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Gloria Anzaldua How to Tame a Wild Tongue - ENG101w27

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Comments are due September 21, 2020 12:59


How to Tame a Wild Tongue

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by Gloria Anzlauda

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Gloria Anzaldua was born in 1942 in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. At age eleven. she began working in the fields as a migrant worker and then on her family's land after the death of her father. Working her way through school, she eventually became a schoolteacher and then an academic, speaking and writing about feminist, lesbian, and Chicana issues and about autobiography. She is best known for This Bridge CalJed My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981), which she edited with Cherrie Moraga, and BorderlandsfLa Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987). Anzaldua died in 2004.

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Sep 13
Ana Contreras (Sep 13 2020 10:20PM) : Directions more

This week I’m going to ask you to read, comment, and discuss Anzaldua’s How to Tame a Wild Tongue.

Before you read, I’d like to mention that in converting the document to this format there were a few typos. I’ve tried to edit the document to remove these, but it’s possible that I missed a few typos. If you see something that should be changed please let me know.

Instructions

•Read the essay below noting the questions I’ve posed in the annotations.

•Answer two questions by creating your own comment

•Read through the responses of your classmates

•Respond to at least two of the comments your classmates posted.

Our discussion of this reading will last about a week. I’m going to ask you to create 4 comments for this discussion.

If you have questions about using NowComment I’ve provided you with a link to a tutorial in our Blackboard Course Week 2. I look forward to your reading through your responses.

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"How to Tame a Wild Tongue" is from BorderlandsfLa Frontera. In it, Anzaldua is concerned with many kinds of borders - between nations, cultures, classes, genders, languages. When she writes, "So, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language" (par. 27), Anzaldua is arguing for the ways in which identity is intertwined with the way we speak and for the ways in which people can be made to feel ashamed of their own tongues. Keeping hers wild - ignoring the closing of linguistic borders- is Anzaldua's way of asserting her identity.

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"We're going to have to control your tongue," the dentist says, pulling out all the metal from my mouth. Silver bits plop and tinkle into the basin. My mouth is a motherlode.·

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The dentist is cleaning out my roots. I get a whiff of the stench when I gasp. "I can't cap that tooth yet, you're still draining," he says.

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"We're going to have to do something about your tongue," I hear the anger rising in his voice. My tongue keeps pushing out the wads of cotton, pushing back the drills, the long thin needles. 'Tve never seen anything as strong or as stubborn," he says. And I think, how do you tame a wild tongue, train it to be quiet, how do you bridle and saddle it? How do you make it lie down?

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"Who is to say that robbing a people of its language is less violent than war?" - RAY GWYN SMITH

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I remember being caught speaking Spanish at recess - that was good for three licks on the knuckles with a sharp ruler. I remember being sent to the comer of the classroom for "talking back" to the Anglo teacher when all I was trying to do was tell her how to pronounce my name. "If you want to be American, speak 'American.' If you don't like it, go back to Mexico where you belong."

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"I want you to speak English. Pa' hallar buen trabajo tienes que 5 saber hablar el ingles bien. Que vale toda lu educaci6n si todav{a !tablas ingles con un 'accent:" my mother would say, mortified that I spoke English like a Mexican. At Pan American University, I and all Chicano students were required to take two speech classes. Their purpose: to get rid of our accents.

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Attacks on one's [orm of expression with the intent to censor are a violation of the First Amendment. El Anglo con cara de inocente nos arranc6 la lengua. Wild tongues can't be tamed, they can only be cut out.

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OVERCOMING THE TRADITION OF SILENCE

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Ahogadas, escupimos el oscuro.
Peleando con nuestra propia sombra
el silencio nos sepulra.

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En boca cerrada no entran moscas. "Flies don't enter a closed mouth" is a saying I kept hearing when I was a child. Ser !tabladora was to be a gossip and a liar, to talk too much. Muchachitas bien criadas, well-bred girls don't answer back. Es una (alta de respeto to talk back to one's mother or father. I remember one of the sins I'd recite to the priest in the confession box the few times I went to confession: talking back to my mother, hablar pa' 'tras, repelar. Hocicona, repelona, chismosa, having a big mouth, questioning, carrying tales are all signs of being mal criada. In my culture they are all words that are derogatory if applied to women - I've never heard them applied to men.

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Sep 13
Ana Contreras (Sep 13 2020 10:21PM) : Speaking out more

What does Anzaldua say here about how she learned to monitor or edit the way she speaks as a child?

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Sep 14
Philip Hrdina (Sep 14 2020 12:31PM) : Never talk back more

Anzaldua seems like she learned it from her parents. Also in Church she seems that she has it ingrained in her head to never talk back to her mouther or fauther. It also seems like its mostly applied to women which I find strange in my own opionin since boys get in trouble more.

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Sep 15
Angel Barcenas (Sep 15 2020 4:37AM) : I agree more

The reason why I agreed with what you said was because Anzaldua said that growing up she was told to stay quite and never talk back. Which is why she’s able to monitor the way she speaks.

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Sep 15
Taylor Geier (Sep 15 2020 3:46PM) : Speaking out more
What Anzaldua is saying about how she learned to speak as a child taught her to never talk back. She learned to not talk back to her parents. She also mentions the statement “Flies don’t enter a closed mouth” she learned as a child which taught her to not talk too much, gossip, or to lie. She seemed to have learned these things from her parents and from church as a child.
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Sep 15
Jessica Lechowski (Sep 15 2020 7:43PM) : Talking back more

I love how you incorporated the text with such an amazing metaphor. I do find talking back to be more a disrespectful way to counter act against someone, but everyone should have the right to speak their opinions. In this case, I find that Anzaluda learned from a very young age to never gossip or lie, which can be seen as a positive aspect, religion wise.

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Sep 16
Sarah Nuredini (Sep 16 2020 1:45PM) : Is it bad?? more

I really liked how you said that you should be able to speak their opinion and say what they want, however i dont think Anzaldua had this pleasure. She was taught that as a being a women and being a kid that those things were not allowed for her to do. I think that is wrong and she should be able to speak whats on her mind regaurdless of gender and age. What i do think is right is teaching her the right way to do so by being respectful.

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Sep 16
Sarah Nuredini (Sep 16 2020 1:42PM) : Women shouldnt talk back more

Here i feel like Anzaldua learned that not only was it bad for her to talk back to her parents and gossip in any way shape or form but she learned that all these “rules” only applied to women. I feel like in many cultures even today women are expected much more than men are. By that i mean as a women you are expected to not talk bad and gossip but as a man not so much. she monitered her way of speaking by recognizing this. She learned this from her parents and seeing whats going around her.

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Sep 18
Ali Akber (Sep 18 2020 3:16AM) : I agree more

I really like how you explained the fact that in many cultures people expect more from women than men. Women have more restrictions that don’t applies to men.

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Sep 18
Angelina Andreozzi (Sep 18 2020 12:49PM) : I agree with you more

It is very true like you said that women today are expected to be proper and not talk back to others. While men its not as a big deal when they talk back.

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Sep 18
Ali Akber (Sep 18 2020 2:56AM) : Talking Back more

Anzaldua learned not to talk back to her elders especially to her mother and father because that’s what ill-bred girls do. She also mentioned a saying that she used to hear as a child “Flies don’t enter a closed mouth” which taught her not to speak back, gossip, and lie. Also, she mentioned that these sorts of statements were applied to women only.

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Sep 18
Nathan Pasupathy (Sep 18 2020 6:52PM) : Talking Back more

Anzaldua learned to not talk back to her parents. She also learned not to gossip. When she said “Flies don’t enter a closed mouth” that means she was taught that when she was a child.

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Sep 20
Michelle Jaballas (Sep 20 2020 12:17AM) : Keep it to yourself more

Anzaldua talks about how “Well-bred girls” don’t answer back and how she confessed to the priest that she talked back to her mother which insinuated that Anzaldua was taught that talking back to your parents was considered a sinful thing to do. She was taught by her parents and from her experiences to monitor the way she spoke, as she quoted “Flies don’t enter a closed mouth” was in reference to her ideas to her having to hold back her tongue growing up.

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The first time I heard two women, a Puerto Rican and a Cuban, say the word "nosotras," I was shocked. I had not known the word existed. Chicanas use nosotros whether we're male or female. We are robbed of our female being by the masculine plural. Language is a male discourse.

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And our tongues have become
dry the wilderness has
dried out our tongues and
we have forgotten speech.
- [RENA KLEPFlSZ]

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Even our own people, other Spanish speakers nos quieren poner candados en la boca. They would hold us back with their bag of reglas de academia.

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Oye como ladra: ellenguaje de la frontera Quien tiene boca se equivoca. - MEXICAN SAYING

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"Pocho, cultural traitor, you're speaking the oppressor's lan- 10 guage by speaking English, you're ruining the Spanish language," I have been accused by various Latinos and Latinas. Chicano Spanish is considered by the purist and by most Latinos deficient, a mutilation of Spanish.

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But Chicano Spanish is a border tongue which developed naturally. Change, evoluci6n, enriquecimiento de palabras nuevas por invenci6n 0 adopci6n have created variants of Chicano Spanish, un nuevo lenguaje. Un lenguaje que corresponde a un modo de vivir. Chicano Spanish is not incorrect, it is a living language.

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For a people who are neither Spanish nor live in a country in which Spanish is the first language; for a people who live in a country in which English is the reigning tongue but who are not Anglo; for a people who cannot entirely identify with either standard (formal, Castillian) Spanish nor standard English, what recourse is left to them but to create their own language? A language which they can connect their identity to, one capable of communicating the realities and values true to themselves - a language with terms that are neither espa/;al "i ingles, but both. We speak a patois, a forked tongue, a variation of two languages.

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Chicano Spanish sprang out of the Chicanos' need to identify ourselves as a distinct people. We needed a language with which we could communicate with ourselves, a secret language. For some of us, language is a homeland closer than the Southwestfor many Chicanos today live in the Midwest and the East. And because we are a complex, heterogeneous people, we speak many languages. Some of the languages we speak are:

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1. Standard English
2. Working class and slang English
3. Standard Spanish
4. Standard Mexican Spanish
5. North Mexican Spanish dialect
6. Chicano Spanish (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California have regional variations)
7. Tex-Mex
8. Pachuco (called calo)

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My "home" tongues are the languages I speak with my sister and brothers, with my friends. They are the last five listed, with 6 and 7 being closest to my heali. From school, the media, and job situations, I've picked up standard and working class English. From Mamagrande Locha and from reading Spanish and Mexican literature, I've picked up Standard Spanish and Standard Mexican Spanish. From las recitn {{egadas, Mexican immigrants, and braceros, I learned the North Mexican dialect. With Mexicans I'll try to speak either Standard Mexican Spanish or the North Mexican dialect. From my parents and Chicanos living in the Valley, I picked up Chicano Texas Spanish, and I speak it with my mom, younger brother (who man'ied a Mexican and who rarely mixes Spanish with English), aunts, and older relatives.

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Sep 13
Ana Contreras (Sep 13 2020 10:23PM) : Home tongue more

How does Anzaldua refer to her “home” tongue? How does she relate her home tongue to the versions of Spanish listed above?

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Sep 15
Angel Barcenas (Sep 15 2020 4:48AM) : Home tongue more

Her ‘home’ tongue refers to the languages she speaks with her family and friends. Anzaldua relates to the last five that are listed on the list. And explains how based on school, the media, and jobs she had overtime helped her pick up standard and working class English. And from reading Spanish and Mexican literature she picked up standard Spanish and Mexican literature.

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Sep 16
Taylor Geier (Sep 16 2020 1:00PM) : I agree with you more

I also think that Anzaldua refers to her “home” tongue as the languages she speaks with her friends and family. The different versions of Spanish she is able to speak is a part of it. I like how you explained and talked about how she picked up and learned the different kinds of Spanish and English.

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Sep 15
Jessica Lechowski (Sep 15 2020 7:34PM) : Home Tongue more

Anzaluda refers to her ‘home’ tongue as the languages she is able to speak. She refers to her home tongue as the languages she speaks among her sister, brother and friends. She relates her home tongue to the different languages that she communicates with others, from 5 and down. She has multiple languages, where others only speak a certain language. The difference in her languages is the difference in the versions of Spanish. She has a set plan of to whom which language she uses.She basically has a different version of Spanish, with her group.

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Sep 18
Ali Akber (Sep 18 2020 4:37AM) : I agree with you more

I also think Anzaldua refers to her home tongues as the language she is able to speak and uses amongst her family and friends. I also agree with your statement that she has a set of the plan when it comes to using specific language with specific people.

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Sep 16
Taylor Geier (Sep 16 2020 12:00PM) : Home tongue more

Anzaldua refers to her “home” tongue as the languages she speaks with her sister, brothers, and friends. In the versions of Spanish listed above she refers to her home tongue as the last 5 on the list. Chicano and Tex-mex are the ones that are the most Important to her. Depending on who she is talking to she uses a different version of Spanish on the list.

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Sep 16
Kevin Jakala (Sep 16 2020 3:26PM) : home tongue more

Azaldua’s home tongue is Chicano Spanish. She speaks about it proudly because it is a marker of her identity. Chicano Spanish is slang Mexican Spanish considered by the Latinos “deficient”. Despite this, she still takes pride in the language because it is Chicanos very own.

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Sep 18
Ali Akber (Sep 18 2020 4:25AM) : Home Tongue [Edited] more

Anzaldua refers her home tongues as the languages she speaks with her family like her mom, sister, brother, or other relatives or people. She highlighted the last 5 on the list as her home tongues, where 6 and 7 being the closest to her heart. She also mentioned other languages which she uses depending upon the people or the surrounding she was present in like she uses standard and working-class English while she was in a job situation or in the media or school. Whereas uses Chicano Texas while she was around her family.

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Sep 18
Angelina Andreozzi (Sep 18 2020 12:38PM) : Home Tongue more

I think Anzaldua is referring to her language where she talks to her family and friends. Also when she’s not at home or with her friends she speaks a different language.

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Sep 20
Michelle Jaballas (Sep 20 2020 12:23AM) : Anzaldua's Preferred Tongue more

Anzanldua’s home tongue talks about how she talks in with her close relatives and friends, which is Chicano Spanish and Tex-Mex. She picked up Chicano Texas Spanish from her parents and the other Chicanos living in the valley.

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With Chicanas from Nueva Mexica or Arizana I will speak Chicano Spanish a little, but often they don't understand what I'm saying, With most California Chicanas I speak entirely in English (unless I forget). When I first moved to San Francisco, I'd rattle off something in Spanish, unintentionally embarrassing them. Often it is only with another Chicana tejana that I can talk freely.

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Words distorted by English are known as anglicisms or pachismas. Thepacha is an anglicized Mexican or American of Mexican origin who speaks Spanish with an accent characteristic of North Americans and who distorts and reconstructs the language according to the in Ouence of English. Tex-Mex, or Spanglish, comes most naturally to me. I may switch back and forth from English to Spanish in the same sentence or in the same word. With my sister and my brother Nune and with Chicano lejano contemporaries I speak in Tex-Mex.

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Sep 14
Student Kacper Surlas (Sep 14 2020 7:44PM) : What does this sentence mean? "Words distorted by English are known as anglicisms or pachismas."
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Sep 15
Jessica Lechowski (Sep 15 2020 4:48PM) : Words distorted more

I think that the meaning of “words distorted”, falls under the category of mixing up the different languages. Almost as if, creating slang or mixed meaning words, where the word is created among multiple languages/meanings. Causing distorted words to form and begin spreading

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Sep 16
Kevin Jakala (Sep 16 2020 8:00PM) : great job more

I like how you said words distorted is like a slang because it really is. Not everyone understands the meaning behind it. But the people with the same culture and knowledge of the same language as you will understand.

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Sep 16
Kevin Jakala (Sep 16 2020 10:31PM) : words distorted more

That statement means that some “words” are not actual or real words recognized by the English language. These words could either come from different languages but do not exist in English. For example, the word “tennisman” is not a real word. It looks like a legitimate English word but if you try to search it in the dictionary, it is non-existent. However though, for the French, this means a tennis player. These words could become confusing to native English speakers because they might become unfamiliar to the term. Meanwhile, the source of the distorted recognizes this word. These “distorted words” in English are what the concept of anglicisms or pachismas is about.

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Sep 20
Michelle Jaballas (Sep 20 2020 12:36AM) : I agree more

Furthermore, these anglicisms or pachismas develop into their own languages like Tex-Mex and Chicano, some being exclusive to a region which we would call “dialects: a particular form of a language which is peculiar to a specific region or social group.”

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From kids and people my own age I picked up Pachuco. Pachuco (the language of the zoot suiters) is a language of rebellion, both against Standard Spanish and Standard English. It is a secret language. Adults of the culture and outsiders cannot understand it. It is made up of slang words from both English and Spanish. Ruca means girl or woman, valo means guy or dude, chale means no, sim6n means yes, churro is sure, talk is periquiar, pigionear means petting, que gacho means how nerdy, ponle aguila means watch out, death is called la pelona. Through lack of practice and not having others who can speak it, I've lost most of the Pachuco tongue.

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CHICANO SPANISH

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Chicanos, after 250 years of Spanish/Anglo colonization, have developed Significant differences in the Spanish we speak. We collapse two adjacent vowels into a single syIJable and sometimes shift the stress in certain words such as ma(vmaiz, cohele/cuele . We leave out certain consonants when they appear between vowels: lado/lao, mojado/mojao. Chicanos from South Texas pronounce (as j as in jue ((ue). Chicanos use "archaisms," words that are no longer in the Spanish language, words that have been evolved out. We say semos, Iruje, haiga, ansina, and naiden . We retain the "archaic" j, as in jalar, that derives from an earlier h, (the French halar or the Germank halon which was lost to standard Spanish in the 16th century), but which is still found in several regional dialects such as the one spoken in South Texas. (Due to geography, Chicanos fTom the Valley of South Texas were cut off linguistically from other Spanish speakers. We tend to use words that the Spaniards brought over from Medieval Spain. The majority of the Spanish colonizers in Mexico and the Southwest came from Extremadura - Heman Cortes was one of them and Andalucfa. Andalucians pronounce II like a y, and their d's tend to be absorbed by adjacent vowels: lirado becomes lirao. They brought ellenguaje popular, dialeclos y regionalismos. ')

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Chicanos and other Spanish speakers also shift II to y and z to s. We leave out initial syllables, saying lar for eslar, lay for esloy, hora for ahora (cubanos and puertorriquenos also leave out initial letters of some words). We also leave out the final syllable such as pa for para. The intervocalic y , the II as in lortilla, ella, botella, gets replaced by tortia or tortiya, ea, bolea. We add an additional syllable at the beginning of certain words: alOcar for locar, agaslar for gascar. Sometimes we'll say lavaste las vacijas, other times lavates (substituting the ates verb endings for the aste).

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We use anglicism, words borrowed from English: bola from 20 ball, carpela from carpet, meichina de lavar (instead of lavadora) from washing machine. Tex-Mex argot, created by adding a Spanish sound at the beginning or end of an English word such as cookiar for cook, watchar for watch, parkiar for park, and rapiar for rape, is the result of the pressures on Spanish speakers to adapt to English.

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We don't use the word vosotros/as or its accompanying verb form. We don't say claro (to mean yes), imaginate, or me emociona, unless we picked up Spanish from Latinas, out of a book, or in a classroom. Other Spanish-speaking groups are going through the same, or similar, development in their Spanish.

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LINGUISTIC TERRORISM

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Deslenguadas. Somas los del espanal deficienle. We are your linguistic nightmare. your linguistic aberration, your linguistic mestisaje, the subject of your bur/a. Because we speak with tongues of fIre we are culturally crucified. Racially, culturally, and linguistically somas huerfanos - we speak an orphan tongue.

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Chicanas who grew up speaking Chicano Spanish have internalized the belief that we speak poor Spanish. It is illegitimate, a bastard language. And because we internaHze how our language has been used against us by the dominant culture, we use our language differences against each other.

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Chicana feminists often skirt around each other with suspicion and hesitation. For the longest time I couldn't figure it out. Then it dawned on me. To be close to another Chicana is like looking into the mirror. We are afraid of what we'll see there. Pena. Shame. Low estimation of self. In childhood we are told that our language is wrong. Repeated attacks on our native tongue diminish our sense of self. The attacks continue throughout our lives.

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Chicanas feel uncomfortable talking in Spanish to Latinas, alTaid of their censure. Their language was not outlawed in their countries. They had a whole lifetime of being immersed in their native tongue; generations, centuries in which Spanish was a first language, taught in school, heard on radio and TV, and read in the newspaper.

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If a person, Chicana or Latina, has a low estimation of my 25 native tongue, she also has a low estimation of me. Often with mexicanas y latinas we'll speak English as a neutral language. Even among Chicanas we tend to speak English at parties or conferences. Yet, at the same time, we're afraid the other will think we're agringadas because we don't speak Chicano Spanish. We oppress each other trying to out-Chicano each other, vying to be the "real" Chicanas, to speak like Chicanos. There is no one Chicano language just as there is no one Chicano experience. A monolingual Chicana whose first language is English or Spanish is just as much a Chicana as one who speaks several variants of Spanish. A Chicana from Michigan or Chicago or Detroit is just as much a Chicana as one from the Southwest. Chicano Spanish is as diverse linguistically as it is regionally.

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By the end of this century, Spanish speakers will comprise the biggest minority group in the U.S., a country where students in high schools and colleges are encouraged to take French classes because French is considered more "cultured." But for a language to remain alive it must be used· By the end of this century English, and not Spanish, will be the mother tongue of most Chicanos and Latinos.

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So, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity - I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself. Until I can accept as legitimate Chicano Texas Spanish, Tex-Mex, and all the other languages I speak, I cannot acceplthe legitimacy of myself. Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate.

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Sep 13
Ana Contreras (Sep 13 2020 10:25PM) : Code Switching? more

Anzaldua refers to the term code switching in this sentence. What does she mean by code switching?

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Sep 14
Student Kacper Surlas (Sep 14 2020 2:07PM) : Code switching means shifting between two or more languages. That's what she means by code switching.
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Sep 15
Angel Barcenas (Sep 15 2020 4:58AM) : Code Switching more

When Anzaldua refers to code switching she talks about the different language codes Chicanos speak. And how she wants to be able to speak all language codes and be able to switch between two or more of the language codes.

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Sep 15
Philip Hrdina (Sep 15 2020 1:57PM) : Great point out of differ codes more

I believe that the languages that you talk about define the way they speck as one and a total as together. Chicanoes probably adapted this from Native Americans early on with there codes decoding.

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Sep 15
Jessica Lechowski (Sep 15 2020 7:39PM) : Code switching more

I think Anzaluda refers to code switching as her different languages. She sees the different versions of Spanish, to be more of code languages, since not everyone understands each of her languages. When she “switches code”, she is switching the language in which she is speaking in. She finds the variety, as a challenge within herself, where she is having trouble picking what is best for her. She knows many, but is too much, and she even states in this highlighted portion, that she has a choice of her preferred language/ “code”.

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Sep 16
Taylor Geier (Sep 16 2020 12:34PM) : I agree with you more

I agree with you that Anzaldua refers to code switching as using the different versions of languages. She refers to the codes as the different versions of Spanish. I like how you talked about Anzaldua having trouble choosing which language to use and finds a challenge within herself when choosing which “code” to use.

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Sep 16
Sarah Nuredini (Sep 16 2020 1:53PM) : is it her challenge? more

i think that she doesnt find it challenging to switch codes or the way of spanish that shes speaking but she thinks its unjust that she has to even do so. Why should she change her ways for some one who wont change theirs?? I think she is completley right and should be free to talk in the she feels most comfortable with instead of worrying what people will think.

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Sep 16
Kevin Jakala (Sep 16 2020 10:41PM) : great job more

I liked the way you pointed out that for the code switch “not everyone understands each of her languages” because I tend to do that a lot also, when I want to talk to someone but I don’t feel like pulling them out of the room.I’ll just speak to them in a different language so no one else in the room can understands.

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Sep 16
Sarah Nuredini (Sep 16 2020 1:50PM) : Different Languages more

By coding switching she is saying she knows many different ways of speaking spanish as she stated about 7 or so later on. She says it seems un fair to her that she has to make sure that she accomidates to the reader and not the other way around. She has to choose which was of spanish she is speaking based on who shes speaking with which is the code switch shes talking about.

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Sep 18
Angelina Andreozzi (Sep 18 2020 12:58PM) : I agree with you more

I also think that what she meant by code switching is all the different languages she has to speak to accommodate other people.

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Sep 20
Michelle Jaballas (Sep 20 2020 12:26AM) : Defining Code Switching more

Anzaldua’s referring to the switching of the different languages she can speak and in those different languages the different dialects.

I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my se;.pent's tongue - my woman's voice, my sexual voice, my poet's voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.

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My fingers move
sly against your palm
Like women everywhere, we speak in code .. ..
- MELANIE KAVE/KANTROWITZ7

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"Vistas, " corridos, y comida: My Native Tongue

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In the 1960s, I read my first Chicano novel. It was City of Night by John Rechy, a gay Texan, son of a Scottish father and a Mexican mother. For days I walked around in stunned amazement that a Chicano could write and could get published. When I read I Am Joaquin' I was surprised to see a bilingual book by a Chicano in print. When I saw poetry written in Tex-Mex for the first time, a feeling of pure joy flashed through me. I felt like we really existed as a people. In 1971, when I started teaching High School English to Chicano students, I tried to supplement the required texts with works by Chicanos, only to be reprimanded and forbidden to do so by the principal. He claimed that I was supposed to teach "American" and English literature. At the risk of being fired, I swore my students to secrecy and slipped in Chicano short stories, poems, a play. In graduate school, while working toward a Ph.D., I had to "argue" with one advisor after the other, semester after semester, before I was allowed to make Chicano literature an area of focus.

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Even before I read books by Chicanos or Mexicans, it was the 30 Mexican movies I saw at the drive-in - the Thursday night special of $1.00 a carload - that gave me a sense of belonging. "Vamonos a las vistas," my mother would call out and we'd all - grandmother, brothers, sister, and cousins - squeeze into the car We'd wolf down cheese and bologna white bread sandwiches while watching Pedro Infante in melodramatic tearjerkers like Nosotros los pobres, the first "real" Mexican movie (that was not an imitation of European movies). I remember seeing Cuando los hijos se van and surmising that all Mexican movies played up the love a mother has for her children and what ungrateful sons and daughters suffer when they are not devoted to their mothers. I remember the singing-type "westerns" of Jorge Negrete and Miquel Aceves Mejra. When watching Mexican movies, I felt a sense of homecoming as well as alienation. People who were to amount to something didn't go to Mexican movies, or bailes, or tune their radios to bolero, rm,cherita, and corrido music.

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The whole time I was growing up, there was norteno music sometimes called North Mexican border music, or Tex-Mex music, or Chicano music, or cantina (bar) music. I grew up bstening to conjuntas, three- or four-piece bands made up of folk musicians playing guitar, bajo sexta, drums, and button accordion, which Chicanos had bon'owed from the German immigrants who had come to Central Texas and Mexico to farm and build breweries. In the Rio Grande Valley, Steve Jordan and Little Joe Hernandez were popular, and Flaco Jimenez was the accordion king. The rhythms of Tex-Mex music are those of the polka, also adapted from the Germans, who in turn had borrowed the polka from the Czechs and Bohemians.

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I remember the hot, sultry evenings when corridos - songs of love and death on the Texas-Mexican borderlands - reverberated out of cheap amplifiers Tom the local cantinas and wafted in through my bedroom window.

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Corridos first became widely used along the South Texas/ Mexican border during the early conflict between Chicanos and Anglos. The corridos are usually about Mexican heroes who do valiant deeds against the Anglo oppressors. Pancho Villa's song, "La cucaracha," is the most famous one. Corridos of John F. Kennedy and his death are still very popular in the Valley. Older Chicanos remember Lydia Mendoza, one of the great border corrido singers who was called la Gloria de Tejas. Her "Eltango negro," sung during the Great Depression, made her a singer of the people. The everpresent corridos narrated one hundred years of border history, bringing news of events as well as entertaining. These folk musicians and folk songs are our chief cultural mythmakers, and they made our hard lives seem bearable.

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I grew up feeling ambivalent about our music. Countrywestern and rock-and-roll had more status. In the 50s and 60s, for the slightly educated and agringado Chicanos, there existed a sense of shame at being caught listening to our music. Yet I couldn't stop my feet from thumping to the music, could not stop humming the words, nor hide from myself the exhilaration I felt when I heard it.

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There are more subtle ways that we internalize identification, especially in the forms of images and emotions. For me food and certain smells are tied to my identi ty, to my homeland. Woodsmoke curling up to an immense blue sky; woodsmoke perfuming my grandmother's clothes, her skjn. The stench of cow manure and the yellow patches on the ground; the crack of a .22 rifle and the reek of cordHe. Homemade white cheese sizzling in a pan, melting inside a folded tortilla. My sister Hilda's hot, spicy mel1udo, chile colorado makjng it deep red, pieces of panza and hominy floating on top. My brother Carito barbequing fajitas in the backyard. Even now and 3,000 miles away, I can see my mother spicing the ground beef, pork, and venjson with chile. My mouth salivates at the thought of the hot steaming tamales I would be eating ifI were home.

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Si Ie preguntas a mi mama, "Que eres?"

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"Identity is the essential core of who
we are as indjviduals, the conscious
experience of the self inside."
- GERSHEN KAUFMAN9

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Nosolros los Chicanos straddle the borderlands. On one side of us, we are constantly exposed to the Spanish of the Mexkans, on the other side we hear the Anglos' incessant clamoring so that we forget our language. Among ourselves we don't say nosotros los americanos, a nosotros los espanoles, a nosolros los hispanos. We say nosotros los mexicanos (by mexicanos we do not mean citizens of Mexico; we do not mean a national identity, but a racial one). We distinguish between mexicanos del olro lado and mexicanos de este lado. Deep in our hearts we believe that being Mexican has nothing to do with which country one lives in. Being Mexican is a state of soul- not one of mind, not one of citizenship. Neither eagle nor serpent, but both. And like the ocean, neither animal respects borders.

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Sep 13
Ana Contreras (Sep 13 2020 10:27PM) : The Borderlands more

How does Anzaldua define the borderlands? Are the borderlands that she refers to only a geographical boundary?

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Sep 14
Student Kacper Surlas (Sep 14 2020 11:02AM) : Anzaldua defines borderlands by telling us both sides about it. No, she doesn't refer to a geographical boundary.
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Sep 15
Philip Hrdina (Sep 15 2020 10:59AM) : I believe that true more

I also think the Mexkans are more then just a part of Anglos language but part of the whole Latin American Spanish speaking area

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Sep 18
Angelina Andreozzi (Sep 18 2020 12:45PM) : Anzaldua defines the borderlands by telling us what each side is like. She begins to say that when you go to a side you forget your culture and your learning about a different one.
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Sep 20
Michelle Jaballas (Sep 20 2020 12:31AM) : I agree more

I agree that Anzaldua defines the borderlands by talking to us about what each side is like. There are the Anglos and then the Mexicans, Anglos referring to the Americans who are incessant about Mexicans forgetting their language and speak English, and Mexicans who have their own language but come from a Mexican or Hispanic Country. Borderlands doesn’t refer to only a Geographical Boundary in this context Anazaldua speaks about how “being Mexican has nothing to do with which country lives in” but is “a state of soul- not one of mind, not one of citizenship”.

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Dime con quien andas y le dire quien eres.
(Tell me who your friends are and I'll teU you who you are.) -
MEXICAN SAYING

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Si Ie pregunlas a mi mama, "lOue eres?" Ie dira, "Soy mexicana." My brothers and sister say the same. I sometimes will answer "soy mexicana" and at others will say "soy Chicana" a "soy lejana. " Bu t I identified as "Raza" before I ever identified as "mexicarza" or "Chicana."

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As a culture, we call ourselves Spanish when referring to ourselves as a linguistic group and when copping out. It is then that we forget our predominant Indian genes. We are 70-80 percent Indian'· We call ourselves Hispanic" or Spanish-American or Latin American or Latin when linking ourselves to other Spanishspeaking peoples of the Western hemisphere and when copping out. We call ourselves Mexican-American!2 to signify we are neither Mexican nor American, but more the noun "American" than the adjective "Mexican" (and when copping out).

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Chicanos and other people of color suffer economically for not acculturating. This voluntary (yet forced) alienation makes for psychological conflict, a kind of dual identity - we don't identify with the Anglo-American cultural values and we don't totally identify with the Mexican cultural values. We are a synergy of two cultures with various degrees of Mexicanness or Angloness. I have so internalized the borderland conflict that sometimes I feel like one cancels out the other and we are zero, nothing, no one. A veces no soy nada ni nadie. Pero hasla cuando no lo soy, lo soy.

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When not copping out, when we know we are more than noth- 40 ing, we call ourselves Mexican, referring to race and ancestry; meslizo when affirming both our Indian and Spanish (but we hardly ever own our Black ancestory); Chicano when referring to a politically aware people born and/or raised in the U.S.; Raza when referring to Chicanos; (ejanos when we are Chicanos from Texas.

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Chicanos did not know we were a people until 1965 when Ceasar Chavez and the farmworkers united and I Am Joaquin was published and fa Raza Unida party was formed in Texas. With that recognition, we became a distinct people. Something momentous happened to the Chicano soul- we became aware of our reality and acquired a name and a language (Chicano Spanish) that reflected that reality. Now that we had a name, some of the fragmented pieces began to fall together - who we were, what we were, how we had evolved. We began to get glimpses of what we might eventually become.

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Yet the struggle of identities continues, the struggle of borders is our reality still. One day the inner struggle will cease and a true integration take place. In the meantime, (enemos que hacer la lucha. cQuien esla prolegiendo los ranchos de mi genie? cQuien eSla Iralando de cerrar la fisura enlre la india y el blanco en nueslra sangre? EI Chicano, si, el Chicano que anda como un ladr6n en su propla casa.

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Los Chicanos, how patient we seem, how very patient. There is the quiet of the Indian about us. " We know how to survive. When other races have given up their tongue, we've kept ours. We know what it is to live under the hammer blow of the dominant nOrleamericana culture. But more than we count the blows, we count the days the weeks the years the centuries the eons until the white laws and commerce and customs will rot in the deserts they've created, lie bleached. Hwnildes yet proud, quielos yet wild, nosolros losmexicanos-Chicmws will walk by the crumbling ashes as we go about our business. Stubborn, persevering, impenetrable as stone, yet possessing a malleability that renders us unbreakable, we, the meslizas and mestizos, will remain.

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DMU Timestamp: September 03, 2020 08:33

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