Linguistics Assignment

1778 words - 7 pages

Language is a huge barrier that could potentially limit a person from truly experiencing other parts of the world. Jesus Lopez has Venezuela in his blood. There had always been a cryptic, vague presence of this country in his life, translated by food, pictures framed on his walls, and through a constant stream of communication between his parents and eldest brother that he nearly never understood. When interviewing Mike, it was evident that he went through a transition. When he moved to Villa Marina, it wasn't as simple as letting the country happen to him, he had to change and adjust himself to thoroughly gain admission to the culture and lifestyle of this South American coastal town. I also think there is much to be learned from the experience of Jesus' father while living in the capital. It is important to recognize that culture is not always a universal situation in one country, taking Venezuela and our own country into consideration. The life of a farmer is vastly different from a business person in an urban setting, and this translates to all areas of the world. Through this analysis, I'll be able to tell a story of my friend meeting the part of himself he always knew existed and the changes needed to make it in a town nearly two thousand miles away.
There are obvious cultural differences between Venezuela and the life as we know it to be in the United States. These differences change according to the area in Venezuela one is in. When Jesus' father lived in Caracas, he had to deal with the political and social implications that he never once had to face while living in Colorado. Because of this civic unrest, he had to take into account the clothes he was wearing and his overall personal material value for the sake of his life. When he was living there and had not yet learned the language, he was particularly vulnerable, as appearing to be a tourist makes one a target for theft and even kidnapping. 'Westernization' is evident in large cities of South America; meaning that life doesn't have the same slow, celebratory value other towns in the same country may have and tend to be similar to large cities in the United States. When living in Villa Marina, Jesus was immersed in a slower moving, partying sort of atmosphere. He's from a large and popular family that had ties in all areas of his community, thus making his enculturation easier than if he was on his own. He also had members of the family who spoke perfect English and were more than willing to help him learn and adjust to the new language. He claimed the way he was forced to learn the language was by working and interacting with others that weren't his family. If he had not gotten his job at the market, he could have gotten by fairly easily just being around family because many did speak English. Because of his particular drive to become a part of this place, he put forth the effort to learn Spanish and in turn was able to make friends on his own and ultimately have a better time.
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