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Language Struggles

For Q2 Bm we had to write about a language, different language in the world or our own experience, struggle and etc.. It wasn't so hard for me because I straggled a lot with language when I first moved to U.S.A.

My family and I have always struggled with english since we moved to the U.S.A. It was hurt for my little sister and I the most because we had to go to school and couldn't make friends or speak to anyone. We use to sit in ESAL class for hours with a teacher who was trying to teach us english and made us read kids books. Then after 6 months I started speaking basic english but more curse words. After all the struggles and confusion with words like “Than,Then and There,their”  a year later I started to speak fluent english and got out of ESAL class but I still had a very strong accent and my classmates used to make fun of me for that. It wasn’t a fun experience for me. I struggled  a lot with language and still am a little. Now the most hardest part for me is when i have to translate for my parents whenever they come to my school or go see my doctor.


The things people said about my language and my accent have always made me nervous to talk in front of people, because I always think people are going to make fun of me or make bad comments about my accent.


Last summer I Went back to my country with my family and thats why I there’s a difference between the way I speak english and how they speak english. When I use to speak english they couldn't understand me because the way I pronounce the words were different than them. When we say the word we sound out the letter but they don't do that they just read the letter. It would be difficult  for me to talk to people in my country if I only knew english but I remember the language.

English isn't my first or second language for me. Other than english I learned 4 other languages just by watching tv. It wasn't so hard for me to learn them but I guess english was really hard for me to learn. I am also taking spanish classes in my high school hopefully before I graduate from my high school I will be an expert in spanish.

Language always have been a huge part of my life and it helped me to get a lot of fun memories. Fun memories because I cough so many people in the train/buses talking in their language and saying terrible things about me or my friends so it was a really fun experience for me.




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Kids Vs Adults



Kids are changing up language everydays. The make up words that are call slang. It’s like there cord to talk to other kids. But when the start to talk to an adult it change. They sound like they when to school and very educated.  Everyday I see kids talk like they don’t speak english. Yo wha you doin’? Nuffin chillin abou to go to class. Wha class you have? Why u askin all them question? You ratched. YOLO! That dead. You don’t have any pics. To Adults they are asking themself what are y’all saying, speak some english.

One day in math class. We were all sitting to talking to our classmate doing math. Our teacher Mrs. Thompson came up to my table. Ask me Lala What dose bars mean?? Everyone in the class started to laugh.  I hear everyone say that word but I don’t know what y’all mean. I know y’all not using it like music note. Ron said Bar in a line from a rap. It you got bars then it about rapping.

Everyone one of my friends says that they don’t talk like to talk to the parents like that  like my friend  Emily she told me this. I'm in 5th grade, watching Full House on my couch. My dad's in the basement, and my mom's in the kitchen. I have a bookbag filled with homework, which i ignore. "Em!" mom shouts. "Yeah?" i respond, eyes glued to the tv. "It's 7 and you still haven't started your homework?" muting the tv i yell back "My bad! starting it now."  unzipping my bag my mom sits next to me. "I'd appreciate it if you'd stop saying 'my bad'." "why? i'm not curisng." im confused. "i know, it just... makes you sound.... i dont know...." i know where she's going with this so i interrupt and say "okay mom, i get it. sorry." she smiles and goes back to the kitchen.

What I am trying to say is we change the way to thing to people. We never talk to the older people that same. But we talk to are friend in code.
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Mixed Ngon Ngu

“Hey”, Phu said.
“Hi”, I replied.
“You co lam homework trua?”, I ask.
“ Co chu sao ma cong co.”, Phu answered.
“ May cong co lam di you’re in big trouble.”, I replied back.
“ Toi biet roi.”, He replied.

Another friend walked up to me and ask me, “Yo did we have any homework last night”? At first I thought he was my other friend Thanh who was also Vietnamese. So I told him, “Cong, Cong we don’t have homework.”

My friend Michael started laughing and ask me, “What did you just say”?

As I felt embarrassed I told him again but this time in english, “No we don’t have homework last night”.  Thats the moment where I realize the I have been mixing the two languages a lot. Right there at that moment I made a promise myself that this will never happen again,but sooner or later it happened again.

My whole life was ruined because I kept mixing my native language Vietnamese with my secondary language English. I am use to speaking one language so much when I get to school I tend to mix these two languages together without noticing. Ever since I learned english when I was 6 years old. I started having this habit of mixing 2 languages. Having a knowledge for both languages confused me. Learning english is the most complicated process of my life. Taking ESOL classes (English for Speakers of Other Languages) doesn’t help at all. The stuff I learn in ESOL and English class makes me even more confusing. Then at the same time learning one language is hard enough. I have to use another one at home. The constant mixing and switching of languages from school and home left a permit mark on me. The permanent mark that was left on me was memories of laughter and frustration.

Then one day I was working with my mom in her nail shop. A customer came by and ask, “Does your mom have time to do my nails today?”.

I replied, “No my mom has no time to do it for you today, xin loi.”

As I realized what I have said I heard her ask me, “Excuse me, what did you just say?”

At that moment I thought she was going to laugh at me for what I have just said, but I answered her anyway. “I was trying to tell you that my mom does not have time to do nails for you today I’m sorry.”

“Oh well thats interesting. What language do you speak? What is your native language?”.

“Well I speak Vietnamese at home.”

“Oh thats cool I have a friend who speaks Vietnamese and I think its an interesting language to speak.”

As I heard that I felt as though my language does mean something to her. It gives me strength to be not feel embarrassed, but also to feel proud that I speak a language that some people find it interesting.

I can imagine myself in the future speaking in mixed languages more, instead of just avoiding it in all because speaking in mixed languages makes me who I am and thats what makes me special. Speaking in a mixed language can also helps me understand things that I learn in school. It makes it more simple to me to understand. It could make me forget the permit mark that was left on me long ago and move on improving myself. Now I can just close my eyes and see myself using my abilities of speaking mixed languages to communicate with my friend Phu more.

“Hey,xin chao” (Hi)
“Hey,xin chao”
“What are you doing?” (Lam cai di)
“Oh cong cho di.”

Oh vay a, you’re doing nothing.?”

“ Yeah man, cong cho di hat. Just doing homework thats all.”

“ Oh thats cool man, truong tha di choi later ok?” (We are going to go out later)

“Ok thats sound good.”

Now, because of that one moment in the past has affected my future with my languages. The girl from the story “ Tongue Tied” by Maxine Hong Kingston hates speaking out loud and has been laughed at before. She thinks her accent is making her different. In the first part of the story she has told us about the story of the knot-marker. She said that the knot-marker after a while in China has been outlawed. Then she stated, “ If I lived in China, I would have been an outlaw knot-marker”. She was trying to compare her accent to the knot-marker. She is trying to tell us that if the knot-marker was outlawed in China. Then here in America her accent is breaking the rules of the way you speak as well. She is trying to show us that she is not proud of her accent. During the time that I had trouble with two languages. I wasn’t proud of myself either. I tried hard to change to fit in, but the changing doesn’t work as well. I still continue to mix the languages and suffer the laughter from my peers. She made another statement about her accent later in the story. She stated that, “ The teacher, who had already told me everyday how to read “I and here”, put me in the low corner under the stairs again,where the noisy boys sat.” Now her mind set is giving up on perfecting her accent. Even the people she know, her teacher has paid her no attention at all and decided to ignore her. Thats why the girl in this story hated her accent.

In my case the laughter and torture to change my accent and my mixed language has made me think that I want to improve and speak it more. My story about the mixed language and the girls’ from “Tongue Tied” has the same situations but different results or change. I went from being laughed at to speaking more and being inspired to learn more about both languages. Instead of just abandoning them. Meanwhile the girl from the story is on the verge of probably giving up. Some people just give up while others take their time to realize that their accent or language is something that they can never let go. It make them who they are and symbolizes the unique traits that the person have. For me I have kept that unique thing and I am trying to improve as well. I decided to keep it because I have spent some time learning new things from both languages while I was making my decision and the influence that these two languages brought affect my thoughts and my decision. The fact that I can speak more than two languages makes me an interesting person to most people, but then to others they think I’m a topic for their jokes. Even though I had a complicated time fixing the habit of speaking and mixing both languages. The fact that knowing them and learning them makes the pain go away. Theses languages and their culture makes me who I am today.
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Never Giving up the Lisp

Never Giving up the Lisp 

It all started when I was in grade school on the yellow school bus.  

“What’s your name”, 

“Piercesuss” I reply. Immediately I get funny faces from whomever I’m talking too. 

“Why do you talk like that?” 

“Do you have a speech impediment?” 

Speech impediment? I think to myself what’s that. To me the way I sounded was always normal but apparently it wasn’t. I was being criticized for my so called “speech impediment” that I didn’t even know about. 

“What are you talking about”, 

“I don’t have a shhpeech impediment.”

“Yes you do! , you have a lisp!”

 It has a name, my so called speech impediment has a name, now I will be labeled as the boy with the the lisp.-- I’ve always had problems with kids with their teasing. They would get me to try say words or they would mock me, “Say twizzlers or snake”. I didn’t really care what people would think so I would humor them and repeats the words. “Twishulers” and without even trying there was a lot of miss pronunciation in the word and I sounded kind of ridiculous.Yeah I can admit it, this was the first actual time I felt insecure about my accent but in a way I thought it made me different.   As I talked more using new vocabulary as I grew my lisp seemed to get worst. No one would try to get me to mock things anymore because they got use to me. I still had a heavy lisp which would really be a disturbance to me when I was trying pronounce new words in English class. I felt like my lisp was my enemy when it came to just that class. I almost felt normal in other classes but in that class, I felt like it attacked me.

 “Hello Class, we have new vocabulary for the week, please repeat after me.” 

“Say parenthesis!” As I am in the back of the room I slowly try to pronounce this word.

“Paren, Parentheties, Pa, Pa!” 

“Ughh” 

My lisp was making this new word way too difficult.

I couldn't even pronounce this word I just mumbled in the back of class. My lisp was so bad that I would me get tongue tied on words that still to this day hold a challenge. 

“Say Surfeit” , I didn’t want to be that kid who mumbled in the back of the class, I wanted to be that kid who stood out, so out of know where I got a sudden urge of confidence I blurted out loud “Shhurfeit”. I immediately knew that all eyes were on me and I just put my head down from embarrassment. But later on as I thought about what happened, I shouldn’t of been embarrassed I should of been proud of me giving it a try.

    As the years past I became more comfortable with my lisp and what people had to say about it. I use to not talk at all in class even if I knew the answers because of how I sounded to others. But now I have no problem of raising my hand. Other students in my middle school would still try to get me to repeat words. I actually looked forward to this because I became comfortable enough with my lisp to laugh about it. As long as people didn’t go overboard with mocking then I essentially had no problems. 

    All my life I’ve felt the most accepted in the comfort of my home. My parents and Siblings never brought me through torment that I experienced through school. Didn’t they hear my lisp? Is it really not that noticeable or are they just ignoring it because I’m family? 

     As a young child growing up on the rough streets of West Oak Lane, you had to make sure you could defend yourself. I don’t mean a physical defense either but I’m talking about a verbal defense. Back when I was really committed to basketball, I would be at the park playing a game of Basketball and as always on the Simons community court there would always be a problem. It might be the littlest problem from arguing about untied shoelaces to a hard foul. If you got into one of these arguments you would have to have smart, smerky, offensive remarks using curse words with a solid firm voice that I just didn’t have. If you came into one of these arguments with good comebacks but a light lispy voice like mines then you would surely be ridiculed by the other people at the park every time you went there. I would always try to avoid conflict and if I did get into one of these arguments I would put on a sort of facade to make me seem tougher. I had to talk slow and clear to get my point across.

Random person “ You ugly as shit youngin”

Me “You are just mad because I beat you in ball. You ain't nothing but a noodle.” As I said with a slow strict and firm non lispy voice.

This was the only time where my lisp wasn’t my enemy and thank god for it because if I had a strong lisp during these arguments I would have surely been embarrassed off the courts. 

   In the essay “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?”, by James Boldwin, Boldwin talks about how language is a powerful influence. Stated in the essay it says “ It goes without saying, then that language is also a political instrument, means and proof of power.” Language can be used as an instrument or tool by the way you use and compose it. The way you sound and how you talk can make an influence on people, so if you talk with a deep slow clear voice thats the first impression you give off to people. 

   Through my life language and speech has had an impact on my life as well as others. It’s affected me through school and socially with my peers. I’ve learned to not blame or ridicule myself for something that defines who I am. Know I am proud to be known as the boy with the Lisp. 




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Listen To Our Words

Little kids are constantly told “Use your words!” in an effort to convince them to communicate effectively with their peers and others. I was told to use my words many, many times as I’m sure you were too.

Picture this: Kids are screaming, babies are screeching, and teachers are frantic. It’s chaos in Best Friends Preschool. Some babies have escaped from their pens, and the teachers are trying as hard as they can to get them back. I am sitting in the corner of the room, wanting to show someone the art project I made, but no one is listening to me. Something had to be done. Someone needed to see my art project. I had to think fast. The only smart decision? I drag a chair into the center of the room, climb on top and shout, “LISTEN TO MY WORDS!”

Since the beginning  (or at least since before I can remember, which is a good enough beginning for me) I have had a love of words. My parents used to tell babysitters that if I start to cry, all you have to do is open up a book and start reading. I would immediately hush and become absorbed in the words, even before I knew what they meant.

I was an early talker. One day when I was a little girl of about two years old, I had been sitting in the backseat in my dad's VW camper all day doing errands. My two old year-old self was beat. It's exhausting being a toddler. We were finally pulling into our garage at home when I said to no one in particular "Sometimes I get so tired riding around in my car seat.”

This is where it gets tricky. It may sound as though I’m bragging, and that’s not what I mean to do. Here’s my point. Most people confuse early talking with being smart. Cute? Definitely. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re smarter than kids who talk or whose vocabulary widens later. I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I went to daycare with mostly Pueblo Native American and Chicano kids who didn't talk as much as I did. I grew up hearing "Nomi, you are such a smart kid." The other kids who I played with didn't. I think talking got conflated with my being white. Tracking started at a young age.

On the first day of kindergarten, my mom had things to do in the school. Each time she passed my classroom door, she noticed my hand waving in the air, confident I knew the answer to whatever the teacher was asking, even before she asked it. My mom say’s, “You were like  ‘I got this! I know, I know, I know!’” Remember, I’d been told since I was two that I was “smart.”

By the time I was in second grade, I had moved from answering the teachers questions to questioning the teachers authority. We were given “picture prompts”, which were drawings of scenes that we had to respond to in writing. One particular day, one of the scenes was a picture of children in the olden days in a sleigh, surrounded by snow. At the time, I was living in California. I had never seen snow, much less a sleigh. It was the umpteenth prompt I had been given that year. After staring at it for some time, I wrote “Face it, I have nothing to say.” My parents hung it on the refrigerator with pride in their authority challenging second-grader.

In “The Woman Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingston, the author says “The teacher who had already told me everyday how to read ‘I’ and ‘here’ put me in the low corner under the stairs again, where the noisy boys usually sat.” Because the author didn’t talk, or wouldn’t, instead of being encouraged, she was grouped with other kids who weren’t doing well. None of them were encouraged to excel. Often when that happens those kids are not given help because the teacher is focusing on the “smart” kids. People associate talking with being smart.

In the younger grades, I noticed more of a range in my vocabulary than other kids’. I usually knew the vocabulary words we got assigned before we got assigned them and used words my friends didn’t know. As I got older the edge I had on others diminished until it was hardly noticeable. But what mattered is I had a head start. Teachers granted me intelligence they didn’t grant others. They gave me a huge advantage.

It matters what we tell kids. If we tell them they’re smart from the very beginning, they will believe it. They live up to the expectations set for them. It is important not to tell young kids that someone else is smarter than them just because they know more words, talk more, or talked first. I want all young children to be told they are smart, have something important to say, and deserve to have their words listened to when they stand on a chair in the middle of a pre-school room and demand it.


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The Link of Dialect and History-Ziheng Liu

What kind of language do you speak? Have you ever met someone who speak dialect? I do have this experience and can’t forget it until today.

Although Mandarin is the official language in China, there are also a lot of different dialects. Sometimes for people in different parts of China, it is hard to understand each other by oral languages though the written languages are similar. My families and I live in the Northern China which is close to Beijing, and we have some relatives in Guangdong Province which is in the Southern China and close to Hong Kong. I decided to visit my relatives during the summer vacation two years ago because my parents were busy. I told my parents about this idea, and they supported me. I was afraid that there might be some troubles in communication so I sent an e-mail to them. They replied to me at once and I could understand it. Therefore, I wasn’t worried anymore and went on my trip delightfully. But I found out I was wrong when I met them. 

I greeted with them at first, “你们好!”(Hello!) They showed a strange emotion, and I guessed they didn’t know what I was talking. But I believed that they greeted me, too. It sounded like “Niehoe!” Then, I said, “好长时间没见到你们了。”(I haven’t seen you guys for a long time.) I didn’t know what they were talking about, but they said something like “Hoegorxigandoeni”. I felt embarrassed and didn’t know what I should do next. They also found out that we couldn’t understand each other at all, and one of them who is my uncle pointed at a building. I understood that they wanted me to go to their house with them, and we walked together.

Then, I knew that they spoke Cantonese which is a southern dialect in China! I felt that I was an outsider although they were friendly to me because we always failed to communicate with each other. Since we couldn’t understand each other by speaking, if I needed something, I had to write it down on paper and give it to them. I was like a mute while I was living in their home. According to my plan, I would spend my whole summer vacation there. But I couldn’t stand life like this and returned home after a week. This is a failed trip, but it let me understand more about language. 

You might ask why there are a lot of dialects in China. As you know, Chinese history is long and complicated. There were seven kingdoms in China during the Warring States Period, and it lasted about two hundred years. If the people in one place couldn’t communicate with the people living in somewhere else, they had to form their own language or dialect. People in each kingdom had their own oral language and written language, but it was hard to communicate between different kingdoms. After the king of one kingdom called Ying Zheng united the other six kingdoms and established Qin Dynasty, he realized this problem and stipulated a unified written language, but he had no idea about unifying the oral language. Although he was the emperor and had the strongest power in the whole country, he didn’t have the power to change the way which people spoke. The oral language can’t be limited and unified because it is a kind of habit which can’t be decided by a certain person. In Han Dynasty, a foreign nation called Xiongnu which is next to the northern China communicated with China frequently during the whole period. So, the oral language of northern China was influenced by Xiongnu inevitably. After Han Dynasty, there were a lot of foreign nations communicating with the Han nationality which is the main nation in China, and this influenced the language in China, too. In Qing Dynasty, a nation called Manchu united China, and their tone influenced oral Chinese in the northern China so Mandarin was formed. After People’s Republic of China was established, Chinese government popularized Mandarin. But people who lived in Guangdong Province in the Southern China were used to using Cantonese, and Cantonese had already become a part of their culture. They didn’t want to change the way which they spoke, so they continued to use Cantonese till today. Dialect is connected with history. Dialect is a tool for communication and a kind of habit, and the reason of formation of a dialect is complicated. Wars can help form a dialect, because the tone of soldiers might be influenced by their enemies. Conquests can help form a dialect, because the conquerors might force the slaves to accept their languages, and the tone of slaves might be different from the conquerors so that a new dialect is formed. Also, trades can help form a dialect. If a person wants to deal with another person who speaks another language, he/she must communicate with the person, and their tone of speaking their own language would be influenced by each other.

There is also a dialect in the United States called black English. In the article If Black English Isn’t a language, Then Tell Me, What Is by James Baldwin, the author says that black english is a language, and it influences white english and culture. It introduces the reason of formation of black english. “Subsequently, the slave was given, under the eye, and the gun, of his master, Congo Square, and the Bible--or in other words, and under these conditions, the slave began the formation of the black church, and it is within this unprecedented tabernacle that black English began to be formed.” Black english is a kind of language which was spoken by black people in the United States. The reason of its formation also connects to history. Blacks were ruled by whites before the American Civil War, and they couldn’t communicate at all because they came from different tribes and used different languages. They wanted to find a way to communicate with each other, so black english appeared.

The reason of formation of dialects connects to history. It might be wars, conquests, trades, etc. Dialect is a way to communicate with each other in a certain area, and it is formed since it is chosen by history. Since this is the historical trend, no one can change it and that’s not necessary.

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Will Amari— Wordz

Will Amari

1/3/13

Silver


Wordz.

During the murky early mornings I am a man of very few words. My thoughts are focused on my dreams which I miss intensely the instant I wake. My eyes are towards the ceiling, and my back lays flat on the cushion of my nice soft warm bed. The darkness is a clown which fools with my mind. He bends the fine line between what’s real and what’s only fantasy. Which is why I lay silent trying to figure out the clear difference. 


“WILL!” That’s my father yelling from downstairs. I’m still in my dream phase thinking about women and riches. I flop over sideways facing my bedroom door and try to respond to him with a happy hearty “Good morning,” but before I can, my true feelings break loose, and I respond by saying a depressing, miserable, “MmmmWha?” 


“Oh.” He says surprisingly. There is a short pause, then he continues, “I think it’s time you start thinking about getting up.”


“Mnnn Kay— one minute.” I fall out of bed and quickly get dressed, walk my dog, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, pack my bag, and then I go to school. It all feels like one movement.


In the classroom I am a mouse, even though I’m totally there, I’m quiet and I speak with my eyes. Sometimes words are as meaningless as a Thrush who cannot sing. However, sometimes, if the right words are used by the right person, they can save a life. In the end, some words are beautiful works of art, like the pieces that are admired in museums and some words are stupid and are only meant to be used for The Mindless Small Talk of everyday life. 

“Sup Will.” Someone says.


“Sup man.” I say plainly, and with a sarcastic crescent-shaped smile glued on my face, I shake their hand. That to me is as low as it gets, the words I use for small talk have no personality or charisma. They’re boring and dimwitted, and there is no art or true beauty to them. There’s just that sort of, “I say this, you say this feeling”, you get when your talking to someone you don’t know and or care about. I feel like a social robot, until I get to lunch. 


At lunch, with my friends, I am Out Going, I am Free Spirited, and I am Happy— which is not a word I use often. Do I speak out art? I don’t know, but its eccentric and natural and my words mirror my personality— and that’s all that matters. 


“Will.” Tom says to me.


“Tom.” I reply. 


“Amari.”


“Sawyer.” I joke.


Tom throws a fake punch at my face. And I pretend to get hit in the eye, and start to grow fake tears while crying out a fake sob. 


Then someone says, “Yo. Guys we should definitely go bowling.” 


“I know, we really should.”


“Whites versus Asians again?”


“Hell yah bitch.”


“Were gonna kick your asses back to Viet-Nam.”


“Oh my god. You guys are so messed up.”


“You’re the one who can’t say one sentence without saying the word fuck.”


“Fuck you.”

“He looks like Hitler.”


“Lamborghini Muci Damn deez chicks are thirsty...”


“Shut the hell up.”


“Wait hold on I like that.”


“You see me rollin...”


“Oh my god. Will. Play that country music you like.”


“Its not country. Its folk man. Bob Dylan. See country is like yeee-haaawww grab your partner round ‘n’ round. Folk is expressive and sad like blowin’ in the wind and stuff. I like folk a lot better cause it’s like real poetry made into song.” There is a brief moment of silence. “Plus its fun to play on my guitar.” 


The conversations I have with my friends are valuable because they are so natural. The words from my mind, spill out of my lips, like the water that runs out my faucet. It’s a time where my words reveal the most of myself and the mouse in me becomes a lion. I am my own jungle. I roar instead of squeak. I swear instead of shake and I am not alone. 


I’m alone on my way home, I’m a shadow, and although I am happy, I am not me. As I walk through familiar streets and smell the familiar smells and hear the familiar sounds, my shadow grows. By the time I get to my door— no, by the time I get to my street, I grow my flesh and bones. I walk into my house, fully skinned and fully clothed. What you see of me is enough for you to know— I’m there. Dragging along my book bag, I parade up the stairs, and walk into the living room. There sitting on the couch is my mother. I am not a lion but I am also not a mouse. At this point, I don’t know what I am. However, I know what I follow. I follow a behavior and manner owned and invented by the house I live in and the roof I live under. I ask questions, instead of answering. I don’t declare or claim anything. I am innocent and ignorant. 


“Sup mom.” I said. “What’s for dinner?” I asked. 


“Well. Why don’t you look on the counter and find out for yourself.”


“Oh yah.” I turn around and...


“But wait, tell me about your day.” Demands my mother. 


I answer her in a few words more than one. I speak, but like the robot I am before lunch, I do not tell. I follow the rules and act as I am supposed to. The world inside the tower which I live in revolves around a small round table. Together we call it the dinning room. We sit and eat and speak and drink. 


“I got a eighty five on my spanish test.” 


“Thats good.” My mother admitted. “How are you doing on all your other subjects?”


“Pretty good.” I reply.


“Yah, you keeping up on all your assignments?”


“Yes.” I say emotionless and calmly. I finish up my meal and head up to my room. 


All through the night, until early in the morning, I’m alone in my room. Once again I am speaking, but not through my eyes or mouth, but within the inner roots of my body. I speak with my heart, soul and mind. These words, they are different than the ones that I say out loud and to me and me only— they are truly beautiful, a masterpiece made out of letters and vowels. Art. These words come from a big bright cabinet located in my dark dreary mind. These words, which I ponder all day keep me occupied and I become excited. These words have personality, style and grace. My heart is finally speaking and my soul is finally free from the tower I am forced to live in. There is no better way to use these words, so why use them at all. Words that are said out loud aren't special, they are wasted, wasted on something that is soon to be nothing. Nothing more than a memory, not worth being memorized. 


The words that are meant to be memorized have a true meaning that shows who you really are. Not as a human, but as a individual. Its poetry, art, truly beautiful, Bob Dylan and blowin’ in the wind, eccentric, natural, or whatever you want to call it, it doesn’t really matter, as long they reveal your true self.


“It is the most vivid and crucial key to identify. It reveals the private identity, and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger, public, or communal identity.” James Baldwin typed that.


“My words depend on my personality, my personality depends on my attitude, my attitude depends on who’s at the door. For I speak out my own creation and my creation is nothing more.” I typed that.  

Dropbox: 

https://www.dropbox.com/lightbox/home/Drop%20Box/English2?select=Wordz-The%20Movie.flv











Wordz-The Movie
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The Accented Tongue

“Mingxue, can you read the third passage please?”
“The shep is singking.”
“LOUDER!”
“THE SHEP is singking.”
“Class! Read that one line out correctly.”
“The ship is sinking.” The class screamed this sentence at me.
At that moment, I just wanted to dig a hole and escape from this embarrassment. From that point on, I would always put my head down and avoid eye contact when my teacher asked for a reader. I hated the way I sound. Why am I the only Asian who couldn’t enunciate the words correctly as my classmates? The more I thought about it, the dumber I thought I was. My friends also made a joke out of me behind my back--but I heard it anyway.
“Do you know that Mingxue got called on again by Ms. Tang?”
“Yeah. She sounds awful.”
“Right. She’s so dumb. How can she mispronounced one syllable words?”
“I can’t believe we’re friends with her. She is so stupid.”

The humiliation was just too tough for a 8 year old to handle. I became more diffident as I moved on to third grade. I would always daydream about myself talking as fluently and precisely as my classmate Rob would. Every word that was coming out of his mouth sounded just like one of the Fox News reporters. He always participates in class discussions but I didn’t even have the guts to speak a word out loud. I hated their judgement on my “funny accent.” I felt that all of the people in my class were more superior than me because they could speak English better than me.

I felt powerless, just like the author named Richard Rodriguez. In the “Hunger Of Memory,” he portrays himself as a language problematic child who was expected to be unsuccessful based on his Spanish accent. He came to an American school with just fifty basic English words and explains the painful path he took to be a part of the American society. This quote, “But, by being firm and so clear, the sound of his voice said that he was a grimy...he belonged in public society,” shows that Rodriguez thinks that the fact that he can’t speak with an American accent prevents him from being a part of the society he lives in now. To have the same or similar accent in a specific place means the distances between you and the person you’re talking to are closer. It is hard to be a minority who has a complete different accent from the majority of the population. You will feel overpowered as if the people who are fluent in the appropriate accent are suppose to be more superior than you. Your foreign accent is a symbol that reminds you are the minority. It is a voice in your brain that screams, “Your strong accent is more likely to be made fun of, than to be accepted by the people who speaks different than you.”    

To escape from the feeling that the people who speaks fluent English are better than me, I need to be audacious enough to face the judgements.The most terrifying place is school. Schools are made to correct and properly educate people. There is no mercy for foreigners. People would correct your grammar, your pronunciation, and your vocabulary. These humiliations I had in my elementary school are not the only incidents that pluck holes on my self-esteem. These incidents happen in my high school as well.

When I was typing up my first lesson plan, somebody's parent corrected my grammar while my friends just praised me for being an overachiever. At that time, my mind and my facial expressions weren’t cooperating. My mind wanted to erase this memory as if nothing had happened. I guess I probably looked embarrassed or furious after she said, “Please excuse me. That is my job. I am a book editor.” I tried to distract myself from this conversation by looking strongly at my screen, but a tap on my shoulder from this lady woke me up from the shame. Even if I am an overachiever, so what? This is not quality work. It is just quantity work that was rejected in the eyes of an editor, rejected from the cruel society. Even around my  friends who speak excellent English makes me feel insecure when they’re editing my essays.
Also, when my Asian friends praised my fluent English, I feel the guilt of accepting their compliments.

But, the feelings of comfort to speak Chinese is not as pleasant when I am speaking English. The timorousness to speak a foreign language as Rodriguez interpreted as “Not to understand this is to misunderstand the public uses of schooling...a family’s language...conveyed through those sounds was the reminder of being home.” It means that people are more challenged or uneasiness when speaking a foreign language because it overstepped their comfort zones. To speak your primitive language with a familiar accent that had been with you for all of your life is alleviating. School is made for public and you have to face obstacles as if you’re an adult. Language is a way to communicate but it is also the process to get the bitter taste of the world that let you step away from being nurtured. But, after the painful road to speak in a certain way in which is accepted or viewed as “professional,” you can be respected and gained power in a place you once felt so distant.

But, I have speak ten years of English, I become more open and stellar in articulating my English. When I was in ninth grade, one of my teachers, Ms. Kaita-Doe was astonished when she noticed how my grammar had improved over a thousand bounds through a report I sent her.
“I saw your report. It is awesome!”
“How is my grammar?”
“I got to admit that your grammar is perfect. It is a huge surprise to me considering the essay you wrote in seventh grade.’
“Yeah, I remember that you want me to edited it three times but I failed every time.”
“It seems like SLA is a great place for you.”
“It sure is. I have become more candid and more garrulous.”
“Before you graduated from Tilden, the only thing I was concerned about is your English. But, after I saw your report, I am not worried. So, good luck in high school. Bye”
“Bye.”
This video chat made me feel that my hard work, and humiliations I faced pays off. The feeling of being accomplish is too great to be expressed in words. I have regained my confidence after such a rough journey and returned in triumph. Now, many people wanted me to edit and give feedbacks to their essays and is willing to listen to my ideas.

Learning a new language can stressful for a foreigner. However, the process to be multilingual becomes one of the greatest achievement a person can earned through their hard efforts in which they would always remember.   
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Black Language

Hmm ... Where do I begin my language has changed for many years I am a dot on the face of the earth, compared to the change in my language throughout the past decades. To the wisdom of our father's father’s to the “ghetto” poetry of being poets and rappers. I am Black Language. Black Language now what is that really is that the evolution of my ancestors who put this country on their back and made it what it is today. The real idea is the disappearance of a beautiful language and all its speakers. My rhythm is an extension of me. I am the legacy that my brothers left. “The way I speak“ain’t”yo damn business.” Because I am the language.

Proper manners and speech are a  certain type of racial bystander to make others think of you better they are just another way society has put us in this deep hole of racism. My slang has changed I don't know anybody that talks like me. I know of many languages such as, Krio, Modern English, Mandingo, Spanish. All originate from their father Latin. Is that so terrible or is it just change that made us, Us.

We are pawns to the beautiful language known as Black Language. Underrated some would say. I thank god. This is life. We make mistakes, hated that's the way of life. This is my language that turns us to the pressure that we under. This is race, and I am a Alien in this line. Ready,set, Go! I'm off light years away on top of my game. I am Black Language.

In my life there have been moments that power is my language and how I can use that to my advantage. In this particular example the individual was a older white man that in my opinion was very racist. In the climax of the scene my language was my sword.

“ You old racist man you really think you can shut me and my people down, I gonna be me you arguing over a damn parking spot? This ain’t gotta be this serious!” This is probably the maddest I have ever been on something so simple like a parking spot. It was like someone was controlling my every word.
In my own right there some moments in life I don’t regret but this is not one of them. Another that was important me was when I was just with my friends talking about the All Star Weekend, and we used different words like “Flames” and Bangin’” These are simple words that mean something was good and we can see that our teachers were looking at us. They probably thought we were talking about sex or some inappropriate activity.But that's the stereotype that is automatically assigned to me because of the way I speak.
I try to ignore but it always seems to get to me. I asked my mom and dad why does the world still have to be Black and White? They replied the normal, “ Haji that’s how life is. You can’t let things get to you.” Then I told them about what happened in school that week.And their answer to this was baffling, But one thing that made me really mad, was when they said maybe you should change how you speak Haji. I thought about that at first I said, But then I thought why should I change myself for the benefit of someone else's selfish reasons. That don't make no damn sense! Who are they to judge me. "Imma be me!" I said.

  Black language is what unites people it's what gave my ancestors hope to be free the white man! We are people. What is the white man you say? White man is Pork. They are the oppressors. They rigamortis by the death we will still shine cause, we are the people. A dying language.

Racism will never die it will only multiply and this the hard truth. My name is Alhaji Sheku Taylor Koita. I got it from my grandfather. He was born in Mali but grew up in the city of Freetown in Sierra Leone. He was a famous taylor there that's how he obtained the middle name taylor. My name is very hard to say. Every new class, every new year. Never can my name be said correctly. The 1st year of the 3rd grade my teacher was taking role, she pronounced my name" lhahgi coyote" as 8 years old you could imagine my anger towards this teacher but I needed to realize that we are all different people and that we have different accents. And these accents make us who we are, for the rest of our lives.

I guess you could say that these accents are another muscle and you can be weak or strong. There are many examples of how Black Language truly exists and its full of unique and beautiful people. But know like this quote I picked from no other than, James Baldwin. He is a famous author, for his many inspiring lines and essays of dialogue. But it was a line in the essay he wrote called, “If black English Isn’t a language then tell me what is”. This actually got me started to writing this essay. But in the text he says, “Now, I do not know what white Americans would sound like if there had never been any black people in the United States, but they would not sound the way they sound.”. I thought this was confusing at first, how would they sound different you may ask? Well because like I was saying accents are like muscles and muscles can be many different shapes and sizes and can be strong or weak. But it also goes back to how you use it in your advantage.

All in all, this is a language that has been matured from since it was an infant. Back when my ancestors were being enslaved. Trust me there is no enemy here. In fact without this most ridiculous times in American History I wouldn't be who I am. Hell I wouldn’t be able to write this essay. This is just a twinkle in the fire soon it will be raging flame thrower breaks the street of America. And then we can say,“Who will survive in America?”




Here is A link to my mid-portion to up right battle. This is my Black Language.
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A Struggle With Privilege

“Hello, sir, it’s a pleasure to see you once again.” 

“Oh, the pleasure’s all mine, dear boy. How are your studies?”
“They’re just fantastic, thank you. All A’s, you know.”

“As expected! You read a lot, don’t you?”

“Every day, sir.”



I’ve had this conversation countless times. I was raised, surrounded, and accompanied by the decrepit, aged, and uptight white men and women whose minds were locked in the 1940s. The pure insincerity in the dialogue above was the way I lived my life for many years. With a facade, I followed my parents to neighborhood parties. Parties. A word that concealed the reality of one hundred large, white men stuffing their faces with the delicious pastries their wives slaved over for the majority of the day. I squeezed my way through the victorian-age houses, another term I heard very often, and pretended to know the meaning of. I tried so hard not to be seen, developing techniques of in-and-out pastry missions, but they never worked. 


It was a bitter winter night, and I was sheltered in another victorian age cesspool of boring conversation. I felt a cold, pudgy hand on my shoulder. It squeezed roughly, turning me around to face the bland, dark blue tie of a scratchy grey suit. The suit held an apparently impressive man. He boldly told me he was the “Assistant Coordinating Manager to The General Assignment Contributor of The FFSA (Firefly Financial Service Advisors)” and had the nerve to ask me what I thought about that.


Luckily for me, I had mastered the art of pretending to be interested in someone else’s transparent successes. “That sounds like a big job, sir! You must have a lot on your plate, not to say you can’t handle a load.” Today, I was beyond uninterested. “I’d better let you get back to those pastries.” I walked away as quickly as possible, weaving in between these pure, civilized, undoubtedly drawl citizens. 


A greying housewife stopped me before I could pull open the unnecessarily heavy, maple wood door. “Oh, thank goodness. Won’t you be a dear and fetch me a few more bottles of 1978 Montrachet from the cellar?” 


“No.” I walked out, finally taking a breath of fresh air.


I was just fifteen, and already feeling the heavy effects and the rebellious attitude that came with the year. By this time, I was aware of the warmth in this world, no longer comfortable in the ice chest of privilege. I wanted to experience the relaxed atmospheres of the world made possible by casual language and rhythmic speech. I wanted to hold a conversation rich with expression, as opposed to the boring speech patterns that filled my life with a redundant story of white entitlement.



In James Baldwin’s short essay “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” he said that “...language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power.” In privileged white speech patterns lies power of society, automatic success, and unearned wealth. Unfortunately, there is no single person in influential political power who speaks in “Black English,” for the history of the language is tarnished in an “equal” world. Yet I was intrigued by the language, by the dialect. As I grew and began to associate my own language with a stifling future I saw before me, a pathway already paved, others fascinated me. I observed true freedom only in dialects different from my own, while my language oppressed itself, suffocating its people in a self-invented stereotype.


“Son, why are you sitting out here all alone?”

“I can’t stand it in there.”

“These are our neighbors, our friends. Be respectful.”

“They’re your neighbors, not mine.”

“You should consider yourself lucky to be born into this culture.”


As I walked home, I thought about what my dad said, and what my language said about me. This world relinquished control to pale skin and expensive suits a long time ago, giving power to a community who would quickly grow accustomed to it, stepping on the feet of those climbing the ladder below them. A culture associated with power gained by trampling the potential of those different from them, never impressed me. No, what impressed me were the countless cultures who rose from nothing, stepping up each rung slowly, yet diligently, striving to be heard in society. The minorities of this earth have accomplished more than the “successful” ever did. There’s a certain pride that follows these successes. Something you can not experience if you enjoy what you have not earned. I wanted to be proud. 


In an essay by Richard Rodriguez, “Hunger of Memory” he spoke of his comfort with the Spanish speech patterns. “Conveyed through those sounds was the pleasing, soothing, consoling reminder of being at home.” I can say with certainty that as I grew, and my ear developed, the words I heard at home became sharper, rougher, another reminder of my humility. Instead of the linguistic comfort described by the minorities I admired, was the tasteless reality I was raised to carry on.


Fifteen was the year I broke the cycle. Growing up in privilege stifled my expression, and conformed me to a majority I would soon distaste. I knew the history of my culture, and I spoke the language associated with it. I hated to think what the sound of my voice triggered in the minds of my peers. It impacted my pride, my sense of belonging, and my view of the reality I knew. It changed me, made me want things out of my reach, and created a distance in my family. I still speak the language, but with reserve, an attempt at the absence of pompous inflection. In a simple alteration of linguistics, a change in attitude, a new culture is spawned within me. I was born privileged in all aspects, and died, born again, humbled. I struggled with privilege, but then rose above, victorious.

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Language autobiography

Accents are everywhere and everyone has one even if you are born in the country you live in. If you hear an accent that sounds weird to you they probably think the same thing about your accent. My essay is about how my mom was judged on her accent and how people judge people on the way they speak and see them as less. 




Having a mother that is from Mexico and is English is not here first language it can sometimes be tough to understand her. People sometimes treat her as less because she has an accent but when she speaks english it is pretty understandable the only problem is her accent. Sometimes people immediately think that she is an illegal alien and speak to her as if she had never spoken or heard english before when some of them know that she has been here for more than 22 years.


People that are not native speakers from the country are mistreated and seen as less just because they have an accent or don't seem to speak the language the “right way”. Whenever the people that supposedly say they are the native people from here are actually not .They came here as immigrants too and don't have the right to judge someone just because they don't speak english correctly. If they were to go to another country where they don't speak english they would run into being judged too, for not speaking the language correctly or having an accent when you speak it.


Like the other day I was with my mom at a store and she was paying a cashier and the cashier started talking to my mom as if she was a baby because my mom had an accent and it was obvious that she was not born here the USA. My mom reacted because the lady was over reacting by saying that she could not understand her and was acting in a rude way towards her.


After the incident at the store my mom said to me “Esa senora era muy ruda” I answered back “I know she was mama, she was just trying to make you make but you did the right thing by talking to her manager” she said “sometimes people here can be so rude and not know how to treat people the right way, this would never happen en mexico” I said “I know it wouldn't, she did it cause she is not happy and her life is miserable just let it go” she said “i'll let it go but if it happens again I will not accept it”


Another instance was when my mother and I were returning from a trip to mexico we were on the plane and we we were speaking spanish, I guess a guy was in a bad mood so he said to us “ We are going to america so speak english”, My mom and I both thought that he had absolutely no right to say that and we could speak any language we want, There is not a law that says we can't speak our native tongue. Everyone has the right to speak whatever they want and how ever they want, No one can take that away from you.


The connection with what happened was that sometimes people judge people based on the language they speak, And that people sometimes think they have the right to say whatever they want because the feel superior. Just because you speak the language we were going to it does not mean you can treat us as lower and tell us what we can and can't do.


link to my video- https://vimeo.com/57535584 
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Preamble

Preamble - The United States Government will pardon prisoners on death row if and only if they go into the custody of West African governments as reparation for slavery in America.
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Just a little different by Alexis McCormick

     Language can make you who you are. It can help you in some cases and in others, hurt. Sometimes using a different language others may look at you questionably. Language can tell a story about who you are. One language may comes with several different accents. Having an accent makes you even different as a person. You have to understand that even if you or anyone else had a slight accent there’s nothing different about that person, the only thing different is the way they pronounce a word. You can’t judge a person based off their accent, everyone has something they can’t control and their accent is what it is. 

     With that I will tell you my story. I am a girl that comes from south Philadelphia, born and raised. I can say I live in a pretty good neighborhood, which people generally call “dego land”, but if you go up or down a few blocks you will hit places you wouldn’t want to go. My surrounding are mostly asian and black with hints of white here and there. If you closed your eyes and get a white and black person to speak, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but for some odd reason, im different. I hang out with every race, nothing particular. The questionable wonder from people about my accent is unanswerable. With this some accent judgement comes to play. And the even worse thing is that I get judged by some of my best friends.

      Have you ever been asked that question “where do you come from?” Well I do, all the time. Its all because of the way I speak. Its only a few words I pronounce differently. The worst feeling is when your own family and friends the ask the same question. The way I pronounce some words puts a slightly small toll on my life. I guess just because I grew up with a better education and payed attentions to the speaking test that I was blessed by being able to say words you would hear in the rich south.

     I’m very dedicated to my sports. If someone is playing a sport I’m interested in, then I’ll ask to play. But one day something happened at softball that I wasn’t expecting. That day it felt like it had to be at lease ninety five degrees out, and with the sun beating down on you makes it ten times worse. I needed a drink of water, I was so parched.

“Hey bri, throw me a watuh?”

“Sorry lex, we only have wateeeerrr, you know W-A-T-E-R.

     That day, was a day where I felt less than everyone else. That day at that moment, I was very tempted to quit something I really loved. All because my whole team was laughing at me because I said one word different. I realized that day that my accent could ruin things I really truley loved. 

     After that day I started to realize that I pronounced other word more differently. The first was “watuh”, then it was “bull” instead of “ball”, “gulf” instead of “golf” and “dughter” instead of “daughter”. What I learned through out this time period is that I was different from some others and it felt good. I was happy that I found out that I talk differently from others. Who wants to be just like everyone else? I know not me, because I like being my own person. 

      Something interesting was that some other people that passed through my life also spoke similar to how I pronounce words and others really liked the way I talked. So my little accent helped me meet new people who wanted to consistently engage in conversation just to hear me speak my words just a little differently. I kind of felt special after a while, people introduced me to their friends just because I tend to take away the “R” in water and the “A” in daughter.

     You can’t take something so miner to the head because you’ll never really know who’s going to like you for who you really are. I learned that my little accents helped in situations like when I have to talk to an important elder. When I encounter this situation I speak more properly. So in cases like that I feel like I do have an advantage.

     With that something else came to mind. The worst feeling is when you and your best friend get into a fight, right? Well one day me and my best friend Briana got into a little disagreement about something completely childish. She came at me with “I think im better then everyone and I act to grown for my age”. That right their lead into so much more, but she was referring to how I don’t talk with so much slang like every other child from around my neighborhood does. I told her, its not that I think im better then anyone. Im just a person who was raised with class and It was tough to speak with manors.

     I no longer get upset when people make fun of my little accent that I have, I just tell myself every time that this accent that people torture me with is what makes me different from a lot of other people. My accent makes me who I am and I wouldn’t change my experience with this accent for anything because it showed me a different view on life. This small accent I have helped me in many ways and I believe that it will help me because a very important part in many peoples lives and my very important future. 

     Don’t ever let something so little get you down, remember the people who hurt you with anything are just people who are mad, and if it is your friend, in any case, they aren’t true friends. Be who you are then you’ll realize that the people who come through your life and stayed are the people that will be there forever.  

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The War Of The Worlds

It Is crafted to show correlation between The War Of the Worlds and the war in the city I live. In the lyrics I connect to the violence in the streets and how I live in this world everyday. I feel the way the main character feels in the story, he’s brave but not afraid he is aware of the danger that he has been faced with the difference in my case I never know who the danger comes from or could come from. In inner-cities People are killed almost everyday which is the point that it is difficult to make it in inner-cities. In the song one line is “A city street where a mom could lose her son at any moment”, which is true. At any point I could be faced with a life or death situation; someone was recently shot on the train a large number of students who live in the west section of Philadelphia, it could happen at any point to anyone. My main reason for writing the song was to show how I can relate to the story. This was most important to me it depicts the life that everyone in Philadelphia is a part of; I think I am best at writing my feelings through rhymes. 


The War of The Worlds is about Martians who come to earth after they have faced major climate change in their own planet so they then came to earth to seek out a new home planet. Astronomers in the story take interest to the rapidly growing subject. Ogilvy (one astronomer in the story) goes to investigate the meteor form which the martians had fallen. He goes off to warn everyone of his findings. Later on there is a large crowd around the pit where the meteor had crashed. The martians are described as being about the same size as humans, with tentacles and big black eyes. The narrotor goes to tell his wife of the danger that they could possibly be faced with. The civilians who stayed around the area were killed by the Martians. As the death toll rises the military becomes involved. As the narrator attempts to gain more insight on the Martians another cylinder lands on earth with Martians in it.


The Martians begin to use heat rays which kill civilians of the surrounding area of London. So the humans in desperation to escape head for the docks which are letting people leave on ferry’s. As the narrator and his wife get away the fifth cylinder lands. Now the narrator comes across of house to take shelter in. Policeman walk from door to door to warn everyone that the Martians are basically unstoppable. After fifteen days of hiding in a coal cellar he comes out and goes to London where he is astonished to see that there are dead bodies everywhere. There was literally a war outside that no one is safe from. He looks around then he hears a strange sound and realizes that the Martians are dying. The earthly bacteria in which the Martians are not accustomed killed the Martians. Life becomes normal again, the narrator returns home.


The way my song and the story connect is in the song I explain how life is like in an inner city and how it is a war in itself. I know kids my own age who have been shot, or even killed. The story is about how no one is safe in the society at one point in which the Martians were there but it is like that everyday in Philadelphia; at any moment it could happen to anyone. One line in particular I said was “this is not opinion ; nor fact versus fiction this is my mission to make it to twenty-five not dead I don’t mean mummified, all they know is Killadelphia because that’s what surrounds us walk in to a dark room they found trust in what surrounds us.” That to me means for young men or teens who are in the street will be lucky to make it to the age of twenty five, but since ‘Killadelphia’ or Philadelphia is all they know they become used to it so they put their trust in their guns.

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Los seres Queridos en Mi Vida

Hola! Bienvienidos a mi video. Disfurta!


Yo
Mi nombre es Kevin. Tengo 15 anos. Mi cupleanos el seis de enero. Mi gusta praticar deportes.


Ella
Se llama Victoria. Soy de nueva jersey.  Familia es muy grande. ella es mi novia

Ellos
Ameer y Nebil es mi muy bien amigos. Son ambos 14 anos. Son ambos el pelo negros. Ameer es bastante bien boxerador.

Ellas
Kristina Y Jennifer son 14 anos. Soy de del sur filadelfia

Nosotros
Brandon es beunos amigos. Son ambos 15 anos. Eran de filadelfia.

¡Gracias por midar mi video!

Video is here
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Winter Town by Stephen Emond: A Review

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In our culture, we are surrounded with tales of love and happiness, encompassed by the idea that friendship works out for the best and that those six promising words, "and they lived happily ever after" are the only indication that you make now put the book down and have a final swoon.

Winter Town by Stephen Emond may seem completely different; it doesn't have a lovey dovey title, the cover only has one character portrayed, even the synopsis (which is pretty revealing so I couldn't put it in my review) doesn't outrightly suggest a young adult romance novel. Kirkus Reviews said, "Compelling, honest and true—this musing about art and self-discovery, replete with pitch-perfect dialogue, will have wide appeal.

It might seem different from the rest because, in retrospect, it is. A finely cut, authentic, real gem amongst a sea of plastic rhinestones, Winter Town does not disappoint. 

In Stephen Emond's second novel, the relationship of two childhood peas-in-a-pod, Lucy and Evan, is written as well as the script for any indie-movie. As children, they were virtually inseparable; they went to the same school, lived within walking distance of each other, sat around and illustrated stories via comic strip, and created mythical worlds (Bridge to Terabithia-esque) in spare time that they always seemed to have while they were with each other. Lucy moves out of town as a result of her parents divorce and Evan anxiously awaits her arrival every winter; one year, however, he is met with a 'surprise'. The once clean-cut, semi-nerd, good-girl Lucy has transformed into an eyeliner-wearing, baggier, mysterious Lucy. What could it be that has changed her so drastically? The book follows the two as Evan tries to bring Old Lucy ™ back and as New Lucy ™ makes attempts at gaining Evan's acceptance, and finding herself. 


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This novel is the perfect blend of romance, drama, and wit that many young adult novels lack. A majority of the books in that section of your local library seem fictional, even whimsical due to their 'too good to be true' nature. Winter Town does not fit this criteria for a few reasons. The first being that it is extremely realistic. Emond illustrates his characters so that they are relatable, one of his strong points with his writing. Evan and Lucy are not Extremes, meaning that Evan isn't overly popular or nerdy and Lucy isn't overly dramatic or depressed. At first it certainly seems this way, but it is not the case. They are both well-rounded individuals, and these are characters that young adult novels seem to lack. Another review I read prior to reading the book mentioned Lucy as being ‘wonderfully infuriating’. It’s a bit like having a crush on someone who makes you chase after them; she takes a little while to warm up to, but quickly becomes a favorite character throughout the book. The concept of opposites attracting wasn’t overdone in this book as Emond took two completely different characters and plotted the story in a way that they perfectly balance out each other.

An extremely strong point in the book is the dual character format in which Emond writes the book. He writes the first 'part' from Evan's perspective, there is a small interlude, and the second part is told from Lucy's perspective. Both sides of the same story are given; you get into both heads. It's perfect. As for Winter Town's weaknesses, I would like to mention that though the synopsis says it's funny, there were very few points in the book that I had a nice hearty laugh. Giggles were strewn throughout the book, certainly, but I wouldn't classify Winter Town as a comedy. The incredible art that Emond weaves throughout the story is also a strength of the novel.




    
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I’m sure not everyone will love Winter Town as I did, but, I suppose if you read my entire review, you can see that I would certainly recommend this book to anyone with a lazy day or two that needs a cute, clever, simple, and touching novel to pick up. Winter Town is certainly a piece that I'd pick up and read again; you should treat yourself and read it at least one time.

My short bibliography
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Langauge.

For my 2nd Quarter benchmark, we had to write an essay about language, the different languages that is used, not only from English to spanish, but accents, slang, you're lingo and more. You're prospective on grammer isn't always the same as the person sitting next to you, it makes the difference between you & that person, but we all find connection in another way to come together.




Where your accent stands, can also depend on where you live, your environment, culture, “Hood”, street, it all trickles down to something as simple as that, it can spread from the east coast to the west coast, to someone in your neighborhood & someone is the neighborhood right next to you, The language that people use in philly, differs from the language for people in Florida, even though both of the states/cites are on the same coast of the united states, It can range from anything.


Society can judge you based on your accent, your lingo, your slang, it can really be determined if you’re accepted into the community you’re in, even clique that the new kid wants to be apart of at school, morley this has to do with fitting in, people can even judge you on your speech, maybe assume you’re smarter than you are, or even dumber than you actually are. Your accent can go back to your ancestors, the way the language can also determine the way of someone’s life, you’re in your comfort zone, talking to a group of people who speaks different, can easily pull you out of the same comfort Zone, “Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.”  - Carl Sandburg, New York times, 13 February 1959


I have a close friend named Dovi, she’s lived in philadelphia her entire life, she’s grown to be quite comfortable with the people she talks too, & even more important, The way she speaks, maybe when you’re so used to speaking some type of way, you start to think that everyone speaks the same way. Well last year her mother told her that they were moving to Florida to start a new life, when you’re moving, language isn’t the first thing that you think about when you’re also thinking about starting a new life, new friends, new atmosphere. She just assumed that since we’re all the same age, we spoke the same, she was in for something more when she moved. She started school in florida, she soon learned that almost everything is different, what people’s hobbies are, people’s opinions, including the language that people used down there, the generation gaps with elderly people, and the slang and lingo, the terms that she bought down there, the kids didn’t accept it, she felt like an outsider, different, but in a bad way, she was always the type to stand out and stay apart from something so regular and what was considered ordinary, but language can be the reason you don’t feel the same way anymore, it felt awkward and even threw her more out of her comfort Zone, she was used to the way people talked in Philadelphia, she loved the way people talked in philadelphia, she went down to florida with the philadelphia language, Philadelphia language, words such as “Young Boul” which means someone who's younger than you, or someone whose Immature, or “Dickeater”, means someone who is in your business, or someone who is annoying, “Bars” which means making fun of someone, or rapping, In florida Bars is “Roast” means talking about someone, “Spitting Game” means in philadelphia that you’re trying to talk to someone, get to know them better, but in florida, to talk to someone in florida, it means “Caked-up”, One more word “Lay” means that you have nice clothes, but in florida, it meant “Dress code” She noticed that slang there was different, She felt like she had to quickly adapt to what kids were saying in her new life, like that was the only way she was going to fit in, like you’re pushed into talking the way that they do, or else no one will understand you, you’ll be locked up in your own world, you couldn’t laugh with anyone, more importantly, you wouldn’t be able to relate to anyone but yourself.



But the same way that language separates people, it can also bring people together, being with someone different from you, you learn more, you find it interesting, it’s not the words that connect you with another person, “Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words”  is a quote from the Islamic poet, jurist, Rumi. What this quote is saying that is isn’t always quite the language, but the person, doesn’t matter what language you’re speaking, what lingo, or slang you’re displaying to others, everyone can connect in some type of way.
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Language Autobiography

In this unit, we learned a lot about language and power. This unit really helped me reflect on language, and it helped me realize that I judge people based on their language when the truth is that you cannot tell a persons character from the way they look or speak. 



My mother is white. My father is black. I have never really considered myself black. I am black, but I don’t feel black. Yes, black DNA runs through my veins, giving me nappy hair and a wide nose, but I don’t feel black. I was raised in University City, the bourgeois part of West Philly. There were some black people in my neighborhood, and my best friend growing up was black, but she struggled with language in the same ways I did. We were both physically black, but not culturally black. 

I went to a very diverse elementary school. About 70% of the students were black, and about 50% of the students were classified as “economically disadvantaged”. None of this really made a difference to me (or anyone else). We all got along (for the most part) and I had lots of friends, both black and white. It wasn’t until middle school that I really noticed the cultural divide between other black students and myself.

My middle school was not as diverse as my elementary school. Although it was a public school, most students were white and middle class. There were some black students, but they only hung out with each other. I didn’t really notice this until my best friend Ivy said to me “Ruby, why don’t you act black?”. At first, I was very offended. 

“How can someone act black? Is it because I’m smart? Because I speak proper english? You’re a racist”

This isn’t what she meant. I know that now. She was referring to my language. I don’t speak in Ebonics, Black Vernacular, African American English, or anything of the sort. But, probably due to some internalized racism, I associated speaking in Ebonics with being dumb, and (indirectly) I associated being black with being dumb. 

I didn’t realize that I was harboring some serious internalized racism until about 8 months ago. I stumbled across a few social justice bloggers, and one wrote a really long post about code-switching and African American Vernacular English (AAVE). He basically said that AAVE is a first language for most black people, and many have to change the way they speak in professional setting because AAVE is seen as “unprofessional”. This is still a common belief, and it’s really racist. Saying that AAVE is unprofessional or wrong is like saying black people are unprofessional or wrong. AAVE is a dialect of english, just like people from California and New York speak in distinctive tones and have different words. The only difference is that AAVE and the black community is the only dialect that is singled out to the extent that it is. This reflects a greater issue: racism in America. 

Africans were brought to the US by slave traders. They were forced to learn english, and (like most english language learners) developed a distinct accent. Because the Black community was (and still is) so isolated from white america, this accent stayed. AAVE does NOT include slang words, and has rules and pronunciation.

After learning about AAVE, I realized that I judged black people for using it and immediately wrote them off as dumb and not worth my time. Since many black people use AAVE, I made judgements about the entire race and didn’t associate myself with them. I was a racist. Not the kind that you see on TV, burning flags and wearing t-shirts with bright red swastikas, I was the kind of racist you most often find in the US. The kind who scoffed at black teenagers on the bus, and the kind who said things like “Just because I’m not dumb doesn’t mean I’m not black”. I thought that I was a champion for my race, but I was just whitewashed, and because of this I saw myself as superior. This was wrong, and I understand now that AAVE doesn’t make a person dumb, it’s just another way of speaking.

I don’t feel black. I have never experienced black culture. All my life I’ve listened to white music, eaten white food, and spoken in white english. But, I don’t feel white either. My tanned skin and curly hair have always served as a reminder of my otherness. I still don’t know where I stand with my race. When I refer to the black community as a whole, I never know whether to say “them” or “we”. I feel silly saying “they”, but “we” feels strange. I’m not black, but I’m not white. I don’t really know what I am. 

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Art in Every Language

Language is a form of art. The more  languages you know, the better your art will turn out. I’m a canvas, not full of images but of words. Creating a story everyday and everynight. I wake up to a new story not knowing if I will hear it in English or in Spanish. I am proud to say that I am bilingual. Being bilingual throughout my entire life has been a true blessing. You have a feeling of accomplishment. I know that I can communicate with my family in two languages and also be able to travel from one place to another, without having to worry about understanding other people. But being bilingual had its disadvantages. At one point in my life, I had trouble being bilingual.
When I was in the second grade, my mother decided to transfer me to an all english class because my oldest sister was in Masterman, and she struggles because she wasn’t as good in english like the rest of her classmates were. I was delighted because not only was the class different, but it was also a better opportunity for me to have a better understanding of English. When I entered through the door of the classroom, a teacher greeted me. She said “Hi, I’m Ms. Lombardo, how do you pronounce your name?” I said “Cha.ve.liz” She tried to imitate every single letter the way I said it but it was useless. My name became “shavaliz” to her. It wasn’t as delighted with the pronunciation but well I just went along with it.She then said “ Follow me to your new seat”. I did as she said and I saw my friend Jose. He transferred the week before because his mother thought the same as my mother. English should be  a priority since we are in an english speaking city.

Learning english at an earlier age was going to benefit us when we grow up. Other than Jose,  I didn’t know people who were in that class, and my life shifted completely. There cultures were completely different right of the back because even though a lot of students in that class were hispanic, they did not know spanish as well as I did. I had my desk, my name tag, my books everything. And even though my name didn’t stand out from the rest of my classmates names, my background did. From the way I spoke English and Spanish, things changed completely.

Change is not a bad thing. Its something that we have to adapt to. Change is good.It was really easy to make friends too. When you’re the “new kid” everyone wants to be friends with them. The same day, I became friends with Gennyliz and Andrea. Gennyliz was Puerto Rican like I was and Andrea was African American and white. I went from the new girl to the cool girl. Jose was also there and it was good to have a friend. They were extremely friendly. I keep thinking about the day I met them and it wasn’t hard to adapt. WIth Gennyliz, I spoke both english and spanish to Gennyliz and Jose. But with Andrea it was only English. It was easy to be friends with them but sometimes I couldn’t find the correct words to respond. Sometimes when I spoke english, I responded with a spanish word. Not because I chose to, but because I didn’t know how to respond. Sometimes instead of saying okay, I would say “ o okey”. You were able to tell that english wasn’t my first language. It didn’t make me angry, it just made me want to learn more English.

Sometimes, I came home to hear my family speak in english then spanish. We called it Spanglish. The word itself sounds like spanish and english combined and thats exactly what it is. One of the biggest disadvantages might have have been pronunciation. When I said Beach, it used to sound like something completely different and well there goes a laughter. My family and I always corrected each other when the words came out wrong. it’s not because we wanted to harm each other but to strengthen our vocabulary and pronunciation. English was not our first language. So we had to work harder when we were younger in order to stay in tip top shape. Everything had to be easy for us because we had and still have to be successful.
Being a canvas isn’t always easy. You are once empty with no words. But as soon as you learn your first word, you will be trained to learn more words until your canvas is only full. Especially when you speak more than one language.  Knowing more than one language is a blessing but at the same time, if you don’t keep up with the languages then you will be lost. Creating a story is easy but the hardest part of it all may be deciding which language will be used to develop the story.
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I'm Different

At my school, There’s a lot of inside information that only certain groups or cliques know about. And we talk about these things so much that it starts to become an everyday vocabulary word. Whether if it’s 2 strokes, or greenfield wall everyone will not know what we are talking about. It gets so bad that people start to believe that was our everyday word, or they started to get curious. “Haneef you going to go to art and paint 2 strokes?” “ Jaaz where ya kids at” “Ard you dickeating youngbull” That is our normal everyday conversation between me and my friends. Sometimes its hard to switch from “informal” teenagers, into the “formal professional” teenagers that we are supposed to be. Sometimes its hard to be a teenager in this world. Especially in the city of brotherly love. People nowadays judge you by so many things. I remember being in school and learning how in the 20th century people were judged by the color of their skin. I remember the visuals of the the segregated signs. Now people are so full of themselves, they judge you for the dumbest things. I hate it the most when people make fun of the way people talk. Its not their fault they talk the way they do. I feel as though people should be able to have some type of downs in their life without being criticized. My friend Pierce catched hell everyday because of the way he talks. He has a thing that people call a lisps. It causes him to talk unlike others. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what he is saying. It burns me inside to hear people talk about my friend because I know how it feels to be different. Me personally, when it comes to language, I have two different languages. I have formal english, and informal english. Or as people like to call it, slang. When I’m around my friends, I use my informal english. I curse, use slang terminology, everything. When I’m around my family it a little bit of both. I have to be somewhat formal, and somewhat informal. Everyone has that type of way they communicate with their family. My family is full of kids, young adults, and fresh adults. Meaning that almost everyone in my family except for the seniors or parents, know today’s terms. When I’m around teachers, I try to be as formal as possible. I try so hard that sometimes it sounds like I am trying to be sarcastic. When I am talking to anyway of a formal standard I like to add this as i like to call it “ Educated sophisticated voice”. That helps the person i’m talking to know that i have some type of common sense, i know what i’m talking about, and know how to talk to people. I like to make a first impression on people, and when you are talking to someone, they judge the way you talk. They do this because people don’t like to associate themselves with people that don’t know how to talk to people the proper way. Either that or they are just ignorant and want to save themselves the headache of trying to know your language, or take the time to understand and listen to what you are saying. Today these days are just so full of themselves and think that they are the biggest thing that they forget that there are people out there that have just the same amount of potential that they have but won’t give them the acknowledgement or the time to express the potential. And all this because of the way a person talks. All this because a person can’t pronounce their R’s the right way. All this because a person are not speaking in a formal way that THEY are speaking in. All this because they aren’t talking like them. Everyone is different. Everyone comes in different races, shapes, and sizes. Everyone is unique in their own way. That’s just the way we were born and raised. Even writing this essay gets me a little upset at the world and the people in it. As i sit on the el in the morning and I see how people are criticized because of how they talk. Someone can say “hello” and an ignorant, egotistical human person has the audacity to laugh. What gives you the right? Who the hell are you to give someone a review on there life and how they talk. Especially when you know damn well you have problems on your on. People make me so sick. People want them to be like them but fail to realize that THERE IS ONLY ONE YOU! 
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North Korea's Dictatorship: Blocked From the World (yatw blog post prt.2)

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As said in North Korea's Dictatorship: Blocked From the World (yatw blog post prt.1)  people weren't allowed to enter or leave North Korea. I talked about the sad truth in the last blog. I talked about how North Korean citizens are trapped and living in seclusion. I have uncovered new information through research and web surfing. 

Since the last post I've discovered that North Korea is allowing tourists. North Korea's tourism is highly controlled and only shows the good parts of North Korea. All they show during the tour is Kim Jong Il's greatness, and how Kim Jong Il is the best at everything. That still can't completely hide the fact that the previous dictator, and  father of the current dictator starved around 23 million North Korean citizens to death because of his forced seclusion of the North Korean people. The great famine that killed 23 million people subsided, however North Korea continues to go in and out of food shortages. 
People that are serious about human rights target North Korea. These activists and protestors try and do as much as they possibly can to make the lives of North Korean citizens better. Apparently North Korea has something against people using condoms, so one day, human rights activists droped food, misc. aid supplies, and condoms from the sky.
​A Missle from North Korea
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On the 14th of January 2013, North Korea promised to strengthen their defense, suggesting their continuation of nuclear study. New pictures were released on North Korea's nuclear missiles. North Korea released the picture above. South Korea also released some pictures North Korea's missile, but it was the missile's wreckage and not the actual missile.The missile North Korea tried to deploy was estimated to be able to reach America...That's definitely not a good thing. The fact that North Korea is even attempting to make a nuclear missile is horrible. They have starving people, who are completely reliant on their government's ability to produce food, yet they're making nuclear missiles.

North Korean citizens believe that America is the reason why North Koreans can't leave their homes. They think that American soldiers on the border are the reasons they can't unite with their families in South Korea or anywhere else. This is one of the many lies the previous leader Kim Jong Il has told them, and without any form of outside communication they will never know the truth. During the dictatorship of Kim Jong Il, he has risen himself up as a Messiah of some sort. People aren't allowed to praise anything other than him. North Koreans believe everything he says... They have to at least pretend to believe and do every thing he says or they could be sent to concentration camps or shunned by other citizens.

I did a bit of research of my own on this topic. I created a survey to see how much people knew about North Korea. Exactly 28 people responded before the date of 1/20/2013. The survey consisted of questions based on how much people knew about North Korea, and about how they would feel if they were in the same situation. Here are the results. 

North Korea Survey Results 
  • Of the 27 people that took the results 1 was Asian. The majority of the participants were Black and the second major race was Caucasian. One person was Hispanic and three where either mixed, or not one of the available races. 
  • When asked the question "Do you Know that North Koreans aren't allowed to step outside of North Korea?" 36% said yes, 32% said no, and 32% said I no a little bit about it.
  • They were the asked the question "How would you feel if you weren't allowed to leave America?" the majority of the people said something along the lines of feeling trapped or they would feel bad.
  • I also asked "How would you feel if you were trapped in America, often having shortages of food, not being able to buy any food for your family, dying from famine?". I got a mixed amount of responses varying from "I would die" to "I would go crazy and try to leave" to "This is a badly phrased question because the only responses you could get are bad and terrible" 
However this is what North Koreans go through every day.

North Korea: Yang's incredible story of pain and hope!


​This is a story from a north korean who escaped North Korea. This video contains a disturbing story with disturbing images. 
More videos here >> click

Take My survey Here>> click

Bibliography here >> click
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Language To Me - Brian Birkmire

For our Quarter 2 benchmark we had to write an autobiography about Language. We had to discuss points in ou life where language was a big deal in our life. In varied from incidents with friends, to simply realizing that language can come from multiple things. My language is in my music, this is my way of getting through to people and it's where MY VOICE is. 

Language to me, is not just a way of communication, but a way of interaction that can bring people together or even do the opposite. Over many years I have noticed differences between languages but also many similarities. Language is incredible, it is the connection creator, we as humans have when we first use it with another. I always think, how did languages come to be? What first language influenced those we have today as well as how did they evolve? Language can be changed infinitely. What’s the most interesting fact about all languages is that each branches off from another and in total all languages came from one used long ago.

You hear a lot about slang words in modern day English. Words such as “jawn” or “naw” , etc. These words are terms with meaning but that are not actually in the English Language. The slang term “jawn” has the same meaning as “thing.” It can be used to identify an object, person, and place. Now I personally have had incidents with slang words and how I have been judged and others I know have been also. My opinion on slang words is that using them can be good but also bad at the same time. When I’m around family and good friends, I usually speak “Proper English.” When I’m around friends that I’ve met in school or so I use slang terms then. Some words such as “naw”, “swerve” , “guap” , etc.


In middle school, I had multiple friends I spent many years with. My two friends, their names, were Rahsul, and the other Dan. Rahsul is African American while Dan is white, and he used to speak in only slang terms. No one ever thought anything about it, until Rahsul one day spoke up and said “You’re not black stop talking like that.” It never occurred to me until that day, but I wondered did you have to be a certain race to speak a certain way? I began thinking about that and asked myself why Rahsul was judging my friend Dan on how he spoke. Just because he is white doesn’t mean he can’t use slang terms.

Another incident, this time where it was me who used the slang term, was when I kept saying “Naw” to my parents questions. It was a Wednesday and I was doing my newspapers and my mom and I were in the car. She kept asking questions about my day at school and if I had any paperwork for her. Each yes or no question she asked I responded with “Naw.” Finally she told me to stop saying it because it isn’t “proper English”. I knew it isn’t proper English, but I’m so use to using slang terms that it has basically become a habit. The abbreviations and slang words I use in my text; Facebook posts, Tweets, and other social networking sites are used so frequently that they are simply just a habit. But if I know when to speak like that, and when not too, why should I be judged for using slang terms?  

Also, I believe language can evolve from the environment around you. If you live in a place where education was not common in family or friends, you may speak in properly, but you can’t help that. Comparing someones “Proper” way of speaking to “improper” ways of speaking is like comparing Salt to Pepper. You need both and you use both no matter who you are. It bothers me when I hear people judge another for how they speak but compare them to another race. “Why do you speak so properly? Like a white person.” Or even the opposite situation. What does it matter if they speak weird, how does that affect you and your speaking? It doesn’t.

No matter what you do, where you go, what you wear, what you like, people will always judge you. The fact that no one can ever do something where they aren’t judged is depressing. The other factor to this though is people claim it’s their own opinion which they clearly have the right to have. So through that factor this gives people the opportunity to judge one another. I personally don’t believe in judging of language. No matter what we all have a language unique to who we are. I don’t believe language should be separated by race either, what is “Black English” to “White English?” Look at the second word in both of those terms and you see; English. English is English, it’s a language, just like Spanish, Latin, Italian, Chinese and thousands of others from all around the world. My question will always be; “Why judge someone if you don’t know them?” What I mean by this is, someone could be going through the roughest times Life has to offer, and they could be one word away from snapping. If you don’t know them and don’t know their background or feelings, why judge them? Don’t judge someone from how they speak, and they won’t judge you.

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Language is Identity

During our language unit in English I have learned that language is more than just words. Language is who we are, how we perceive the world, and how we think. Language not only shapes up but can affect us from other people's eyes. I have learned that how you speak is not who you are, but to succeed in the world, one way or another, you must be able to code switch and know how to properly talk. Below is an essay on what Language means to me, how I have been shaped and affected, learned many things, and became who I am based off of language. 



Language is Identity


Language is a tool to get what you need, express your emotions, and to connect with others. It’s the framework through which we all perceive and analyze the world around us. It is a communication that allows us to convey who we are. People shape language all over the world, but it is more accurate and correct to say that language shapes us. People personalities’, thoughts and opinions are language shaped by influences from location, decades, and surroundings. Language has guided me to my own path in life.

I have moved around a lot more than the average bear and I have noticed how language affects people in different parts of the country. When I lived in Berkeley, California, the people talk in a laid back manner, even professional people weren’t so stern. I remember walking into a business meeting at Google Headquarters with my cousin. “As we fix the bug in the system, you know, make sure to get some game on your other assignments. It’s totally cool if you want to work on your 2nd projects for the interlineal system, or just chill and keep working on this one, it’s in your hands,” the boss said to my cousin, and all of the workers in the meeting. They would respond with “alright boss, have a good one. Don’t party too hard tomorrow.” Then they would leave casually and go back to working for one of the biggest companies. I was startled to see this because I never expected a business meeting to go like that. This is just one example of how language really affects people’s personalities. In California, they speak calm and relaxed, and they are much nicer than people on the east coast, as far as I’m aware.

In New York, the people talk in a rushed pace and they pronounce many words differently. They use a very different vocabulary, more city-like, and shortened words. I grew up in New Jersey, so I pronounce words differently than people in the city. Many of my friends jokingly make fun or play around with the words I say. For example, people say bad rhyming with sad, but I say bad emphasizing the a, as if I grew up in the country. I didn’t though; I grew up 40 minutes from Philadelphia. When I learned my alphabet I lived in a rural southern area and so I say my alphabet a little bit differentley. It was hard for me to move Philly because everything was so fast paced and different, but I easily adjusted.

Language and personality does not always go hand in hand, but according to my life that is how it works. My own language is more relaxed and chilled than the people I’m surrounded by, and overall my personality is also more relaxed as well. I don’t let little things bug me, or things don’t really phase me as much as people I know from the city, where things keep going, life doesn’t stop for anyone, it goes on.

The decade, or time you grew up in affects how you talk. Since I have hippie parents I talk like I lived in the 1960s-1990s. I say radical, groovy, solid, gnarly, psyched, get jiggy with it, and stoked. People now-a-days use words like “swag, yolo, jawn”, I don’t get it. I wish I grew up in the 60s or 80s because the language to me felt right. Today when I hear kids speak, I think they sound like uneducated idiots.

Lastly, my own native language is music. Music has been one of the biggest contributions in my life and my path of finding myself. It is a universal/unspoken language in it’s own way. It brings out words people can’t say and brings us together. Music has helped me cope and go through many struggles I have faced. It’s a sense of language and communication that expresses to people that they are not alone, and someone is going through the same things that you are.  

When people think of language they think of words. When I think of langugage I think of music notes. Music can say things that words cannot, when words fail music speaks. “It’s funny how a melody sounds like a memory,” music can trigger senses inside of us more than words can. There are many different types of music, it is a culture. Music has been my backbone and religion for a long time.

It is true we shape language into what it is, but it is even more accurate that language shapes us, and makes us into the lovely people we become. Without our own particular language, we wouldn’t be unique individuals. Language has guided me to my own path in life, and binded the world as one. Without language there would be no way to possibly accept the reality around us. Language is identity.




Citations

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>. 


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

​Introduction
Accents are everywhere and everyone has one whether they like it or not. If you hear an accent that sounds weird to you they probably think the same thing about your accent. People shouldn't be so quick to judge people and their capabilities by the way they talk. My essay talks about how people viewed the way I talked and how accents can be helpful in situations.


When I was young I didn’t realize that there was a difference between a west coast or east coast accent. I never even thought that I had an accent nor did I think that people on the east coast had an accent either. However, after watching a movie about accents I realized that everyone has an accent whether they want to or not. So I want to now why don’t have an accent and how certain accents can be used to gain both advantages and disadvantages in the business and “street” world.  


I was born in San Diego, California and lived there until I was about 6. I had already watched enough movies and met enough people to know that there were other people in the world that talked differently than me. I remember trying to act them out wishing I had one of those accents. When I went to school when I lived out there, there weren’t any other children with accents from what I can remember. It was either that or we all had an accent and I just couldn’t tell. I thought the way we talked was normal and that the people who spoke differently were the funny ones. I remember that even though we were still young we didn’t have a lot of slang like most of the children in Philly had. I don’t know if it had something to do with all our parents or any other outside source, but from what I can remember that is how we talked.


Just a little after I turned 6 my sisters, my mom and I moved to philly. I didn’t start school as soon as I moved here yet so I was still untouched from the types of language and accents other children spoke. The strange thing now that I think about it was that there wasn’t a noticeable difference from the way we talked. There were some slang words that I had never heard of before and some of the kids would tease me by asking if I like this or that. Other than that I don’t remember anyone ever saying that I had an accent, you talk funny or anything like that.


Later in my life people told me that I cursed and said slang words properly. I didn’t know what they meant by that. Did they mean I pronounce every single syllable in the word because to me I thought I was saying the words like everyone else. Still to this day people are saying these things to them it makes seem like I don't have street smarts and that I spend most of my time in school. It doesn't bother me a lot it just differs me from the rest of the people I hang out with. However, still to this day I have yet to have someone tell me that I have an accent.


In the video we watched it said that accents are developed when children are young. I learned most of vocabulary and phonetics while I was in San Diego. Some of it was from my parents who come from different places. My dad being from Chicago and my mom being from Philly. However, after spending 3 years going to school and being with San Diego locals you would think I would have talked differently than my parents, or at least have a mixture of the three, if that is even possible.


Even if I had an accent I wouldn’t know what it would be useful for. In the video we watched about American accents the woman had to change her southern accent because where she lived it made her seem uneducated in the business world. However, on the contrary there was a man with a heavy Boston accent that helped him woo the ladies and intimidate other people that seemed to be a threat. This shows that just by talking people have already judged what type of person you are, how smart you are and what your capabilities are. When people hear and accent they are not used to hearing they immediately label it and the people who have it weird, stupid, tough, smart, etc. With this type of bias behavior we are making it hard or too easy for other people outside of our common accent circle to achieve their goals.


Accents are everywhere and we have them whether we like it or not. You don’t sound the same as someone who lives on the west coast or anywhere else unless you’re born and raised in that area. What you may view as a normal accent or not having an accent may be viewed as something completely different to someone else. We should stop judging people by the way they speak, and let them show who they really.





 
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