English Language and Intimacy
Language defines the type of person we are. It has an affect on our choices as well as our lifestyle. Depending on friends, family, and others we talk to, our choice on language tends to vary. Our decisions in life, sometimes, are influenced by the language we use and our surroundings. Language has become a way of seeing life in a different perspective. But can language effect intimacy? Family intimacy to be exact. Richard Rodriguez, a writer and public speaker, expertly illustrates his own experience with this in his autobiography, Hunger of Memory.
Rodriguez’s childhood was particularly unique given the fact that while he was born and raised in the United States, he was strongly influenced in the ethnic environment of a Spanish family. Although the reader is introduced to only a short excerpt from the autobiography, he learns a great deal about Rodriguez’s family and his relationship to it, his conflict of speaking English versus Spanish, and the paradox that became evident as he used English as his primary language. Since learning English, young Rodriguez noted the lack of intimacy there was in his home. Did the understanding of a new language affect the very close family? While I read this autobiography, there were tons of ideas that struck me. It was very interesting because so many of the different parts could relate to my life.
Being born and raised in America, English was automatically my first language. Nevertheless, my parents were keen on making me and my siblings learn their native tongue, my fathers Yemeni culture and my mothers Turkish culture and most importantly, our religion. As soon as they can, my parents enrolled me and my siblings in Arabic school and Islamic studies. There we learned how to read, write and fluently speak Arabic and also memorize and study the Holy Quran. At home, my mother schooled us on the Turkish language. The essence of my childhood was of culture