Monday, February 21, 2011

I Just Called To Say Niconanaznequi Tepal

We've always taken some consolation in knowing that we aren't the only people in Mexico who don't speak Spanish very well - and that, unlike us, many of those people were actually born here. For instance, at least 300 families living Mexico City speak only (or primarily) Náhuatl, the language the Aztecs spoke before Jesus showed them who's boss. But starting now, Náhuatl-speakers can call a city government hotline (55 33 03 39, if you feel like pranking them in, say, Tzotzil) and get whatever questions they may have answered in their own language. Strangely, no one in Mexico thinks that this poses some sort of imminent danger to their Mexican way of life, and no one's demanding these people "assimilate" (and, to be fair, they've had 480 years to do so) or rushing "Spanish-Only" initiatives onto the ballot. It's almost as if they have such confidence in the primacy of their own language that they're not afraid to accommodate people who speak another. It's downright un-American, really.

(Residents of certain southwestern American states who would argue that the comparison is invalid because "the Náhuatl-speakers were there first," are encouraged to think a little harder on this.)


Anonymous said...

I love how "reel Amerikuns" butcher their own language and yet are so anxious to hear it spoken by everyone.

I Must Be Crazy To Live In Mexico said...

Huh? Ima fixin' ta tell ya'll that I ain't never done no butcherin' of the Englush here in Tex-us.