Obies Using Languages: Mobey Irizarry-Lambright

Mobey is a second year double degree CAST and TAMARA major

What other languages do you know and how did you learn each of them?

I know Spanish from home because it’s the only language my parents speak. I also know conversational French because I took classes in middle and high school but I wouldn’t say that I’m fluent.

Which language do you feel like you can communicate best in or are more yourself? What language feels most like home?

Spanish or English, it depends on the setting. I like speaking in Spanish more because I exist in an English dominant academic setting. But I definitely feel more comfortable writing academically in English. I took one year of AP Spanish in highschool but even with that, I feel more comfortable writing in English.

Have you ever spent time in a Spanish speaking place?

I have spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico because that is where my dad was born and raised, that’s where I’m from, and that’s where my grandparents live. I also spent four months living in Peru in sixth grade and went to a bilingual school that was taught in Quechua and Spanish. In my time there I picked up a handful of words in Quechua but have forgotten most of it now. Other than that, I live close to an area in Hartford that’s Spanish dominant and there are definitely areas in New York where I could go a long time without speaking English.

What is your favorite word or phrase in another language besides English that is untranslatable to English? What does it mean?

I don’t know if this is my favorite phrase necessarily, but it’s one that’s important to my family. It is lo que se hereda, no se hurta which translates literally to what is inherited does not get stolen, but its meaning is different. It means that as a parent, if your child inherits a trait of yours that you don’t like, then you can’t complain because it’s your own trait. My dad really wanted me to learn all these kinds of phrases because they have been passed down in my family.

What is your favorite dish tied to the language you know best?

Mofongo is Puerto Rican dish that’s plantains mashed into a cake that you can fill with shrimp, vegetables or meat.


Drawing by Anders Villalta 


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