chapter  9
8 Pages

Negotiating Multiple Language Identities

In rural communities, such as the one in which I grew up, people rely on each other to make their lives work. No one in my community had much money in terms of cash flow, so families traded services. For example, my father was a skilled welder-a trade he had learned during his stint in the U.S. Army during World War II. When the neighbors’ farm machines broke down, my father would repair them in return for services the neighbors could provide for us. This kind of exchange of services created interdependence among families that contributed to the solidarity of the community, our strong sense of a shared identity, and the pride that most of us felt about our common backgrounds and cultural heritage.