How the Way We Speak Changes When We Talk to Different People

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When I was pondering over ‘the power of language’ for my assignment the other day, I stumbled upon the idea that people change the way they speak based on the people they are with. As we know, this fact was clearly outlined in the essay “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan, but it does in fact apply to my life too. I often talk differently with different people and hence I would like to put forward my argument on this claim. To look at, the issue whether people change their way of talking based on the person they are talking to is quite a debatable one and can be argued equally and vociferously in two ways. One the one hand there may be some people who would agree that the English they use depends on the person they are using it on. On the other hand there are some who would argue that they talk in just one way irrespective of the person they are talking to. Nevertheless, a deeper insight on the subject makes me feel that the former does apply to a lot of people and I would like to justify this claim with recourse to examples and logical reasoning. Firstly, I would like to take the example of Amy Tan. She states in her essay that she spoke to her mother in a ‘limited’ version of English that was completely different from her normal English. In fact she also found it awkward when her mother was present in the room when she was giving a speech using her normal, refined English. By this one can easily derive the fact that Amy Tan spoke differently to her mother than she did to her friends, colleagues and audiences. Another Case that I would like to dwell up on is that of my friend Sid. I noticed a considerable change in the way he talks from back home and now. Back home, he used to talk in a slightly slang version English using a few words of Hindi in between. But now, at the UW he changed the way he speaks entirely. He dropped the Hindi Words and spruced up his English. (Possibly because most people here at the UW don’t understand Hindi) Based on the two cases above we could...
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