What's in an Accent?

by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

A blank paper freaks a writer’s hands and eyes. This month the blankness of my screen has caused me to rethink time after time the content of my article. This time I want to chat with you about something that’s itching me. You may think, “María, and what’s that?” Okay, let me talk to you about it. Actually, let me share a secret with you, but just between us. I’m Latin. Thus my native language is Spanish. It shouldn’t strike you since most Latin Americans speak Spanish. Of course, if you study my family tree, you may find out that I’m part Latin and part Spaniard. I’m the product of a Venezuelan mother and a Spaniard father. By the way, allow me to use the word “proud.” You got it. I’m mighty proud to be a Latin Spaniard, an American Spaniard. Now, let’s start the business of this article, and that’s grammar vs. message. Let’s go to the next paragraph to have these sentences a little more evenly divided. Shall we? Follow me.

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The Hugo Chávez Frías Revolution

by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

It’s so difficult to write about the country where I was born while I’m currently living in the U.S.A. This is always hard because it feels as if I’m losing my rights as a Venezuelan citizen. Throughout my life, I have traveled quite a lot, and I have kept my Latin Spaniard spirit within me in spite of many things like the unforgiving results of time and distance. My second trip in the year 2000 to Venezuela was as hectic as it has been every year during the month of December, due to the holidays’ festivities. Yet this time it was different. My cousins and my siblings (including me) debated quite a bit about Mr. Hugo Chávez Frías—the Venezuelan President. There were two teams: one opposing Mr. H. Chávez Frías’ decisions and the other moderately supporting some of his ideas and approaches in the public sector. As you may guess, the debate got rather heated. I, of course, enjoyed it. It reminded me about my childhood when my parents, aunts, and uncles got into huge arguments about politics. You may be thinking that in the U.S.A. people don’t talk about politics because such a subject may be pointless. Well, that’s not the case in Latin America, and a lot less in Venezuela. People love to talk about politics. Venezuelans do get into heated conversations with great fluidity.

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Holiday Blues

by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

It seems as if I’m “predestined” to live in an airplane (always traveling during the holidays). Last December I spent Christmas by myself in one of Florida’s airports. Of course, the idea was to travel to spend Christmas with my parents and siblings. Isn’t that ironic? That’s to say I got there after Christmas. Take note: Christmas in Venezuela is celebrated the 24th of December, instead of the 25th. Back to the point, my flights’ arrangements were very disturbed due to Venezuela’s flood in Vargas State (besides others states).

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2000 Election: Organized Chaos

by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

The country has been upside down for awhile, but in crisis since November 07. Political analysts predicted Al Gore’s triumph in the Electoral College, but the contrary happened, at least according to the present mess—the Counting, Recounting, and the Contest. People ask themselves if their votes really count because, after all, the president is elected by The Electoral College. Forget the Popular Vote. Do you remember the movie, “Sleepless in Seattle?” Well, a rerun should be named “Sleepless in the USA.” People, including myself, have been glued to their televisions and PCs more than ever before. Everybody wants to find out the two most prominent candidate’s positions in the state of Florida’s infinite recount, besides some dubious situations around the country—concerning this year’s elections.

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The Never Ending Story of the Invisible Empire

by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

Do you remember the movie “The Chamber,” with Michael Douglas? If I’m not mistaken, this movie was made during the 80’s. “The Chamber” is a hopeful movie where a group of judges meet to vindicate what the Justice System couldn’t accomplish. They take the law into their own hands, and start to clean up their city, most likely New York City, according to the movie.

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Wording the Visible & Invisible

by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

You are reading this article because you are hungry. You are hungry for words. Reading this isn’t mandatory. That’s what separates good readers from “bad” readers, more likely bad attitudes toward the activity. Thus with the right disposition one enjoys to read, but without it one dreads it. Let’s begin with a basic question: What are words? Technically speaking one could say that words are isolated characters which put together with some other characters give us a specific symbol. This compound symbol has a meaning, at times universal and some other times personal.

For instance, the letter “L” is just one of the characters from our known and common alphabet which unified with some other letters gives us a word. For example, think of the word “love.” Love has many meanings like when one likes something, adores something or someone, or when one finds something extremely appealing. For instance, in the USA people sometimes say “I love pizza,” or “I love my husband.” In Spanish if someone says, “yo AMO a la pizza,” or “yo AMO comer pizza,” would be rather too strong. In Spanish the word love has a strong implication, and to say that one loves an object or a special meal would be as if this person is misusing the word, twisting its meaning. Of course, we could find a considerable number of people in the Spanish world using “to love” rather than “to like”. It depends how strong one wants to go about something or someone.

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Enigmatic Louisiana

by María L. Trigos-Gilbert

Louisiana’s mysticism caught my eyes as if stoned by an invisible, but powerful, drug that made its way through my senses and my veins. At first, like most romantic stories, I didn’t realize my love for Louisiana. I took for granted the amusement that it had provided me. Time kept spending itself with little monotony. All of its components excited me, especially its true green and its enigmatic bayous. The people seemed to me as if they were Portuguese speakers who tried to imitate the English American accent. Even more they appeared to me as if they were borrowed Portuguese Brazilians who came here trying to find a more amicable jungle, this type of amicability was like a spiritual-materialistic mixture. Those were the initial impressions during my first fifteen days trip to Louisiana.

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