Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood
Richard Rodriguez argues in his essay, A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood, whether bilingual education is appropriate for school. In his opinion, he believes it is not okay for a student to learn in a language spoken at home. As a premature English speaker in Catholic School, he was amazed with how Americans pronounced and spoke in their language. The way it made him feel about English brought out his belief about bilingual education.
Rodriguez comes from a Latin background where both his parents speak Spanish. This means only Spanish was spoken in his household. He went to a catholic school where all his classmates were children of highly sophisticated families. This means they were all fluent in English, while Rodriguez started school only knowing fifty five words. He stood out as the odd ball of his class. Rodriguez writes, “I was fated to be the “problem student” in class.” (Rodriguez447) Said this, Rodriguez’s improper knowledge of English made him stand out as the kid that was behind. When Rodriguez first heard his name in English, he felt it was odd. He thought it was bizarre the way the nun sounded out his name (Rich-Heard Road-ree-Guess). As days at school went by, Rodriguez did not want to learn to speak the “Public Language.” His teacher was concerned so three nuns went over to talk to his parents. After their visit, Rodriguez noticed a change in the way his parents spoke to him. They encouraged him to speak English whenever he was around even though they were not fluent in the language. Rodriguez states, “The moment after the visitors left, the change was observed. “Ahora, speak to us only en Ingles,” my father and m other told us.” (Rodriguez453) After the nun incident, the Rodriguez family began to improve their English.
As Rodriguez went through the drastic change of learning the “Public Language,” he was very aware of the different sounds of the language. Rodriguez writes, “I was then a listening...