How Do You Say It? Alberto Alvaro Rios

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Victoria Jeudy
English Comp. 2
Professor Shirokova
March 26, 2013
How do you say it?
Alberto Alvaro Rios writing is very compelling. He makes statements that give you a sense of wonder. Meaning that he makes certain statements that make you think about what he’s talking about, because his statements are so powerful and he has a sense that tends to make you respect what he his saying. Seeing how I am bilingual, I have a sense of understanding of where Rios is coming from when he tells his different experiences. “Language is more than what we say – it’s also how we say it” (Rios.)

Rios attempts to write from the perspective of knowing two different worlds. His father being from Mexico and his mother being English, Rios had two different cultures to learn about. I like when Rios uses the example of his mother telling the Mexican workers to paint the kitchen “limon.” His mother assumed that “limon” meant yellow, when in actuality it means green in Spanish. So Rios’s family ended up with a green kitchen where many similar events occur, dealing with different languages. For Haitian people the same word means both lemon and lime, and translating the difference would probably be difficult. Every time someone finds out that I am Haitian, they ask me to speak Creole`. People always find it so fascinating and interesting, they always end up asking me to teach them. The reason it was easy for me to speak both languages at a young age is because I was taught both at the same time. The crazy thing is I speak Creole` better than some of my cousins, who were actually born in Haiti. Some Haitians have the difficulty understanding English, just as bad as an American trying to understand Creole`. That’s why language has so much importance; even the smallest thing can have the biggest misunderstanding.

I really enjoyed the part of his essay where he talks about teaching and also substituting for a teacher who had a wild class. It very much reminds me of people I knew...
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