Speak Your Mother Tongue Essay Example



“Adios ma te amo” I told my mother as I was walking out the front door, and to the bus stop. I could see the bus from a distance, waiting for the traffic light to turn green, then making a turn to reach our bus stop destination. “Good morning” I said to the bus driver as I walked inside to find a seat, it was my first act of being social, since I wanted to make new friends this year. It was the first day of 3rd grade and I couldn’t be more nervous. I was always a shy child and rarely talked to new kids I met. Always getting nervous when it came to speaking out loud because of my accent, I felt held back. Later I would understand accents are beautiful and there should be no shame in having one. 

With the bus finally arriving at school, kids one by one would get off the bus with a constant chatter among them that never seemed to stop. The bell had rung and it was time to head into class. Once we were all settled in, the teacher gave the students sticky notes asking us to write your name, a fun fact about you, and what our favorite color was. Each student would go one by one saying their part, when my turn came my face had begun to get red-hot. I pronounced my name properly in Spanish the way it was intended, but the pronunciation of my name drew confused looks, giggles, and snarky comments. That was the first time I had felt doubtful with my first language. 

The next day halfway through the class I get called out, as the teacher leads me into another classroom I look around, this room only had about 4 to 5 students. I thought to myself why am I here?  My teacher told me it’s to help with my English. I personally didn’t believe that I was that bad at speaking but obviously there was some interference with my English, my Spanish. I had to participate in these classes for about 30-40 mins each day to improve my English. We would all sit at a long square table and the teacher would set up games like candy land, Uno, and scrabble for us to play. 

Whenever it was our turn in the game she would have a deck of cards with words to practice our pronunciation with, going around the room from student to student having them each pronounce one word after the other. When my turn came the word displayed on the card was “computer” which sounds like a whole other animal when pronounced in Spanish, I still felt awry from the last set of students who reacted the way they did for the pronunciation of my name and felt another set of odd looks heading my direction. I took a deep breath and broke my awkward pause with a lightning quick response “com-puter” I say. 

I looked around and no one was laughing or confused about the way I had just pronounced the word, relief filled me and even though I had gotten it incorrect I was happy noticing a common trait between all of us, our accents. I actually enjoyed those classes and my bilingual classmates, trying to pronounce something hard and, in the end, actually doing it. Transitioning from elementary school to middle school, I began to read, write, and speak more in English. Spanish became less of a habit, only speaking it with my family members and English would be the forefront that I could speak to my new friends with. Overtime I saw less use or need to speak it and Spanish began to have less of a significance to me. 

It was 8th grade, Winter break began and my family surprised me with a trip to Durango, Mexico. I wasn’t so excited, it seemed boring and like a big waste of time, but instead it ended up leading me to an important realization. We arrived and took refuge in my Tia Martha’s house in Durango. It was time to make her famous enchiladas now that the family had gathered. Well see  “Adios ma te amo” I told my mother as I was walking out the front door, and to the bus stop.

A roar of a bus engine that I can never forget begins to roll in and I see the bus approaching. “Good morning” I said to the bus driver as I walked inside to find a seat, it was my first act of being social since I wanted to make new friends this year. It was the first day of 3rd grade and I couldn’t be more nervous. I was always a shy child and rarely talked to new kids I met and always getting nervous when it came to speaking out loud. I credit my nervousness to my cousins Arturo and Selena, who were twelve at the time, and would constantly tell me “you don’t even pronounce words right, shut up”. Every time I tried making a point there would be no arguing with them, I heard it in my voice too I felt held back.

With the bus finally arriving at school, kids one by one would get off the bus with a constant chatter among them that never seemed to stop as I walked into the school. Once we were all settled in class the teacher would ask us to right on sticky notes, your name, a fun fact about you, and what our favorite color was. Each kid would go one by one saying their name and when my turn came my face had begun to get red hot, I pronounced my name properly in Spanish the way it was intended, but the pronunciation of my name drew confused looks,  but had missed a key ingredient, the tortillas. 

My tia had sent my cousins and I down the street to buy about fifteen tortillas, the stores like most things in Mexico were close buy and locally owned with many of them being connected to each other. We walked in and I asked “quince tortillas porfavor.” The clerk gives me a weird look “cauntos?” she asked. My cousin Raul then proceeded to tell her “quin-ce”. The clerk hands out our tortillas and we start walking back to the house. “Did I say fifteen wrong?” I asked my cousin. “No, you just have an accent”. At that moment I saw my English interfere with my Spanish. We stayed there for 2 weeks and in those two weeks it gave me a different perspective in the way I perceive life. 

I realized the benefits of speaking Spanish, especially in New Mexico where more than half of the population speaks Spanish. The more I was in Mexico the more love for my Hispanic culture grew. We would sing Christmas carols, have alginaldos at parties, hit the pinata, the music just hits you harder in Spanish, plus the jokes are funnier in Spanish. I remember not wanting to speak Spanish as much, as I believed it would interfere with my English, thinking both interfered with each other not being comfortable to speak my mind. Mexico showed me how much significance and importance Spanish is to me. 

All the things that I could do, read, and understand. I was blinded into thinking that there was something wrong with having an accent. For example, my mother has a deep accent in English, people get in-patient with her and sometimes don’t even understand her but the beauty that comes with it is what they don’t get. In reality Spanish gave me a different view in life. Now I feel an urge to learn how to speak, read, and write fluently in Spanish. Now it's my little secret that not a lot of people know about me and something I will always be proud of.