I was born in Mexico, and I moved to the U.S. when I was nine years old. My parents decided to move us for a better education and for me to have better opportunities. I grew up in Arizona, and my parents taught me Spanish as a first language; however, they also wanted me to learn English so that I would be able to communicate with people when we were out of the house. My dad always spoke English at home (and sometimes he still does), but he wasn’t very good at it. He had learned english by watching tv shows: Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, etc… So it’s not surprising that his english skills weren’t up-to-par with what he would’ve liked them to be (he never said this specifically but you could tell).
When we moved here he knew how important it was for me and my sister(s) to learn english well enough so that we could communicate with other people on our own without having him around all the time; if anything happened there would only be one person responsible for helping us since my mom also had responsibilities as well. I have to overcome the challenges in languages. I wasn’t born knowing how to speak english, it’s not something that came naturally for me. When I was younger, my parents and teachers told me that it would be difficult for me to learn a second language because my brain “was already full” (never mind the fact that English is the most spoken language in the world). In other words, they were saying this because I couldn’t just magically pick up another language like a native speaker. It took time and effort for me to learn english well enough where I could communicate with people on my own.
I’m very proud of myself for being bilingual even though it does take some effort from time to time; however, it’s worth all of the hard work when you can communicate with different people in different countries without having to worry about their native language. Even though Spanish is my first language and English is what I learned when I was younger (and now use as a primary means of communication), there are times where Spanish comes off more comfortable than english when speaking with someone else who speaks both languages well (e.g., family members or friends) while they’re speaking either one or both at once.
This doesn’t happen often, but I’ve noticed it a few times when I’ve been talking to my mom. For example, when she’s in the kitchen cooking and I’m helping her prepare the food, she’ll say something in spanish to me (e.g., “cocino de esta manera” (I cook this way), and then continue with english for the rest of the sentence. She does this because she knows that it’s easier for me to understand what she means if we’re both speaking either one or both languages at once instead of switching from one language to another as each sentence is being spoken. This sounds strange, but it only happens occasionally: every once in a while during a conversation with someone else that speaks both languages well; you’ll notice that they will say something in one language and then continue on with whatever they were saying before switching back into another language without any hesitation or pause between them.
There are times when they’ll speak both at once, but more often than not they’ll just switch language as the sentence continues. It’s funny because I don’t do this with my own parents. I always speak in english with them unless they ask me something in spanish (and even then it has to be a specific question or phrase for me to answer them back in spanish).
It’s very frustrating for me when someone tells me that “I could’ve learned English easier and faster if I had bothered to learn it”. Especially when you love learning and you’re confident enough about what you know, it doesn’t make sense that someone would say such a thing… This is something you have to experience yourself and see how much dedication is required from an individual who wants to learn english or another language well enough where he can communicate with people on his own without his parents around all the time. For example: there was one time when my dad didn’t want us (I had just finished school) going out by ourselves because we couldn’t talk/communicate with anyone outside of our family who didn’t know any english at all; some of my friends were talking about going out, so I told him that “we’re only going out for a little bit” (in english), but he said: “No! No! No!” (in spanish). Then he started telling them why we couldn’t go out by ourselves anymore after school was over.
I am learning english well enough where I can communicate with people on my own, and that’s what counts. I don’t need to be fluent in english to have a great time communicating with others who speak only english. I’m sure that there are people out there who think they could learn a language easier than another person because they don’t realize how much effort is required to be fluent in a language: you have to make an effort when you’re doing something new (e.g., learning a new concept) in order for it to stick.
I am a firm believer that it takes effort and dedication to learn and use a language. I think people should work hard at whatever they want to do, whether it be learning english or another language. It’s not something that you can just pick up on your own without putting the time and effort in; however, I don’t think it’s something that comes naturally for everyone either…
If you’re interested in learning english or any other language: good luck! You won’t regret doing so, but I do recommend being patient with yourself.
Also read Why Didn’t You Just Learn English