Andres Lopez 9/18/23
Prof Katch English 101
THE BRAWL IN LEARNING A LANGUAGE
By Andres Lopez
Throughout my life ever since I was a toddler, I thought that every single place on earth speaks English, but soon that thought was about to change forever for the greater good. In 2009, my family took me and my older siblings to Ecuador and that was a moment I would never forget. At that time I was 3 years old so during that time I was still learning words in Spanish. The best part is that I wasn’t alone. My sister, who is 4 years older than me, was also struggling to speak Spanish in Ecuador. My older brother was born in Ecuador but he came to New York with my mom when he was one year old so his Spanish was also not as good as ours. In Ecuador, it is really important for me to learn Spanish.
Ecuador also has another language that is called Quechua but my family speaks Spanish. I mostly knew words in English while the only words I probably knew were saying “Si” , “porfavor”, and “No” and probably the only sentence I knew how to say perfectly was “ Que hay para cenar”.
I would say going to Ecuador almost every year really improves my Spanish and makes the locations a lot easier to find. I remember going to a tourist attraction in Ecuador that is called “ Mitad del mundo” and I knew exactly where it is not just because I have a great memory of some things but the name made it so easy for me to know where it at, how many hours is it and what is it about. If I ever needed help talking to a stranger, my parents would tell me what to say in order for the stranger to understand what I’m saying. Being able to speak Spanish is part of my genes, is part of my heritage. Sometimes I don’t understand the jokes that my family is telling them but those jokes make me chuckle. I still am struggling with learning words in Spanish but it’s getting better.
When I’m speaking in Spanish, I sometimes choke on a word or get words mixed up. When I have to say the word “atropellando”, I would have to say it slowly because when I pronounce that word, I stutter. I remember when I was little I always thought that the word embarrassed in Spanish was “Embarazado” but when I said that everyone was questioning me. I told my siblings that I’m saying embarrassed in Spanish but they told me that the word for embarrassed in Spanish was “avergonzado”. After that moment, I looked on google translate and typed in the word Embarazado and translated it to English. That was the day that I learned that the word “Embarazado” means Pregnant in English.
Throughout the years, I have been coming back to Ecuador with more words to use in conversation with my family members and strangers in the streets. Being able to understand Spanish to me is cool and because of that, I can listen to my grandparents’ amazing stories from the 20th century when they were young and raising my mother. I remember struggling with ordering ice cream and pizza in Ecuador but remembering the way my cousins were helping me order ice cream, I was able to get the ice cream that I wanted. I’m still practicing Spanish here at home and in my home country and by doing that, I would teach my younger cousins what each word means and I would have them use the words in a sentence that way I won’t forget my Spanish and for them to be able to speak Spanish whenever they have to visit Ecuador.
The way I learned new words was reading the advertisements that were on TV, on billboards, reading the signs on the top of the coach buses. and listening to the radio in my uncle’s car. Even Though I don’t know all the words in my Ecuadorian culture and Spanish, my family never made me feel abandoned or treated me differently because I speak a whole different language better than Spanish. Me being from a Spanish speaking family from Ecuador is a gift to me. I feel better when I get to go to Ecuador since there are new words that are waiting for me and they know that I’m waiting for them. When I’m back home in New York, I don’t stop speaking Spanish, I speak Spanish because I love it so much. There are a lot of Spanish vocabulary words that I am currently finding out and in my mind I’m asking myself “ How I haven’t heard of this word yet. It’s awesome”. Spanish is in my blood and also Ecuador in my blood. Even though the first language I learned was English, in my heart I would always consider it as the first language I learned was Spanish. Spanish is my way to relax, have fun, and another way to be myself with the people I connect with. Ecuador is my Spanish teacher and I am their only student. I am a tree and Spanish is the water that is pouring down my roots. Now I have the confidence to make some new friendships with people I talk to in Ecuador and with some Ecuadorians here in the city.