Speaking a foreign language is not only trendy in Southern California, but it’s necessary. Still, we are a state of fads, and at the moment learning Chinese (or perhaps Mandarin) is all the craze, with China’s growing influence in the world as large as it is.
I think speaking a second language is wonderful, reason or not. For the writer in me, this opens up the world, so to speak, helps describe characters through an outside-our-borders narrative, helps give them universal ambitions. I am very curious about the world at large, and language is vital in that regard.
I speak two languages (English and Romanian), and if necessary I can almost pull off a third (Italian). And although I hail from afar, my name couldn’t be more Southern Californian. Silvia Villalobos.
When I introduce myself to folks, many engage me in Spanish. I can’t blame them. Luckily, I can speak enough Spanish to get a mini-conversation going, but soon I reveal myself as a non-native speaker, and the Where are you from question pops up.
When I say Romania, many people are at a loss. I would be, too.
Armenia, they ask? No, but you’re close. I try again. Some know enough to remember Nadia Comaneci, the dictator, and Dracula. We share a good laugh.
But back to languages, there are hundreds spoken here in Southern California. Next to New York City, California is probably the place with most bilingual, trilingual, etc. speakers in the world. I find that universality attractive.
The chart below is old — at least 10 years — and only a snapshot, but it’s the best I could find to give it all some perspective.
Language Number %
Spanish 8,105,505 25.8
Chinese 815,386 2.6
Tagalog 626,399 2.0
Vietnamese 407,119 1.3
Korean 298,076 0.9
Armenian 155,237 0.5
Persian 154,321 0.5
Yes, we are a very international bunch here, fads and all, regardless of the tribe we personally identify with. Maybe the best way to understand and tolerate one another is to live in close proximity and embrace each other for what we all are — just another kid from somewhere in the world.
I nominate Sammy at Bemuzin to carry on the challenge. No obligation, of course, only if possible, and here are the rules:
1) post a photo (photos) each day for 5 consecutive days; 2) attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, a paragraph – all entirely up to you; 3) nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation! More importantly, have fun.
Two more nominees coming tomorrow and Fri!
Images: google.com; pixabay.com