Author Amy Tan, having grown up with a mother who did not have English as her first language, has experienced a very different set of circumstances than an average English-speaking household when it comes to communicating. In her article, “Mother Tongue,” she dives into her past, sharing the language struggles she saw her mother encounter, along with her own battles with finding her literary voice. What she found in the end was that everyone, regardless of native tongue, uses many levels of language; one then shifts between those levels, depending on who audience is perceived to be at any given time. Tan expresses the need to be more cognizant of these different levels of English, in order to focus on intent instead of complexity. The article's …show more content…
Recalling an experience early in her career, being less than subtly told she'd be better off in a different field, “I was told by my boss at the time that writing was my worst skill and I should hone my talents towards account management,” she contemplates how often other Asian-Americans have been subjected to a similar situation (23). “Why are there few Asian-Americans enrolled in creative writing programs?” she asks. Tan contemplates on how in multiple studies, Asian-Americans overall do better in Mathematics versus English, which pushes her thought process to, “this makes me think there are other Asian-American students whose English spoken in the home might also be described as 'broken' or 'limited.' And perhaps they also have teachers who are steering them away from writing and into math and science, which is what happened to me” (23). While there is no absolute proof of it happening on a regular basis, Amy Tan's experience allows one to contemplate the ease of such actions. Believing that some people do not have the skill set for writing, based simply on their background is a stereotype that many can inadvertently fall into if one does not take the time to see the individual's personal goals and their will to achieve them. One can imagine, if Amy Tan had not fought against the pressures she faced going into writing, that American …show more content…
She attests to the importance of focusing on the intent of words instead of the complexity and warns through events of her own life, the error of judging those who use distinctly different levels of English. Ultimately, she thoughtfully challenges people to contemplate stereotypes that many hold towards Asian-Americans, potentially keeping the world from experiencing their talent in the writing community. Finalizing the right balance of word choice can be a struggle, but if one respects and understands the audience, the intent will propel the writing forward. Having Amy Tan focus our attention on the intent of words versus how they are delivered reveals our penchant to stay within our comfort levels against our best interests when communicating, that it is real work to balance our speech to create a more robust piece of writing or speech. As a listener, moving out of our comfort zone is important, to find common ground. However, Tan has shown us that a writer or speaker, it is best to balance our speech, to make it easier for the audience to grasp the whole vision that is wanted by the author or
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
amy tan, a gifted writer, had the chance to change those images, to dispel the public's misconceptions and to forge a new asian american identity. instead, she copped out on her obligations, meekly reinforcing every conceivable stereotype.
Language can defined the type of person you become and it has an influence on our choices as well as lifestyle. Language itself has become a way of seeing life in a different perspectives. Tan discusses the many ways in which language has played a role in her life and the result from it. I can relate to Tan’s experience to some extent because I come from a bilingual household too. Just like Tan, I am one of my mother’s main source of communication with people who don’t speak spanish. I believe the notion of Tan’s “Mother Tongue” is stating that just because someone who cannot speak the English language perfectly, is considered less intelligent to many compared to those who can understand and speaks it fluently. But what makes us all unique is that it is rare to find two or more people who speak the same exact English. Even though both Tan and I helped our parent and come from different ethnic backgrounds; Tan came from a Chinese family while I came from a Hispanic family. We both share similar ideas about the language spoken in our household, and it was also a big challenge for both of us while we were being raised by an immigrant parent who spoke only “limited English”(Tan
The teenage years and transition to adulthood is in itself a very difficult period. Blending or fitting in are omnipresent issues that must be dealt with. For children of immigrants, this difficulty is only intensified through language. Both Amy Tan and Khang Nguyen strategically use narrative anecdotes and employ several rhetorical devices to illustrate this struggle in their works, “Mother Tongue” and “The Happy Days,” respectfully. Amy Tan chooses her childhood home as the primary setting of her work. This allows her to focus primarily on her conversations and interactions with her mother. However, she also gives several anecdotes in which her mother’s background and improper English negatively affected her, outside the home. Through her recollection of these events, she reveals both her immediate reactions and her thoughts and opinions looking back as an adult. Both the comparison of settings and changes in point of view, help to illustrate Tan’s intimate relationship with her mother, and her desire to understand it.
The Essay written by Amy Tan titled 'Mother Tongue' concludes with her saying, 'I knew I had succeeded where I counted when my mother finished my book and gave her understandable verdict' (39). The essay focuses on the prejudices of Amy and her mother. All her life, Amy's mother has been looked down upon due to the fact that she did not speak proper English. Amy defends her mother's 'Broken' English by the fact that she is Chinese and that the 'Simple' English spoken in her family 'Has become a language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk' (36). Little did she know that she was actually speaking more than one type of English. Amy Tan was successful in providing resourceful information in every aspect. This gave the reader a full understanding of the disadvantages Amy and her mother had with reading and writing. The Essay 'Mother Tongue' truly represents Amy Tan's love and passion for her mother as well as her writing. Finally getting the respect of her critics and lucratively connecting with the reaction her mother had to her book, 'So easy to read' (39). Was writing a book the best way to bond with your own mother? Is it a struggle to always have the urge to fit in? Was it healthy for her to take care of family situations all her life because her mother is unable to speak clear English?
Both the brains and the hearts of the audience have been convinced. She also used many rhetorical strategies, like emotional appeal to convey her rough childhood to the reader. She gave numerous examples of being discriminated, and stereotyped because of their race. Tan’s audience reaches out to family members who speak broken English. Amy Tan also comprehends that although people may not be able to speak perfect English, they can comprehend what others are saying, and that you shouldn't discriminate others because of their race. A persons understanding of someone who speaks “broken-English” could be very limited, but the wisdom of the “broken English” speaker is
Do you know language defines our identity? Language defines the type of person we are and it has an effect on the choice we have made as well as our way of living. According to Amin Malouf, “What makes me myself rather than anyone else is the very fact that I am between two countries, three languages, and several cultures. It is precisely this that defines my identity. Would I more authentically if I cut one part of myself.” this quote explains a lot about Tan and me. The power of language in Amy Tan’s life has both similarities and differences to my life experience.
English is an invisible gate. Immigrants are the outsiders. And native speakers are the gatekeepers. Whether the gate is wide open to welcome the broken English speakers depends on their perceptions. Sadly, most of the times, the gate is shut tight, like the case of Tan’s mother as she discusses in her essay, "the mother tongue." People treat her mother with attitudes because of her improper English before they get to know her. Tan sympathizes for her mother as well as other immigrants. Tan, once embarrassed by her mother, now begins her writing journal through a brand-new kaleidoscope. She sees the beauty behind the "broken" English, even though it is different. Tan combines repetition, cause and effect, and exemplification to emphasize her belief that there are more than one proper way (proper English) to communicate with each other. Tan hopes her audience to understand that the power of language- “the way it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth”- purposes to connect societies, cultures, and individuals, rather than to rank our intelligence.
The Amy tan story focused on her mother and how she looked down because of her limited English language and how people disrespected her mother or ignored her. In fact that people in department stores, at banks, and at restaurants did not take her mother seriously, they did not give her good service and they pretended not to understand her, or even acted as if they did not hear her. She uses Logos, Pathos, and Ethos she does this well by giving examples and having emotional appeal and makes herself relevant. She was able to use her personal example...
Many renowned writers and other professionals have expressed their personal opinion about the value of words over the last few years. Chinese-American author Amy Tan is one of the many writers who understand the importance of the simplest words in the English language. Tan, author of the Joy Luck Club, was born and raised in San Francisco by her Chinese parents. Tan graduated from high school and pursued her college education at five different universities from 1969 through 1976. Contrary to what her teachers had always tried to push on her, Tan steered away from studies in math and science and earned her B.A. in English and Linguistics. She describes that her educational choices were rebellious in nature. In Tans essay she describes the hardships of growing up with a mother who encountered problems with the English language. When I was growing up, my mothers limited English limited my perception of her, Tan explains. She describes situations where her mother was treated rudely and explains that apologies were always proposed when Tan would interrupt with flawless English. Tan also discusses the educational problems that multicultural students have within the classroom today. She ...
Despite growing up amidst a language deemed as “broken” and “fractured”, Amy Tan’s love for language allowed her to embrace the variations of English that surrounded her. In her short essay “Mother Tongue”, Tan discusses the internal conflict she had with the English learned from her mother to that of the English in her education. Sharing her experiences as an adolescent posing to be her mother for respect, Tan develops a frustration at the difficulty of not being taken seriously due to one’s inability to speak the way society expects. Disallowing others to prove their misconceptions of her, Tan exerted herself in excelling at English throughout school. She felt a need to rebel against the proverbial view that writing is not a strong suit of someone who grew up learning English in an immigrant family. Attempting to prove her mastery of the English language, Tan discovered her writing did not show who she truly was. She was an Asian-American, not just Asian, not just American, but that she belonged in both demographics. Disregarding the idea that her mother’s English could be something of a social deficit, a learning limitation, Tan expanded and cultivated her writing style to incorporate both the language she learned in school, as well as the variation of it spoken by her mother. Tan learned that in order to satisfy herself, she needed to acknowledge both of her “Englishes” (Tan 128).
In the work of Amy Tan’s “Mother’s Tongue” she provides a look into how she adapted her language to assimilate into American culture. She made changes to her language because her mother heavily relied on her for translation. She was the voice of her mother, relaying information in standard English to those who were unable to understand her mother’s broken english. She tells about her mother’s broken english and its impact on her communication to those outside their culture. Her mothers broken english limited others’ perception of her intelligence, and even her own perception of her mother was scewed: Tan said, “I know this for a fact, because when I was growing up, my mothers ‘limited’ English limited my perception of her. I was ashamed of her English. I believed that her English reflected the quality of what she had to say.” (419) The use of standard english was a critical component to Tan’s assimilation into American culture. Standard English was an element she acquired to help her mother but more importantly is was an element that helped in her gain success as a writer. Tan changed her ‘Englishes’ (family talk) to include standard English that she had learnt in school and through books, the forms of English that she did not use at home with her mother. (417-418) Tan realized the ch...
The purpose of Amy Tan’s essay, “Mother Tongue,” is to show how challenging it can be if an individual is raised by a parent who speaks “limited English” (36) as Tan’s mother does, partially because it can result in people being judged poorly by others. As Tan’s primary care giver, her mother was a significant part of her childhood, and she has a strong influence over Tan’s writing style. Being raised by her mother taught her that one’s perception of the world is heavily based upon the language spoken at home. Alternately, people’s perceptions of one another are based largely on the language used.
If you are not fluent in a language, you probably don 't give much thought to your ability to make your personality attractive, to be in touch with the people and be understood in your world, that doesn’t mean you are an underestimated person. Every person has something special to make them more unique, remarkable, and gorgeous between people. The opinions could lead towards success, or those opinions could be one that is losing, and have a negative impact on how people connect with you. In Amy Tan 's “Mother Tongue” she made this book for several reasons. She had started her life by learning language, and she always loved to spend her time to learn language, but this story focuses about Amy Tan 's mother with her terrible English,
As we know that there are thousands of language in the world, such as, English, Chinese, French and Spanish. But no one can do a better job in the second language. According to Amy Tan Mother Tongue, she emphasizes her idea that we speak different languages senselessly and classified by the way we speak our first language. She thinks that how powerful the language is used to communicate with others and shows us the different forms of English that she used in daily life. She thinks the power of language can affect people’s lives and change the way they think. We should adjust our language to our listeners when we are speaking. I am agreeing with her. I also think that language is very powerful and it is necessary to change our language to who we speak.