The Bilingual Difference

1793 Words4 Pages

The linguistic and cultural clashes that children encounter, and how they negotiate between their ethnic and American “mainstream” cultures, and how these clashes and problems influence their relationship with their parents and their ethnic identities as a whole and how they were dealt with differently as we look at two stories dealing with two girls who are both coming of age in different society from where they originally came from. Jairy’s Jargon a story written by Carmen-Gloria Ballista, is a story that encounters the life of a young girl coming of age in Puerto Rico, except she’s originally from New York. Milly Cepeda’s story, Mari y Lissy, is a story about twin sisters who differ in personality and are often at odds with each other, but are both learning to live in a city that is very different from where they came from. Both stories represent both sides of bilingualism as far as Puerto Ricans who live in the United States and then move to Puerto Rico, and Puerto Ricans who move to the United States from Puerto Rico. The linguistic clashes that these girls encountered were frustrating to their new knowledge of the culture and language. Although, these girls are Puerto Rican, it is important to state that they were not all born on the Island. In Jary’s Jargon, Jahaira (Jary) Molina is an eleven years old who moves to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Jairy who grew up in New York finds herself overwhelmed by the difference from New York to San, Juan. Jary thought that she would fit in because she spoke the language. The only problem was her Spanish was funny and filled with English words, in other words she spoke what, “Spanglish”. The other children spoke and sang funny songs that did not make sense to her. In one occasion Jary was outside getting ready to play recess when she noticed all the other kids playing a game, as she tried to join in the children seem to speak Spanish so fast that Jary could not understand. One of the boys in her team became upset with Jary for not understanding and made fun of her. All the children laughed, and Jary at first did not even know what he was saying. She caught on fast that they were making fun of her and she began to run towards the bathroom with tears in her eyes. Language is what makes a culture; it is the base of a culture. Without a certain type of dialect or... ... middle of paper ... ...t of American children’s culture. All three girls in these stories experienced children mocking them, but also people accepting them. Although it seemed that Mari assimilated faster, it does not mean it was easy for her. All three endured the difficulty of being different. Language is crucial upon entering a new culture. Eventually all three girls were bilingual but at first they were not, this made it difficult for the girls. Without the language or like Jary the right dialect, entering a culture can become difficult. The second problem when entering a new culture is not forgetting your old culture. In all three cases, the girls were in contrast with their parents when coming home with the morals, rules, and phrases of a culture so distinct to that of their parents. As the girls grew up in their respective locations of the world, whether Puerto Rico or New York City, they faced the trauma of change, culture clash, ethnic identity, and their parental influence. Bibliography Ballista,Carmen-Gloria. Jary’s Jargon. San Juan. Muñoz Marin Publications, 1998. Cepeda, Milly. Mari y Lissy. New York. Taino Press, 2000.

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