When Amalia Cabezas
moved to Southern California from Cuba, she
had to master not only English but also the version of her
language spoken by the mostly Mexican Spanish-speaking community. She
quickly eliminated some Cuban words from her
vocabulary and adjusted her
fast, chopped Spanish to the Mexican version. "In the process of language acquisition, we Cubans learned three different languages: Mexican-English, Spanglish and English," said Cabezas, a women's-studies professor at UC Riverside.
Names for foods offer some of the greatest contrasts.Guatemalan immigrant Alex L,pez, of Cathedral City, recalled how his
jaw dropped when his
mother-in-law, who is Mexican, told him she
was serving "sopes" for dinner.She
was preparing a traditional Mexican food, but L,pez, 36, thought she
was cooking up something else.
"I never felt like I was losing something," Cabezas
said, "but rather that I was gaining another culture."