It was when I moved to Pennsylvania that I questioned my language skills. The Spanish I speak I learned in Puerto Rico where I was born and raised. The English I learned in Puerto Rico seemed competent to me until I got to PA. Now I had difficulties with both.
For Puerto Ricans living here my Spanish was strange and many made fun of my accent or different pronunciation when speaking in English. For many of the Latinos from other countries, Puerto Ricans do not know how to speak Spanish. This situation was very uncomfortable especially in the work area. Luckily one day a non-Spanish speaking colleague told me “if I spoke Spanish like you speak English I would feel so proud.” That comment was enough for my self-esteem to rise above level. I stopped feeling less for having a different accent and I learned that being able to communicate effectively was the important thing.
Languages ?? are complex and changeable. Accents even in the United States are different between north, south, east, and west. You have to be proud of being bilingual. We must teach our children and grandchildren the vernacular so that they do not miss the opportunity to communicate with the family. With an accent or without an accent, being bilingual is a great success. Now let’s work on possibly being tri-lingual!
María M. García, BA, MA