Tag: Spanish

  • Through These Words, I Rise

    Through These Words, I Rise

    In order to rescatar mi lengua (rescue my language) from an anti-Spanish childhood (my white father had ordered Mamá not to speak to me in her native language when I was a child), I studied like a fiend. Every night, before moving to Nicaragua in 1985, I memorized thirty Spanish words a day. Before getting on the […]

  • El Testimonio, capítulo 1: El Nacimiento del Pocho

    El Testimonio, capítulo 1: El Nacimiento del Pocho

    ¡El primer podcast en español! (But, like any Salvadoran party, everyone is welcome)  Aquí hablo de la vida del pocho–que significa, una fruta podrida, y un Latino que no sabe nada de su cultura, que no habla español, que está lejos de sus raíces. Pero, este pocho decidió, en su juventud, meterse en la cultura salvadoreña para […]

  • Gracias, México, for Saving My Salvadoran Soul

    Gracias, México, for Saving My Salvadoran Soul

    Once my Uncle Paco–the pain-in-the-ass Salvadoran revolutionary in exile in Mexico–saw how much books meant to me, he backed off. After I shook the novel Cien años de soledad in his face and swore I’d read it until I understood it, I holed up in his guest bedroom and started on the first paragraph, with a […]

  • The Rules of Racism: You Can Only Speak One Language (and it damn well better be English)

    The Rules of Racism: You Can Only Speak One Language (and it damn well better be English)

    In class, I teach how creative writing can rouse memory, strong emotions, sharp images, and that, if a student keeps writing, she will surprise herself with her words. Something will come out that she hadn’t planned, an insight, the true emotion over whatever it was she wrote down. She might cry. She might bang the […]

  • Learning Spanish? Fear Not the Subjunctive!

    Learning Spanish? Fear Not the Subjunctive!

    When I threw myself into Central America, after having lived a monolingual childhood in Tennessee, I attacked the subjunctive. It’s the conjugation that twists up the English-speaking mind. You first learn that “I talk/you talk/she talks” is Yo hablo, tú hablas, ella habla. Simple enough pattern to memorize. Then along comes the subjunctive, takes the […]