When I came to this country one year ago, I was happily surprised to know that so many people were fluent in or learning my language - Spanish. I felt honored that of all the languages there are to learn, Americans were choosing mine.
Recently, I experienced an incident that made me no longer feel honored, but offended. While talking to a friend of mine in Spanish, out of the blue an American yelled, interrupting our conversation, with what I consider to be the worst insult in Spanish. He found it funny, I'm sure, yet I felt that he was not only massacring and butchering my language, but also deeply offending me.
I want to encourage everybody to learn a second language and enthusiastically promote Spanish. I also encourage people to learn appropriate words and phrases. I believe the student who yelled at me had no idea what he was saying, but ignorance is no excuse ...
As a non-native English speaker, I take care in what I say. I would expect any non-Spanish speaker to do the same.
Natalya Delgado Chegwin, Augusta