Love For The Language in Amy Tan’s Article
Amy Tan’s article, ‘Mother Tongue’ informs us of her love for the language. It tells us of how fascinated she has been by the language in her daily life. Amy spends lots of time deliberating on how powerful the language can be, with its ability to evoke an emotion, a complex idea, a visual image or a simple truth. The article’s theme of appreciating and diversifying the different kinds of English as used is evident because the author includes her mother’s struggles with the language and her personal experience with the various types of English and how she overcame them.
Amy gives out instances whereby she had improved on her mastery of the language, and it was not until she realized the presence of her mother in the room during her speech when she realized the difference in the kind of English she was using. She elaborates by explaining that it wasn’t the kind that she uses with her mother back at home. Amy says that all that had been achieved through learning at school, and reading of books. Even though Amy has developed her English, she explains that she still relates to the kind that she heard from home. Amy gave an example of a switch in English when walking with her husband and mother. She used the language that they could relate with- further explaining how diverse she had become.
Amy goes on to account for the amount of effort her mother puts into trying to grasp the language, and despite that, most people still don’t understand her. She explains how her mother reads Forbes report; listens to Wall Street Week, converse daily with her stock broker, all these are aimed at elaborating on the topic of study, which is diversifying the kinds of English. In spite of all the negative feedback on her mother’s language, Amy is proud of her and sees the positive side of the style. She appreciates it by stating how vivid, direct and full of observation and imagery it is. However, the language is entirely clear and natural to her. That was the style that helped shape the way she saw things, expressed idea and made sense to the world.
Amy tries to bring out the concept of not looking down upon those people who speak “broken” English. She begins by telling us of how she used to be ashamed of her mother’s English. States that as she was growing up, her mother’s “limited” English limited her perception. She believed that the quality of her English reflected the quality of what she had to say, and her imperfect way of expression reflected her incomplete thoughts. She further explains that she wasn’t the only one who looked down upon her mother, as people in department stores, banks, among other places did not pay much attention to her. This serves to show the extent to which the lack of appreciation of a different kind of English went. She tells us of the effect of the same, by giving an example of how her mother would let her answer phone calls on her behalf. This loosely translates to a lack of confidence in oneself. Amy tries to explain the importance of appreciating the diversity that exists in the English language through the example of her experience with her mother.
Amy explains how immense the problems associated with the different types of English have become. She explains that most of the Asian American students opt for mathematics and sciences rather than literature. She associates that to the “broken” English that the people are associated with, and the fact that most teachers also try and drive them away from the field of literature. She explains how she also faced the same challenge in college, and how she overcame it. Her persistence in the study of literature paid off as she began writing books that were a success. She goes ahead to explain that, even though her mother was not good at English, she didn’t hesitate to let her go through her work. I believe that she has done this to show that, even those that are not good at the language can be of help. This goes in line with the theme of appreciating the different diversities in the English language
In conclusion, Amy tells us through her article that, our various kinds of English should not be an object of prejudice, nor should we feel bad about it. Rather, we should appreciate the diversity in the language, and make an effort to understand each other.
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