Speak Spanish Poorly? Then Don’t Speak.

NCPR-1986Robb Pérez,
San Clemente, CA.

My mother didn’t speak Spanish to us when we were growing up in the Bronx, but I took enough Spanish in school to develop a decent accent. By now, however, I have what could be considered a six-year-old child’s vocabulary. Hence, it’s easier to tell people that I don’t speak Spanish at all. It’s especially troublesome now that I’ve lived in California for over 30 years.

I run into trouble when I see a Puerto Rican flag hanging from a rear-view mirror. I have to resist the urge to yell out, “Oye, Boriqua!” but cultural pride gets the best of me. Almost immediately after the words pass my lips, I cringe inside, knowing what’s going to happen next.

My new-found compatriot starts a conversation with me. In Spanish.

I nod and smile a lot, then, in English, excuse myself.

Keep the conversation going - comment and discuss with your thoughts

  • Robb Perez

    Yes, I realized I spelled “boricua” wrong. So there you go.

  • Jonathyn Tellez

    When my adopted Chicano dad was raising me he thought teaching us spanish would confuse us! Mi abuelita spoke spanish to us a bit so I also had a decent accent when I took spanish classes later. I do my best to keep up with spanish speaking friends and neighbors but but my second tongue slips away a little more each year. I’m starting a neighborhood discussion group this fall that will be half english / half spanish. Hopefully that will get me over the hump. Good luck keeping up with your spanish!

  • Martinez Vergara

    Spanish and English was spoken in the house (Brooklyn) while growing up. But I have cousins who grew up in The Bronx not speaking a lick of Spanish. Don’t know why…
    I’m kinda glad both languages were spoken…..

 

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