Spicy Tongues: Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

935 Words4 Pages
“I am someone who has always loved language. I am fascinated by language in daily life.” Amy Tan, an Asian-American writer of the article Mother Tongue loves the different “Englishes” that can be spoken. In the article, she shares her personal feelings of when she was younger; her embarrassment of her mother’s English and even her own struggle with the language. Amy Tan effectively writes Mother Tongue through the use of diction to show the tone, portray amazing syntax, and express the vivid imagery.
Her use of personal diction expresses the tone uniquely through her opinions and feelings. Amy Tan shows that this article is personal to her due to the anecdotes throughout her paper. One story Tan shared was “when I was fifteen, she used to have me call people on the phone and pretend I was she.” At the age of fifteen she “was forced to ask for information or even complain and yell at people…” She felt “red-faced and quiet.” Amy Tan expressed her feelings to show that the topic she was writing about is personal; she showed her embarrassment and let the reader into a vulnerable part of her past. The stories Tan shared, adds to the tone of the article being personal, where readers could connect and get a feel for her situation. She states that, “I think my mother’s English almost had an effect on limiting my possibilities in life … language spoken in family, especially in immigrant families which are more insular, plays a large role in shaping the language of the child” and that is the reason she tells her stories. Along with telling her personal stories she adds in her own opinion on the topic, making the paper about what she thought could have happened or what she originally thought. Tan never knows how to explain her mother’s sp...

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...e the reader the full meaning of her experiences. Tan’s article was written with her readers in mind and she was purposeful in shortening her descriptions; altogether it improved the article.
In Mother Tongue, Amy Tan uses diction to make the article personal; she has brilliant syntax, and innovated imagery giving an effective view of her theme. The tone of the essay makes it personal for the reader to be able to connect; she shares true stories and her opinions. Her syntax throughout the paper was creative; she used a combination of short and long sentences in order to emphasize her points. Imagery was well developed and very vivid especially when talking about daytime turning into night fall. This is the true account of how the author of the famous Joy Luck Club found her writing style. Not her mother’s English, not her professors’ English, but a middle ground.
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