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Feb. 3, 1997

By Mari Maldonado

Don't knock slanguage

so long as it works

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A couple of months ago the girls here at the office and myself had
quite a laugh when the Spanish section, La Voz De La Gente,
ran with a Tex-Mex version of cutline.

Problem was, when I was preparing the caption I typed it up like I
speak - Spanglish. It's a task to catch myself.

I know of people that display disgust at the way we, according to them,
disparage the Spanish language.

What are we supposed to be ashamed of, growing up in America?

I really hate the term, "pocha," (children of a lost
heritage), which many Mexican nationals dub Mexican-Americans - we're
neither American nor Mexican. I learned the word during a Mexican
History course in college.

As a child, my Mexican relatives used to sit me down in the middle of a
crowd of all their neighborhood friends and make me speak Spanish so
they could mock me.

I laughed along with them. I was just glad to have friends in a foreign

The incidents still don't bother me. I imagine if I'd thought about it
at the time I would've laughed at their efforts to carry on a
conversation in English.

We were just kids, after all.

Adults, on the other hand, need to understand the diversities we've had
to grow up with, especially in border states.

We've developed a language that fits our needs and allows us to
function and communicate. I believe the befitting term is - we adapted.

Spanglish - it's a funny thing. There is one thing I think all
Mexican-Americans do agree on, it doesn't belong in a learning
environment as some Californians thought Ebonics did.

But it works. And you know what they say, "if it ain't broke, don't fix

Athough not spoken correctly, it does help us understand the language
and enhance our bilingual skills, which have proven to be an asset in
the last decade or so.

Anyhow, since I've taken on the Spanish section, I've really gotten
good at carrying on a conversation in strictly Spanish when I need to,
but when my guard is down, so is my linguistic consciousness.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Mari Maldonado is an Enterprise reporter and La Voz
de la Gente editor whose column appears each Monday.


Forest Service on wrong track

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Officials with the National Forest Service just can't be serious.

Bobby Unser, an auto racing legend, was lost for two days in a blizzard
when his snowmobile broke down in a national forest. He is now safe,
sound and in big trouble for trespassing in Colorado's South San Juan
Wilderness, a protected area.

Unser could face up to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine if

Forest Service officials look like fools for pursuing this. Unser said
he might have strayed a quarter-mile or half-mile into the protected
wilderness. Even if he were ten miles in, who can blame him for getting
lost in a blizzard.

This case should be dropped quickly before the Forest Service
embarrasses itself even more.
-- Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, Wash.
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Copyright 1997 by Pecos Enterprise
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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