Friday, September 21, 2012

Loss For Words

I don't want to do this, but new rule:  just because you know a little Spanish doesn't mean you should do a bilingual presentation to a gym full of people.  At my son's meet-the-teacher event this week, several administrators went over testing policies, code of conduct, attendance, etc.  Taking Spanish-speaking attendees into consideration, presenters spoke both in English and Spanish.  Naturally there was the occassional tied tongue, and some gentleman kept using a weird pronunciation of the Spanish word for telephone.  Quiet chuckles quickly filled the space.

It doesn't make sense sometimes to go with both languages during a presentation because I find that people will elaborate a bit more in either language.  What should be an even oration eventually turns into a forceful tangent in one language.  Surely almost everybody in town understands Spanish, but the added speech just drags things along and people start to fade off.  One thing's for sure:  you can't go out there and wing it, especially if you don't know the Spanish word for 'subject.'  The fact that you're educators makes it a little more embarrassing.

I don't think that all Hispanics should speak Spanish, but preparation helps when you're going to address a big room of people.  Julian Castro speaks very little Spanish and I don't hold that against him.  But Spanish comes in very handy sometimes, like when you want to get annoying telemarketers off your back, or when you want to cuss out the Mexican national who is going 5 m.p.h. in front of you.  So please, Laredo, take the time to read the Spanish section of the Laredo Times.  If anything, you might learn something, like why you dressed up in traditional garb to celebrate the 16 of September. 


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