Central Virginia Community College Linguistic Terrorism Thesis Statement 4.4 part I: Prewriting – Generating Ideas In “Linguistic Terrorism,” Gloria Anzal

Central Virginia Community College Linguistic Terrorism Thesis Statement 4.4 part I: Prewriting – Generating Ideas

In “Linguistic Terrorism,” Gloria Anzaldúa argues, “Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity—I am my language” (774). Evaluate your own neighborhood, college institution, workplace, or some other community in terms of diversity classified by ethnicity or first language (Spanish, French, Farsi) in your neighborhood. Define the important elements that help to make a community diverse.

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Use a prewriting strategy to generate some potential ideas for your essay.

Tip: In a CHANGE MODEL essay, a writer typically tries to explain the similarities between two things usually considered different, or he/she tries to explain the differences between two things thought of as alike. You are encouraged to review the section “Combining the Methods” on pages 751-59 for suggestions on brainstorming and narrowing your ideas to topics for a combining the methods essay.

Develop a Working Thesis: Draft a working thesis statement for Essay 4. Be sure it names the specific subject that will be your focus, indicates your position on the topic (hint: try to avoid using the first person “I” in academic discourse), and suggests your purpose. Below the text you produced in your prewriting session, type your working thesis statement.

Your essay will need to have all the characteristics of an academic essay including:

oan effective thesis which states your central point

oan effective method of organization

ostrong topic sentences

ounified paragraphs

ospecific supporting details (examples from your own experience and quotations or paraphrases from the Unit 4 readings)

oan effective introduction and conclusion

“Linguistic Terrorism”( UNIT 4 READING ESSAY)

Deslenguadas. Somos los del español deficiente. We are your linguistic nightmare, your linguistic aberration, your linguistic mestizaje, the subject of your burla. Because we speak with tongues of fire we are culturally crucified. Racially, culturally, and linguistically somos huérfanos–we speak an orphan tongue.

Chicanas who grew up speaking Chicano Spanish have internalized the belief that we speak poor Spanish. It is illegitimate, a bastard language. And because we internalize how our language has been used against us by the dominant culture, we use our language differences against each other.

Chicana feminists often skirt around each other with suspicion and hesitation. For the longest time I couldn’t figure it out. Then it dawned on me. To be close to another Chicana is like looking into the mirror. We are afraid of what we’ll see there. Pena. Shame. Low estimation of self. In childhood we are told that our language is wrong. Repeated attacks on our native tongue diminish our sense of self. The attacks continue throughout our lives.

Chicanas feel uncomfortable talking in Spanish to Latinas, afraid of their censure. Their language was not outlawed in their countries. They had a whole lifetime of being immersed in their native tongue; generations, centuries in which Spanish was a first language, taught in school, heard on radio and TV, and read in the newspaper.

If a person, Chicana or Latina, has a low estimation of my native tongue, she also has a low estimation of me. Often with mexicanas y latinas we’ll speak English as a neutral language. Even among Chicanas we tend to speak English at parties or conferences. Yet, at the same time, we’re afraid the other will think we are agringadas because we don’t speak Chicano Spanish. We oppress each other trying to out Chicano each other, vying to be the “real” Chicanas, to speak like Chicanos. There is no one Chicano language just as there is no one Chicano experience. A monolingual Chicana whose first language is English or Spanish is just as much a Chicana as one who speaks several varieties of Spanish. A Chicana from Michigan or Chicago or Detroit is just as much a Chicana as one from the Southwest. Chicano Spanish is as diverse linguistically as it is regionally.

By the end of this century, Spanish speakers will comprise the biggest minority group in the U.S., a country where students in high schools and colleges are encouraged to take French classes because French is considered more “cultured.” But for a language to remain alive it must be used. (1) By the end of this century English, and not Spanish, will be the mother tongue of most Chicanos and Latinos.

***

So, if you want to really hurt me, talk badly about my language. Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity–I am my language. Until I can take pride in my language, I cannot take pride in myself. Until I can accept as legitimate Chicano Texas Spanish, Tex Mex, and all the other languages I speak, I cannot accept the legitimacy of myself. Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate.

I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice. Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue–my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.

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