My Englishes: Full Circle

April 24, 2010
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Throughout the day language takes me to a number of worlds, from the world where proper use of language is frowned upon to one where it is greatly appreciated, then to a place where only one person can understand me. It's like I hear the words "Blast off" four times a day or more. Transporting to these worlds make me dizzy because they are diverse and I tend to change with them.

I change the most in language and personality when I am with my best friend. The way we communicate with each other has been developed over years of friendship. Because of that, this is the most special and elaborate language of mine.Yes, mine and his, I mean.No one ever knows what we are talking about, and we enjoy having our own secret language If we wanted to we may translate for an outsider, but most likely the person would just stand there dumbfounded. For example, one day I asked Atiba (my best friend) a question.Our other friend was looking at me as if I were speaking Chinese.

"How's number one?" I asked.

Atiba answered.

Next to the language that sounds like Chinese is the language I use with the rest of my friends, a language that teens comprehend but most adults do not, the words ands phrases that define our generation, although they don't define me. Most of the time I don't use any slang when I am conversing. That is why I sometimes get teased for the way I speak.My friends say that I speak too "properly."But to tell you the truth I really don't care if I say "The elevator took mad long," or "The elevator took really long." That is the difference between the way I speak with my best friend and the way I do not speak with my other friends: translation.

Translation is much easier for the slang than it is for the other. If you translate a word or phrase from my best-friend lingo, too many questions come along with it--How did you come up with that? Where did it originate? Whereas slang used today is easy to translate. Easy enough for my para professional to use some of the words correctly. Unlike translation, transition from the secret language to slang is rather effortless.

Transition from slang with my friends to internet lingo is a little bit more difficult, it is most difficult because you are not face-to--face with the people you're talking to.So you can't see their facial expressions or hear their tones of voice . In addition, internet language can be really hard to interpret.The creation of new acronyms almost everyday definitely doesn't make it any less confusing. If you IM (instant message) someone and he is not sure of what you mean, it could do nothing for the situation or accidentally send the conversation into a different direction. For example, here's a conversation I've had with a buddy:




RQ: wat?

PR:are u serious?it means gudnite, lol

RQ: o ok buenas noches

This shows how easily someone can become confused while communicating through the web. But what may be evident is that most internet lingo is easy to translate. Let us say that I was asked : "What does BRB mean?" I would say: "Be Right Back." And most likely the person would catch on to the reasoning.This simple reasoning for the acronyms and other phrases makes internet lingo the easiest to translate, but the hardest to with which to communicate.

On the internet I incorporate Spanish and at home I do the same. This is done to please my mother who wonders how her child keeps getting good grades in Spanish, yet refuses to speak any at all. She believes my only mastered language is English. But as you know mi madre (my mom) is wrong, I am skilled in that best--friend language. Plus, I prove her wrong every now and again by surprising her with a little bit of Espanol. For example:

"How are you?" Mom asks

"Asi, asi. ¿Y tu?" I reply

This Spanglish of my humble abode and my best--friend talk seem to have one thing in common:complexity. With Spanglish or just Spanish in general there is so much a person needs to know, like how the verb goes before the subject and conjugate the infinitives (irregular and regular). All of these rules just bring up the how and why question of the origin. The same goes for my best--friend talk. To explain is too much work for the creators. Whereas, with the other two once an aspect of it is explained to a peer or someone older he or she is likely to get it.,therefore asking no further questions.

The structural questions that go along with Spanglish also apply to English. Like:When are you supposed to put a comma? or Is there a difference in pronunciation when it comes to ei and ie? The words that have all one meaning and the word that has more than one. I use this standard English almost all the time when it comes to face to face communication. When I am in class I use "proper" English--as my friends would say. I attempt to structure my sentences and statements as best as I can because English is one of my favorite subjects and I would love to excel. English is very interesting to me because it combination of all of languages spoken in the globe, and there are many ways to interpret the language, which makes it unique. This uniqueness can also be found in the way I speak with mi familia (my family) and that best--friend talk of mine.The Spanglish is unique because every family is diverse.Best--friend talk is unique because it is like cracking a code to everyone else, and that's fun. In my opinion, the slang used by my friends isn't unique because every generation has their own, the words and phrases are different but the meanings are relatively the same.

What seems to always stay the same is my spaceship ride from planet to planet. The ride might be smooth but sometimes I come out confused and because of all transitions. This confusion soon diminishes as I get used to the different environments. These languages that I speak and all the others then becomes one and shoots I blast off all over again.

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ELM522 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm
This is very true.  Nice job!
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