Martin Espada And Richard Rodriguez's View Of Bilingualism

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How I speak to my friends differs from the way I speak to my teachers. How I speak to my family differs from the way I speak in public. Does my ability to speak multiple dialects of English infer I am bilingual? Society commonly interprets bilingualism as the capability to speak multiple languages. In reality, someone’s cultural and emotional connection largely helps define bilingualism. I define bilingualism as someone’s ability to express their culture(s) while speaking a language(s). The writers Martin Espada and Richard Rodriguez discuss their views of bilingualism within their essays. Espada teaches at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and conducts political poems. In his essay “The New Bathroom Policy at English High School” he…show more content…
The exclamation he makes helps readers infer that he defines bilingualism as someone who has a strong, heartfelt connection to multiple languages in which becomes part of their self identification.
Rodriguez defines bilingualism as he elaborates on his story of learning English. Arriving to the US and only speaking Spanish challenged him and his family. Their home illuminated a safe place, a place where he could speak Spanish. At school, his teachers would call on him purposefully trying to make him speak/learn English. In despair he mumbled, until the day his safe place disappeared when his parents began to speak English at home. Now with no outlet, he attempts to raise his hand in class and communicate with others. This monumental shift of avoiding speech to trying to communicate helps Rodriguez explain “Sound and word were thus tightly wedded” (23). The liberating moment where he can comfortably communicate with others without such a big effort rewards Rodriguez, for he can fit in with society: “And the point was not self expression alone but to make oneself understood by many others” (21). To talk comfortably with others provides a source for community and self expression. Although Rodriguez had a difficult time learning another language, he views bilingualism as someone who can fit in with multiple communities and has a balance of public and private life. Rodriguez and Espada have

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