Hello? or Hola? a Theoretical Look at Spanglish
Submitted By blaine
The theories learned from communications classes can be applied in everyday life. They can especially be applied to films. Films are the outlets of human communication –mimicking life. The film that we will be examining and applying theories to is Spanglish. The film was written and directed by James L. Brooks and was released in December, 2004. The tagline “a comedy with a language all its own,” (IMDb) truly describes the motion picture. Spanglish is about a mother (Flor Moreno) and her daughter (Cristina Moreno) who are forced to leave Mexico for Flor to find work in America. Flor starts working for the Clasky’s whose home in Las Angeles leads Flor into a different culture. John Clasky, the head of the household is a down to earth master chief who has trouble dealing with his neurotic wife, Deborah. As the two cultures collide it makes for laughs and above all, testable space for communication theory. According to Julia T. Wood (2004) in the book, Communication Theories in Action, speech community theory “focuses specifically on how different social groups teach members distinct styles of communicating and interpreting the communication of others.” (p. 220) As indicated by Jennifer Kramer (2007), speech community theory is categorized under the socio-cultural tradition (Kramer, 2007b). An example of this theory in the movie, Spanglish, was how the main character, Flor, and the Clasky family came to represent, what Wood (2004) called, separate “speech communities” (pp. 220-221). Wood (2004) indicated that a speech community is, “A group of people who share understandings of communication that are not shared by people outside of the group.” (p. 334) In this case, Flor spoke a different language and was part of a different speech community than that of the Clasky family. This made it difficult for them to understand one another, especially in the...