Recapturing the Language of my Ancestors

I am a seventh generation American which ancestry traced back to Spain and Mexico. My family was one of the founding families send from Spain to colonize California. Our family assimilated so well that the tradition of learning the Spanish language was slowly eliminated in more recent generations. My parents never raised me speaking Spanish so the language will vanish from my family tree if I don’t learn it now. My husband (who is not Hispanic) and I are eager to start a family. It is important to me to pass along Spanish as a cultural gift.

lj1 e1311609384952Rosetta Stone has helped me enhance my remedial Spanish vocabulary. The lessons are filled with great audio and pictures to guide you through the learning process. I have been practicing my Spanish with my 89 year-old bilingual grandmother. She is very impressed by how much I have learned in such a short time. My first visit to Spain in college was limited by my inability to speak the language well. Now I plan on taking my husband and future children to Spain fully prepared to explain our family’s history in both languages.


Pasadena, California

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  • James Letourneaux

    If you’re of Mexican descent, wouldn’t it be more respectful to your ancestors to learn Latin American Spanish? Not that I’m not saying you shouldn’t learn Spain’s Spanish, mind you. It’s a lovely language.

  • Pedro


    In that sense, why shouldn’t many native born mexicans with traceable roots in Spain study Castillian Spanish instead of the predominantly new world spanish there are taught in school?

    By default the people using Spanish in the United States will be using/speaking one of the Spanish dialects of this hemisphere, so learning the grammar/basics of where Spanish came from in the old world is extremely complimentary in my experience.

    I applaud Cathleen for making the effort with her grandmother. More Americans should be learning a second language, especially one that can be used on practically a daily basis in some cases depending on where you live/work in this country.

  • Elizabeth

    James, she mentioned that her “ancestry traced back to Spain and Mexico.” She could have picked either one, and as far I can tell, she didn’t even mention which version of the program she has (Spain or Latin America). Still, if her goal is to travel to Spain, it makes more sense for her to focus on the European Spanish anyway.

  • Ron from Phoenix

    I don’t understand this big deal being made between old world Spanish and new world Spanish; it is the same language. Compare it to English spoken by people from the North and the South in the US. I applaud all the efforts of my fellow citizens to learn a second language. I am of a generation that thought you were not an educated unless you spoke a second language.

  • Pedro


    The vocabulary of Spain is significantly different than Mexico, but also not to imply that it is not mutually intelligible. The primary difference between English in the upper midwest and rural Alabama is pronunciation, not vocabulary.

    Trust me, if you learn/use Spanish in North America, it helps to learn it the way it it used here.

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