Tan becomes more conscious of her language use in this essay. At work, she uses sophisticated English. At home, she speaks choppy English, so her mother, who has broken English, can understand her. Even though Tan possesses an extensive English vocabulary, she acknowledges her mother’s English skills. She shows this by telling her mother, “not waste money that way” when shopping for furniture. Tan is conscious of not only her own English skills, but also her mother’s English skills. This broken English shows that she acknowledges cultural diversity since she is also raising awareness that most immigrants struggle with knowing decent English in the process. According to Tan, language “suddenly seemed to me, with nominalized forms, past perfect tenses, conditional phrases, all the forms of standard English that I had learned in school and through books, the forms of English I did not use at home with my mother” (Tan, “Mother Tongue”). This English is the only English where she can successfully communicate with her mother. She could not speak this type of English with her husband or colleagues. As seen with Tan’s mother, is okay to live in the United States without extensive English knowledge. Tan did not force her mother to match her own English. Rather than doing so, Tan was willing to communicate with her mother by speaking in choppy English. Tan concludes that language is a tool that changes depending
To begin, Amy Tan was born in California to Chinese immigrant parents (Literature for Life 117). The story focuses on how Amy’s mother was always looked down on because she did not speak proper english. Amy had to grow up using different Englishes: what she learned in school, and the English she had to use at home which was a product of her culture. Amy strives to disprove how society thinks, just because someone has “broken” English means they have low intelligence or understanding. Even though society feels that her mother's language is “broken” her mother understands things Amy and numerous others could never begin to. Amy states how her mother reads Forbes reports, listens to Wall Street Week, and converses with her stockbroker, and yet friends and others can not understand what her mother says. So this proves that language in society is more than just communication, language is a social tool of measuring an individual's worth. Even when Amy’s teachers in school tried to steer her in oth...
Amy Tan is an author who was born in 1952 in Oakland, California. Her parents, who emigrated from China, encouraged her to study in a math or science career but she soon had an interest in English instead. From attending San Jose State University, she got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She wrote a story called “Mother’s Tongue” which describes the different ways of English forms there is to pursue. Her thesis is a discussion of language and how it can affect her profession in the long run. Her purpose for this story is to show that everyone has their own dialect around certain people. Tan mentions how she learned English and how it changed her. There is a relation between Tan’s writing that has me questioning things because of how I
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?
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.
Purpose, context, audience, and persona are all important factors that affect a rhetorical situation. An article that contained these effective factors to strengthen their argument was Amy Tan’s personal narrative essay, Mother Tongue. Throughout her essay, she utilizes charged language to communicate her ideas in a powerful way as introduced in Newman and Genevieve Birk’s Selection, Slanting, and Charged Language. Amy Tan is an Asian American writer who is known for her exploration of cultural differences between Chinese mothers and their daughters. In her article, she delves into what she considers her various forms and types of English she uses in different environments and how there is a prominent distinction between her own personal emphasis on English language varied to her mother.
‘Mother Tongue’ a story by Amy Tan tries to take us through the different events one should change the manner in which he or she uses language with the listeners. As the speaker, one should use the appropriate language for the right audience so as to avoid circumstances in which language barrier can occur. The language which Tan uses with her mother is quite different from the one she uses with her listeners when engaging in public or official talks. It is quite evident that when Tan was confronting the stock broker who wanted to con her mother she changes her diction which matched a sophisticated language from the one her mother used. Language becomes hectic when one is trying to fit in a language he or she can hardly talk (Diyanni 633-639).
Both Chang Rae-Lee and Amy Tan use their articles to illustrate the impact their mothers had on creating a respectable ethos as a writer. Lee and Tan are authentic and true, which are great values instilled by a mother that shine through in their writing. These articles are great examples of how much a writer’s ethos contributes to his/her overall argument. As said by Lee, "Having been raised in an immigrant family,…[one sees] everyday the exacting price and power of language…" (Lee 584).
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
Immigrants have been moving to the United States of America from foreign countries for centuries. Though assimilating is very important, some may argue that the process of assimilation strips away an immigrant’s personal identity. In “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, Gloria Anzaldúa argues that the preservation of her Mexican culture, especially her language, is essential in holding on to her identity as a Chicana. On the contrary, in “Mother Tongue”, Amy Tan uses her childhood experiences with her Chinese mother to exemplify how their struggles with cultural and language barriers helped her accept who she is as a Chinese-American woman. How an immigrant reacts to the adversities faced while assimilating into American culture will determine how
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...
In “Mother Tongue,” a memoir-like short story by Amy Tan, she recounts how her mother’s native language has shaped how she speaks now. She writes about how she talks with her mom, and the stark difference between that language, her home language, versus her professional language. Tan describes that now she talks with her mother the same way her mother spoke to her when she
In “Mother Tongue”, Amy Tan characterizes her mother as a person who is a smart person. Even though she speaks the English which people consider as “broken”, she still can understand what people say almost perfectly. She speaks “broken” English, but it is clear and easy to understand. In my opinion, it is very impressive that she can still manage business with her English.
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.