Mother Tongue Thesis

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Out of Breath Becoming accustomed to a new language is difficult, especially when it is not one’s primary language. Amy Tan, the author of “Mother Tongue” went through this same situation. Tan’s mother had a hard time with the way she spoke English because no one seemed to understand what she wanted to convey. Amy Tan uses her story as a way to let the audience know about how language can lead people to be prejudice, connect people, change perception and open new doors in life. In “Mother Tongue” Tan uses her mother as an example of how the English language should not affect one’s self worth. Tan’s mother spoke English but not well enough for people to think that her dignity was high. “You should know that my mother’s expressive command of…show more content…
While at a public speaking, Tan realized that she was using all these large words that her audience understood but her mother did not. “I was saying things like, “The intersection of memory upon imagination” and “There is an aspect of my fiction that relates to thus–and-thus…the forms of English I did not use at home with my mother” (Tan 58). Tan’s mother was in the room while Tan was giving the speech and that was when she realized that language could be a powerful tool that can connect each other in different ways. The English language can also bring people together who speak English but not in such a common way. “We were talking about the price of new and used furniture and I heard myself saying this: “Not waste money that way” (Tan 58). Tan along with her mother completely understood what one was saying to the other but if someone else was there with them they might not have understood. The same goes when a family is talking to one another, it can become some sort of secret language that only they will understand. “But I do think that the language spoken in the family, especially in immigrant families which are more insular, plays a large role in shaping the language of the child” (Tan 60). While the language that the child is being taught at home may not seem to be efficient when used with other people, that child is able to understand what their family is
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