Aria by Richard Rodriguez

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Aria & The Cosmopolitan Tongue

Language, Is it and art or is it a science? I will have to argue it’s a mix of both. Webster’s Dictionary defines Science as follows; A branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws. You must admit, it pretty much describes the study of any established language. Websters Dictionary also defines Art as follows; The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. Case closed! Language is a marriage of art and science whom, through many eons, have produced many children. They, the children, in reference to languages that have come and gone, have been both ugly and beautiful… but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or “ear” in this case.

In the memoir Aria, by Richard Rodriguez, he boldly argues that one must choose the “public” language so as to belong, or be part of, or be accepted and be able to find your true identity. I have to agree to some degree, for I find if you are not part of the “public” language it’s like driving the wrong way on a one way road, or better yet; freeway! Growing up in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, I can’t say I felt like a foreigner. My parents arrived in “gringolandia” as they affectionately call it (United States), around 1977. I was 3 years old, my younger siblings where soon to follow. I can sympathize with Richard in some cases. We also use the “private” language at home. When I got enrolled in school, luckily most of my classmates also brought their “private” language along with their school lunch bags filled with “burritos” or “tortas”.

One thing that sticks out from the use of language is that I found early on that if you wanted to be part of the “cool” crowd, you had to speak ENGLISH ONLY. So I found myself adopting it as soon as I could. I didn’t want to be labeled as a “beaner”! kids can...
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