Loss of language leaves this D.F. denizen tongue-tied

Dear Mexican: I am the proud uncle of five Mexican-redneck kids who recently moved to Wisconsin with their mamá wisconsiana after living in la Capirucha all their lives. I've talked to them on the phone several times a week since they left for la tierra de los sueños materializados, and I've noticed slight changes in the way they talk. I'm worried they might lose their neat, mellifluous, middle-class capitalino accent and replace it with some sort of Ricky Martin/Univisión/migra-spokesman one. Is it wrong for me to expect them not to partake in the Spanish that is spoken in the country they now live in?

Mexicano Temeroso del Cambio

Dear Readers: The above Mexican fearful of change is a denizen of Mexico City, which among its many ignominies (smog, crime, overcrowding) and beauties (sprawl, a heritage going back millennia, danielhernandez.typepad.com) is the world's greatest Spanish: a baroque, mind-numbing string of bawdiness, twisting tones and words starting with the letter ch- that makes custodians of Cervantes cringe. That's not the language of Temeroso's nephews y sobrinas, however — it seems they're fresas (literally "strawberries," but a derisive nickname for hipsters), since he boasts of their middle-class upbringing. But I feel bad for the guy, 'cause he's fucked. If there's but one lesson you take from this column, America (besides the fact that Mexicans love midgets), it's this: Language is the most malleable, fleeting cultural trait. Mexico City Spanish is different from the español of other Mexican states, and both differ from the Spanish of el Norte, which mixes the argots of other Latinos to create the version you so scorn, Temeroso. Your precious fresas will succumb to this blight but also contribute to the growth of their new master Spanish. The only hope you can maintain to ensure some level of Mexican cultural purity is to ensure that the niños don't become cheeseheads, teaching them to root for the Oakland Raiders — or at least the Dallas Cowboys.


Dear Mexican: I'm grateful to find your column. I've looked everywhere, but I can't find a concise summary of the number of Hispanics who have served, died and been wounded in the current war.

The Ghost of Guy Gabaldon

Dear Patriot: This is ¡Ask a Mexican!, not ¡Ask a Latino!, but I'll make an exception for your important query. More Latinos have died in Iraq than any other ethnicity and represent about 11 percent of total American casualties (I won't bother with figures, since they'll undoubtedly be bigger by the time this gets published). Non-citizen Latinos serving number in the tens of thousands, meaning that while most Know Nothings rail about aliens from the comfort of a sidewalk, a lot of those evil anchor babies are out fighting to preserve the freedom that allows pendejos to slur their families.

 
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