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


3 thoughts on “Language Barriers, Culture Shock, and Judgments

  1. America as a nation presents itself as, like you said, the freedom to do whatever you want. It also presents itself in a way that it is open to diversity. America doesn’t always back up it’s intentions to well. There are so many racist and stereotypical people out there that judge people just because they’re different. There is freedom of speech, but there’s a fine line that people always tend to cross. It’s proper morals to not discriminate based off culture, and the U.S. not including a Spanish ballot could be a prime example of that.

  2. I think what you said about America claiming to be this free nation is accurate. I actually said a similar thing in my reading response. America portrays this image of being open and accepting of new cultures because it was founded and built on several different cultures. I don’t think that America can still claim this though because as our country has grown and become a super power in the world, we’ve developed this pride in our nation and we don’t want other people coming in and trying to change our culture by inserting their own. This is a problem because we are America, land of the free, but how free can we claim our nation to be if we are prejudicing other cultures and ethnicities?

  3. I agree with you that we need to be more accepting but some times I am a little torn on how to do it. You talked about how people have to act a certain way to be accepted in a society. I don’t think that society standards can completely go away. I do agree that they probably don’t need to be as strict as they are. People use culture almost as a pedestal to say they are better than others. I don’t think that behavior is right at all, but without some sort of society standards, wouldn’t we just have chaos? Maybe I’m just complicating this more than I should. I definitely agree that we need to be more accepting. When I see someone who seems to be struggling because of cultural differences I will stop to see if there is anything that I can do to help. I do believe though that at some point there has to be some conformity to be able to exist and interact as a society. I just can’t say I know where those lines are.

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