectify this. I wonder why some people think hurting an animals in any way, shape or form is ok. People need to know the responsibilities that come with having  a four-legged friend. I hope that shelters and other places that offer animals can help people to understand more clearly what is necessary for animals and their well-being. I hope that I will soon have the opportunity to help animals that are in these shelters to have a better experience in shelters. It should also allow them to become happier animals through the help that I want and plan on providing them. 

Here is my bibliography.​
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The Afghanistan War: The War on Terror Pt. 2

Joseff Filamor

January 11, 2013

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.

ptsd injuryHere compares a normal brain to a brain under PTSD. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur after a life-threatening event like military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape. Most survivors of trauma return to normal given a little time.
Although others can have stress disorders over a longer period of time, and could get worse over time. PTSD can cause victims to have nightmares, trouble sleeping, flashbacks or strong amounts of depression. These symptoms can obviously impair a person's daily life.

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.

If you have the time please click HERE to watch a twenty minute episode of the show "The War Within." In the episode it shows 4 troops all suffering from PTSD. It shows PTSD from their perspective.


Click HERE for my survey.
Click HERE for my bibliography.
ptsd injury
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YATW Blog Post #2

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.


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