I really can’t remember what language I first started speaking or understanding. I want to say that it was Spanish. That way I can say English isn’t my first language. It doesn’t really matter because being bilingual is a part of my everyday life. That said, like many other second generation Chicanos and other Latinos in LA I speak Spanglish and code-switch like crazy. I’ll start a sentence like, “Hey mom, I’m going to the store para comprar tortillas.” Or there are phrases I just can’t say in English because the sentido (meaning) is all wrong.

I love hearing others go back and forth from one language to another, but seeing it in print (such as Don Quixote in Spanglish) makes me love my bilingualism even more.

Sign on the right found outside a church in Huntington Park.

2 thoughts on “Code-switching”

  1. back in the day my aunt worked with a spanish spekaing woman that didn’t speak english very well. My aunt knows spanish, or so she thought. The woman’s daughter was pregnant and she told my aunt this in spanish. My aunt said she as the woman why her daughter was “embarasada” and got a horrified look. My aunt insisted on knowing why she was “embarasada” and the woman just got freaked out. MY aunt then realized that “embarasada” in spanish is pregnant in english! Not “embarassed” as you would imagine! Sorry if I got embarasada spelled wrong!

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