Latinitas - A Strong Voice for Latina Youth

I think language does have a huge impact on culture. There is constant pressure for Latinas to be able to speak Spanish fluently but this can be difficult for those whose parents don't teach them while they're young. I'm a 4th generation Mexican-American. When I was growing up, my parents only spoke to me in English at home. The only time I ever heard Spanish was at my great grandma's house and even then, I never had to speak it because she understood English. So, she'd talk to me in Spanish and I'd respond in English and vice versa. This was fine while I was younger but as I got older it really started to bother me.

I'd hear people make comments like, "How are you Mexican and you don't even know Spanish? That's embarrassing." It would upset me because I felt like they were right so I took the initiative to take classes and learn Spanish on my own. Something that was really hard to learn was the "proper Spanish." I never realized that a lot of what I knew was Spanglish. I guess it was Ama's (that's what we called my great grandma) way of speaking English to us.

My favorite thing she ever said was something when she was talking about popcorn. We were watching movies and my younger brother put some popcorn in the microwave. A few minutes had passed and Ama says to my brother, "Mijo, get the potkern, ya esta boomiando." We all started laughing. She meant popping but we thought it was great. We always say boomiando now. I think Spanglish is a great way to create inside jokes with your friends and family!

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