Spanish vs English interviews, gender roles in WIC

The WIC interviews have given me an interesting perspective as  a researcher due to my cultural background. While I have mostly lived in the United States, I lived in Medellin, Colombia from when I was 5-8 and speak Spanish at home. I learned both English and Spanish at the same time though my English is much better.

Many of the WIC clinics have a large Hispanic clientele ranging from 20-50+%. While there is no way to “prove” this, I hope that my pretty obvious ethnicity (due to my name and physical appearance) have made parents in general more at ease speaking to me. Besides the janitors, there isn’t a single man who works at the WIC! Add to that the fact that I am coming to the clinic as an outside researcher from Georgia Tech and it’s clear that there is potential bias of how the parents will perceive me.

Additionally, being able to speak Spanish has allowed me to speak with some parents who I would not otherwise be able to interview.

On a different but related note: I’ve read that there are slight personality changes when bilingual speakers use different languages. I’ve noticed that I’m slightly more upbeat yet also less talkative in Spanish. I’ve also been told that my voice is deeper when I speak in Spanish. This last point is subconscious because I never seem to notice, even though multiple people have pointed it out.

Interested related article on this last point:

http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2013/11/multilingualism

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