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Word Count: 754
In Simon Ortizs essay The Language We Know Ortiz wrote about his childhood as an Acoma Pueblo Indian during the 1950s Ortiz wrote that through the teachings from his parents and grandparents he did not forget his traditions and language During that period in time Native American children were sent off to school to learn the English language and become Americanized Ortiz wrote it has occurred to me that I learned English simply because I was forced to as so many other Indian children were 30 In my own experience I too felt pressured in learning the English language not so much by the government but by my mother I was a first-generation American child born to a Salvadorian immigrant whom Spanish is her native language Unlike Ortiz my mothers culture was not instilled in me My mother thought if I was to make it in America I must be Americanized She had no hopes for herself to become Americanized to this day twenty-six years later she still cannot speak or understand the English language While growing up in Los Angeles California Spanish was my first language until I started elementary school I learned English quickly and by the time I was about seven or eight years old and was able to read I became my mothers translator I read the mail and some times had to translate financial and legal terms When we were at doctor appointments I had to translate the medical advice given to us In the grocery store I had to translate ingredients and cooking directions on the labels of food packages My experience as a young child helped me better understand the English language however it brought on another problem As I entered my teenage years I was forgetting my first language Spanglish is the mixing of Spanish
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