¿Cómo se Dice? How Do You Say it? – A space to express yourself through Spanish

By Cynthia Ntinunu

The flyer for ¿Cómo se Dice? How Do You Say it?, which is held biweekly. (CMASS website)

On Wednesday Feb. 20, five Latinx students sat at a table in the Latinx American Cultural Center admiring how fast El Alfa rapped in Spanish in his music video “Mi Mami” at the first ¿Cómo se Dice? How Do You Say it? event of the semester.

“I want to speak Spanish like him,” Yanni Cabrera, English major, said as she and the four other attendees watched the video.

Held every spring semester, ¿Cómo se Dice? How Do You Say it? is a biweekly event hosted by the LACC to give a space for Latinx students and all people to come speak in Spanish. No matter what skill level of Spanish you are at, the doors are open for you.

“I don’t want people to think that they’re gonna open their mouth and like say the Spanish that isn’t 100% perfect and people are gonna judge them for it, you know what I mean,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera understands the struggle of not being able to fluently speak Spanish 100 percent. She explained how there was a time in her life where she was ashamed of speaking Spanish.

“I think a lot of the time people that aren’t “really good” at Spanish feel ashamed of it. I know I personally felt ashamed of it for a long time and speaking Spanish with people outside of my family kinda felt like they were going to judge me or embarass me…,” Cabrera said. This is why ¿Cómo se Dice? is very important to Cabrera because she doesn’t want anyone to ever feel the way that she did.

Set up more like a conversation, this event isn’t necessarily meant to be a Spanish class but rather an encouraging space on campus where people can speak and learn together while being supportive of one another.

This particular meeting focused on music videos of Latinx artists like Bad Bunny. Bad Bunny is a popular Latinx artist who has risen in fame in the last few years collaborating with big names like Cardi B, Drake, and J Balvin. The specific video the group of five discussed for the first half of the meeting was Bad Bunny’s latest music video “Caro.”

According to Cabrera, the video is quite revolutionary in the sense that it shows great support for the LGBTQIA+ community which is something that the Latinx community doesn’t really talk about as much.

“…Like it’s a new thing for Latinos to talk about the gay community,” Cabrera said.

It came as a surprise for Cabrera to see famous Latinx artists—specifically a Puerto Rican artist like Bad Bunny—to openly talk about the LGBTQIA+ and “proudly show acceptance” for them. This was one of the reasons why Cabrera chose to discuss this video because it would start a conversation. Each person was able to express how they felt and there was positive responses across the board.

Though this particular meeting focused heavily on music videos, future meetings may be structured differently. Since Cabrera has taken over for her predecessor, she can run  ¿Cómo se Dice? as she pleases which gives her quite a bit of flexibility.

One of the things she plans to do is hopefully have more fluent speakers come join. Though she wants all levels to join, she still wants people to grow in their fluency. She also wants to make items like Spanish dictionaries accessible to everyone. Finally she wants the space to not be about “forcing participating but definitely encouraging it.”

The next ¿Cómo se Dice? How Do You Say It? event will be held on Wednesday Mar. 6, from 5:00pm-6:00pm. Contact the LACC for more information: lacc@sacl.umass.edu; 413-545-2073

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