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| A Question of Either/Or Essay

DQ1: kopelman defines dualism as “a question of either/or”. (p. 64) Uchmanowicz asks, “What role does language play in influencing our perception of US culture”? (2004, p. 184) how does language influence santé and Alvarez’s perception of US culture as they negotiate their dualistic identities between Belgium/American and the Dominican republic /America, respectively?. How does language influence your own perception of US culture?


Language helps us to understand the US culture through the words and names we use to refer to different things. Sante and Alvarez discover that they are highly influenced by the American language despite them being dualistic. They are being distanced from their traditions and thus they are able to adapt the American culture. Instead of Sante using the Belgium language he/she end up using the American language due to the influence of the American language his friends are using. This also happens to Alvarez and he perceives things in the American way since it is the culture he is in. The language we speak profoundly shape the way we think, the way we see the world and the way we live our lives (Larry, 1996). Language has helped me understand the US culture and realize that US culture is a mixture of culture although this mixture is developing a certain culture of its own.

DQ2: Luc Sante makes a clear distinction between the languages he speaks, what he uses them for, and how he moves from one to another. Do you speak a second (or more) language professionally, socially, or with family? If you do , then talk about how you negotiate the different languages in your life. Is it easy or difficult to shift between them? Why? If you don’t, then talk about how you view people who do- are they Americans who speak another language, or are they foreigners who speak English? Or they speak something else (how you define them)? How did you come to your view of them?


I do speak three different languages depending on who and where am using them. These languages help me to mingle with people of different culture with ease. One of language I use is English which is an international language and can assist me to move to many parts of this world. Depending on the environment you are in it is easier and sometimes difficult to switch from one language to another (Corsons et al, 1997). If you are switching from a foreign language to your mother tongue it is very easy but if it is the other way round, you will definitely find some difficulties since the language you are switching to is a second language to you and there are some tactics of the second you will never get to understand despite how well you understand it.

DQ3: Given their emphasis on a common language for the United States, why is the English only movement considered a contemporary example of nativist activity? Based on what you have learned from our readings and lectures this week, do you support adoption of an English only policy in the U.S? Why or why not?


English movement is considered a contemporary example of nativist activity because it is the language which is mostly spoken at home. Eighty-one percent of the Americans speak English at home as their only language. Based on what I have learned I would support adoption of an English only policy in the U.S because more than ninety-seven percent of the Americans are able to speak English (Baron, 1992).

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