Spoken Language and Literacy Narrative (SLLN)

Harriet Coleman                                                                                                                09/29/23

Personal Narrative 

Prof. Dalton 


    Language and literacy mold our identities and substantial influence on how we engage in the world. A lot of moments in my childhood when it came to reading and writing affected who I am today, from the age of 7 till now…My mother, my babysitters, teachers, etc.

    When it came to my first grade teacher ,  I was fascinated by her beautiful penmanship.

 How efficient and structured her handwriting looked on the dry erase board. 

At the age of seven I knew my love for writing would be because of my first grade teacher. 

She was right handed,  I was left-handed. Being so young, I was mesmerized by this very small detail.  We looked the same. Hair color was the same  , eye color was the same. . Everything was the same. How come we didn’t write the same? Each morning any chance I got to watch her right in front of the class I took it. 

The best thing I could do was to examine and copy her. I picked up the pencil in my non-dominant hand, and in a slow and unsteady pace I began. “Look Mrs. I can write like you”. 

I said, as the pencil hit the paper. 

“Today is ___” 

was what I attempted to write on my paper. The words were all squiggly and slanted.

 “Good job, Harriet”. 

She said to me, giving me words of encouragement I needed. 

Although I knew I could do better, this only gave me the courage and determination to try and try until it looked like hers,  and because I succeeded I am now right handed and always reminded how determination, inspiration and a little bit of cheering affected how I write today.

   In addition to that,  my family represented a fusion of cultures and languages throughout my life in terms of West Africa.  My mother was born in Ghana and can speak about 6 dialects from the country,  while my siblings and I were born in America this resulted in a home where both Twi and English were spoken regularly. From an early age , I was exposed to this linguistic duality and it became part of my identity. Although I could speak both languages, speaking English was more comfortable.


Stanford University

http://web.stanford.edu › languages › twi › Default

(Some examples of the language)

  One moment that stands out to me was my first day of school In Ghana. I remember I stood outside the school building with my aunt scared and reluctant to enter the school. But once I did, I could see that the classroom was filled with children that all spoke Twi, a little English but not fluently , me  being able to speak English properly and with an American accent set me apart from the rest of them. I could feel their curiosity and it made me feel anxious. I was told to 

introduce myself  by the teacher, so I walked to the front of the classroom. My pulse quickened with eagerness accompanied by a hint of apprehension. 

First day of school in ghana

  Everyone including the teacher observed me , their gaze filled with a blend of fascination and perplexity. I realized that my upcoming words would mold how my classmates perceived me. Everyone bearing their unique narratives., and in that moment , for me,reflects a larger societal trend. The importance of bilingualism in today’s world. My ability to converse in English and Twi did not only enhance my own existence but also played a role in diversity and inclusiveness in my class as well.

The ability to speak or even understand two languages gave me personal satisfaction. The importance of it not only granted me the ability to transition between languages but it gave me a unique perspective on the world and the people in Ghana vs. America.  

From my first day of school in another country, my growth as someone who can read and write in another language apart from English has led to a vibrant mix of relationships, exchanges and

discussions. In middle school, having a few friends who were west african like me also made it fun to organize small language learning sessions. 

The connection between language and myself is evident and I have my mother to thank for this. Growing up, her making it a staple to have me know at least the basics in Twi gave me a sense of awareness of where I was from. 

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