One thought on “Speak to Another Man’s Heart

  1. Hola Senorita Lyons y Felizidades! God I hope I said and spelled that correctly. I’m sure you’ll inform me if I did not. Being that I am Mexican–and after lots of schooling–I am not practiced at writing in Spanish. It’s a shame really. And, yes, I speak in Spanglish–which is why I write to you and your students about how important it is to “master” a second language and thoroughly “enjoy” it for the rest of your personal and professional life. First a quick and fun personal story.

    I have a friend who looks like Antonio Sabatos–a great looking guy who’s on the TV soap Days of Our Lives–and we go out for dinner together, and often we see single girls or they see us–and we wish to meet. Now I’m not bad looking, but my friend–Bobby Eriksen–is very good-looking and the girls always want him first.
    So, I decide one day to start speaking in Spanish–accent and all–to give myself a conversation edge over Bobby with the girls. I even made up a “little, white lie” and tell the girls I don’t speak English very well and that Spanish is my native tongue. My idea works and the girls find me more interesting than Bobby–irrespective of his good looks. At the end of it all, I told them the truth and that all was a prank–and we all had a good laugh.

    My point in telling you this story is to show you how a second language can be fun socially. Yet, there is a serious side that I wish to bring to your attention. Some Hispanics are made fun of and are often ashamed to speak English because of their accent. But, those of us who learn Spanish should not be ashamed to learn
    Spanish because of any accent…because our accent is an asset not a deficit. It’s a positive not a negative.
    People appreciate our effort to speak another language. They don’t put us down. They hold us UP as examples of education and what education really means: Education doesn’t fill us, it OPENS us to others!

    Spanish in particular is important and useful. When we speak, write and especially understand Spanish,
    we can “conjugate” almost all other words…at the very least have some starting point of what they mean.
    For example, sometimes at night when I’m doing my “homework,” I open a can of “chili con carne.” This
    is Spanish, yet this can of food is found in the regular food section not in the Spanish foods area. So, what
    does it mean? The word says Chili, so I know there’s chili in the can. The second word, “con” means “with,”
    and the third word is “carne” which means “meat.” So, after “conjugating” these three words I figure out the can contains and the words mean “Chili with Meat.”

    One day you’ll be graduating to middle school and then high school, and ultimately to Harvard or Yale. You’re going to see the word Commencement. Each year I ask a graduate what the word means. They don’t know. I tell them to go back to their Spanish class and conjugate the word. They start with “com” and then commence…and then as if all the sudden they SEE…”comensar”,,,to begin!

    You’re going to love Spanish–not only speaking and writing it, but listening to it. It’s highly romantic. It’s also lots of fun. You’ll use it all over the world, and so Spanish will be a foundation for you to learn other things too. Most of all, you’re going to feel good. Where English put a “period” on your conversations with others,
    Spanish puts a “comma” to open new conversations with the world.

    Adios y Bendiciones Senorita Lyons.

    Rick Martinez

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