Lucy Masson English 1101 09/08/2011 Audience: Bilingual Students (High School and College) Preface When I first

looked at the topics for this paper, I thought of writing about the “different languages” that I use while around my friends and on Facebook, and when talking to my parents or a teacher. But then I thought, where do I get my writing skills from, and what has influenced me and my writing today? This is when I saw that one of the topics was “family literacy”, and I thought about my father’s strong accent and how I could incorporate that into my paper, telling the reader where my father is from and why it has influenced me. Suddenly, ideas started flowing and I decided to use some anecdotes and times when I could use my dad’s accent as an advantage. I like to come across as funny when I write, it helps me to express myself and get my voice out and point across. Peer review sessions also helped me to re organize my paper and get different perspectives on what paragraph was best to use as an introduction.

Frenglish I remember being embarrassed of the way my father spoke english when I was a child. Obviously I was young, so I had no idea that accents were what made a person stand out from everyone else, and bring about a new culture. Instead, I would always be nervous whenever my dad would stand at the gate to come pick me up from school. He would ask me how my day was in front of my friends, with his strong french accent, and I would answer him in fast english, or ignore him and pretend I hadn’t heard what he said. My father has always had a strong french accent. I don’t remember noticing it too much when I was a child, but as I grew older I started to hear it more and more. He definitely spoke differently. Not a bad different, just the kind of different where everyone else but him can tell. My mother grew up in New Jersey, so she raised my siblings and I to speak english. None of us have a French accent. He is the only one that noticeably does. The way my father pronounces some words, like “groceries” and “reverse” always makes us laugh. Often times, we even joke around and imitate him which always ends up with him saying “my accent isn’t even that noticeable!”. Yeah right. Anyone and everyone would be able to tell, they probably just wouldn’t point it out, let alone know what country he is from. Alain, my dad, was born in Algeria when it was still colonized by the French. When algerians rebelled and wanted to become an independent country, they started a sort of civil war and kicked out all the french people living on algerian territory. At 3 years old, my dad and his parents had to run away with only one suitcase filled with personal belongings. They flew to France, not knowing anyone and barely having enough money to find a place to live. Alain attended french school, and my grandparents opened up a clothing store. He was learning french and beginner’s english, where he was taught things like “blue, green, cat, horse”. As he grew up,

he attended the University of Paris where he was able to study abroad in the U.S, and even did an exchange program with an American family from Connecticut. When he turned 23, he got a job that allowed him to travel all over the world. He went to Morocco, Turkey, Israel, Mexico and Egypt, where they all spoke english. After my family moved to the United States, Alain’s accent became more and more apparent. You can clearly notice the small differences in the way he talks, as opposed to when we still lived in France. In the U.S, his accent seemed to stick out more, which has caused me to speak differently with him than I would with my friends. For example, when I am telling my dad a story, I always switch to french mid sentence or use french words because I know I’ll be able to get my point across. When I talk to my friends, I switch to all english which can sometimes be hard because I won’t be able to express myself fully. My father also works for an international cellphone company, so he is constantly on the phone with businessmen from India, China and Germany, who all have accents when they speak english as well. So that is probably why he says his “accent isn’t even that noticeable”. Compared to other people to whom he talks to daily, his isn’t as strong. Unfortunately it is hard to take him seriously sometimes, because when he gets angry he goes into a sort of rant that consists of mostly broken english, where he uses french words mid sentence, and mispronounces half of the things he is trying to say. During the period of time when I was visiting, looking, and applying to colleges, Alain would always mispronounce names of the schools I was applying to. Schools like SUNY Binghamton and Appalachian State were butchered, my father pronounced them “Beenghempton” and “Appalechieen”. Embarrassing, I know. It took me awhile to teach him how to pronounce the name of these schools, luckily the one I decided to attend, UNC Charlotte, isn’t too complicated and can barely be mispronounced.

I grew up speaking basically three languages: french, english and a mix of both, the one that I use with my siblings and my dad. We sort of switch up between french and english really fast, and use words that probably nobody else would be able to understand. This makes us unique in a way, because it feels like we have our own language that fewer people can understand. At times, it is hard to transition from the english I speak with my father to the english I speak with my friends. If I accidentally say a french word in the middle of talking to a friend at school, they won’t really know what I’m talking about, as opposed to when I talk to my brother or sister. Sometimes even, when we get into arguments, we barely make sense because of how fast we speak, a mix of french and english. As a bilingual student having grown up speaking both French and English, and having a dad who has a noticeable accent, I speak differently around my family than I would around my friends. Speaking a mix of both with my family allows me to not lose my french speaking ability, and to be able to have a strong sense of family unity at the same time. Even though I might get confused sometimes between the two, it allows me to still have that french culture in me, whilst also living in the United States and having to speak english every day.