In her essay “Mother Tongue,” Amy Tan reveals how Americans mistreated her Chinese mother because her English wasn’t impeccable. Tan even discusses how she was embarrassed by her mother’s English, writing that she “believed that her [mother’s] English reflected the quality of what she had to say” (Tan 702). Essentially, the difference between how Tan spoke and how her mother spoke—in Tan’s point of view—suggested that Tan’s mother was unintelligent because she couldn’t speak English as well as Tan. Many people make the inappropriate assumption that a person’s intelligence can be measured by how well he speaks a language; when people notice a mistake when someone else is speaking, they are more likely to view that person as less intelligent, which often gives way to mistreatment of these people who are perceived as unintelligent. In the case of Tan’s mother, “people in department stores, at banks, and at restaurants did not take her seriously” (Tan 702).
The speaker may feel a form of guilt for her uncertain feelings towards her cultural presents as she wants her English things, which she can feel natural in. Both these poems suggest that the poets feel culturally alienated in the countries they live in. The first poem talks about how the speaker is unable to use her mother tongue, “lost the first one, the mother tongue” and fears that she is going to forget it. At the same time, the second poem tells the readers how she receives presents from her aunts and likes them but is uncomfortable in them “I longed for denim and corduroy”. ‘Search for My Tongue’ is written in free verse.
Throughout the article, Tan uses a number of personal examples to show and support her point. These examples span from phone conversations and hospital visits to standardized tests. By using examples that cover a wide variety of topics, Tan is able to demonstrate the large effect that her mother’s style of english had and how it was woven into her whole life and not just a part of it. Particularly in the hospital example, Tan also brings in the stereotyping of people who speak “broken” english as not being very smart. In bringing this issue that is at the very root of our society, she darkens the tone to melancholy.
Mother Tongue by Amy Tan tells how Tan and her mother were being treated as Chinese-American who spoke with a “broken” English accent. Tan talks about the struggles of starting off her writing career as many would say her English was not perfect or her writing was not that great but the support of her mother she finds her passion for writing and English in general. Breaking out the English by Arthur Chu explains his story on how he was ridiculed by his peers because his English was too perfect, so he spent a lot of time trying to sound like a “normal” Chinese-American citizen while still trying to stay true to himself. Mocking “Foreign Accents” and the Privilege of “Sounding White” by Muslim Reverie speaks on how we (as Americans) classify
As in addition the headmaster gave the girls what she calls “pretty English names.” To the girls it was like she was disrespecting their culture. In their culture, the names Premila and Santha could be such a unique and special name. I have also experience this kind of disrespectful problem. Many English teachers can’t pronounce my name, Nayeli. So they would call me Natalie.
Her mother has had to learn English as a second language; it was not her first language. Everyone that speaks English may change the way they speak depending on who is around. In a sophisticated environment they may talk with more poise and use larger words, but with their friends they may be more lenient and not worry about having to impress them. The way you speak affects the way people look at you, if you do not speak well then people may think you are unintelligent or not worth their time. Tan had to translate or speak for her mother multiple times.
Everyone speaks English differently some are fluent, while others have difficulties expressing their emotions when explaining their view or opinion on something. People communicate with each other differently depending on the situation, registers of language change, abbreviations and slang are often used to make the conversation match the situation. In relation, to being unable to perform a standard form of English, as displayed in Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue and Robyn Kina’s case both characters are not able to communicate and express their speak their ideas and feelings clearly, therefore respect from people within their community excludes Kina and Daisy is ignored. As mentioned in “Mother Tongue”, “… and when the doctor finally called her
The purpose of Tan including a direct quote alternatively to paraphrasing how her mother spoke was to provide readers with a glimpse into the language that she heard on a regular basis from her mother. The direct quotation shows readers the extent of her mother 's knowledge of the English language as well which mainly consists of short, choppy sentences. It also shows how her mother 's unique variation of English differentiates from standard, textbook English. The quote emphasizes the difference between language that Tan uses when speaking to her mother as opposed to the language she would use when speaking to a stockbroker or giving a speech, as mentioned earlier in the essay. Where paraphrasing would have a lesser affect on readers, a
In this essay “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldua she talks about her language, specifically her Spanish language in which it isn’t accepted to not only in the American culture but to her fellow Latino and Latina people. “Pocho, cultural traitor, you’re speaking English, you’re ruining the Spanish language” (WOR, 27). I am writing a biography telling about how I also have encountered not being accepted by people of the American culture. I will also discuss the variations in both Anzaldua’s life as well as my life. Being a young foreign girl in elementary school wasn’t too bad.
It should make one more versatile and adaptable, like Tan’s mother. Growing up Tan tells a story about pretending she was her own mother in a conflict communicated over the phone; she expressed her shame about the situations that broken English had put her in. Unfortunately, her mother’s English was so poor there was no other way to mitigate the situation. Using “broken” English, her mother always seemed to resolve her issues and go about her life quite easily. If her mother spoke a broken form of English and managed to accomplish things in life, one should be able to write this way.