Differences of Private and Public Language

Topics: Emotion, 175, Spanish language Pages: 4 (955 words) Published: October 9, 2014
Hanyong Na
Michaela Vargas
English 120-8669
7 October, 2012
Differences of Private and Public Language
“I remember to start with that day in Sacramento when I first entered a classroom, able to understand some fifty stray English words” (Rodriguez 535). Richard Rodriguez, who is the author of the essay “Private Language, Public Language”, introduces how he was raised and lived as well as how he felt growing up in the States as an immigrant family. After reading the Rodriguez’s essay, there are several points as well as the experiences that I was able to relate, perhaps because I share a similar background as the writer himself. Language as he says is separated by “Just opening or closing the screen door” (Rodriguez 537), the differences were simple as being home speaking his own language and staying within the world of the gringos, or white English speaking person. He also explains the differences on how Rodriguez expressed Spanish as a private language and English as a public language, and what those two languages meant to him emotionally as well as mentally.

Rodriguez expresses his emotional feeling as he entered the classroom and heard the nun call out his name in English for the first time. “Quickly I turned to see my mother’s face dissolve in a watery blur behind the pebbled glass door” (Rodriguez 535). Being in a different environment and without anyone to rely on he was feeling confused and scared, and even seeing his mother with in a watery eyes did not give him any more comfort to begin with.

Rodriguez was also very sensitive to the sounds. “I heard her sound out: Rich-heard Road-ree-guess” (Rodriguez 535). He was not used to the soft spoken sounds of the words especially with his name. Hearing his name spoken out in English made him even more feel like an outsider that did not belong with the crowd.

Another characteristic can be not having sense of belonging to the society. “We lived among gringos and only a block from the...

Cited: Richard, Rodregez. “Private Language, Public Language.” Strategies for Successful Writing:
A Rhetoric, Research guide, Reader, and Handbook, Ninth Edition. Ed. Reinking,
James A., R.v.d. Osten, and First Osten. Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011. eBook.
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