José Luis Garrido Rivera

Credentials: Languages: Spanish, English, and French

Position title: PhD Student in Second Language Acquisition

Could you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the doctoral program for the second language acquisition. I’m also a TA in the Spanish and Portuguese Department. I’ve always been very interested in languages, and I was also very motivated about teaching languages. I studied translation and interpretating in Spain. Then I started a master’s in Delaware in Spanish Literature and second language pedagogy. I got very interested, not only about teaching languages, but also about how languages are learned.

How do you feel that your languages contribute to your professional and personal identity?

Personally, I would say that it makes me more of a global citizen. It gives me so many options to meet new people around the world and travel. For my professional identity, it is  an asset for me to find potential research topics and also making connections to other professionals around the world. For example, I could talk to a researcher from Spain or from Mexico, but I could also talk to other researchers in French or English too. It expands my ability to communicate with others. Also, I studied translation and interpreting in Spain. So, it is another outlet for me to look for jobs if  I know different languages. But also being able to teach a foreign language. I am a teaching assistant, and I don’t like using the term native speaker, but, being a native speaker is perceived as something beneficial for the people in the Spanish language program and contributes to that part of my identity.

Can you speak about why you don’t like using the term native speaker?

I don’t like to use it because native speakers are associated with monolinguals. There are so many ways of communicating that are not only monolingual, and when we talk about native speakers, we also talk about this way of speaking. This way that is monolingual, and there is usually a standard that is controlled by monolingual people. That is just one way of speaking, but not the only one; however, it is perceived as THE correct way when talking about native speakers.

How do you believe that linguistic diversity adds to the richness of the various communities you navigate?

When you are surrounded by different languages, it gives you a reminder that there is more than one way of doing things right. I also want to emphasize that it is not only about the multilingual perspective and being exposed to multiple languages but being exposed to multiple cultures.  I would say the richest thing to be exposed to is multiple cultures. Exposure to multiple languages is a reminder that there are multiple cultures.

Also, sometimes I do like having people to speak Spanish in the US because sometimes you miss speaking your own language, so it is nice to have people that you can just have a casual conversation with in Spanish. I like listening to other languages. I really appreciate it but again, I might be biased.

In what ways do you believe the campus community can better recognize the value that linguistic diversity brings to the community?

I went to a workshop about campus multilingualism, and they suggested using signs in multiple languages.  I liked that as a reminder that there is more than one way of doing things.