You know, I’ve been doing a lot of interesting things that take up time.
I’ve been trying to solidify some thoughts to right down a good blog entry, but I’ve been on the move.
Let me see what I can think of to say here.
I have been trying to pick up Spanish. I live in a place where it is truly possible to totally immerse myself in a language that is foriegn to me.
Since I moved to LA, I have felt bad that I don’t know spanish. In Europe, citizen pick up the language of their neighboring states. It seems to be a sign of willful ignorance to not learn how to communicate with the people who live next to you.
But, Americans do not really make the effort to learn Spanish. The line often taken is:
“This is our country. They should learn our language if they want to live here.”
Interesting. This is not the same attitude of the Europeans. I suppose we Americans either do not assume that we will be visiting Mexico (or Quebec, for that matter) to encounter native speakers of a non-english language, or we assume that any of such non-English speakers are here in America permanently and are therefore obligated to make the effort to learn the American language.
We just don’t really make the effort to learn Spanish.
But that is the Gringo attitude, basically. There are a number of American citizen who could have been raised in a spanish speaking household, but they have differing degrees of fluency.
Now, I have met a lot of Spanish speaking people as I’ve lived here. What I have not found are people who are willing to speak Spanish to ME.
It’s a thing very close to the heart. Knowing spanish, and speaking it with a person at work, someone outside the home culture, are two very different things.
I have found a guy here at work who will talk with me. He was born in Mexico, and has become an American citizen. He has family here and in Mexico. It seems to me that he is very generous with his language. Other people are more hesitant, as if they have something to prove or something to hide regarding the language proficiency.
This is fascinating. It makes me all the more anxious to gain literacy en espanol.