Synthesis Essay
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English 1010
20 November 2006
Language Debate
Why and When We Speak Spanish in Public, by Myriam Marquez; From Outside, In, by Barbara Mellix; and And May He Be Bilingual, by Judith Ortiz Cofer all share plenty of similarities. The general topic of these essays focuses around the “English-Only” debate, which tackles the issue of whether or not English should be the official language of the United States.

The use of first person is the first striking similarity one might notice when reading these writings. Each author speaks directly to the speaker in their essays, asking them questions and answering them as if the reader was in the room with them. Words such as I, we, my, and you are tools employed to hold the readers attention so that the writer may have the opportunity to get their point across effectively.

Another major likeness between these essays is that the authors use their personal experiences to bring the issue home to their audience. They
all use occurrences from their lives to create a strong sense of reality for the reader. For example in Why and When We Speak Spanish in Public, Marquez explains that when she is “shopping with [her] mother or standing

in line with [her] stepdad to order fast food or anywhere else [they] might be together, [they are] going to speak to one another in Spanish”(200). The monotonousness of fast food restaurants and shopping centers allows the reader to feel as if they can relate to the message that the writer is attempting to relay.

In From Outside, In, Mellix discusses the differences between Black English and Standard English and how she thought of one as the “ordinary everyday speech of country coloreds” and the other as “proper English”(204). She goes into great detail concerning her childhood, something that each and every reader can share for each has experienced one. This same subject is also mentioned in And May He Be Bilingual, where Cofer talks about her semi-Puerto Rican upbringing.

The acknowledgement that English is essential to success in America is another commonality that these essays share. Although Marquez obviously does not feel that there is a pertinent need to make English the official language, she does say that “to get ahead here, one must learn English” (201). The bulk of Mellixs essay discusses how she was forced to become comfortable with Standard English in order to get ahead in her career and in life. Cofer says the she “learned English to communicate” and

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