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You and the World Blog Post #2: Surveys and Gayborhoods

 Taking a step back into present day, homosexuality is now more controversial than ever. But it seems that people are now more open to expressing their opinions about the topic as opposed to prior times. I decided to do my own investigating and wanted to get the opinions of today's youth. The children that will be running the world as we know it when they are adults.

I initiated a majority of my student body to take some time and complete a survey asking them about their beliefs and opinions of homosexuality as a whole. From the results, many of them agreed with one another. And there were some who weren't afraid to express their true feelings. I do appreciate how everyone was very mature about the matter, it seems that they were all eager to get their thoughts out.  

Here are the results from that survey. If you are interested in taking it yourself, click here
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Instead of just asking them “yes” or “no” questions, I wanted to get an actual response from them (if possible) about what their exact opinions were. And why they made the decisions they did when answering the questions. One of the main questions that was was “What do you think makes people go against/support gay marriage?”. The results were recorded as follows.
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I then gave them the option to expand on their reasoning...

“God constituted marriage between man and women, not women and women and man and man. Therefore, I don't support homosexuality. But that does not mean I hate them, because as a Christian you are supposed to love everyone. Homosexuality is not a natural God made thing and therefore I don't support it.”

“Fear of something they know nothing about. You fear the unknown so you don't give it a chance.”

These were some of the most interesting responses. Everyone seemed to have their own logical reasoning for their beliefs and it was really impressive. Coming from an unbiased point of view, not many of the responses sway me to either side of the bar.

            A majority also believed that the reason people were against gay relationships were the doings of religion. A common belief, and understandable. Throughout history the Christian bible has been taken out of context, and caused the condemning of race and sexuality. Since homosexuality is such a big phenomena now, a new gay friendly “Queen” James bible has been created. According to sources, the book has corrected the passages from the original bible that seem to have bashed homosexuality. A nice buy for those interested out there.

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I plan on expanding on this topic. I could possibly interview someone who feels comfortable expressing their opinions on camera. But on the other hand, lets get into the exciting part. I’m from Philly, if you didn’t already realize it. One of the most cultured cities in the States. When deciding what topic I could do my YTW on, I knew it had to be something that I could interact with.  Aside from the popular Rocky statue and cheese steaks, there is a much mesmerizing element. The Gayborhood.
Philadelphia’s gayborhood runs through 7th and 8th in Broad Streets and between Chestnut and South Street. The entire area makes almost a perfect square. Making it almost impossible to get lost, just look for the street signs with a rainbow under them. Within the neighborhood are gay and lesbian businesses, bars and restaurants. It is known for coming alive at night, definitely not a place for kids. However the wide range of restaurants attract people of all shades and sexualities. But aside from the entertainment scene, there are other places that attract different types. Literature. Located at 345 South St, is Gionvanni’s Room. America’s oldest gay lesbian owned bookstore. Giovanni’s book collection caters to those that enjoy bisexual, transexual, gay and lesbian literature and recent reviews say...

“Its very nice must go and try out you will like”


“The biggest, best, and most beautiful lesbian, gay, transgender, and bisexual store in the land. Online and physical. Queer studies a specialty.”

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The picture above depicts an in depth look inside Giovanni’s. The wide range of books look interesting from a glance.

I hope on my journey through the gayborhood, I can take a stop by and have a little conversation with the owners. Maybe I can even grab a bite to eat in one of the restaurants nearby? One of the main purposes of this journey is to get a feel of the gay lifestyle. Being a person that came into this project with an open and free mind. I don't want to choose between being for gays or not, but to get a better understand of something so controversial and share it with you guys.

Looking back at the survey results, everyone views gayness differently. People have their own beliefs and views, and discriminating against them will do nothing good. I really enjoyed the fact that a lot of people actually volunteered to take the survey, regardless of how uncomfortable the subject might make them. It really opens everyone’s eyes of future. The young faces that we see today will be running the world tomorrow. Will our views change? Are the same people who support gay rights, going to be against it in upcoming years? Conversions maybe? Will gayness be accepted and the discrimination be another thing of civil rights? There are so many unanswered questions.

​Take a look at my bibliography here
And if you'd like to view my previous blog post click here


You and The World Blog #2

Hello my name is Nashay Day, and I attend Science Leadership Academy. In English class we have to complete a ‘You and The World’ project, this allows us to learn on our own outside the classroom, and get a grade for doing it as well. For my project I am helping the homeless, if you have not seen my last blog post, please click here. If you have please continue to read... Over my christmas break I volunteered at the Mercy Hospice Women & Children’s Shelter in downtown Philadelphia. In my time there I loved how thankful they were for the clothes, toys, and food that was given to them. This made me look at the people around me, and as I began to think, I saw how luxurious we live. Even if you aren’t going to Neiman Marcus and buying a pair a Guiseppe Zannotti shoes, the things that we (people who are above the poverty level) find essential, may be truly a luxury item, such as fast food, or even disposable clothing. So how do we help those in need? We don’t change our lifestyles we just know how great our lives are, and give back as much as we possible can.

When my nearing its end, I went to an impoverished area to better my understanding on my issue. Click here to see my interview. As I was the derelict I saw that a lot of them were in fact veterans, and some even had degrees. They were either laid off, had a mental disability, or just had no place to live. Some of the stories brought me to tears. I honestly did not know how bad their lives were. It is so sad that people just like us were in such terrible living conditions.

Giving back can be something as simple as given your local derelict money, or even feeding someone in need. If we all lend a helping hand, we can make a huge difference. I know that some people make a huge speech about giving back because its the right thing, but we should make this essential. If we can make luxury purchases for enjoyment, why can’t we help someone survive just because it is logical thing to do. It is a principle that is suppose to taught early on in life, but I have noticed, when people grow older, and start to deal with the complexity of life, they forget the core values that were taught to them when they were younger, like greeting and helping your fellow man. But I am still left wondering, why people will not lend a helping hand, is it because they don’t feel comfortable or because they really don’t care?

To help me better my research and data please click here to take my survey on homelessness and remember if we all lend a helping we can make a big difference, I know it!

You and the World Blog Post 2

Sattera Mark                                                     You and the World Blog post Two

Here's a link to my first You and the World blog post

     I’m doing a project in my English class called “You and the World”. For the project me and my classmates had to think about an issue in the world that we cared about and seek to change it. I thought about it for a while and decided to work with Teen Haven. Teen Haven is a Christian camp in Brogue Pa. There, three different cities meet. Those cities are Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York Pa. Being at that camp for four years, I heard numerous of stories from some of the kids that come there. Many of them are foster kids and come from broken homes with no father in their life. Knowing this I was excited in getting an opportunity to volunteer there.

   A field director, Chanea Whitinginton asked me if I felt ready to take a leadership roll as a junior counselor. I immediately said yes. I also got involved in a leadership group at camp called Restore. The theme of Restore is to Restore, Rebuild, and Renew. It’s for kids who are already apart of Teen Haven and want to take their leadership up to the next level. At restore meetings we discuss how to become better at what we do. We go over how me can improve and also what were doing well. It’s also a chance to make new friendships with other leaders and learn from each other. 

   The last Restore meeting I attended was very recent. It was January 11-13. I had a wonderful time spending the weekend with other leaders and getting to know each other. During that weekend we had five meetings. In the meetings we discussed these topics., Trust, Lifestyle, and Conflict Management. In some meetings we were asked questions. We wrote our answers on index card without our names on it. Two of the questions were who do you think you are and the second one was who do people say that you are. After listening to everyone’s answers I realized that sometimes people think better of ourselves than we even do. Those questions made of learn more about each other and we are much closer. After the meeting people started opening up to each other and sharing things that they hid. 

    After last weekend I feel like I’m ready to serve this winter/spring camp session. I now know that I can trust the other leaders. I can’t wait to do my job and to help in any possible way that I can.



Why Abortion is Wrong - Blog 2: New Research

Hello to my new readers, and welcome back to my previous ones!  If you missed my last blog, you can see it here.

I have done quite a bit of new research since my last post.  It is surprising how much news there is related to the subject of abortion.  I was able to read several articles on the subject.

The New York Times published an article about how pregnancy centers are greatly influencing the pro-life movement on January 4th.  These centers, which are mostly operated by Christian organizations, especially Care Net, offer free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests, and a friendly environment, in an attempt to discourage women from abortion.  They have been largely successful, partly because they tend to be located near Planned Parenthood clinics.  In fact, the Waco, TX pregnancy center said that 94% of women, when they see an ultrasound, decide against abortion.  This article was, however, heavily biased, though not an editorial, highlighting more of the faults of pregnancy centers than the strengths.  You can read that article here.

The Putnam County, Indiana Care Net Pregnancy Center

The second article is from World Magazine, a Christian news magazine.  It is from a special issue on abortion about the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the case which gave women the right of abortion.  It was about how many abortion clinics are still aborting babies even after the legal limit (from 20-26 weeks).  These limits have been changing lately because of a study that found out that a fetus can actually feel pain after 20-22 weeks, and can feel the pain of an abortion.  These people, such as James Scott Pendergraft, an abortionist, whom this article focused on, still abort babies after the limit.  The price for a late abortion is actually much more than an early one, making more profit for Mr. Pendergraft; a first-trimester abortion is around $400 while a late-term abortion can be as much as $1,000.  These babies can feel the pain of a blade cutting them apart, but it is still legal to do so in some states.  Fortunately, as I said earlier, the limits are being lowered in light of this new information.  You can see that article here.   

A map and key of states’ restrictions on abortion based on the period of pregnancy.

After I wrote my first blog, I thought to myself, “What makes a person think abortion is right?”  I thought that maybe the public was not aware of how early a fetus has human characteristics (such as heartbeat, intelligence, etc.).  So I conducted a survey.  I asked eight questions (you can see the actual survey here).  I not only wanted to collect information, but I also wanted to provoke thought in those who took the survey.  The questions were:  “What makes a human being a human being?”  “When does a fetus have a heartbeat?”  

A fetus at 4 weeks, when its heart begins to beat.

When does a fetus first show intelligence (specifically sentience, which is awareness, or consciousness)?”  “When can a fetus feel pain?”  “When does a fetus start kicking?” and “When does a fetus become a human being?”  At the end I asked if the taker was pro-choice or pro-life, and why.

You may have noticed that the survey seemed like a test.  Yes, it, in a way, was.  I was trying to understand what people knew to find out why some people are for abortion.  

The complete results of my survey are here (please read this as I will be referring to it throughout the blog).  Before discussing the results, let us first assume that the killing of anything considered a human being is murder.   

I first asked “What makes a human being a human being?”  The majority of survey takers said human DNA.  If everything with human DNA is human, then all abortion is murder!  Yet most said that they were pro-choice.  Most people got the “test” questions right (though there was a fair amount who didn’t).  I then asked “When does a fetus become a human being?”  The most popular answer was at conception.  So, from those two questions, it can be said that most people believe that a fetus is always a human being, and therefore all abortion is murder.  Yet 47% said they were pro-choice on the next question!  

My only conclusion is this: most people who are pro-choice value a woman’s right to choose over a baby’s right to life.  I leave you, my readers, with one question:  Which is worth more: a person’s convenience or the life of a budding human being?

Watch for my next blog, in which I will create a piece of original media, possibly a video!




Hurricane Sandy Relief Blog 2 by: Serge Mass

Hello Everyone!

Last time I had made a blog post was last year. It’s crazy to say it’s 2013! So far the Hurricane Sandy clean up is coming along well. One of Mom’s co-workers helped out with the clean up in Red Bank New Jersey which is right next to Asbury Park. She also had helped out with Hurricane Katrina. I had an interview with her and this is what happened....

Q: What was it like to help out everyone effected by Sandy?

A: It made me feel really good and I felt like I made people’s day. I felt like a hero in a way .

Q: What did you do to help?

A: I went and cleaned up debris all over the place. In Red Bank it wasn’t as bad as other  beach towns, but it was pretty bad. I helped people find their belongings and got them into a temporary housing unit.

Q: Is there any other things that were interesting?

A: Well when I was there I met a family that their house floated away literally and it was crazy that it happened. 

Lately there has been a ton of relief efforts made by celebrities, but the biggest one had of been the 12.12.12 concert held in Madison Square Garden in New York City. The concert was to collect monetary donations for the victim’s effected by Super Storm Sandy. Some of the biggest musicians of the century were there. Including the Rolling Stones, The Who, Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen, Adam Sandler, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Paul McCartney, and the one and only Kanye West. It raised over $400 million dollars for the great cause. (source) 

The U.S. congress has just passed that gives $9.7 billion to insurance companies to help with flood insurance claims for the ones effected by Sandy. It lets the people that had their homes and businesses dusted by Sandy get back on their feet and try to get their normal live’s back. (source)

I really want to help this issue and I will be in a few ways. One will be in a saltwater fishing tournament in June at my dads yacht club and the money will go to sandy relief in Belmar, NJ. Another way I will help is do a donation jar system in local businesses around my neighborhood and I will donate the money directly to Red Cross. 

The pictures below are before and afters of Hurricane Sandy and pictures of the clean up and what happened  (source)  (source)


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Poverty In Philadelphia Part 2

Jamie Turner

1-18-13       Orange Stream

    The Causes of Poverty

Since my last post I have done a lot of research.  I did a survey to see what people’s views are on Poverty in Philadelphia.  I got a lot of feed back and a lot of different answers.  I also got to see a few different point of views.  My results will most likely determine what my agent of change.  It all depends on what people think we can do to help prevent poverty.

In my survey I asked people the questions that I wanted answered in my first blog.  First I asked if they thought poverty was a major problem in Philadelphia.  91% said yes they thought Poverty was a major problem.  My first thoughts when I saw that 9% said Poverty wasn’t a problem was “ What are they Thinking?”  But when you think bout it they have a point.  Philadelphia has so many other problems.  I know multiple people died on New Years Eve this year.  As a matter of fact my dad’s cousin was killed in a hit and run on City Line ave.  So I can see that we do have other major problems besides Poverty.

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The second Question I asked was “What is the main cause of Poverty in Philadelphia?”.  The reader had a choice between Unemployment, Drugs, The Economy,  Or they could put their own answer.  The answers were pretty evenly balanced but most people voted that the economy was the biggest reason why people are living in poverty.  I personally thought that drugs were the biggest reason why people were living in poverty but now I can see that it may be the economy.  The country is in trillions of dollars of debt.  So I can totally understand why that was the most popular reason.  So I think that this answer is a lot easier to understand than the first answer.
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The last question I asked was the question that will influence my agent of change.  The question is “What can we do to prevent poverty?”.  I only gave the person the option of saying it’s up to the economy or their own answer.  More people said their own answer in this last question.  I was actually very surprised to see that a majority of these answers were about the country’s education problems.  I actually never really thought that education and poverty went together until I saw these answers.  This totally changed my thoughts on this question.  I thought the solution was more homeless shelters and soup kitchens.  But know I think education is the key to prevent people from living in poverty.

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This survey really interested me in a few different ways.  One way is that I got to find an understanding for other people’s points of view on Poverty in our city.  Another way is that it totally changed my point of view on how poverty could be prevented.  I think These things are the exact reason I did a survey.  I think the next time I do a survey I would try to get more people to take it because I didn’t have too many people take my survey other than that I think this was very successful.

Click here to see my first blog post on Poverty In Philadelphia.

Click here to see my bibliography.
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Blog Post #2 (YATW)

     Hello everyone! This is my second blog post for; You And The World. As you may know my issue is teen suicide due to bullying. In my first blog post, I informed you everything you need to know about teen suicide due to bullying. For those of you who didn’t view it, you can view my first blog post here. Ever since my last post I’ve found new research that relates to teen suicide. I also decided to do my own research by creating a survey with various questions for teens. 

    I decided to explore more about teen suicide, that isn’t due to bullying. According the Wexner Medical Center, suicide risk factors vary with age, gender, and cultural and social influences and may change over time. Risk factors for suicide frequently occur in combination with each other. The following are some suicide risk factors that may be present:

  • one or more diagnosable mental or substance abuse disorders
  • impulsive behaviors
  • undesirable life events or recent losses (parental divorce)
  • family history of mental or substance abuse disorder
  • family history of suicide
  • family violence, including physical, sexual, or verbal/ emotional abuse
  • prior suicide attempt
  • firearm in the home
  • incarceration or the detention of a person in prison
  • exposure to the suicidal behavior of others, including family, peers, in the news, or in fiction stories. 

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    Research after research, I’ve became more curious. I wanted to find out about teen suicides before the year 2,000. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (nami), here are some of the few facts I found:


  • In 1996, more teenagers and young adults died of suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia and influenza, and chronic lung disease combined.
  • In 1996, suicide was the second-leading cause of death among college students, the third-leading cause of death among those aged 15 to 24 years, and the fourth- leading cause of death among those aged 10 to 14 years.
  • From 1980 to 1996, the rate of suicide among African-American males aged 15 to 19 years increased by 105 percent.

     It is a hopeful sign that while the incidence of suicide among adolescents and young adults nearly tripled from 1965 to 1987, teen suicide rates in the past ten years have actually been declining, possibly due to increased recognition and treatment. 

       Taking research into my own hands, I’ve created a survey called “Teen Suicide.” This survey was answered by 59 teens. According to the survey 48 people out of 59 didn’t know anyone who died from committing suicide and didn’t help to prevent it. Which was awesome! In the other hand, 42 people out of 59 are unaware of the frequency of teen suicide in the United States. Also, 46 people out of 59 said that they were once bullied in their life. It’s unbelievable! Fortunately when asked “ What do you do when you see a person getting bullied? “ 38 people out of 59 answered, “ Tell an adult.” Seventeen people out of 59 answered “ Watch, and keep it to yourself." Only 12 people answered “ Participate in the action.” 

        Some of the responses on this survey affected me. They were quite confusing. For example, I couldn’t believe that amount of people who took the survey were bullied. It was more than half! I didn’t expect this. Also, I thought it was very surprising that some  people would actually answer “ Participate it the action “ when asked, “ What do you do when you see a person get bullied? “ That was quite unexpected. 

    Next time, I would be writing the last and final blog post. Action will be taken. I’m planning to do volunteer work for my agent of change. 

Click here for the story of one the most popular, but saddest teen suicides due to bullying, Amanda Todd.                               

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Click here for my bibliography. :)

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You And The World Blog Post #2: LGBT Equality

Hi, I’m Morgan Caswell-Warnick. I am a part of the freshman class of 2016 here at Science Leadership Academy. This is my second blog post for my You and the World project for freshman English. I am dealing with the topic of LGBT equality in modern day. If you haven’t already, you should read my first blog post from earlier on in this project.

But this time, instead of just researching about the issue, I decided to do my own research on this topic. I conducted a survey amongst my peers here at SLA to see about who supports LGBT rights. Out of this survey, with everyone under the age of 18, 71% percent of people said that they supported gay rights because everyone should be able to love who they want without being judged. 7% said they didn’t know what they believed, and 7% said they didn’t support LGBT rights.

The main reason for supporting LGBT rights was because they felt you should be able to love who you want without being judged for it. The main reason for not supporting LGBT rights was because they believed that supporting homosexuality conflicted with their personal religious beliefs. Also, 71% of people said they also knew someone who identified as a member of the LGBT community.

However, this survey was conducted among SLA students. SLA is a community in which everyone accepts you and loves you, no matter who you are. SLA also has a Gay/Straight Alliance. This is an organization all over the country that the chapters are run from high schools. This organization gives high school students the chance to work within the community of their school to make school a more LGBT friendly place. Also, more and more cities are having citywide GSA clubs. This gives the kids involved the chance to get involved in the city and making hometowns more friendly.

I see this a good thing, most people support LGBT rights, Some people said no due to religion, but we can’t all agree. These stats are higher than they have been in the past. America is moving forward and making this great country a more inclusive place for everyone.
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Lost Identity

Lost Identity

When I was a little girl, I only remember my mother having been extremely controlling. We were hers and if we didn’t do as she said, we had broken a law, no matter how minuscule it might have been. There was no room for our opinions. Even in my education. She would have wanted me to be smarter. There wasn’t time for me to become better at my writing, I simply should have just been able to do it. There wasn’t anything natural about writing for me. 

She took my papers. She took them and crumpled them up. All my hard work. I was 10 years old. She didn’t think I was smart enough to write a decent paper. 

“Give me the fact list that you have on the woman,” my mother demanded. 

She wrote the entire paper. I could barely read her handwriting but she made me rewrite everything she did and turn it in as my own. I wasn’t allowed to voice my opinion. It wasn’t right, I knew that when I turned it in, but she would be upset with me if I didn’t do as she said. She was the boss.

I was always afraid when turning in my papers. They weren’t mine. I was little, and didn’t really care how intelligent they sounded, as long as I felt honest. The guilt of dishonesty that never went away. With the lies you must tell to please your parents. 

Getting sick didn’t end her tyranny. It was all that kept her from “being hyperaware of the pain.” My mistakes in language kept her mind moving. She thought that the idea of intertwining her expectations into mine would be helpful to me.

As this process continued I realized that what she was doing was beneficial to only her. My mother was living through me. I knew nothing different and so I simply went along. You don’t say no to a parent who is losing hair and is nauseous all day, every day. 

The constant revision of my papers did not end. Her sickness progressed and made her interest in my education dissipate. She was forced into not overseeing and reading all of my work before it was turned in. She got too sick to know I existed.

One of the main points from the essay “How to Tame A Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldía. “So, if you really want to hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity- I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself.” Language is the representation of experience, ethnicity, and family, all together to create the final melody. A perfect combination of sounds and a back story, that can all become known from a few simple words.

If language is your identity, who are we until we find our own? My identity was lost. As if mine were the clone of my mothers.

“A child cannot be taught by anyone who despises him. And a child cannot afford to be fooled.” This quote, taken from James Baldwin’s essay, “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me What Is?” This states that any teacher who in fact dislikes children will not teach the child effectively. I connected this to my own experience because I learned from my brothers about the world and language. Much to their dismay. They saw I would never be taught by my mother who had taken the time to teach them. They must have been loved in a different way. I only learned from my own mistakes, and those of my siblings, when chastised for misuse of language.

I was forced to whine into a jar when I was young. I complained often I guess, but when I did, everything was gibberish. Nobody wants to hear words they can’t comprehend. The jar stayed on the kitchen counter until I was seven and a half years old. The way I spoke disgusted my family.

While my mother was sick, she ran a blog. She hated the term, so it was simply, her online journal. She began it the day after she was diagnosed. Wanting to be able to tell her story in the beautiful way that she knew how. Her writing was her everything. She touched people across the country. They read every post she ever wrote. So many people that didn’t know anything about us except what she wrote. I was 9 years old when her news crushed me. This was when I learned what a story could do. A person’s words were power. They moved mountains and could touch the heart of another without a physical contact needed. Even in Layman’s terms, her words sounded so honest. Despite the cliché, I find their overuse, very powerful and truthful.

“Dying is very inconvenient,” she wrote. Three days before her death, she knew it was coming. It isn’t about whether the language “intersects” with identity or not, but rather your identity is kept locked in your mind and soul. The only key to open it is your language. Whether writing the truest of true, or speaking, it’s poetry. She apologized to the people she never met, for leaving them. Her parting words made strangers burst into tears. Her story was public. But it was also over.

Language in my experience, is the power that kept my mother alive for longer than a year. It encouraged prayers from coast to coast. And it kept her mine for a little while longer, even if I believed she wanted to leave me. Language is identity. It also creates connection, whether healthy or not, the power of language is something to be worked on, not cloned.

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Understand Me

Understand Me

It’s not easy being thrown into a situation where all of a sudden, you cannot comprehend anything. You are submerged into a new environment, a new culture, and a new language, and you are completely lost.

My whole life, I had constantly been in an English-speaking environment. Even if every person has their own American accent, I had been able to understand and converse with them. I had always been ordinary—speaking the native language and such. I’d always fit in, always blended into the normality of my surroundings.

All of a sudden, I was on the outside. The core thing that was needed to communicate, common language, was something that I did not share with the Nicaraguans around me.

I looked to my left into the face of a young child. “Por favor, señorita, ¿tiene dinero?” he begged. I shook my head numbly, unable to comprehend the words to explain to this poor boy that I was not allowed to provide him with money. I kept walking.

A man began shouting at me from my right, speaking so fast that I had no way to even get an idea of what he was saying to me. He kept repeating it, and he began to sound irritated.

“¿Por qué se mueven tan lento, poco chica blanca!” he said rapidly.

“I’m sor—lo siento, señor. I’m from America y no hablo ingles,” I said to him very slowly, in the best accent that I could muster.

“Chica estúpida. Tú no hablas español?”

“Lo siento, pero I have no idea what you are saying,” I replied.

“Me acaba de entregar su bolsa, ¿de acuerdo?”


“¡Tu bulsa!” he shouted angrily, motioning to my bag.

“Oh, here. Sorry.” I said as I handed it to him and he put it on the bus.

“Americanos tontos…” he muttered, walking away.

All of a sudden, I was different. I stood out. I didn’t speak the language, and therefore, I felt like I didn’t belong. I was an outsider.

Feeling completely lost in terms of language was a new feeling to me. In my house and school, I spoke English. Everywhere I went, I spoke English with those around me and could communicate easily. I never felt on the outside because I spoke a different language than everyone else.

Not only did I speak English everywhere, I have always been confident in the way that I speak English. I never had a lisp or a stutter. I can formulate sentences and express my thoughts accurately and thoroughly. I speak properly to teachers, my family and my friends. I speak what is defined as “standard English”.

And suddenly, it’s like that was all tossed in the trash. I could not formulate Spanish sentences or think of the right words to express how I was feeling. When I did speak, it was slow, with lots of stops and starts. It was anything but smooth, and it was anything but what I was used to.  In “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” by James Baldwin, he writes, “Language, incontestably, reveals the speaker.” I found this to be very true through my experience. My lack of fluidity of the Spanish language revealed something about me—I was a “gringo”.

At this point in time, I spoke very little Spanish and could not follow a normal conversation. In an essay entitled “Hunger of Memory” by Richard Rodriguez, he writes, “My words could not stretch far enough to form complete thoughts. And the words I did speak I didn’t know well enough to make into distinct sounds.” To me, this quote is extremely relevant and describes how I was feeling in Nicaragua. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, but I did not have the vocabulary to put it into complete sentences. I could not convey my point, and that was beyond frustrating to me.

After I was in Nicaragua for a couple days, I began to think about the experiences that I had with native Spanish speakers. When I was unable to understand them, I felt embarrassed. I felt like I stood out. I felt like I didn’t belong there because I could not communicate with those around me.

In “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, author Gloria Anzalía writes, “There are more subtle ways that we internalize identification, especially in the forms of images and emotions.” From my experience in Nicaragua, I could not agree more with this statement.

There are so many ways to communicate in this world without ever speaking a word. Sometimes, you can gain a deep understanding with someone by simply sharing an experience with them. Sometimes it’s not even a word. It can be eye contact. Or it could be a smile. A nod. Language is one of the many ways that you can communicate with other humans, but sometimes you create more special bonds when no words are spoken at all.

By the time I boarded the plane back home from Nicaragua, I was at peace with the fact that the entire week, I was seen as an outsider. While there, I realized that even though I did not speak the same language as them, we shared experiences and feelings that bonded us in a way language never could.


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Chameleon Language

Kenyatta Bundy Jr


Chameleon Language  


“Yo wassup?’ I say to one of my friends as he walks over to me.

“Wassup OG Yatta, you chillin?” He replies in his normal jargon.

“Chill don’t call me “OG Yatta” though.” I say in an intimidating tone.

“Ard my bad bro.” He replies quickly.

“You chillin yo, but I’m bout to dip off with my girl.”

“Oh true, where yall goin’?’ he asks

“Don’t worry bout it young. Sike naw we just bout to go get something it eat real quick.”

“Oh you right. How are yall? I don’t never see yall together no more yo.”

“Yea I know, cause we hardly ever get a chance to chill together anymore. My mom be

drawlin as usual, so I never leave the house to see her or whatever, and since we don’t got the same lunch or nuffin, we hardly ever chill. Shit be drawlin forreal!” I reply somewhat angrily.

“Yo chill YMCMB Yatta. You snappin forreal.” He says quickly.

“I know yo, it’s just annoyin forreal. And chill with the YMCMB Yatta shit for I get ya girl on you.” I reply.

“ Ard chill she ain’t bout that life though. She not about to mix me though.”

“I mean I guess, let me see you say that to her though. Watch you fold yo.” I say jokingly.

“Naa I ain’t bout to fold though.” He says.

“Watch yo she gonna treat you just like Aateeyah used to.  She gonna have you on the floor cryin n shit.” I joke.


“Ard that’s dead like gingerbread.” He says.

I reply with a simple, “Fuck outta here Jaaz you not tough yo. You really boutta fold like that fat bull in that World Star video.”

He chuckles as we walk away.



If you're not from Philadelphia, or a teenager between the ages of 13 and 19 you probably have no clue what is being said by the people in this scene. Well those people are my friend Jaaz and I. That person is the most natural side of me, and the side you would see if you were with me in my everyday life. But it's not just me. As time has passed, I have begun to adapt my speech based on the people I am most often around, and these people happen to be my closest schoolmates and friends. This as defined by James Baldwin would be me keeping up with my heritage and not "disowning" my African roots. But this is not how I speak in every single situation. Like the chameleon, I am able to adapt to a few different surroundings. Although I only fluently speak one language, I often like to look at myself as multilingual in the fact that I am able to speak with different dialects than just my original.

By James Baldwin’s' example, I believe I would be somewhere in between and I am okay with that. The ability to change my dialect with my surroundings in order to fit in and be comfortable should not be going "against my origin". If African Americans did what he thought was right with language, I believe we would be even more suppressed and discriminated against than we already are. It is this ability that allows us to succeed in society, and slowly begin to level the playing fields with race. Ignorance gives you no power now a days and not being able to speak to different people in different ways would be purely ignorant. The way that I speak is a reflection of not only where I come from, but also the intelligence that I also master.


“Hello Kenyatta, I am Mr. Johnson and I will be the person in charge of interviewing you today. How are you doing this morning?”
“I’m great, thank you. I would just like to start by saying that this is an honor to even be considered to be a member of this prestige academic society.” I reply politely.

“ It’s our honor. Okay now let’s get right into this so this can be as quick and painless as possible. So the first question for today is simply; what do you plan on pursuing as a career, and how do you believe you attending the Temple University Medical Summer Enrichment program will help you achieve these goals?” he asked.

“Well Mr. Johnson, from as long as I can remember I have had the desire to be a doctor, it was just the matter of what type of doctor I wanted to be that was the question. When I hit the age of 14 I knew that I wanted to either be a doctor that associated with the heart, or the brain. It wasn’t until I hit 16 and my grandfather passed away from a heart attack that I decided that I wanted to become a cardiovascular surgeon, or heart surgeon. So I believe that attending this summer program would not only give me some type of insight into what it is that I decided that I want to do with my life, but also would give me an opportunity to meet new people with the same interests as me as well as being able to make many associates that could potentially help me if needed in the long run. I’m sorry I began rambling, but yes I believe that wraps it up in a nutshell.” I reply.

“No it is no problem. I love meeting people with a true interest in the medical field, especially people who are as seemingly as passionate as you seem to be. Ok now for the next question...” He continues.


            From what you just read you would most likely believe that this person is a totally different person, from a totally different place, and in no way the same person as in the original scene but you would be incorrect. As said before, it is very much possible for a person to speak one dialect around a group of people, and a totally different one around others.  This was just one example of this, and can be demonstrated in a number of other ways. But I hope this was able to give you a new understanding of some people, and you will think differently when you see a group of loud, and seemingly rude group of people and begin to think about how uneducated they must be, because looks can be fooling.


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Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

“AAaaaAAaHHhhh Max, you have been growing so much since th th the last time I have seen you!” 

Who this woman was, I did not really know. I was given the basic information on the drive up to New York by my Dad. We were meeting his aunt who is in town from Israel and staying at his second cousin’s house in Midtown. That was all the information I was given. Whenever I’m thrown with the obligatory, “oh you’ve grown up so much blah blah blah,” I usually just uncomfortably smile and say something meaningless like, “Oh, uh, it’s great to see you too!” Unbeknownst to me, the people I was meeting saw right through my attempt at politeness and became (strangely) upset. 

“What... you do not remember me? Do you not care about me or your family?!” 

My father’s aunt aggressively spurted this jewel out in my general direction when I met her for the first time last year. This is what I get confronted with from my extended family members. 

Sometimes when I speak, people mistake what I say for sarcasm. I’m only being sarcastic like 70% of the time. That’s a joke. You laugh now. Many people tell me that my voice just always sounds like I’m being sarcastic and condescending but honestly, I don’t mean it to be. It’s just the way I speak. Yes, I realize that sometimes the tone of my voice can give whatever I’m saying a bad connotation but it usually isn’t on purpose. It’s the difference between a “Yeah!” and a “yeah.”  The people close to me have been able to adapt and understand when I’m being sarcastic or not but people that I don’t know very well usually hate me for it. Especially if they don’t speak English very well. 

My Dad’s family was originally from Morocco and when Morocco gained it’s independence many jews thought that the rest of the non-Jewish population would start religiously persecuting them. My Dad’s family decided to move away from their home. For the most part they went to three different places; the wealthy ones went to live in France, the middle class members of the family made the journey to Canada, and the more adventurous and, well, poor ones made the move to Israel. My Dad’s parents were part of the group that moved to Canada, making him a first generation Canadian citizen. Almost all of his family members speak French and Hebrew. Those are the common languages that connect everyone. 

Because of the family splitting up, I know very few of my paternal relatives. My Dad has many relatives that live in Montreal and the surrounding areas but close to none of them speak distinguishable English. They all speak French and through just being around them I’ve learned a few words but I have nothing close to what people would call conversational skills. Many of the older people in my family have a more traditional French accent and I’m able to catch a few words every now and then. The younger generations, like the people between me and my Dad have a much stronger Québécois accent. In my professional opinion, it just sounds like a grosser, more sloppy version of traditional French. I cannot understand the Quebec French for my life. 

In the essay If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me What Is? James Baldwin claims that, “one may speak the same language, but in such a way that one’s antecedents are revealed, or (one hopes) hidden.” If an average French person from, say, Paris, were to hear any of my Israeli or Moroccan relatives speak French they would probably subconsciously begin to judge them. Generally, French speakers from France tend to look down on those with dialects from any African country or even the Canadian dialect. Hearing me attempt to speak French, any posh Frenchman would assume that I’m just an uneducated American snob. They would never think that I came from a long line of French speakers. I think Mr. Baldwin is trying to tell us that the way you speak directly causes you to be stereotyped. 

Every time I see my grandmother she greets me with, “Bonjour mon cheri! Blah blah blah uh huh huh!” That’s my poor interpretation of her proceeding to speak French to me. I always reply with, “I’m sorry, what did you say?” Once she realizes that I haven’t learned French since the last time I saw her she’ll say something like,

 “So, uh uh uh, m m max how is your schooling? Are you doctor yet?” They aren’t stereotypically Jewish in most ways but they pretty much define the stereotype that every Jewish parent/grandparent wants their child to be a doctor, lawyer, or accountant. When I reply to her I’m usually trying to be sarcastic so I’ll say something like, “No, I failed out of school a month ago.” This kind of thing never goes over well with her because of the language barrier and her inability to understand comedic genius. Anyone that knows me would have been able to tell by the inflection in my voice that I wasn’t serious about failing out of school. This misunderstanding is partly my fault because I know her English isn’t that great but, I mean, she’s been living in an predominantly English speaking country for about 50 years and she hasn’t picked up anything other than the basics. 

Since my family lives all over the world, they’re dialect for some of the common languages can make it seem like they might as well be speaking whatever distant language they also speak. This makes it difficult for me to understand whats going on when I’m around them. On the other end, they don’t understand the way I speak very well so it’s kind of a lose-lose situation for us all. My Dad’s family thinks I have a stupid American accent. Lots of the ones that speak decent English usually avoid talking to me because I guess they can’t handle hearing how I speak. But it’s a fair trade off because speaking slow enough for them to understand can be straining after a while. 

Seeing that side of my family always makes me feel like an outsider. I have a feeling I always will feel like an outsider until I take the time to learn every language my entire family speaks. Even then I’ll probably still have the feeling because of the culture gap. Knowing myself, I’ll most likely waste the time I could be using to learn French or Hebrew by like, reading about useless things on Wikipedia or something. My point is that even though we share a blood line, it means nothing with no communication. And it’s made even worse with massive amounts of sarcasm induced misunderstandings. 

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Animal Vehicle Collisions blog #2 Deer

My inspiration for picking this issue was the animals I see that are killed by cars in the Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia. So I decided to focus on animal vehicle collisions near the Wissahickon. Because many road kill incidents near the Wissahickon, and throughout Pennsylvania involve deer, I also decided to focus on that issue. Pennsylvania has one the highest number of deer/car collisions. This is partially due to the fact that many highways in Pennsylvania are near woodland areas and lack passages for animals to cross them. There is also an over population of White-tailed deer ( Odocoileus virginianus) in Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest White-tailed deer populations in the United States. There is an overpopulation in the state because deer have very few predators in Pennsylvania. Their main predators, wolves, and cougars were wiped out in the state due to hunting, and habitat loss, thus allowing the deer to overpopulate. In addition, deer can adapt to farms, and suburban environments. The problem with deer living so close to people is that they eat peoples crops and plants, and increase collision rates.

The population is a little more controlled in some parts of the state because of deer hunting. But hunting is a illegal in more urban areas such as Philadelphia, which has an overpopulation of deer especially in the Wissahickon. So what some cities like the Philadelphia are doing is allowing hired sharpshooters to kill local deer, thus reducing the population. The operation is safe, efficient, and effective, but it is very controversial. Many people don’t like the idea of weapons being used so close to homes and they also don’t like the idea of deer being killed. Humans killing deer is an effective way to lower the deer population, and reduce collisions. This form of death differs from car collisions because it doesn’t endanger humans. It also isn’t a wasted death because in the Wissahickon the meat from the deer goes to homeless shelters. Whereas if a deer is hit by a car, it just dies and that is a wasted death.

Deer vehicle collisions are extremely common in Pennsylvania. It is said that Pennsylvania highway drivers have a 1 in 86 chance of hitting a deer. This can not only injure and kill deer, but also injure and kill people. A full grown White-tailed deer can weigh three hundred pounds. Hitting them while going sixty mile an hour highway speeds can seriously damage a vehicle costing people a lot of money, and/or inure and sometimes kill drivers and passengers. These collisions have even killed people who weren’t even in the the vehicle that hit the animal. A woman in Butler County Pennsylvania was killed when a car going  towards her hit a deer. The deer flew into her car and went through the windshield and into her car killing her.

To read article click here

I’ve been conducting research on Pennsylvania environmental websites that have lots of information on deer car collisions to find this information. But I also talked to someone about animal car collisions. I emailed Maura McCarthy, the Executive Director at the Friends of the Wissahickon. I asked her some questions about animal car collisions in the Wissahickon Park because there are some roads that are near the park, and deer and other animals are sometimes killed on them. According to McCarthy the Parks Department is trying to prevent this by lowering speed limits and putting up crossing signs. Of leash dogs have chased deer into roads causing accidents. ( link to article about this on blog 1 ). An overpopulation of deer, means a large amount of collisions.

It is estimated that two to three deer are killed by vehicles in the Wissahickon each year. In 2011 two deer were killed just on Wissahickon Avenue alone. Just last week two deer were killed in the Wissahickon . One was a male killed on Wissahickon Avenue. Someone had cut off

To see a map of where i have seen road kill in the Wissahickon click here

Male deer killed on Wissahickon Avenue Young Female deer killed on Emlen Street

the dead deer’s antlers. Another was a young female killed on Emlen street. It lay dead on the sidewalk across from the woods. A small puddle of blood lay next to its mouth.

My research helped me understand this more because I now know more about animal vehicle collisions near where I live. It makes the issue seem more relevant and effect me more. I hate seeing dead animal lying next to the road when I go into the woods. I want to know what I can do to prevent this. I want to know why crossing passages aren’t being built in areas where they could be useful. I want to know what can be done to stop animal vehicle collisions.

I’m not entirely sure what I want to do for my agent of change. I want to somehow try to make it safer for animals on roads, especially in my neighborhood. I might do something to raise awareness that this is a problem, and that people should push for lower speed limits in areas where there is a lot of wildlife. Maybe if more people are aware of this problem then they will be more careful and animal vehicle collisions won’t be quite as common.

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Language and Me

Peter Ricker

Language and Me

"what's up?" 

“nothin’ man.”

“yo, what up with you?”

These are the responses that my friends answer this question with. I never know how to answer this when asked because I don't normally speak in a relaxed tone.

"uhh, i'm good. you?"

It was a shaky response because of my tongue. I was raised to be polite and to not speak slang. Around my friends I'll usually loosen up and not talk to them as if I would with an adult, but that mood changes around adults, especially parents. 

“How was your day?”

“It was fine, how about yours?”

At school, the language I hear is different than I would normally hear at my house or at my parent's friend's house. Around adults, my speech is more formal and polished. The speech around my neighborhood is a mixture between slang and formal. I stick to my formal side because of the amount of adults I talk to in comparison to the kids I speak with. In school, I use a mixture of informal and formal English. It mainly depends on the people I'm around, as my tone changes. Around my friends, my tone has a relaxed feel but this changes when talking to an adult. I change my tone to a more serious sound so I can send a message of maturity across the conversation. I code switch around different people. Some, I'll use a certain tone in my voice when talking and then switch tones to something different for another person. In other words, my language differs between people.

Before high school, I went to a Quaker private school where every teacher was addressed by their first names and when speaking to an adult, you had to use correct grammar such as, “May I go to the bathroom?” instead of “Can I go to the bathroom?” This is where my natural speaking instinct kicked in. I had to use the correct grammar with the teachers or else I couldn’t use the bathroom for a whole hour. This set my language into place and stopped me from growing up informal. Quakers in general have  a very interesting language. They use phrases such as, “Hold me in the light” or use the word “discern”. 

Another example is when I’m around my grandmother. Since she grew up properly in the South and raised her children the same way, I am expected to speak the same way around her. She uses a formal and polished style of language which consists of full sentences and correct grammar and requires pronouncing words clearly and loudly to hear. It’s the same around her retirement community. When speaking to her friends, I have to enunciate my words and speak slowly and loudly. All of which gives me plenty of time to make sure I am speaking formally to them. Other family members, such as my  Aunt and Uncle, tend to speak formally when around my family.

This all changed when I arrived at public school. The environment around me changed but I kept my tongue the same. The language around me made me feel out of place and alien. My classmate from middle school had come over to high school with me and after a couple of months,  had started to use the language around her. I was shocked to see the difference between the ways we spoke around each other. I noticed this around my old classmates after a few months in their own high schools. Everyone seemed to be readjusting into their new environments, transforming their tongue to match everyone else’s around them and blending in, while I was still on the outside using my old ways of speech. 

I think two big influences on speech in public school are rap music and the media. Around school, I hear a lot of phrases from rap music and kids themselves rapping. Not being a big fan of rap music myself, I don’t always know what these words mean. When in moments where kids are talking like this, I tune out and ignore what they’re saying. In some ways, it makes me feel separated because I don’t follow rap music so I don’t understand what they are saying. Rappers are always changing words and phrases to fit their songs. This makes rap music linguistics confusing and disorienting for any outsiders who are not familiar with rap. “The art of rap is deceptive. It seems so straightforward and personal and real that people read it completely literally, as raw testimony or autobiography. And sometimes the words we use, nigga, bitch, motherfucker, and the violence of the images overwhelms some listeners. It's all white noise to them till they hear a bitch or a nigga and then they run off yelling "See!" and feel vindicated in their narrow conception of what the music is about.” (Jay Z.) 

Public school is like a big melting pot. Many different cultures and races blend together to form the community. All these cultures have their very own languages which makes kids struggle to combine into one culture. With my own language and being, I contribute to the melting pot as well. Being from the distinct White culture, my language differs from some of my friend’s languages, as I try to blend in with the cultures around me. 

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Not the Same Girl By:Leah Petty

“Mom where is father”

I have called my dad father for about a year now, It started out as a joke but I like it. I also used to call my mom mother but she hated it, I wasn’t sure what she didn’t like about it but she just didn’t.

I was raised being taught to sit, eat and walk as my great grandmother would say a “young lady”. My latest childhood memory with someone correcting me for the way I spoke when I was about three or four. When I was little I watched a tv show call “Dora the Explorer”, it was a kids cartoon about a young hispanic girl that explored places and taught kids Spanish. There was a fox on the show named “Swiper the Fox”, and he would always try to swipe things away from Dora. Sometimes he would get them other times he would not, but when he did not he would always say “Aw Man”. I would repeat often this phrase. My great grandmother would always tell me not to say that. . Sometimes in the middle of me saying it she would this a face, that would make me know not to say something. Whenever my mom was around to hear it she would defend me by say “It’s is off of a TV show she watches”. When my mom wasn’t around she would still stop me from saying it.

When I started school, I started off in a small private school in West Philadelphia. It was primarily black, but it was Pre-K so my language didn’t really change most just expanded. It was when I started first grade at another school in West Philadelphia, in the the Powelton area, called Powel Elementary. This one was sort of diverse, but I would say it was more “white” than any other race. The kids there spoke proper as well as the teachers teacher.. Instead of say “I’m very mad at the class” they would use synonyms for mad. So they would say “I am very angry at the class to today” or  “The class has angered me today“. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but now I look back at it a lot.

Powel wasn’t a school in my neighborhood, but I was fairly close to me. But if anyone wanted me out of that school, and told someone that wasn’t my neighborhood school I would have been transferred. In the book Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez, in the text he talks about his school being mostly white. He says “An accident of geography sent me to a school where all my classmates were white.”. This is almost the same for me expect the opposite. My parents fought for me to go to Powel. They wanted me to be exposed to people that would help benefit me the the future.      

When I graduated from Powel, I went to Middle Years Alternative (MYA). This school was majority of black. My language changed a lot, I used much more slang, not even slang but words people would not consider proper English. Like “ain’t”, “funer” and “hurted”.It something that I am not proud of today. My fifth and sixth grade year are what I would call now, the rock bottom of my language. My family was correcting me on things I honestly did not care about, because it was the way my friends and I talked.

It was not until my seventh grade year in MYA is when I wanted to change my language. My little sister had started my old school Powel the year I started MYA. In my seventh grade year my mom had become really involved in Powel’s home school committee, and she became Vice President of it. I started spend a lot more time at Powel. I remember time there was a meeting at the president of the Home and Schools house. She lived in University City, in a pretty big house to be living in the city. Six bedroom, two bath, and a wonderful kitchen out of a magazine. While I was at the house I was listening to the meeting, and they talk so proper, even my mom had code switch. Around that time is when I decided that I wanted to talk like everyone in that room. They were all so successful, and had nice big houses, and really good job. Not saying my parents didn’t have good jobs, but my parents are college professors at Penn, I pretty much envied the people in that room them. Most those people are all good friend of my family now, I babysit most of their kids, at the same house. Every time I am there I am reminded of how it changed that person I am today.

When I decided that I wanted talk proper, I reason I did it was because I thought it would take me places. Which I feel like it did, I started getting better grades, and even became president of my school. My principal loved me, and I was because I was like a diamond in the rough. Compared to the kids in my graduating class I was a mini adult. I soon got into SLA, the only kid in my whole graduating class. To this day I refuse to sound like a girl born and raised in West Philadelphia, but like a girl from somewhere in the Suburbs.

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Different Environment

Timothy Ingram

Different Environment 

“Hi guys how you been?”

The way I talk depends on the environment. Growing up in a hard neighborhood people expected me to say, 

“Wassup or ayo.” 

When I move to a new environment meeting diverse people. I started a new year in at a middle school called Upper Merion located in King Of Prussia. It was a big move from West Oak Lane to KOP. We are different in a lot of ways. The main thing that was different was the way we talk and the color of our skin. I walked up to people saying,

 “Wassup or ayo”, 

and they looked at me like I was crazy. In the first week of school I met a Caucasian boy who I walked up to saying “Ayo”.

He looked confused and said, “Sorry I don’t understand what your saying.”

In my head I was thinking I was in my original neighborhood but I thought about when I was walking around hearing everybody say “hey or hi”. It felt very different I walked around hearing things like,

“Dushbag, Cracker or Anis.”

As the school year continued I really started becoming known from my cousin that went to the high school. She was a very popular student who knew people from the high and middle school. I then joined the basketball team and first thing that people asked me was “Hey where are you from?”

“I am from a neighborhood called West Oak Lane.”

People either say “what is that or where is that”, shake their head or look at me with a confused face. I was at the point when I wanted to move back to West Oak Lane because thats where my real friends were but time and time my cousin just told me it a better environment so just try and change your language. In my head I was thinking thats a good idea and how about I let them know my language. As a new week started the same Caucasian boy walked up to me saying,

“ Hey you’re really quiet. Why don’t you talk to anyone?”

 I told him, “I don’t know anyone and it seems like I am so different from everyone.”

I started telling him how I use to talk in my old neighborhood and how people talk different. I told him people talk with slang in my old environment and people down here talk weird. I really felt uncomfortable telling him the differences. But he told they have slang to just like every environment have there own slang. Then he said,

“How about you teach us some of your slang and I’ll teach you some of our slang.”

 In my mind I started feeling comfortable but I didn’t know how people would react to some of the slang but I just decided to tell them the some slang or the short for things we say everyday. After telling him some known words that people in my old environment  the boy started laughing. At this moment I didn’t know how to react. I wanted to ask him, “what was funny?” After he stop laughing he begin telling me slang words that I heard when I walked around the school. He said,

“Dushbag, Cracker, or Anis.”

I asked, “what do the words means?”

He look, laugh and said, it has no meaning people just say it.”

 As he started walking away I was confused so I started walking around saying them words to people when we had funny conversations. Taking that advice from the Caucasian boy help me a lot. I started becoming friend with random people I didn’t know and I felt comfortable in this new environment.

My story connects to another story I read which is “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Glona Anzaldia. A quote that connects with my story is, “ We need a language with which we could communicate with ourselves, a secret language.” This quote connects with my story because the environment I move to is as a culture had their own language that they could only understand and not people from outside other environments.  After learning that moving to new environment I learn not to give up and try new things.

My video:
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Bold and Raspy

“Repeat after me, Sha-lom, mah ha’ inyanim.”   

“ Sha-lom, mah hah-in-yah neem.”

“ Good, good. But say “yah” with more throat, like you’re spitting something up” my teachers voice growled.

I could feel my face turn a little pink, they were all staring at me, expecting me to say this unattractive hebrew word and then spit up a loogie on the table.

“ Mah- chah-in- yach neem” ew, the word sounded ugly coming from my mouth. I hate this language. It’s bold and raspy.

The language itself isn’t extremely hard to learn, but I started learning hebrew when I was 6. When I was really little my sister and I would get so excited to go to synagogue on saturdays, and put on our pretty little dresses and stand next to my dad. As my sister and I have gotten older hebrew school has gotten worse and worse. The people who belonged to the synagogue were quite interesting. The women would wear conservative clothing with obnoxiously huge hats, face caked on with makeup. The men wore suits and would be the first ones upstairs for the kiddish (Lunch). A group of women would sit at the end of the table, holding wine cups and shoving food in their faces. They had a typical Jewish lady accent, they all sounded like Fran from the show “The Nanny”. “ Ya know Mooolly, ya don’t look varry Jewish.” One of the women said to me as I walked by her. The sound of her voice made me cringe, I began to turn away slowly, but then she began to talk again so I turned back to hear what awful thing she was going to say next.

Her face was too close to mine and she smelled like alcohol. I got that a lot, I don’t look very Jewish. I look alot like my mother, who is irish-catholic. We both have light hair and blue-green eyes. My dad is Israeli and looks it, tan skin, dark hair, dark eyes. My sister got that from him.

“ Yeah, well I look alot like my mom.”

“ i’m surrrrrrre ya do, ure sista looks so botiful and Jewish.”

Wow, I wasn’t going to let myself be offended by this old drunk lady. Her voice made me cringe, so winey and nasally.

I went back into the shul and looked around. Everyone had dark hair and tan skin. I looked different. I do not look Jewish. I do not sound Jewish. It did not bother me very much. So what? I was born with blonde hair and dyed it darker every now and then. My sister looked exactly like me, just darker, longer, curlier hair and big brown eyes. When I used to dye my hair darker people used to get us confused and believed me when I said I am half Isreali. But hair dye fades and people started saying things to me in synagogue again. I didn’t like people to judge me but then again, I do not want to change for anyone and I didn’t want it to bother me. It was all extremely confusing. After studying for years I finally had my bat mitzvah, it was nothing really special; I felt extremely uncomfortable having all the attention on me. I somehow convinced my dad to let me stop going to hebrew school. My argument being that it was stressing me out to go there every saturday. My hair dye faded fast and I forgot a lot of hebrew words. Hebrew is rarely spoken in my household but my dad does call me be my hebrew name “Mishk”. Overall, I don’t like the idea of you being born into a religion. Everyone has their own different beliefs therefore it would make more sense if everyone just chose their own religions. I’m not from Isreal, my father is. Therefore, I’m not typically Isreali, so I should get to chose my religion; whatever I believe in. I thought about all of this for a while. Then I realized, religion does not really matter in my life right now, i’m only 15; i’ll find my way and fit into my own category.  

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The Origins of My Language

I have an eclectic language. It is specific only to me. It’s like a house furnished with tables and chairs from around the world. My specific dialect has morphed throughout my life with every new experience I have and every community I spend an extended amount to time with. I’ve been to 3 different schools with 3 very different cultures and I’ve joined a few communities too, although I’ll only talk about one of the most prominent ones. Something else I should note before I start is that I don’t count the language spoken at home as a dialect, it’s more of a baseline that one builds from. Languages are sort of like our personalities, your experiences throughout your life shape and form who you are, all of your communities and experiences add things to your language, everyone had their own, here’s mine.

“Hey Erica” I would say to my teacher “When you get a second could you come here and tell me what the heck I’m doing wrong?”

“Sure or you could come talk to me during choice time”
 I started elementary school at Miquon, a small private school in the woods outside of Philadelphia. The school is an incredibly informal place where students call their teachers by their first names. There is a specific dialect spoken there because it is so secluded, words like “Monkeyland” or “choice time” make complete sense to anyone from there but to an outsider they’re useless. Now “Monkeyland” is a wooded hill just south of the creek where kids build forts out of logs and trade for things using a particular rock called quartz crystal as money. Choice time though is an easy translation, it’s just their version of recess, it happened twice a day once in the morning for half an hour and one right after lunch for an hour and a half. During choice time kids play in the creek, take care of the chickens, if it’s snowed, you can go snow tubing on the large hill outside the gym and if it’s summer you can go swimming in pool below the basketball court. The “jargon” has ceased to appear in my everyday language, but an innumerable amount of smaller things have. One of them being my ability to speak informally and maturely with adults.

My innocent “Heck” soon turned into a “Why the hell can’t he shut the fuck up?”

“He’s never stops fucking talking” my friend would reply as we sat together on the couch in the corner of english class talking about another boy in our 7th grade year. After graduating miguon in 6th grade, I transitioned into Project Learn, an even smaller co-op school in Mt. Airy. It would be fair to say that it wasn’t the best influence on me. I became best friends with a girl who cursed out teachers on a bi-weekly basis. Now I never cursed out a teacher, but fuck, hell and shit became quite frequent in my informal speech. Luckily I was able and am still able to code switch when I’m in a more formal environment. Along with the addition of cursing, I also gathered new vocabulary as I suppose one does when one goes to a new community or place. My vocabulary had to shift from talking about trees and dirt to buildings and concrete. Sadly my time at Project Learn was short, after 2 years I had to head off to high school.

“Your benchmarks are due a week from today, It needs to be submitted to moodle, you have a work period for the rest of class so take out your laptops and get to work!”

For the past two years I have attended Science Leadership Academy. A school right in center city Philadelphia. If you go there you know it’s a unique place, It’s a 1 to 1 laptop school where kids have lots of control. Coming to SLA presented a few challenges in terms of “language barriers” for lack of a better term, here I was a little boy from a background of proper-ish speaking hippies dropped into an inner city school with people that speak with all sorts of accents and with dialects that were incredibly different from mine. It wasn’t hard to break the “language barrier” but the initial culture shock was an interesting phenomenon to see, the difference in language just within one city. When I came to SLA there were an abundance of new words that I adopted, mostly having to do with technology, like “moodle” a place for teachers to display and accept assignments with/from the students, “SLATE” an acronym for “Science Leadership Academy Technology Experience” is the blog network built into the SLA website. SLA being a diverse and very social environment, is always a place to learn new slang, In the movie “American Tongues” it says that slang and passing popular phrases don’t count, but I disagree. New slang pumps through the building like blood. School isn’t the only thing that’s shaped my language though, I’ve always been parts of communities outside of school.

About 6 months into my my first year at SLA I came out as gay, I was lucky enough to get involved with Mazzoni Center, an organization that works for LGBT equality especially with youth. I’m part of a group that helps GSAs (Gay Straight Alliance) in schools around the city, being part of this has opened many doors for me. One of which was being able to fly to Kentucky over the summer for a national GSA conference. While I was there for 4 days I must have learned 20+ new words. “Werq” may have been the most prominent, “werq” is a term that is used in the LGBT community a lot. Slang isn’t supposed to be considered part of a language, but contrary to popular belief “werq” had been a staple in the LGBT community for years. It originates from the drag community, during a performance spectators yell things like “you better werq” or simply ”werq” it’s a way of praising someone for a good show or for just being really good. Nowadays it’s meaning is more general and you can just use it when your friend looks really good today and you yell down the hall “you bettah werq!” That would probably be followed by a “thank you hunty”.

“Hunty” is another word originating from drag. Hunty is an endearing word that can be used in infinitely more situations than “werq”. “hunty” can basically replace any “honey” or terms of endearment. It’s origins are from combining the word honey and cunt and was used as an insult of sorts, but over the years has grown into more of, as I said before, a term of endearment. These aren’t words that I get to use a lot though, you really have to be in a group of queers to not sound crazy, although other words from that community have recently surfaced like “shade” although straight people have misconstrued the meaning and the actual meaning has been lost. These are in my repertoire, but I don’t find myself using them too often. If someone walked in looking really good I would probably be more inclined to just say “you look good today” to which they would reply “thank you”. But it all depends on the environment I’m in. I think I have a pretty well rounded language. I’d like to say that I’ve worked hard to create it, but the fact is it’s easy. I’ve gathered it from community’s, schools and home, and I’m sure it will continue to develop until the day I die.

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All About Christian

My slide shows a few things that I like. My favorite of different categories. This slide shows my favorite football player and basketball player. This shows that I like sports. It also shows the college that I want to go to. Since its all about me I found a picture with that bolded and put it in the center. The things that are all about me are all around it

The first thing that I added to the slide were pictures of football stuff, since this is my favorite sport. Cam Newton is my favorite player in the N.F.L so I put a picture of him doing his signature Touch Down celebration. On the opposite side diagonal to that is a picture of his cleats. Also on this slide there is a picture of a football hemet. 

In the future I want to go to the University of Oregon. So I put a picture of the Oregon logo. If I go to this college I would want to play football. This is why I have a picture of the Ducks mascot Puddles.

All About Me

  At first I thought the project was easy to make a slide. Then I found out that we had to explain the advertisement of the slide not the slide itself. It hard to explain why I did something a way if it was random. Now I learned from my mistakes.


Sophia Deoliveira Language Autobiography Post

Being normal and speaking normal in today’s society has impacted the way people view others. If you don't speak a certain way, they might judge you. If you pronounce a word a certain way, they laugh at you. You have to speak in a way that people understand you, apparently. There are many people with accents or a lisp, which i happen to have. Those two things might make people look at you with a confused look on their faces. But what does speaking normal mean? When you look on the TV, how do the people sound? Do they have weird lisp, and weird accents? usually, no. People that have a simple tones in their voices, no accent, no lisp, are considered speaking “normal” these days.

Ever since i was a little kid, i spoke “weird”, as people would refer to it. Some said it was  “cute” or unique, and they couldn’t quite imagine me without the lisp. I completely agree with them. Without my lisp, it doesn’t make me unique from others.When i talk, i try to speak in a manner others can understand me. But sometimes, the words just stumble out of my mouth, tripping into the air mistakenly. Simple things i say can be entertain meant to others.

“hey, does anyone have a chore-ja?” i say curiously.

“A what?”

“A chore-ja”

“Hahahhaha, yeah i have one, just say charger one more time”

If indians speak with an accent and they speak with their native language, that is just a normal routine for them since they talk that way everyday, and they were raised. The same is with me. I was raised where at home, it was okay to speak sluggishly, and not care if i pronounce a word wrong. My family would still understand me. But i got so accustomed to it, that whenever someone tries to correct me, i am somewhat confused.  People would consider those on TV, speak quite normal. Not everyone speaks normal, because that is them. Speaking “normal” may not be part of their character. I think everyone speaks normal, because normal is what makes that person them. There is no “correct” way to speak, its just correct if others can understand you.

Try to imagine this :

Say today is a new start. You are about to get a new job as a commercial advertiser, and you are excited to apply. Now this job requires that you speak to advertise certain products, or introduce a clothing line, or whatever the case may be. Once you get there to apply, you sit and wait for this process to go through. After you fill out your information, you take a “speaking evaluation” so they can hear how you sound. After speaking the lines they provided for you, they announce 

“Sorry, but you don’t have the qualified, normal speaking voice”. Your heart shatters right there on the spot.Thoughts spin around over and over like merry-go-round. As you mope your way home, you wonder...

“What is the right way to speak?” What is the normal way to speak?” “How do i speak correctly?” 

As an american, a person living in the community, I can say that there is more than enough diversity in my neighborhood. We have people from different countries, with different accents. There is a wide selection of accents. Some that are common around my area is Chinese, Indian, Southern accents, and european accents. I myself have a “Boston” accent. I talk in a different manner than some of my friends do. They sometimes have to ask me to repeat myself again. Talking the way I talk, makes me who I am, and its a part of me. Its been a part of me all of my life. Now who’s to tell me I don’t speak normal? They would surely be talking to the thousands of others who have accents and lisp. 

Why are people expected to speak normal? What if being normal isn’t really quite them? Being who you are “reveals the private identity and connects one with, or divorces one from, the larger,public, or community“ (quote from “if black isn’t a language identity, then tell me what is” by James brown). What does your language say about you? Language should not only build your character up, but show to the world your identity. This includes your personality, where you are from, and your diversity in the way you talk. It makes you feel confident or low about yourself. Its decides whether you wished you didn’t have that accent or lisp...or if you take self pride in it. Even if you don’t speak people expect you too, that automatically does not make you “weird”.  You have something that they don’t have, and thats a cool way to speak.People still are amazed by the way I speak. Its somewhat like entertainment to them. It makes them laugh. I have adjusted to my speech. I’ve had speech classes and therapy for this “disability”. People have been trying to correct me for years. I’m okay that I don’t speak like the regular people, with just regular speaking voices with no accents, and no speaking disability. That not only goes for lisp and accents, but it also goes out to the people who have mental diseases like down syndrome, which tends to make their speech slurred. I’m glad I don’t speak normal. It makes me the person I am,while building my character up. I believe that speaking normal, isn’t quite normal at all. Its just that some people sound like one another, and they consider that normal. Everyone is special in their own way, and everyone talks slightly different from others. Thats what makes them normal, in my opinion.

All in all, i believe that everyone is different by the way they talk. Some accents sound the same, some sound completely different. Me and my friends that have lisp speak more clearly than others. Its what makes us different. People may look at us and judge us by the way we talk, but they don’t understand the people who we truly are. There is no normal way of speaking, The way people hear you is just the way they consider you normal or not. You are normal no matter how thick your accent is, or how bad your speech is slurred, you will still be normal because there is probably hundreds of people out in the world who sound just like you.

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Why Can't I just be Myself

“ Hello my name is Arshelle. What is your name?”

“ uggh my name Shay” 

“ Oh nice to meet you.” I say politely 

“ Why you be talking like that” Shays asks

“ Like what?” I ask bewildered 

“ Like, you be talking like a white person” Shay says rudely

No one has every said that to me, I don’t believe that I speak any different from anyone else. I was around the age of ten when this incident happened at summer camp. My mom sent me there because she had work during the day even though I really didn’t want to go. When I meeting this girl Shay  was probably the worst day of my life. She kept telling me that I didn’t fit in and that my voice was to different. She said I didn’t talk like a black girl. The girl Shay seemed to be the “leader” of the group of black girls so they of course they agreed with her. I had never been ignored or made fun of before because the school I went to and the people I was around spoke the same way I did. I told my mom that they were not being civil and were calling me white girl, she said it was because of ignorance and the fact that they were unaware of people that spoke in a different way. I understood what she was saying sort of, but I did not understand that I spoke a different way. I was taught to use correct words and to say please and thank you. I was taught to say yes not yea. 

When I was at that age I did not know that there is a right and wrong way to speak. I just knew what I was taught. When growing and even now my parents have a mixture of friends but one thing they all have in common is that they are all educated. I guess growing up around people with a good education and a good job has rubbed off on me.

In the essay by James Baldwin called “ If Black English isn’t Language, Then Tell me What is” he talks about how black english is a language that blacks should speak. He also talks about how it is a part of the culture. He then talks about how when the slaves came over they didn’t know english so they learned from listening and they made their own words. He thinks that blacks should speak black english which in America is viewed as incorrect english. In the essay he says “ We, the blacks, are in trouble, certainly, but we are not doomed, and we are not inarticulate because we are not compelled to defend a morality that we know to a lie.” He is saying that the english language to blacks is a lie.  

I do not believe in any of his views. In the world that we live in now if you do not speak the correct way you are looked down on. The black community is looked down on in a way cause people say they do not speak well. That it is to “Ghetto”. In our society getting a job can be a very hard thing to do. Employers look for a well rounded person and someone who can speak well. People make assumptions  just by the way you speak. They can tell where you are from how you grew up and your education. Baldwin writes “ It goes without saying, then that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power... It reveals the private identity.... or communal identity.” I think he is trying to say that the way you speak determines what kind of power you have in society. The people who have the higher paying jobs speak what we Americans call proper english. 

In the short story “ How to Tame the Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anazaldua she says “ Chicanos and other people of color suffer economically for not acculturating” The definition of acculturating is to assimilate the cultural traits of another. This is saying that some cultures suffer because people do not understand the cultural traits of others. This can be related back to Baldwin’s essay society doesn’t understand why some blacks speak the way they do “ black english”. Society has set a standard of speaking and if someone does not speak in that way they are seen as different or wrong. In the short story “ How to Tame the Wild Tongue” the author is talking about how people don’t understand way she speaks the way she does. She talks about how people suffer because of that. The way you speak doesn’t always determine how smart you are. Every person is an image of their environment. 

The way I speak has really been a big role in me becoming the person that I am. I feel as though your voice can be used as a tool to get the things you want in life. I think there is a right and wrong way to speak but only because that is what I was taught. In other neighborhoods of the city people speak differently cause that is what they were taught. I do not believe that your speech should hold you back from becoming a “Model Citizen”. Grant it when you do speak standard english in the corporate world it looks better but because you speak “wrong” shouldn’t stop you from doing want career  you want.  I feel as though you should not be labeled as uneducated by the way that you speak. 

Growing up was harder for me cause when I went to middle school I ran into the same problem. Even though my middle was one of the best in the district there were still black students that did not understand why I spoke in the way I do. I got to the point where I would wake up in the morning and not want to go to school cause they would always torture me. I still did not understand why they made fun of the way people spoke.

We have been told what is the right way to speak and what the wrong way to speak is. In our society when black people do not speak in a way people think they should, it is a surprise. I guess I am the surprise, I don’t believe that I speak white because I don’t believe that you can speak white. I think there is a right way to speak english to pronounce words right and understand what you are talking about. But I don’t think that proper english belongs to just white people. Anyone can speak proper. I am comfortable with the way I am and I know that I should never change it. 

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Southwest Philly

Richard V. Yoeun

Autobiography of language

“Southwest Philadelphia”

“Yo Nigga!”

“What you want Tommy?”

“Kumar, me Daquan and Teion chillin today you in?”

“Ardd Nigga holds the fuck up.”


            The way I grew up speaking was with a strong emphasis on a lot of words. Speak Loud and Fast. Southwest Philadelphia has had a huge impact on me and I didn’t even notice till all my friends said that I speak weird. I can tell the difference between South Philly and Southwest Philly because there is a gap there because they speak with a strong Italian accent. I speak very loud when I’m in my neighborhood. Cursing 24/7, using the “n” word multiple times within a sentence or just plain out saying

              “Where the fuck you at Nigga?”

 Southwest usually takes out some words or use improper words such as

“What this be?”


“That jawn over there be hype as shit.”

I grew up going to a Catholic school and spoke proper english when needed and spoke my “native tongue” of Southwest when I felt it was appropriate. Southwest usually intimidates the other neighborhoods by raising their voice or speaking with multiple curse words. For example

“You better watch the fuck out before I shove my foot down your fucking throat, you fucking bitch.”

 Intimidating words, I rarely do such things but I do catch myself doing it when I’m mad. I speak freely when I’m with my friends that I’m most comfortable with. I could call them anything without them getting mad because they know that is can’t be taken seriously. “Yo you see that fine bitch ovr’ there, she checkin you out homie” Usually what most of my ghetto friends say to me when they tried to embarrass me because I never really had a liking to black girls, relationship wise but it grew on me.


            I always thought that speaking like that was a sort of speech impediment, but it’s just how people from Southwest tend to speak. We speak by imputing ridiculous words in place of another like “Can you get that book” to “Can you get that jawn.” We speak loud and sometimes on some occasions we change the pitch of our voice. We may be speaking like “Where is this place at?” to

“AYO!?! Where this jawn with the thing be at?”

 There are different types of ways to speak in southwest. You can have your proper ghetto people to where they speak proper when needed and ghetto when not or you can just have people that talk nothing but curse words and use so much slang. “Wha’da Fuck yous doin’ nigga? (Simply what are you doing?) I’m fuckin’ based God, Don’t mess wit’ my Clique tho.’ Nizz off Nigga.”(Meaning don’t mess with me because I can beat you up)

Just pure slang and that’s what I grew up around, it even rubbed of on me the way I speak to my friends and parents. My mom would always yell at me to never speak like that within the household. Not just because it’s vulgar language but the fact that it’s improper and that I should know how to speak properly.  She would always use to tell me how to pronounce words even though she didn’t know any English herself. My parents basically had the same struggles I did, but their speech wasn’t that “English” that was necessarily needed. They had that Asian accent and couldn’t pronounce words like “Pollution or Policy” It’ll always be like “Follution or Fallicy.” I had that problem but now I got over it and just can’t pronounce my “Tha’s” sounds, People say I just say a “Da” instead of “Tha.” I think I say it like a “Tha” but I don’t. It really sucks being made fun of.


            My siblings always say that I’m becoming like “them” and cursing here and there like it was no problem, but I don’t think I do. My parents say that my words have lost meaning. In the story “The Women Warrior” by Maxine Hong Kingstan, this quote was said that reflected on how this situation I was in told me. “A ready tongue is an evil.” This to me basically says that since I learned how to speak and learned those words, most of what I will be speaking would be evil or inappropriate.  Through the course of my middle school age, every time there wasn’t a teacher around, a landslide of curse words would just leave my mouth for no specific reason. The way I speak living in Southwest Philadelphia had a great impact on my speech. Not only how we speak to when we a literally yelling at the person close to us but the fact that we just use so much slang.


            When I was in my catholic middle school, that’s where I had my whole speech change. Going to that school made me speak differently, proper, grammatically proper and just polite. I would say “Excuse me, I think you said something that wasn’t needed to be said and you should apologize.” Instead of going all out cursing saying “Yo!? Watch yo fuckin’ mouth before I pop da shit outta you.” This made me, speaking properly and politely. I enjoyed speaking proper because it made me feel like I wasn’t ghetto anymore or that I was free from all that cursing and slang. My middle school helped me from that type of language but it felt as if it also stripped me of it. My identity of what I was originally from and how I originally spoke. That’s why I chose to go to a Public High School so that I can be free from the properness and that I can just speak freely, to regain my identity and finally speak without percussions. Southwest Philly sculpted me to who I am now and for that I am grateful to speak how I do now. Not from my parents but from my community and without it I wouldn’t really have that “specific” language; I’ll be the outsider and just be lost in it.


English Benchmark
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Two Tongues

As a bilingual speaker, language plays a big part in my life. It represents me as a person from two separate countries, meeting at an invisible line and separated by the border of language. In the essay “Borderlands/La Frontera” by Glona Anzalúna she writes “Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity.” For me personally I find the quote to be totally true. My ethnicity is Mexican and it does reflect on my identity of a Spanish speaker. Yet I also know how to speak English which creates a second persona.

My parents brought me over to the United States from Mexico when I was nine months old. They came here knowing close to zero English, thus making Spanish the first language I learned to speak.

Di: Perro”


“No, Pe-rr-o”

My parents would ask me to pronounce words that desired the famous Spanish “rolling r”, like “carro” and “padre”, and being  2 years old,speaking was something new. My parents brought me over to the United States from Mexico when I was nine months old. Learning a language that was full of accents, “ñ”, double r’s and l’s was tough. My parents taught me how to speak, read and write Spanish. After a while it began to come to me naturally. It was all I knew how to speak. Spanish was the only thing I needed to know how to speak.

When my parents decided to enroll me in preschool I kind of looked forward to it. I remember the first few months of preschool as being really tough because I lacked English speaking skills. The only words I knew were “no” and “yes”. I had trouble communicating with the teachers and other students at first. 

“Me usar el baño”

“What? Speak up.”

“Tengo que usar el baño!” 

“Hey! You, come here and tell me what he wants”

The classroom was always full of children who were English experts compared to me. Not being able to speak English in the class room made me the outsider. With the help of my teachers I began to speak English and use it to communicate with the other kids. My difference began to fade away slowly as the year progressed. I remember how I would use stencils that came in all sorts of shapes; insects, animals, and cars. I would choose one and make a booklet filled with stencil drawings. Then my teacher would help me write out my name under every picture I made; to show that I was the artist yet learning to spell at the same time. 

From then on things were a lot easier. Being with people who only spoke english for 7 hours, 5 days a week really helped shape the way I spoke English for the rest of my life. It was a matter of learning English or continuing to use hand gestures like an advanced gorilla for the rest of my life. 

Being a bilingual has forced me to switch from Spanish to English and then back again depending on my situation. My parents’ little knowledge on the English language makes me their main translator. In elementary school, whenever I mentioned that I spoke Spanish. People would ask me things like: “Are you fluent?” or “Do you speak Spanish at home?”. Being bilingual sort of gave me a title. I didn’t understand why my friends were so amazed when they heard me speaking Spanish with my parents. I guess they saw it as a gift. In my opinion it was just who I was; I didn’t choose to be bilingual. Some people take courses or get a tutor to learn another language. I just happened to have Mexican parents who helped me learn Spanish before English in a country where English was the dominant language. 

I don’t speak much unless I’m close to the person I’m speaking to. The amount of words I say also depend on what language I’m speaking to them in. I speak English with my siblings and cousins who all grew up here and learned English as a second language too. English represents my “Americanized” persona; the part of me that feels like English is my first and only  language. This probably comes from the fact that I have probably spoken more English than Spanish in my life, because of my environment. I usually only speak Spanish whenever I’m talking to a relative or my parents.  My parents also never forget to remind me of my ethnicity and encourage me to speak to my brothers in Spanish so I won’t lose touch with the language. I don’t talk to my brothers in Spanish because they were born here and had me to teach them english before they started school. I see that as an advantage and that creates a difference between us. When I do speak Spanish with someone, especially with someone who doesn’t understand it quite well, I tend to feel a sense of pride. I take into account that it was my first language and it represents my Mexican nationality. 

I do agree that my linguistic identity is a representation of my ethnic identity. I am what I speak. In “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me. What Is?” by James Baldwin he speaks about the relationship between language and identity, saying “It is the most vivid and crucial key to identity”. Knowing how to speak two separate languages gives me two different identities. Using spanish at home and the houses of my relatives I am more formal,using words like “usted” instead of “tú” and “mande” instead of “que”. Speaking with people who are fluent makes it seem more normal and that makes me speak more. This is my identity as the polite Spanish speaking, culture proud Mexican. The part of me that is more seclusive around non-hispanic people.  Anywhere else I use my other identity, the Americanized English Speaker. I grew up learning English and using it most of my life because everyone around me spoke English. Learning English as a second language made me into a part of the American society, where it is useful to know to speak the common tongue. 

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Domestic Animal Cruelty #2

Hello everyone, this is Jiwon Choi writing another blog post about domestic animal cruelty. In blog #1, I talked about why abusing animals should have a stop to it and different types of facts about animal cruelty. For example, about the You and the World Project, the percentage of domestic animals getting abused, and some reasons why animals might be getting abused. From my previous blog post, I have found that another problem to domestic animal cruelty is that animals that were neglected and were abused end either being homeless or killed by their own owners. For this blog post, I researched more information about animal abuse which includes articles and my self-created research which was an interview. The articles that I mention in this blog post tells us why animal abuse needs to stop.

       According to New York Times Article, Bronx and Queens in New York do not have animal shelters since 1985 because they thought it was unnecessary to pay the amount of money they need to just for animal shelters. This resulted animals that are neglected by their owners or have been abused to be in the streets homeless. In Bronx and Queens, without anyone rescuing these homeless animals, they have to find their own food and own shelter. If animals were not abused or neglected by their owners, they wouldn’t have been on the streets in the first place. (unless of course some pets ran away from home) I know that some pets might have ran away from home and end up homeless, but not many pets run away from home that makes about 300,000 stray animals on the streets.

Bernadette Ferrara decided to bait the kitten because she was worried about it roaming around. The kitten was eventually rescued and is now safe.

       Another example of why animal abuse needs to stop is in the ABC news article. In ABC News Article, Mieczyslaw Zwolinski stomped on a cat when he saw it in his yard. The consequence of this man stomping on this cat at least six times, the cat’s owner took the cat to the veterinarian to get treated for the pain in the ribs and the bleeding cut in the cat’s mouth. According to the police, this man is going to the court for the charges he will be held to. Even today, people continue to abuse animals that did no harm to anyone. This article explains a lot about our current situation about domestic animal cruelty. A lot of people like this man that abuse animals because they know that they are stronger than animals are all over the world. Every year, there are about 1,880 animal cruelty cases reported.

        For more information about animals that are neglected and or abused, I went to the Morris Refuge for my self-created research and interviewed a woman named Kerri that works there. In an year, there are about 3 to 4,000 animals that come to the Morris Refuge every year and about 200,000 cats in the streets currently. She says the world needs to be more educated about animal cruelty and the consequences of abusing these animals. Kerri says, “... Because I think that a lot of people don’t understand that animals are living organism not non-living objects like shirts or pants...” During the interview, I was also able to find out that animals that usually come to the animal shelter are skinny, might have scars, or injured, or they might even be frightened to see human beings so they move away. Domestic animals are tamed to fit with human beings and the fact that they shy away from people is not usually a normal sight.

      In my opinion, I think that more people needs to be aware about animal abuse and neglect. After that step, people should follow the rules and stop hurting animals because animals have feelings also. I understand a lot more about animal cruelty and more reasons why people are abusing animals. As Kerri stated, if people understand that animals are also living organisms like human beings, I think domestic animal cruelty can lessen a bit. If everyone puts effort and care into this issue, I know that there will be less domestic animal cruelty in the future. For my next blog post, I will make announcements in my school (Science Leadership Academy), go to other high schools to announce this issue if I am allowed to, and make posters to let people aware about the laws about what is illegal about domestic animal cruelty. I wish that people put more care into this issue.
This dog was abused, and you can see that this dog has scares, and is injured. This dog is very skinny and the fur cannot really be seen in some parts of his bodies either.

Click here for my bibliography. Click here for the link to my interview with Kerri from Morris Refuge.

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