I find it quite interesting to know how the author Ann Tan, has somewhat of a turn on and off switch. For instance, she stated in the beginning paragraphs of “Mother Tongue,” how she embraces the “power of language.” The author invites us into her world, giving us a clear picture of her own personal experiences that she encounters with the variations of languages. The author talked about the experience she had with her mother being in the room while giving a speech to a large group of people. According to the author, her speech was “filled with carefully wrought grammatical phrases,” the English language she had never spoken to her mother. The author also admits how she finds herself speaking what she later calls in the essay, “broken English,” to her mother and sometimes her husband. Why? Because this was the primary language used …show more content…
Although her mother's language was clear to her, others had a difficult time understanding her. I was shocked to read how the author had clearly defined her mother's language as being “broken” or even “fractured.” On one hand, she recognizes her mother as being intelligent, but on the other hand, she seems to be confused about her mother's language. For example, her mother reads the “Wall Street Week”, “Forbes” report, a few of “Shirley McClaine” books, and has a stockbroker. I believe the author relied too heavily on the assumption that just because her mother read proficient English, she should have been able to speak it. But life doesn't work like that and I found it to be an insult toward her mother. The other section that really got me to thinking was when the author talked about how she had to pretend to be her mother just to address certain business calls, with her mother breathing down her back. I'm sure there had to be times where the author might have felt a little frustrated with her mother's
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The first article is “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan. The author tells a story of her relationship with her mother whose English is poor in comparison to that of most Americans. The author is well versed in English since she was schooled in the United States. (Tan 37) The author begins with an introduction to her mother’s style of language. She explains that it is her language that she and her mother share, and it is a “language of intimacy.” (36) Tan makes sure to point out that it is not difficult for her to understand what her mother says. After this introduction Tan begins to tell the reader about stories of how her mother’s limited English had affected her. She writes that she had been ashamed of her mother’s unintelligible English. Her story is about a time when she had to make a phone call for her mother and how she had noticed the way others passed her mother off as a nuisance. Her next story had a similar...
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 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?
Tan makes an appeal to emotion with the connections she describes. A connection between a mother and daughter that is wrought with emotion is as relatable as humaneness is to a human. There is a soft declaration to be found in Tan’s statement, “I knew I had succeeded where it counted when my mother finished reading my book and gave me her verdict: “So easy to read.” Tan gains trust by appealing to emotion with something as understandable as the loving and more often than not tension riddled connection between a mother and her daughter. Tan incorporates the intimacy of the “broken” language in correlation to her husband with these words, “It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk, the language I grew up with” (Tan 1). Under the assumption that Louis DeMattei (Tan’s husband) has no prior history with the Chinese Language Tan makes an important point of the use of the “broken” language she learned from her mother. Demattei doesn’t inquire or correct Tan when she switches between the English she acquired from the vast expanses of English literature and the English she acquired from her mother. Tan says, “he even uses it with me,” there is an implied level of comfort within the relationship she has with her husband. Tan shares what is viewed as “broken” and in need of fixing with Demattei and he reciprocates, leaving them
There is a similar example of this In “Two Kinds” the mother also reads “People magazine” and “Ripley’s Believe it or Not “and is able to understand them to quiz her daughter (Tan TK,443). To quiz her daughter in the story, the mother needed to read, then understand the content of the quiz and this is hard especially when English is it your first language. This shows how the mother is intelligent enough to understand English. The last characteristic shown of first generation immigrants in Tan’s work was they were both determined. In “Mother Tongue” Amy Tan’s mother was trying to get a check sent in the mail from the New York stock broker, when the check did not come , she went to New York and confronted him in person (). This clearly shows that she was determined to get the money that she was entitled too. In “Two Kinds” the mother in the story was determined for her daughter to try her best, and become a prodigy in some way. She constantly quoted her daughter, got her piano lesson by cleaning someone’s home to trade and even saved up enough money to by her daughter her own piano so she could practice(). She was determined to set her daughter up for success and did everything in her power to help her out. Amy tans essay also showed
In the essay “Mother Tongue” Amy Tan, the author, gives a different, a more upbeat outlook on the various forms of English that immigrants speak as they adapt to the American culture. Using simple language to develop her argument, she casually communicates to the audience rather than informing which helps the audience understand what is being presented at ease. Her mother plays an important role in her outlook of language, because she helps her realize that language not only allows one to be a part of a culture but create one’s identity in society. Amy Tan shares her real life stories about cultural racism and the struggle to survive in America as an immigrant without showing any emotions, which is a wonderful epiphany for the audience in realizing
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.
In the story “Mother Tongue,” by Amy Tan, Mrs. Tan talks about (in the book) her life and how she grew up with different Englishes was very hard and how it has affected her today. The setting of the book goes from being at lecture to the past of Amy Tan and her mother along with the different Englishes she had to come accustomed to. In “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan, the author’s attitude towards the “different Englishes” she grew up with is fascinated. Amy Tan conveys this attitude through wanting to learn all different kinds of Englishes, her use of Englishes in her novel, and the acceptance she developed of her mother’s broken English.
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).
Chang Rae-Lee, author of "Mute in an English-Only World," moved to America from Korea when he was only six or seven years old. He adopted the English language quickly, as most children do, but his mother continued to struggle. "For her, the English language…usually meant trouble and a good dose of shame and sometimes real hurt" (Lee 586). It is obvious, though, that his mother was persistent in her attempt to learn English and deal with her limited culture experience, as Lee accounts of her using English flash cards, phrase books and a pocket workbook illustrated with stick-people figures. Lee sympathetically connects with the audience through his mother, and forces them to make a personal conclusion when he ends the article with a lingering question in the reader’s mind; what if they had seen her struggling? Would they have sat back and watched or stepped up to help?
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...
Today, Amy Tan, author of novels, children’s book, and autobiographies, has become one of America’s favorite novelists. Amy’s mother has always wanted her to become a doctor or a concert pianist, however; Amy decided to pursue a career in writing novels. She spent most of her time studying at San Jose State University for her bachelor’s and master’s degree. Her best selling novels have been translated into more than thirty-five languages (Amy Tan Biography). Her novels are mostly about her mother and herself. One of her most popular essay’s is “Mother Tongue.” In this essay, she states that she does not want to be a scholar of English or Literature, but a writer. She wants her readers to see her view on how she feels about English. Tan states,
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,
While talking amongst intellectuals and in professional settings like her speech seminar, she spoke in Standard English using what she learned and adapted from what was taught in school. She realized there was a slight difference in the way she communicated with people she is close to. There was a pattern in the way she speaks around them. For example her mother and her husband can’t tell the difference whether she is speaking “broken, fractured or limited” English. Even though her mom can’t speak “perfect” Standard English, don’t misjudge because she can actually understand a lot. She reads and comprehends a lot from reading the Forbes report, listening to Wall Street Week, talking with her stockbroker to reading books. Some of her friends tell her that they can understand 50 percent of what her mother is saying. Some only understand 80 to 90 percent. Some say they understand none of what she is saying, as if she were speaking pure Chinese. But to Amy, her mother 's English is perfectly clear, perfectly natural. People all around judged her as an outcast because it wasn’t perfect English as people expected. Amy witnessed firsthand examples of how her mom was being mistreated repeatedly. The fact that people did not take her seriously, they did not give her good service, they pretended not to understand her, or even acted as if they did not hear her in many places was a clear sign she was being taken advantage of. That resorted her mother to realize her simple English wasn’t essential to converse with others with the help of her daughter. She needed her daughter to impersonate her over the phone just to get her point across. Amy now notices most immigrants and families usually influence one another by the way they speak. That plays as a big role in shaping the language of