Prof. Natalia Sucre
Tues, September 10, 2012
Essays #1: Rough Draft
Language & Power in “Mother Tongue”
A higher level of sophistication and articulation in one’s speech portrays one as a very well educated person. Such a person’s "language" makes them an admirable individual that can lead people and hold power with ease.
In the article “Mother Tongue”, Amy Tan emphasizes the idea that we all speak different languages unconsciously and that we are categorized by the way we speak. Language is power; people develop that power through their own sense of cultural and historical language and usage because language comes from culture. In “Mother Tongue,” Amy Tan discusses the different experiences she had that made her realized the different types of "English’s" she uses. The first time she realized this was when she was giving a talk about her book, The Joy Luck Club. When realizing that she had been using proper English to speak to her audience, after seeing her mother in the crowd. A language she had never used with her mother but her mother understood it. Tan felt embarrassed because the only way her mother would communicate with her was through “broken” English and contradicts how much she actually understands. This reminds us that even though her mother’s English seemed “broken” Amy Tan still understand her mother tongue.
In situations of being her mother translator made her realize the different types of "English’s" she uses. When Tan was young she used to speak to her mother’s stockbroker on the phone and act as if she was her mother in order to get people’s attention. She had the idea that her mother’s English was limited and so her opportunities throughout her life would be limited too. In a different occasion when her mother went to the...