Ramblings of a Latin Mama…Do I have an accent? Is my English broken?

A good point to share when an ELL is discouraged about his/her progress, or perhaps to open a discussion in the regular classroom when other students are not being as culturally sensitive as we might desire.:

And today both of my teenagers decided they had something to say about the way I speak and my accent!!!

How can I get mad?  Well, being than my native language is Spanish, and that I believe that I speak good-enough English, I confess it gets aggravating at times.  However, I will not get mad at her because she is not correcting me in a disrespectful kind of way.  I must admit that on a Monday night, when I am at home, I can care less how my communication skills come out.  I do appreciate the fact that she values her knowledge of the English language and that it matters to her.

The second part that aggravates me is when both teenagers team-up to attack the way I compose my sentences and the way I sound.  Yes, I have an accent…and everyone else in the world love it, I get compliments on a daily basis…but for my teens…there is nothing cute about having an accent.  My boy asked me today if it was hard for me to think in English…it was a good question.  Ten years ago, I would’ve answer “Yes, it’s hard” but today, is not hard at all.  Today, I find myself trying to figure out the level of education or life experiences of the individuals I am speaking with…so they can understand me.  The majority of the time, when I am asked to repeat myself, is not because of the way I talk…is because that person was not LISTENING!!!!

Listening is definitely an art, and not everyone knows how to do it properly.  It goes both ways, if I am not paying attention to someone who is speaking to me…I will not be able to follow the message being send.  I will find myself asking the individual to repeat themselves.  So, with that in mind, I have try to become a better listener.  Nothing gives me more satisfaction than to see the faces of people when they start talking to me…slow and loud…perhaps thinking that I do not understand their language…and once we get the conversation going…I love to see the relief in their faces…is priceless!!!

We all are at fault…some people do not speak clearly and some people do not listen…so how about we are considerate when talking to people whose first language is other than English.  they are not trying to butcher your language, contrary to that, they are trying to give you the respect you deserve by communicating with you in your own language…after all HOW MANY LANGUAGES can you SPEAK…and I mean SPEAK… 



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