Boys and Girls Ultimate: State Championships
Teams must qualify.
Lobbying Blog Post #4
Dominate Something: talk to district leader via email or phone or even in person
Do a few things well: give a few good reasons why he should support this issue and help to lower drinking ages. Provide sources and information that can help to persuade him.
Make the strategy personal: talk about why the issue would be personal and useful to yourself/your community.
Force multiply: find more people my age and older to support this issue and
The day I was born into the world, different languages were already bieng poured into my newborn delicate ears. My mother is Mexican, and speaks Spanish as her first language and English and French as her second and third. My father is American, but speaks Spanish too. Growing up in a household with multiple languages made me very conscious of the way I spoke and the way others spoke as well. I used to resent my background because I thought it was bad to be different from everyone else. I started hating the fact that I was half Mexican when my parents began to separate. I guess the heat of a divorce, the drop in my stomach that told me that I wasn’t like all of my friends with two happy parents, that tragedy had struck me? made me completely resent being “different”. I told everyone I was American, and completely denied that fact that I was Latina at all. I was more aware of the connection between culture, judgement and language than the other kids my age. By this I mean that I had a strong sense of knowing what I spoke and how I spoke, and I knew it would define me in the world. In my mind, It already
The first time I really felt proud of myself for speaking two languages, I was at the movies with a bunch of friends for a birthday party. we were watching harry potter, I remember it clearly. Two of my friends whispered across the isle to me that they had to go to the bathroom, and so I decided to tag along. When we got out of the bathroom, we began looking for the theatre in which our movie was, but they all looked the same. We ran in and out of maybe five theatres frantically searching for ours, and being only about twelve years old it was scary. Finally we saw people who worked at the theatre, and my friends were on the verge of crying. Emma walked up to the woman and said “excuse me do you know which theatre Harry Potter is playing in??” The woman shrugged and looked confused, but I noticed she looked Latina so I walked up to her and asked her in Spanish. “Compermiso, estamos perdidas. usted sabe cual es el teatro en donde estan enseñando Harry Potter?” I let her know we were lost and that we didn’t know which theatre was the one we had come from, and immediately she understood and smiled, lit up her flashlight and signaled us to follow. She walked us back to our seats in the correct theatre and we were extremely relieved. “Oh my god Isabela, if you hadn’t spoke Spanish...” I remembered my friends praising me for getting us back safely, and that was the first time I truly felt proud of my heritage and language speaking abilities. It’s silly how people try to forget who they are, to become just like everyone else. On that day I promised I'd never resent who I am again.What makes people embarrassed or afraid of speaking in other languages is being thought of as different, which society advertises as bad. In the cities, it is said that southern accents are bad, because it’s slow and unsophisticated. But in the south, people think that people in the city talk like their angry or in a rush constantly. It’s almost like society tells different cultures all around the United States, and even in other countries that they have to speak a certain way to be seen a certain way, and anything else is bad or a nuisance.
"Whatcha getting there, fat ass?"
I turned and looked at him in shock of what he just said, but continued what I was doing.
"Hey fat ass, didn't you just eat?"
I quickly turned around and our eyes met, "can you stop calling me that?"
Suddenly he stared right into my eyes and simply said, "Fat ass. Fat ass. Fat ass."
I remember the thoughts that rushed through my mind at the moment. I felt as though what he was saying was a truth that I've blinded myself from. Was I really fat? Do I eat too much? For the next few days I attempted not to eat at all but instead, overate hoping that the food would fill the emptiness I'd been feeling. To think that the combination of fat and ass could turn my world upside down in one night drives me crazy to this day.
I associate language with negativity based on years of being bullied and teased for what I would say or what others would say to me. I can still remember a friend of mine calling me a Gossiping Queen back in fifth grade when I asked her to stop trash-talking an unpopular girl in my school. How is it that five years later, I can recall that exact moment? Does language really have that strong of an effect? Looking at the present, a trouble-making girl who has a problem sent me a harassing text last month. Her exact words were, “you f***in ugly bitch.” This girl means nothing to me but I can’t help but think about those words and cringe.
Ever since she sent that text message, I can’t look at my friends the same when they joke around and call me ugly. Every insult someone has ever told me is still in the back of my head and has a way of creeping back up and revisiting my life. Negative words have changed my life and they change who I really am, causing me to go from blissful to melancholy.
From years of hearing the same degrading words slip into my ears, I’ve changed my language. I knew how it felt to have people you see everyday harass you and how their words echo through everything you do. I wanted to make sure I never made someone feel the way I used to; I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. Now, I continue to watch what I say and stay cautious when talking to new people.
One day, I walked through the hallway and passed two friends joking around. That’s when I heard a phrase I’d swear I would never say to anyone. He said to his friend, “go kill yourself.” I knew he was joking but who’s to say that the person you’re saying it to isn’t suicidal?
It’s language like this that puts guns to heads, ties ropes around necks, pops pills in throats, and slices a pure wrist. Three thousand people commit suicide a day because of the language of the ignorant and cruel. Is it even possible that language could impact change for the better?
Therapists are paid to sit and listen to you for hours and to give you advice to eventually help you. I always wondered if the therapist’s words were changing the patient or if the patient was getting better by releasing their secret language. Language positively impacts groups of people by uniting them as one. Many foreigners come to America not understanding the English language, but instead of helping, most tease them and push them away. If we used languages and connected them together, the impact might fix racism and take care of global issues.
My favorite positive impact from language is a compliment. Walk down the hallway and tell someone his or her hair looks great. You’ve changed their day completely. The thing about the brain is that it likes to collect and save. If you compliment a person in any way, it will be saved in their brain long enough to keep them from giving up. Sometimes I have days where it seems like no one cares and I feel alone; however, there’s always one person that makes everything okay.
I was out for two days sick and was having one of those days, and then I got a text message. “Hey lovely, how are you feeling? I miss you! Are you coming to school today?” followed by a heart at the end; it was Sara. Later that day, Drue posted on my profile on Facebook. My entire mood changed because of those little moments where it sounded like I mattered and meant something to someone.
Language can be distorted and have a different impact based on the way it’s said and the context it’s placed in. An example would nigger and nigga. If a Caucasian person called an African American “nigger” it is used as an insult; however, when one African American calls another African American “nigga” it’s a nickname, like cuz or dude. Another word that’s meaning changes is “ugly.” Many friends greet each other that way as a joke. On the other hand, “ugly” is used as a common insult and may cause people to change the way they dress, look, or the way they perceive themselves.
Language can influence changes, both good and bad. Language is alive in our society enough that it has gained control. It’s one of the only things that separates from being savage animals. Words are very strong tools and can be harmful if not used correctly.
I always thought that language was just something that people used to communicate. I didn’t know that there were different accents until I got older and on top of that; I didn’t know there were different kinds of languages. Then I found out there were slang for different races and I wasn't speaking the right slang. I remember when I was little I didn't know the difference between white and black, I thought we were all the same. However then, I went to an all white school, everything changed there.
On one hand, I hung out with all the white kids most of the time because there weren’t a lot of black kids in my class. On the other hand, I would hang out with all of black people when I went home. I started to realize that I wasn't really using the words that the other black kids used. I didn't know all the slang words. For example, 'joe' or 'outtapocket' was used by black people, it meant someone was being stupid or unfair. While on the other hand, 'rad' or 'gnarly' was used by white people, which means awesome. They are many other words like 'jawn' which is a noun for black people. Another one is 'stoked' which means excited about something for white people. I used the words that would be used by white people more often, so people said when I talked I sounded white. It reminds me of my mom, because people would always tell her that she sounds 'white'. I didn't really understand what that meant. Then, her friends started to say that I sound 'white' too. "Cheryl, your daughter sounds just like you. Hahahahaha," my mom's friend Arnita would always say."What are you talking about girl,” my mom asked confused.
I went back and forth from the white slang and Black English, as I got older. My friends always told me that I sounded different. When I was with my black friends, they would say that I sound too white. When, I was with my white friends, they would say that I sound black and they love having me around. I always thought the way I sound was just like anybody else. One day, it finally came to me; I realized that I don’t really use Black English at all. I was texting my friend Fareed and he was just using words that I couldn’t even understand. The next day, he came up and talked to me about it. “Dakota, why do you spell out all the words when you text,” he asked.“Why do you shorten so many words? I can barely understand what you are saying!”
“That’s how everybody texts, you are the only oddball. You text like a white person, using ‘dude’, ‘bro’, and spelling out everything.”“I don’t think you are right, my white friends say I text like a black person.”
I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I was either too white or too black. I felt like I was being judged everyday by my friends. What kind of friends judge because of the way someone speaks? I strongly believe that is wrong. I was just black enough to fit in with the black people, but just white enough to fit in with the white kids. While they could still be respected because they had a black friend, I felt like I was being taken advantage of by my white friends. On the other hand, I felt like I wasn't appreciated by my black friends. I could never just be enough for anybody, expect for my mom. When, my mom was younger, she had the same problem. People would tell her that she sounded like a white person. I was surprised that I was having the same problem as her. Even though, she was there to tell me what to do, I still couldn’t help but feel horrible. I couldn’t fit in with my friends and they always manage to bring it up.“That movie was bangin’! We should go see that jawn a second time!”
"What? Dakota. What are you even saying?"
"I said the movie was gnarly. The movie was awesome, duhh."
"Hahaha! Gnarly means awesome? That is some serious white language. How about you just grab a skateboard and ride off with a white boy? Hahahahahahahaha," they said and all laughed in unison.
"Why do you guys have to be so mean?!?!? I am just a person," I yelled violently.
"Dakota, we love you to death. It is just the things you say sometimes are just not the blackest things. We are going to have to blacken you up a bit. Good thing, you go to an all black school."
"Whatever, guys,” I said unhappily.
“You have to speak the slang words like us, Dakota,” my friend insisted.
“I don’t want to use slang, I like sounding intelligent and being proper.
“So you are saying, cause we black and speak slang, that we are stupid?”
“No, I am saying that since you use slang, you sound stupid.”
“Well, all black people use slang.”
“Well, I guess I am not going to use slang.”
I had no idea that a person could be 'blackened'. I thought the fact that I was black meant I was 'blackened'. I started to find out as I got older that it doesn't mean the same thing. People started being rude to me because the words I was using weren't the words that I was stereotypical suppose to say. Then on top of that, they are basically calling themselves stupid because they are using slang. I am not going to be called stupid because of the way I talk when I can control it. I am not going to be a stereotypical black person. Some races think that African Americans speak the language of the poor, which reminds of a quote from the story How to Tame a Wild Tongue by Gloria Anzaldua. “Chicanas who grew up speaking Chicano Spanish have internalized the belief that we speak poor Spanish. It is illegitimate, a bastard language.” Black people may not think they are speaking the language of the poor, but it is a known fact that black people don't get jobs because of the way they speak. I am not going to downgrade myself because I dream big and my dreams are going to become reality. So, my friends are just going to have to deal with the fact that I talk like 'white person', or they were never real friends.
I have learned that finding your voice is an extremely important time in every persons life. Finding your voice is finding a way to say what you feel and not be afraid of who you are and what your opinions are. I found that you don’t just wake up with this sudden voice for how you feel. It takes time and you slowly gain pieces of it as you go along with your life. You get pieces of it as you go through experiences in your life. This past year has been a whirlwind of hard events and because of that I really started to get my voice.
One of the hardest things was that my family discovered that my sister has clinical depression. We spent hours, which turned into days, which then turned into months trying to find the right medicine for her. We tried it all and to each she reacted differently, sometimes she just didn't have a reaction at all. She would fluctuate from feeling OK to not being safe by her-self. I spent the year worrying and not knowing how she would be that day or the next.
One of the most vivid days was my birthday. She had a therapy meeting and then me her and my dad were going to go eat to celebrate, my mom had to work that night so it was just us. As soon as we got in the car I could tell something was wrong, her eyes were red from crying they were tired and all together distant.
"Where are we going to eat for dinner?" I asked, just trying to keep things normal whatever normal meant at this point that is,To which Beth said, "Were going to order in."
That’s all I can remember about the car ride but I do know is something was said a phone call was made to my mom and it was clear that something was wrong. When I got home my dad told me that my sister had cut the other night. I was so shocked; the air from my lungs was knocked right out of me. My dad went back downstairs to order food and I sat on my bed confused and torn, not knowing what to do. After a bit the food came so I went downstairs to eat. When I came into the dining room my sister was there, staring at me with wide horrified eyes. I’ve never seen her look so scared before. She knew that my father had told me what happened. Quickly she ran into the kitchen and hid in the broom closet and wouldn't come out knowing I was there. Because of this I ate my "birthday dinner" in my room by myself so that my sister would come out of hiding. I wouldn't say that was the best birthday I've ever had. But I did learn that sometimes you have to let go and just let things solve themselves. That sometimes your opinions are still important but don’t need to be said if they are only hurting someone else.
We continued to struggle with her depression but we had found a medicine that seemed to be working. She went to her senior prom with a bunch of friends at the end of may, got a boyfriend in June, graduated near the end of June and that’s when summer vacation came along. Summer came with a whole new realm of dealing with the depression. She was home all the time and so was I. While there wasn’t the pressure of schoolwork to stress her out there was the new pressure of her going away to collage. The first few weeks were going pretty good, but then she started feelings depressed again. Her symptoms were getting worse and not only that but she continually had these sugar binges.
Sure enough, time passed and they figured out that she is super chemically sensitive. They figured out a new medicine combination that worked and she went off to college and was doing just fine. Everything was going good, she was able to get most of her work done. Yeah, she had her bad days just like anyone else would but they weren’t so overwhelming to become a problem. I started to think that things were just going to go back to the way they were before she got diagnosed with clinical depression. That everything wouldn’t be about my sister and that we could go back to times where we could joke around with her without the horrible over reactions.
She came back for thanksgiving and things were a little different but I just kept my mouth shut and let it be. I still thought that things are just gonna have to stay the same as they have been since the depression started. But then she went back to college and stuff started getting really hard for me. I was starting to feel depressed and I didn’t know if it was depression or something else that was going on. One day it had been really bad, one of the worst days, I guess that’s the day I figured something was really wrong. I went to school and was fine in the morning, but then the afternoon came, I couldn’t do anything. I sat in class and could concentrate on the work to an extent but I couldn’t communicate with the people I sat with. They were talking and no matter how hard my brain was working to come up with something to say I couldn’t. It felt like I was suffocating with my own inability. The rest of the day kind of went like that, I wanted to talk, I wanted to have something to say but I couldn’t. So I went home and I called my sister, knowing that she had been through all of this so she could tell me what helps and what to do before the problem got to be a real problem. She answered but she didn’t talk to me for long, she had a previous commitment already and she had to go. She told me she’d call me later that night so I was OK. But then she didn’t. She texted me telling me that she had a lot to think about and just wanted to sleep so she would call me the next day. She never did. She did call my mom and apparently her depression was getting bad again. I was so frustrated because I understood that she was going through a hard time but to me it didn’t seem right that her problems always had to be bigger then mine.
One day I went to the counselor, Amy, that I go to and we were talking about everything that Beth went through and how I dealt with it and how was dealing with it. I told her everything I felt about the experience. I told her that no matter what Beth is going through she can’t use it as an excuse. We have figured out and problem solved with her about what to do in situations like this. I told her that it was time for our family to move on and start going back to how we used to be. I told her that the only way Beth could truly get over being depressed was if we all moved on and let her get over it. You can’t get over something that your still focused on.
That’s when she told me that I was the one in our family who was finding the voice. This struck me as something that was really true. Through everything I had kept things to myself for the most part because I didn’t think my opinion would be heard or even matter. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure what my opinion was. I realized that finding your voice is a time and an experience thing. It doesn’t just come to you one day, you have to go through hard times to find your voice. I’m not trying to say that I found my voice about everything but I found my voice in this circumstance, so I guess I am one step closer to finding my voice over all. You can’t always find your voice if your looking for it. It’ll come to you after time, you just have to wait for it to hit you. But finding your voice means nothing if you don’t do something with it. You have to use that voice you’ve been given. The voice you’ve found. You have to let yourself be heard.
Since I’m lobbying The Curfew Act in Philly, I thought it
would be good to start a petition for big names in the city to sign that are
against the Curfew Act. I felt as though if I could find enough city initials to
agree with me, one of the teens that are affected by it. The way I’m getting my petition out is thru social networking
such as Twitter, and Facebook. That is one of the easiest ways for more people
to get involved.
The purpose of the essay was to explain my idea of what language is. I say in my essay that I think that language shows someone’s state of being. It has no representation of your IQ or of your mental capacity. One thing that was very difficult, was writing about my language. It is hard to explain to people who cannot understand it, so everybody.
My family is a regular pot-luck of languages, everyone brings something new to the table. Everybody, knows something different. For instance, my Mom knows french, my Dad knows Spanish and Gaelic. My brothers know German, and my one brother knows french too. It’s really confusing when people speak all of their languages at the same time. I am the only one who can understand all of the languages. I can’t speak them back, but I act as an interpreter. I translate the other languages into English, for the other family members that can’t speak the language.
My parents rely on me to translate what the other parts of the family are saying. Even my brothers’ English is slurred and I am one of the only people who can understand him. I have had a lot of experience with people who cannot speak English correctly. This is because my brother suffers from a disease which causes you to have less control over your muscles. Actions like speaking are usually very slurred and most people can’t understand him. My brother and I are the only ones who can understand him all the time. It is very often that my mother with ask me to translate what he said.
Another way that I have had experience with people who can’t fully speak English, is with my cello teacher. I met him when I was 5 years old. When you are 5, you don't talk much anyway. Language is not your first priority. I was scared. I was starting a new instrument, which for me meant a new language and it meant a new teacher.
I walked into the room awkwardly with my new cello. It was a little bit bigger than my 3 foot tall body. I see my new teacher for the first time and we talked very quickly.
He said, "Hello, I named Dr. Yu. Your named?
I was confused by the question. Was he asking what I wanted to be called?
I replied hesitantly,"Teige?"
He replied “Are you sure? Confused you sound like.”
I didn’t know what to do. I then looked up at my dad. He laughed and said “I don’t think Teige can understand you”
Dr. Yu replied to this by saying “I sorry, I no help it, just way I speak.”
I have always remembered this moment, specifically when he said that he couldn’t help it, and that is just the way he speaks. That it wasn’t his fault that he spoke like that. For some reason, before he had said this, I just thought that everybody talked the same way and that some people would put on a different voice in order to make a joke, or to seem funny. It had never occurred to me that his voice was a product of his surroundings.
When I was younger, I didn’t understand English as a language. I never could understand the tones of a normal everyday voice. I always had this problem, because I have a disease. This disease is called synesthesia. Its where I see colors and taste different things depending on what I hear. This caused me to create my own language. Basically it just consisted of my favorite sounds that I could make, I also used tastes as words. Colors or tastes didn’t mean words like we use in English, but rather thoughts or ideas. Many people who have this disease, wind up like this too. An example of this, is like the taste of metal, this to me means that something is out of place or is going wrong. What this meant for a kid like me was a way of expressing myself that English couldn’t do for me. I am told that a normal person thinks in words or phrases, I however retained the language that I had when I was younger and still use that to think. It is kind of like a short hand that no one else in the world can understand.
I used to take pride in it, that I was one in 200,000 that could think like this or even see the colors that I see. The only big problem in this language is that no one else can understand it. Try as I might I could never seem to teach the language to anyone else. Around the age of 5, I gave up trying to teach it to anyone. I figured that they just weren’t going to get it, and that it must be as difficult for them as English is to me. This has always affect the way I think and the way I do math.
That is why I have always had the belief that language is more than just a way of communicating, but rather a way of thinking. Some times your language is a representative of your education, but the way I see it most of the time, language is more a representative of your state of being.
I enjoyed talking about current issues that I face, and to tune people into my thoughts on the subject. The issues that I talked about are important to my family and I. Most of my family believes the same thing as me on this issue.
I am about the worst speller you will ever meet. I can mess up the simplest words or the hardest words. Any way I try, I can’t get it. If I ask you how to spell something they’ll just say back sound it out. Ok I’ll sound it out. Now I spell the word wrong and the teacher would get angry with me. When I was younger nobody would tell me how to spell a word. They would tell me to look it up or sound it out. Seeing that I can’t spell, none of that will help me out.
Well first thing’s first, this is a sentence from my fifth grade paper and what happens when people see it. “My faverit tipe of wepons are sords and dagers. I lik the older wons becas they put mor mening and art into it.” Dang it I did it again. The teacher told me to sound the words out and I got this. Now proof time, kids pass around your stories. Of course the teacher picks me to go first. I pass it to some one and they try to read it. “I can’t read this,” the kid said. Then he passed it up to the teacher. She began to read over it. “Merrik this is terrible! This spelling is just atrocious,” the teacher said. Instead of yelling at me why didn’t the teacher try and help me out. The English language has a lot of tricks and imperfections. Some people might pronounce other things differently. Sounding out a word could actually change some of the sounds. There are still disputes about the sound of a word. Words like water, tomato, potato, and bagel. Even just stressing one letter could mess up the whole word. Another thing is that limited spelling could not always get the point across. What I mean by that is having to switch a word you don’t know for another. I was sending a email and this is what it said “Alright thanks for your help with the stuff (what was supposed to be hear instead of stuff is the word supplies but since I was younger I didn’t know how to spell it). One of the minor examples of this scenario. This was before spell check was good. But people will not understand the full existent of what a person is trying to say if they have to keep on switching words around. Angry is a good word but it doesn’t mean the same as furious.
One of the things that I really don’t get is the silent letters. One of the reasons I believe I spell bad is that there are a lot of unpronounced words. Things like sword and island. No body says sword they say sord. The only thing wrong with sord is it’s missing the w. There are so many words that have random letters that don’t really need to be there. How is any one going to spell right with all these hidden letters. Back when I had real trouble with this I decided to try and say everything how it’s spelled. In 6th grade is when I tried it. When a teacher and I were just talking about how life was. “How are you Merrik,” the teacher said.“I’m good. Just a bit tired”
During our language unit in Mr. Block’s class, we were asked to write a language autobiography about ourselves. I really enjoyed this assignment because it was personal, and I knew that everyone’s would be different. My process was very simple, edit, revise, and edit again. I might have written 3-4 rough drafts before my final product. I wanted my paper to incorporate outside sources, but still connect to myself. I am very happy with my final product, and I enjoyed writing this autobiography and this unit.
Strengths: I think that I did really well with editing and revising my paper. I worked really hard to get it to where it is. I was also good at managing my time, and knowing that to work to my full potential, I needed that extra day to work.
Weaknesses: I had a hard time starting with my paper, and having it make sense. I had many ideas that I wanted to write about, but I had a hard time making them all connect.
I am, many unique languages. Do I speak more than one? No. Do I speak with a different dialect? Yes. I speak, think, and execute my language differently than anyone else. My language is who I am, and I am my language. I speak differently all the time, depending on whom I’m talking to. It’s called code switching. I speak differently to an adult, than I do to my little cousin. But I also have my own dialect that no one else has, and my own accent. Everyone has their own language, which makes them have a unique identity.
Language is such a key tool in life. Society has a certain speech called “standard language” that is the only “proper” and “acceptable” way to speak and write. That’s what society thinks anyways. My idea of language is whatever you speak. If you’re from Arkansas Philadelphia, New York, anywhere! Be who you are. There was a video Mr. Block let us watch. It was all about different tongues and how people speak. I thought it was so interesting seeing how people talk around the country. But it made me sad that some people were made fun of, or discriminated against because of their accent. We all have accents. Some of us speak slower, some faster. But were all humans and we’re all irreplaceable. I strongly believe that language makes the person you are.
We read 4 essays in Mr. Block’s class and they were all about peoples’ stories about their language background. There was one that really stood out to me. It was about a girl who spoke Standard English in front of others, but at home spoke a different kind of English with her mother. Her mother didn’t quite speak English in full sentences, but spoke broken English. Her mother was very rich though, and was involved with big companies, and big business men. Her mother had to talk on the phone with them a lot, but she made adjustments because of her broken English. Her mother would say what she wanted to say, and then she would rearrange the words in a more proper dialect to the businessman on the phone. This goes back to code switching that I mentioned previously. She was a speaker, and a daughter in her home. She had two different dialects worth comprehending, and she was still herself when speaking two different ways.
If you would ask someone about me, you would get completely different answers with different people. My parents find me with an “attitude”, like all parents do. People who don’t know me well think I am quiet and don’t talk much, and my friends think I’m loud and crazy. This is because I have different dialect with everyone, and sometimes I don’t even notice it.
I have few distinct words that I say all the time, like “yeah buddy” and “kudos”. These are just random words I say to mean “good job”, and it puts a smile on everyone’s face. For example, last week I went to a play. The curtains closed, and the lights slowly got brighter. The crowd was all standing, clapping, and cheering. The play was once in a lifetime, spectacular. I saw “RENT” with my friends Maura and Caitlin in New York on Sunday. After the play was over, we rushed out of the theatre, pushing each other up the steps, while having our markers and papers out. The doors barge open, it was bitter and cold outside, but our warm hearts and bright energy lit up the night skies. We waited in line for about 10 minutes, until the stars from the play came outside. There was a burst of happiness when they walked outside, and you could see it with the massive smiles on all of our faces. “AHHHH” said Maura. We were all screaming and jumping around. “What’s up” said Matt Shingledecker from the play. I stuttered to ask him for his autograph, but he understood. We also took a picture with him. In that blissful moment, we all looked at each other, huddled around, and screamed “YEAHBUDDY”. On the car ride home, it was dead silent. Every one just looked out there window, replaying the breathtaking moments in our heads.
Something I have struggled with overtime though is speaking my mind and standing up for myself/others. Like I stated before, your specific language expresses your identity. If someone says something that I don’t agree with I don’t say anything, because I don’t have the confidence. In previous years like middle school, it was extremely small. It was easier to be yourself because there weren’t many people and everyone knew each other. I loved the younger children, and every recess I spent time with them. I remember coming into school and saying hey to my friends, but then a little girl Lily would run up to me every morning. “SARA! Will you play house with me?” “Sure Lily, I’d love to.” I would reply laughing. Every morning I would play with her and the other kindergarteners. It was something different everyday like hopscotch, house, garden, and monkey in the middle. I loved brightening up their days just because a “big kid” cared about them. On the playground, I would also see some bullying occurring. That’s when I would stand up for whomever was getting picked on. I found out who I was through that, and quickly was rewarded for it when I received the William Penn award at my graduation.
I believe that your language comes from the confidence you have in yourself. For example, if you have a strong bold personality, you don’t care what anyone thinks, and you say what you believe at all times you have confidence in yourself. That’s something I have worked on over the years, and I hope when I get older, I’ll have the confidence to express my true identity. Language is through finding your voice. Throughout high school, and the rest of my life I will continue to express myself and find my voice. I will be Sara Nesbitt. Who is that? It’s a girl with a Philly accent, code switches all the time, and believes in herself. Language is me, and I am my language.
Over all: 80
My strengths were having baby pictures because that was me before and I know what I liked back then (plus I thought they were cute pictures!). Since I know myself back then I can explain my pink princess style better than ever.
My weakness is definitely not having pictures from now and day and my vocabulary I had trouble with pearls and ruffles and sleek N shiny. If I actually had pictures that were recent I would of used them. Also I’m not too familiar with ALL of the fashion terms to use. Also it’s difficult to expand the Spanish style vocabulary but I’m going to try harder next time.
If I could do this project all over again I would probably try to take good pictures of myself to have a more recent feel to it. Also I would talk more about if I liked the outfits I was wearing and why or why not. I would probably have some quiet calm song in the back round but when I change to modern day I would put rock music on.
I enjoyed this project because I was able to use personal experiences to write it as apposed to having to research to find evidence of my point of view. This essay was much easier to write then those I've done in the past. I think I was able to put together a very solid idea in my language autobiography. I talked about how each person has a specific view of the world, and this view is influenced by the language(s) that they speak. The area's that I struggled in this essay were the descriptive scenes. Both were memories from a long time ago, so it was hard to remember the specific details. Despite this, I was able to remember the details well enough to get the point across. I enjoyed this project because it is a more personal essay, I feel directly connected to the subject so this essay has a lot of meaning for me.
The human race is a way for the universe to examine and understand itself. We are all made from small things put together in the center of stars, so the previous statement is a fact. Through this perspective, language becomes much more important and exciting than the trivial everyday occurrence that we usually perceive it to be. Language is a way for us to describe our existence and reality; it is our way of expressing our analysis of the universe and ourselves. However, the human race – like the rest of the universe – is a very complicated and diverse thing. From this we get many languages and dialects within each language, the way we speak is as unique as each individual’s view of the world.
The profound nature of different dialects and points of view is most easily seen when examining two ways of speaking that sound the same to a foreigner, but totally different on the ears of two native speakers. For example, Southern American English (Florida) as opposed Northern American English (Philadelphia).
A few years ago, my sister, my mom, my grandfather and I all went to Florida to visit and learn about my grandfather’s past. While there we went through the daily life of the average person from Florida, we ate their food and drank their sweet tea, we visited their neighborhoods, and we learned about their lives. Their speech was slow and intentional. In the beginning when we left the airport, conversation would have my sister and I exchanging silent looks of amusement. But towards the end, when we had been dipped fully into the culture, we understood everyone perfectly. When we finally left, we practiced our “cowboy” accent saying “Let’s git sum sweet tea” and “Hurrey up, the plane’s ‘bout to leave”. We’d adapted to a viewpoint and lifestyle that we mocked before finally accepting.
By being immersed in the culture, we understood the local dialect. We understood the concerns and lives of the people, so we could speak English from their perspective. We saw the universe from their perspective.
There are more obvious ways to see the diversity of language. For examples, just look around the world. There are roughly 6,500 individually named languages in the world. Many of these have subgroups, such as the Northern and Southern American English examples above. Each of these languages describes a viewpoint and a need of a particular group of people, learning these languages exposes you to the culture of the region. Being multilingual turns people into bridges that cultures can cross and mix together.
Two years ago I went on a trip to Kenya with my Family. We went to expose ourselves to the culture, and while we were there our bridge into their culture was my mother’s cousin and her family. Stepping off of the plane into Kenya was our first of many unforgettable experiences; tired and aching we got off the plane to see an angry looking guard in a green beret waving around a large shinny gun and telling us to “Kindly proceed towards the doorway”.
Many of the Native Kenyans spoke English like they were sucking on a lemon. Their lips pursed and eyes squinting. As if the sound in their mouth tasted funny to them.This awkwardness comes from being forced into another language to accommodate newcomers. Each person belongs to a specific tribe within the country. To speak to each other, they learn Swahili. To speak to outsiders, they learn British English. The result is a unique accent from almost everybody.
Introduction and Reflection:
What are you looking at? This is my mindset, my thoughts, my whole life. Evere since I went to school, I became a teacher, translator, and interpreter to my family. This autobiography shows it perfectly because it shows bits of what I grew up into. It shows how I didn't care about translating for my family but I grew into it and now I love every time they call me over to translate.
I have to say that this was the best work I've done this year because it was not only about my life but I got this adrenaline to show people what I am capable of, that I have another life outside of school, and that I know more then you think. I would think that my strong areas are my scenes and how I started my language autobiography. I had fun writing my scenes because I love talking about how I help my family because I am proud of myself and my family. The beginning was easy due to the first benchmark project we did: descriptive essay. I learned to not start of my paper with a cheesy introduction. I started off with a scene and then added it to the introduction below it. I struggled with my reflection because I had so much to say but there are so few words to describe it with. This is a feeling hat I can never describe. That's how amazing it is. I've learned that what I do is not necessarily a common thing and that putting it on paper makes me feel proud and happy of what I can do. Writing this autobiography was a blast.
“Is that all Mrs. Hong Tran?”
“Yes. That’s all. Is the card set up and everything?”
“Yes, all you have to do is remove the sticker, sign the back, and… well have a nice day, Mrs. To.”
“Thank you, you too! Bye bye!”
Turns over to mommy. “Everything is done. Just sign the back and you can use it.
“Okay, thank you noi noi [daughter].
You heard right, the lady on the phone called me, “Hong Tran”, my mom’s name, but that’s no big deal because I am also: Duc To, the Parents/Guardian of Cynthia To, Kevin To, and Tina To, Care takers of my grandparents and my aunt, and lastly the translator for mostly everyone in my family. But like I said, it’s no big deal. I teach pronunciations, new words, translated words, formal words in Cantonese, Di-jew, English, Vietnamese, Hak-ka, and a little bit of Mandarin.
Have you ever seen a fifteen-year-old Chinese/Vietnamese/ Cantonese/Di-jew/Hak-ka to English translator? You probably haven’t. There are a lot of people like me out there but they probably haven’t realized the things I realized. They probably take advantage of how much they actually can help them. I used to hate translating for my family but there’s one thing, the most important thing, I’ve realized. Besides giving my family all of the love I possibly can, I can use my knowledge and languages to help them translate.
Ever since I could talk, I was assigned the role of translator in my family. Every time I go over to my grandparent’s house, I am a Di-jew to Cantonese translator for my grandma and grandpa. I always thought this was a tedious job because of all of the exercise and out-of-breath moments I got. And…well, I was watching TV whenever they needed me and I didn’t want to miss anything; but it’s my grandparents and what they say rules out anything you need and have to do.
“WAYE MAYE! Lai LA! [Ellen come here!]” Screams my little old grandma hoping that her scream will reach the second floor bedroom.
“San ma, buh see me? [Respectfully: Grandma, what is it that you need?]” I say as I approach her on the kitchen floor chopping herbs.
“ Gere ah gong kuh boy chai [Go tell grandpa to go buy some cabbage]”
“Awh [Okay]” As I run to the basement to where my grandpa is.
“Ah gong gong, a ma yew gong gong huh mai sang choy [Grandpa, grandma wants you to go buy some cabbage]”
“Awh [Okay]” he says as he puts away his tailoring items.
“No daddy, its not what you said, its how you said it. You can’t say it like that. Here, say it with me: Uh-pre-she-ate-it, got it?”
“Pee” (This is where that little crease between his eye brows starts to form and he starts to yell…well talk loudly.)
“Excuse me? What’s the difference in these two rolls?” She says as she gestures to the Dragon roll and the Spider roll.
“Daddy, kueh yew gee gaw long gah roll yow meh yeah yup been ah…[Daddy, she wants to know what it in each roll.] I say quickly and quietly as he walks towards her.
“I know, noi noi.” He said all confidently.
“Oh…okay daddy” That’s when I realized that my parents are in their everyday job and they don’t need me to defend them here.
“The dragon roll inside eel, cucumber. Outside is avocado. On top avocado. And spider roll outside have masago. Inside has soft-shell crab, snow crab, and avocado.” He says with an accent.
Then my dad walks back with a satisfied face and says: “Gnaw sick gnaw jogan meh yeah! A yah noi noi.[I know what I am doing and saying, daughter. Oh gosh daughter.”
It’s a relationship I’ve built with arguments, laughs, disappointments, happiness, and father-mother-daughter-little sister moments. Something I don’t want to lose. That is the biggest role and thing I can give back to my family. They raised me to who I am today and I wouldn’t want it any different. I just wish I could go back to the several months and take the disrespect I gave them back. This role in my life gives me the power to show my parents that they raised some one who they can depend on for anything. I want my parents to be proud of me and tell people that I do so much for them as I do for them. I brag about my parents all of the time because they are the best people you could ever ave in your life. The people, memories, and family in my life are irreplaceable. These memories will forever stay in my mind and will keep growing as long as I know who I am. I am the translator, dictionary, and Ellen Vi To of the family.