Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

More on the languages we don't speak - but are presumed to

Photo by Florian SEROUSSI/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A couple of posts this week have explored the awkward moments when people are presumed to speak (or not speak) a certain language because of how they look, whether they be children of immigrants who don't speak their parents' native tongue, light-skinned Latinos mistaken for non-Latino whites, Filipinos mistaken for Latinos or any other linguistic mistaken-identity case.

The most recent post featured two readers' personal anecdotes and drew a couple of additional comments, including this one from Sylvia Cabus:

I’ve been mistaken for many nationalities, even Brazilian-Japanese, but fellow Filipinos don’t believe I’m from the Philippines.

The language problem is complicated as well because I speak Visayan, not Tagalog, and my Moroccan husband (who looks Latino) and I speak French at home.


That does sound complicated, although Lun30 pointed out the bright side:
Oh, that is why I love this country. It is so diverse!

I am from Ecuador and everyone thinks I am Peruvian or Venezuelan, no worries. But with my blond dyed hair I could pass for…whoever that speaks English… I do, but I have to admit that Spanish will be my main language ever. English (and this amazing country) united us…


Read the original post here, which highlighted an essay from a half Filipina, half German-Irish writer who is consistently presumed to speak Spanish, but doesn't.

If anyone identifies, share your story below.

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