Extra, Extra Read All About It

Literacy Vignette #3

My vignette discusses the struggle I had with reading. I think it just a little example of the struggles that come with literacy, specifically in my case with reading. Reading is one of main parts of literacy and it is critical to master the skills of reading comprehension in order to be successfully literate. Instead of trying to impress others, I worked hard on improving my reading skills and I still continue to work on them today. This shows that literacy may include a whole host of things but it is also changing and therefore you must keep working constantly to improve it.


Language Barriers, Culture Shock, and Judgments

Reading these personal stories of how language barriers and culture affect people truly makes me appreciate my language so much more. It really put into perspective an idea of the struggles others that have a different primary language have. It is now easier for me to understand why people who don’t use English as a primary language to revert back to their native language when they are at home or even in uncomfortable situations. These passages also point out the levels of judgment that are in American culture. The judgment may not be all intentional, but also in the eye of the beholder because they are in a new, unfamiliar place. It is not fair to think an ethnicity or group of people are illiterate just because they speak another language. As the author of the first story said it is not fair to judge people based on the natural cultures of their native countries. This made me think of the discrimination Chicano’s face from the excerpt How to Tame a Wild Tongue. Their language differences were used “against each other” and “repeated attacks on our native tongue diminishes their sense of self”. How is it that some people come to realize that they shouldn’t judge others for having a different culture or background? I think the person in the first story is very mature for not judging them before they truly know them. The second story also made me really sad. The fact that the author’s parents made him have the right or perfect accent so they would become successful in life. It is a huge social problem that people have to act certain ways to be accepted by society. This is what all the passages and stories have in common; the sense of rejection and loneness cause by the struggle of being accepted in a culture that has a different native language. With the Chicanos in the first passage, the struggle of adaption in the first story, and the far from “perfect” accent in the second story, it just reaffirms the flaws of a culture and society. Although we are human and sometimes cannot help judgment, I think we should try to take steps to help stimulate more open acceptance to other cultures into American society, like the example we talked about in class with adding a Spanish ballot. This is a good idea because we claim our nation is one where we have freedom to do what we want. It can be misleading if this country only offers an English ballot. As the Hispanic population grows to the largest minority, the society, culture, and attitudes have to accommodate the changes that come with more immigrants coming to the US.


Reading Notes

Language and Culture Story 1 Notes

Language and Culture Story 2

Class Notes September 23, 2013

-Their identity is their Discourse.

-They had distinct Discourse. Example: They used different Spanish dialect with different people.

-Everything has a different culture

-It was oppressive in the way that society and culture made the Chicanos think that they were not good enough ex. Professor and not letting her teach Chicano literature

-The masculine form usually takes over. It’s sad in the way that they are oppressed.

-Why did her mom tell her to speak English when she was sending mixed messages herself?



-Consequences: positive, negative


English is a powerful language.

-Why should we have to make things in Spanish for other people? Why can’t they learn our language instead of us accommodating them?

-English is dominant but Spanish is a growing language that we have to accept

-I think as long as they are citizens of America…

-English as a fixed trade language?

–Different forms of English that come from different cultures and languages combined

-Language evolves according to the people who use it.

-Should we have a national language?

-No I do not think we should have a national language because it kind of closes off the option for some people to come over to our country. It limits the ability of opportunities people have in this country we claim is “the land of freedom”.

Untamable or Culturally Modified?

Reading this at first was kind of confusing to me. The combination of Spanish and English dialect always throws me off. I guess we are so pampered as American readers that when we read something that freely switches in between languages, we get confused. It may be difficult to understand at points but I think the effect is worth the difficulty of wrestling through the language the reader has difficulty with. For example, in the beginning when Anzaldńa starts first with the example of her “stubborn” and “wild” tongue and the dentist, she strategically does this. She sets the tone for what she is trying to convey in her message. After the dentist example, she then starts flowing her writing in and out of different languages and dialects. She when she claims “wild tongues can’t be tamed, they can only be cut out”, she is “arguing for the ways in which identity is intertwined with the way we speak and for the ways in which people can be made to feel ashamed of their own tongues”. When she keeps her tongue wild, she is “ignoring the closing of linguistic borders” and is her way of asserting her identity. She makes it clear throughout the text that her identity is made up of her language and culture, as that is driven by power within the society. As her “ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity”, she proudly claims, “I am my language”. Then she goes on to even say that she can’t take pride in herself unless she takes pride in her language. This is hard to understand because as Americans we don’t generally think we take pride in our language, but surprisingly we do. For example, if a person from the South went to some place in the North, both people would make fun of each other’s accents. This is taking pride in our languages. These languages are a part of our Discourses, just like the Chicanos. Being a part of a certain Discourse includes knowing how to properly use the language associated with the little “discourses” within the Big Discourse. She is “70-80%” Indian yet she identifies with being a Mexican as she repeatedly uses the word “our” when describing that “deep in our hearts we believe that being Mexican has nothing to do with which county one lives in”, but the “state of soul”. Although as a culture, when trying to cop out they refer to themselves as Spanish. “This voluntary (yet forced) alienation makes for psychological conflict, a kind or dual identity-we don’t identity with Anglo- American cultural values and we don’t totally identify with the Mexican cultural values”. This statement is really powerful for me. It describes the inner conflict the Chicano people face. They must modify their language and cultural values to fit a certain category, more like just trying to be accepted. This is even played out when Anzaldńa is almost fired for wanting to teach her students with “works by Chicanos” instead of tradition “American literature”. Even while working toward a PH.D., she had to argue her case before she was allowed to make Chicano literature an area of focus. They are stuck between trying to decide whether to modify their Discourse or stick it out and accept it. I guess it is easier said than done because the “struggle of identities” and the “struggle of borders” continue. It is relieving when Anzaldńa feels like the Chicanos “really existed as a people” after reading her first Chicano novel. Although the struggles are far from resolved, literacy helped Anzaldńa form a foundation that she could start identifying herself as a Chicano.

HowtoTameaWildTongue_Reading Notes

Fresh Starts, New Discourses

When first starting this class, I honestly was not sure what to expect. I have spent that last twelve years in English classes and I was hoping that they all prepared me for what was about to come. This English class is not what I expected it to be at all. The work is challenging and makes me think outside the box but it also allows us to interact with others and hear their opinions. As I was reading through my earlier posts on literacy and Discourses, I have realized that I have learned a lot more than I thought. Even though the semester isn’t even halfway over, I have come to understand and think about literacy in a new way. No longer do I think about it being strictly about grammar and the way a person writes, but more about how a person communicates or manipulates a set of codes or conventions to live healthy and productive lives. Now that I think back, we first started off with our first free write (on grammar) probably because most of our original definitions of literacy included a strong influence on grammar. Then our next free write was about home language. We were being prepped for learning about Discourses before we even knew it. When first learning about Discourses, I was rather unsure about it. But after hearing the class discussions and rereading my work, I have come to appreciate Discourses. What really stuck with me was when the passage on Discourses described Discourses as “ways of recognizing and getting recognized”. This statement rings so clear and true in my head. Our primary Discourse defines us. We are recognized as “so and so’s daughter” or something along those lines. As we move further in live, we integrate into our secondary Discourses, which we are known as “friends, girlfriends, roommates, students, athletes, etc”. At the end of our lives, we are recognized by the Discourse that defined us the most, our lifeworld Discourse (which is clearly impacted by our society). The vignettes have helped me understand some of the Discourses in my life. They may not exactly define every one but it is clear to me why I am the way I am. It is from experience, acquisition, learning, and cultural impacts. Like Carlin talks about in his memoir, he rebelled against his mother yet she is the reason he reached further into comedy. Our experiences lead us to have certain reactions and choices in our lives. This has really made me think a great deal. I wonder what my life would be like if I was in a different Discourse or if I had different experiences in my past. I think about the different factors in my life that have had major impact on my Discourses. My parents have probably the biggest impact on me.

Group Facilitation Free Write

The group facilitation today was good but I think it could have been better. It was not the group’s fault! The technology was not working on their side today. Overall, I think they did a good job talking about how the life world Discourse is changed and changes through different societies. I thought it was important when they talked about the history of the culture heavily affecting the paths of the Discourses. They gave the example of how the meaning and Discourse of being a “woman” in today’s culture is way different than it was back in the day. I think this helped me understand the changes that take place in society truly do affect a person’s Discourse. We all like to think we are “our own person” and do everything ourselves, but truth is that we are so influenced by our society and environment that we pick up on traits and aspects that we may not necessarily want to. An example of this would be being a college student. In the college culture and society, it is always portrayed that there are huge parties all the time and that is what everyone does. They never show people studying or doing homework. This affect can people’s priorities because everyone wants feel accepted or “cool”.

Life World Discourse Free Write: Excerpt from Tina Fey’s book

The Discourse I got from this passage was about being a woman in this society. Woman now a days have to deal with a lot, especially when it comes to appearances and how men in society view them. I think a woman’s Discourse should include being successful at a career and being confident and comfortable with yourself. When there are guys screaming out of cars at woman like they are pieces of meat, it is really degrading. Media also carries this out as well. They portray the “perfect” women as a tall, tan, skinny, and flawless. This has cause woman’s Discourses in today’s society to change. No longer are woman as concerned about being a down to earth stay at home mom, they are now becoming obsessed with plastic surgery and implants. This has also changed the dynamic of the standard relationship between husband and wife. Effects from the media have caused husbands to have impossibly high expectations for their wives. This sense of pressure can really build up on women and cause them to do things they normally wouldn’t have. These behaviors in a relationship cause it to become unhealthy and harmful. Sometimes men will even cheat on their wives because they find some “hot” girl to hook up with. On the flip side of that, women also will cheat on their husbands because they put so much pressure on them to be perfect.

Class Notes September 16, 2013: Life World Discourse


Lifeworld Discourse

-How society has changed its Discourse?

-We have 18th century values and Discourses of independence, male dominance, and roles in society.

-Changes in Discourses come from society- ex. Technology and students- Students used to have books but now we all use laptops and ipads.

History- Western civilization has caused us to become what we have today

Discourses change through history because that’s where we get our morals

Whenever there is a Discourse when someone wants us to change, the demeanor changes.

You change your Discourse when you change your environment and when your wants change.

-I think it can also change when you want something different in your life. Like if you want to be a successful college student, you will do your work and study. If you don’t want that for your life, you will not have the drive to be successful.


Ex. Perfumes in different cultures and they thought he smelled bad. Cultures are a part of our life world discourse.


Short Video:

  • The judge told off the lawyer for showing disrespect
  • He wasn’t fitting his Discourse of being a lawyer
  • His Discourses overlapped
  •  The different Discourses in the court room were displayed


Literacy depends on the society you are in. It is very contextual. How can we define literacy if everyone’s definition is different?


They would dress in clothing that are okay with getting muddy and dirty-typically plaid shirt, overalls, or cowboys boots

They value hard work, and down to earth things.

They may talk a little more country or southern.

Class Notes 9/11/2013

Class Notes Continued 9/11/2013


Others Responses to the Question

  1. Family man at first, Filmmaking, Store owner, Entrepreneur, Friend (Discourse of Friend changes the values of what you are willing to do), Artist-street artist, Celebrity

-At first he followed the law, he then came rebellious with his art and filmmaking

Street Artist:

  • Dress- Hoody, clothes you don’t care about, dark colors, camouflage, running shoes, change of clothes, bag, mask
  • Technology- printers, spray paint, software/photoshop, computer, phones, camera
  • Place- Big City
  • Time- Mostly at night
  • Values- proving that you are a “badass”, the art comes first (not money), no snitching, secrecy, creating your own artwork and not coping each other, rebels,
  • Belief- street art has message and meaning and love and passion
  • Language- street art vs. graffiti,

2. Make connections/ knowing people, prove yourself, being validated, changing what you do to make others believe, truly believing it yourself



Change (Discourse, Lifeworld)

He doesn’t really fit the “Street artist” Discourse because he looks like a family man.

His mom died and caused him to become a filmmaker.

Technology causes troubles for street artists.

He kind of cheated the system… He became a street artist yet he didn’t spend that much time doing it.