775 Two Languages at Home


Lupe's family speak Spanish and English. She explains how her family deals with this.

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Kara: So, Lupe, in your family setting, when you guys are having family get-togethers, you have a large family, do you normally speak English or Spanish or is it a mix, or how does it all work out at a party?

Lupe: It's definitely a big mix, and as some people call it, Spanglish, because I do have some siblings that speak English, that were raised here and speak it well, and sometimes we feel more comfortable speaking in English, so we'll speak in English, but there are a lot of my family members who moved here when they were older, and never had the opportunity to learn to speak English, therefore I speak Spanish to them, and there's also times when I'm talking to a certain person and we will be speaking in English and I'll suddenly forget a word or it pops up into my head faster in Spanish so I'll go from English to Spanish and then right back to English and that's when we call it Spanglish, just because it's a little mixture of both. Sometimes I'm speaking in Spanish and I won't remember how to say something and I'll think of it in English. Therefore I'll say it in English, but I can only do that with the ones that speak both English and Spanish.

Kara: And what about your nephews and neices. I know as far you and your sibling, you guys were all born in Mexico. Your nephews and nieces, a lot of them were born here in the United States. How is there Spanish, and how do you communicate with them?

Lupe: Well, that was actually something that we talked about with our whole family because we decided them being born here, we wanted to make sure that they didn't lose that part of, you know, their heritage and their culture. We wanted them to still be able to speak Spanish, so we decided we'll all talk to them in Spanish, especially for the first five years of their life because once they started school we know it was going to be a little bit tougher once they started learning English. It was going to be easier for them to try to speak English, which most of them do. They come home and they suddenly just speak English and don't want to speak Spanish anymore, so we try really hard to speak only Spanish around them because we know all their English, they're practicing at school, so they really need to keep up with the Spanish at home.

Kara: And do you feel like that is something you're losing, you're family's losing by being here in the United States, part of your language with the younger generation?

Lupe: I think it's definitely a choice. I know other people who prefer that their children don't speak Spanish. They have the opportunity to teach them and decide not to. Maybe they feel that if their kids only speak English, they won't feel left out at school, or you know, that sometimes what I've heard from other people. They want them to be and feel just like the other kids, so they don't want them speaking Spanish, but I think that is a choice that you make and you make it when they are young and for us, we decided we don't want them to lose that, and I think that we have a big say in that and there's a lot we can do about it and so we're all working really hard to make sure that they don't lose that and so far, you know, out of all my nephews and nieces, you know, maybe a couple are really forgetting their Spanish, but for the most part, all of them are doing really good and speaking both English and Spanish


Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

siblings

I do have some siblings that speak English.

Your 'siblings' are your brothers and sisters.

Notice the following:

  1. I have lots of siblings, as I have a large family.
  2. I think there would be a lot of sibling rivalry if you had lots of brothers and sisters.

it pops up into my head

I'll suddenly forget a word or it pops up into my head faster in Spanish.

When something 'pops into your head,' it means that you are suddenly struck with an idea.

Notice the following:

  1. If I let my mind go blank, I will get a good idea; it pops into my head out of nowhere.
  2. When I am writing music, ideas pop into my head and I have to write them down.

the younger generation

And do you feel like that is something you're losing, your family's losing by being here in the United States, part of your language with the younger generation?

The 'younger generation' refers to the people in society who are younger than you.

Notice the following:

  1. I think that the younger generation do not have very much respect for their elders.
  2. The younger generation seems to have a strange taste in music these days.

feel left out

Maybe they feel that if their kids only speak English, they won't feel left out at school.

When you 'feel left out,' it means that you think you are being excluded.

Notice the following:

  1. When she did not invite me to the party, I felt a bit left out.
  2. I don't want you to feel left out, so please tell me if you do.

we have a big say

I think that we have a big say in that and there's a lot we can do about it.

'Have a big say' refers to the way people can have an important contribution to or influence on ideas and suggestions.

Notice the following:

  1. The company is quite staff orientated, we have a big say in how the company is run.
  2. She said that we can have a big say in where we go on holiday.

 

Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
siblings • pops • generation
left out • big say
  1. The younger spends a lot of time using computers.
  2. How many do you have?
  3. All of my brothers are a lot older than me, so sometimes I feel .
  4. Our boss wants us to feel like we have a in the company.
  5. He can be quietly working on one thing, when an idea for something else just in his head.