Yo Hablo Spanish

I could have been trilingual.  Today I would say I am somewhat bilingual.  I can speak Spanish with high fluency but it is  grammatically incorrect.  English is my native language. When I was a baby,  I was exposed to three languages, English, Spanish and Ukrainian.  As my speaking skills started to develop, my phrases and sentences were a mix of the languages.  This frightened my mother and she ordered everyone to speak only English to me.  As a result, I lost what Spanish and Ukrainian I spoke or understood.  Even after many years of schooling and with a trip abroad to learn Spanish, I did not pick up Spanish.  This I  do not accredit to bad education but rather to a stigma that was and is associated with Spanish speakers and the language Spanish.  It wasn’t until I met my husband did I learn to speak Spanish or even had the interest in learning it.  He is bilingual and I learned to speak Spanish from him and from being exposed to his culture and family.  Ukrainian is the language I wish I could speak today.  I know I would probably not use the Ukrainian language as much as Spanish, but I think being trilingual would be useful and interesting.  

The ability to speak more than one language is of importance these days as the world is getting smaller.  Technology connects people from all over the world. Being able to speak more than your own native language will be, if not already, quite beneficial.   When traveling through Europe you encounter citizens who are multilingual.  Not only do they speak their home country’s language but they speak two or even three other languages from neighboring countries.  In contrast, on this side of the world, the Americas, there are only four major languages: French and English in North America , Spanish in Central and South America, and Portuguese in Brazil. Yet most Americans, North, Central and South, barely speak two languages and have very little interest in learning to speak languages from “across the pond.” In the North, we look at those who speak Spanish with disdain and find little value in learning the language or any other language for that matter.  While we are busy looking at “those Spanish speaking people” with disdain, I wonder how we Americans look to others: Europeans, Asians, and Africans.  Are we being  looked at with the same look of disdain for only speaking English and thinking English is the only valuable language?

Wow!  I am sure glad I learned to speak Spanish.

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