Who would guess the most profound dialogue on TV in recent weeks would come from Sofia Vergara’s character Gloria on “Modern Family?” With credit due to the November 12 episode’s writers, this is what she shared:
“Do you know how frustrating it is to have to translate everything in my head before I say it?
“To have people laughing in my face because I’m struggling to find the words?
“You should try talking in my shoes for one mile.
“Do you even know how smart I am in Spanish?”
Thought-provoking? Humbling, for sure.
Especially when you consider:
According to a Pew Hispanic survey, more than six-in-ten Latino adults in the U.S. say they can carry on a conversation in English “very well” or “pretty well.” With kids, the percentage is in the 90s.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports only about 20 percent of Americans speak a language other than English at home. Granted this number does not include people who speak a second language at work; soldiers returning from foreign countries; or even enthusiasts learning languages for fun, travel or friendships.
The point is that whether we have the smarts or time to learn a second language, we should at least show all the patience and respect for those who do.
Nothing makes me madder than people who complain about non-native speakers. You know – those people who make the effort to communication with us monolinguals? It makes my head explode! There is no great achievement in speaking the language one is brought up with, but acquiring another is very hard work, and to be admired. So small-minded!
See how well I speak? I meant “communicate.”
Well said, Tracy. (I miss the work days when I could rely on you to improve my writing and add focus to my rants.)
It is nice to give credit where it is due.