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Speak Our Language

Updated on October 6, 2014
Froggy213 profile image

A Gringo who moved to Puerto Rico, Greg loves writing about the island he now resides on. He and Maria also wrote several bilingual books...

I am probably going to anger a few of my friends and family with this hub, but I feel God has put me in a place to write it. I hope you all will read this through before making a judgement call. Put yourself in my shoes and maybe, just maybe you will be able to understand the plight of many.

I lived in the Midwest United States for many years. Meatpacking was and is one of the "top jobs" in many of the towns there. My Mom worked for Hormel for years and I worked many different meatpacking jobs. I did everything from cutting beef to kill floor and clean-up. For years these jobs were mainly done by young, Caucasian men. Most of the jobs were union, and pay was good. There was the problem, the unions were "breaking" the companies and strike after strike came. With strikes come scabs and the scabs came. What is a scab? The definition of a scab is:

A strikebreaker (sometimes derogatorily called a scab) is a person who works despite an ongoing strike. Strikebreakers are usually individuals who are not employed by the company prior to the trade union dispute, but rather hired prior to or during the strike to keep production or services going. "Strikebreakers" may also refer to workers (union members or not) who cross picket lines to work.

The majority of scabs were of Mexican descent and did not know English. That made people hate them even more. They took the jobs and couldn't even speak our language.



Here it is 2014 and many towns in the Midwest are inundated with Mexican people. Walk into any meatpacking plant and you won't hear English being spoke, just Spanish.

I hear family and friends always saying, "Why can't they speak our language, they live in the U.S. now?" I even wondered the same at times, but I feel God has shown me. Maybe it would help if we learned some Spanish.

We all need to work and feed our families; it doesn't matter what language you speak, you will do what you need to to survive.

I can hear you all screaming and yelling at the Frog right now! What got into Froggy? Has he finally lost his mind?

Well, maybe I have or just maybe I have opened it a bit further.

Puerto Rico

I moved here to Puerto Rico and now I face some of the same discrimination that Mexicans do in the Midwest.

"He lives in Puerto Rico, why can't he speak Spanish?"

In many places I feel out of place. It is hard to order at a fast food place. It's difficult buying gas, but I'm learning.

English is taught in school here, but many don't want to learn it. It's the same in the United States, many don't want to learn Spanish.

I'm asking you my friends and family; give 'em a break. It's harder than you think. English is one of the hardest languages to learn anyway. Almost all other languages are based off Latin, but not English. It is actually easier for us to learn Spanish than Latins to learn English.

How about we all try to learn a bit more? You are never to old.

Someone once told me that if you haven't learned something new today, it's a wasted day.

Look at it another way if need be: at least you will know if they are talking bad about you.

Well, with that, I am going to leave you with some of the Spanish words you should know if you visit a Spanish speaking country. We will count to twenty first and then some of those important words.

Let's wipe out prejudice! We all live together on this small planet and we are all God's creation. Why are we going to let language differences cause so much hate?

Count To Twenty

  1. Uno
  2. Dos
  3. Tres
  4. Quatro
  5. Cinco
  6. Seis
  7. Siete
  8. Ocho
  9. Nueve
  10. Diez
  11. Once
  12. Doce
  13. Trece
  14. Catorce
  15. Quince
  16. Dieciseis
  17. Diecisiete
  18. Dieciocho
  19. Diecinueve
  20. Veinte

Now you can count to twenty, so you can order a combo-meal at McDonalds.

Important Words In Spanish

These are all words I have found to be very important while here in Puerto Rico:

  • Bathroom-cuarto de baño
  • Water-agua
  • Gas-gas
  • Food-comida, alimento
  • Hotel-hotel
  • Street-calle
  • Hospital-hospital
  • Airport-aeropuerto
  • Thank You-gracias
  • To go-ir
  • Please-por favor
  • Who-quién
  • Hello-hola
  • Fine-bien
  • Beer-cerveza
  • How much does it cost?-cuanto cuesta?
  • I want-quiero
  • Help me-Ayudame
  • Yes-si
  • No-no

I would recommend carrying a Spanish/English dictionary. Keep in mind that words do vary from Spanish speaking countries, but for the most part you can get by.

I have also discovered that on-line translations can really "mess you up". After translating, try translating it back and you will probably find some screw ups, so be very careful using Google translate or any others.

The video below is another helper and there are many more out there. Good luck and Que Dios los bendiga( May God bless you! ).

© G.L. Boudonck

© 2011 Greg Boudonck


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    • profile image

      revivor 6 years ago

      well done froggy for opening up the subject

    • QudsiaP1 profile image

      QudsiaP1 6 years ago

      Such a lovely hub; thank you for trying to knock some sense in our heads. :)

    • Betty Ruiz profile image

      Betty Ruiz 6 years ago from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico

      Hola, Greg... ¿Cómo se encuentra usted hoy?


      "Hello, Greg... How are you today?"

      Awww, don't you find it fun and challenging trying to communicate in other languages? Do you remember that game where you're supposed to make others guess the mystery word, phrase or sentence without saying a word? Well, as long as you try as hard as you can to communicate and express whatever you want... who cares in what language it is. I speak English and Spanish... and I've always wanted to learn French... would love to be able to talk Hindi, Chinese, or any other language if it meant I could talk to my online friends from different countries with ease. Although, I must say, English is the language most commonly used which makes it very convenient when time and some urgent issues are the priority. Nonetheless, if I'm in no hurry, I find it entertaining when faced with situations involving language barriers and see it both challenging and at the same time an excellent opportunity to learn rather than impose.

      ... just saying!:-)

      Have a nice day!/ Que tengas un buen día.

    • Erin LeFey profile image

      Erin LeFey 6 years ago from Maryland

      I agree that I should learn some parts of languages from other countries because they immigrate here - and I have. But we are a melting pot, and it would be impossible to learn them all. I live in Maryland, and people come here from all over.

      If I go to another country, I make the effort to learn that language, or enough to get by. Its only fair. But if you live there, you should expect to become bilingual. Same for people who come here. Just my opinion. Great hub, controversial, but nicely written.

      This is just my personal opinion but people should never stop growing, my boyfriend is bilingual, I make an effort to learn his mother tongue just to make our communication better.

    • Reynold Jay profile image

      Reynold Jay 6 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

      I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. I must give this an “Up ONE and beautiful.” ( although this is an ugly subject.) I'm now your fan! RJ

      Based upon your HUB, you might enjoy this HUB on PREJUDICE …

      Everything I have to say about this HUB is in the story.

      Enjoy. (10 minutes to read)

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 6 years ago from Will soon return to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      LOL-Chasuk; I just knew I would get some with the title. Thanks

    • profile image

      Chasuk 6 years ago

      @Froggy213: I started reading this article expecting to be dismayed by another xenophobe, but you surprised me.

      Thank you for that surprise. :-)

    • Ayse profile image

      Ayse 6 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      Not so sure of how I feel about this. I often find myself getting angry at non English speaking people because I migrated to this country and had to learn this language. I made a conscious decision to stay, therefore isn't it my responsibility to learn the language? I don't have a prejudice to where your from, just make the effort to learn. I hate it when I'm asked "se able espanol?" No damn it!!! It's like me getting dropped off and living in Germany and expecting the natives to speak English to me always. Really? That is unacceptable to me!

      BTW...I am fluent in speaking, reading and writing in 3 languages because I've lived in other countries besides my own and the US.

      Now, on the job front. Since there is a language/translation barrier, most foreigners end up being "scabs." They don't know any better, but the employers know better and they speak English. Go figure!

      :) Ayse

    • daskittlez69 profile image

      daskittlez69 6 years ago from midwest

      The problem is if you go to countries in lets say Europe. The countries are basically set up like the states are here. The difference being that each country there speaks a different language. And most of the immigrants from the past that moved to the U.S. gave up their language or they did not pass it down to their children. I think it is wonderful when people can speak different languages.