Amy Tan Mother Tongue Summary

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Amy Tan’s piece ‘Mother Tongue’ highlights the divide in society between ‘Englishes’, specifically formal, academic English and everyday usage. Her piece also comments on the way the internet holds a place amongst these so-called ‘Englishes’ as her words are presented through the medium of a blog and emphasises that all forms of English are useful. While some situations have ingrained standards that demand a certain style of communication, other forms like spoken English or the internet that are traditionally downplayed in their importance are still useful in understanding our society. Styles of language found in academic works are considered to be more important than other styles, but this is a hegemonic and elitist view which should be ended.…show more content…
These include the writing having correct grammar and syntax, usually in third person, with no slang or colloquialism. This stems from academic writing hundreds of years ago and has grown in its expectations. Academic works are expected to be referenced perfectly, before being submitted to heavy peer review process before being published. This style of work and English is a very elite branch. The language used is complex and alienates those who are not experts in the topic. Academic work is also very difficult to enter in to; it requires a bachelor’s degree at the very least. This excludes the general population from both writing and reading these sorts of works. This creates a hegemonic, elitist idea around academic work, in which it is regarded more highly than other forms of communication. Amy Tan comments on this form of academic and formal English and the way it has impacted her life. She mastered the tool through her work, writing novels and giving talks. However, it was this form of English and these circumstances that did not accept her mother due to her way of communication. This idea that some forms of language are not acceptable within

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