Language is defined as the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a community. It is all around us everyday, being used by each individual to communicate with one another. Without it, the world would be at loss. Although language can act in a uniting fashion, it can also be a divisor between poeople and society. Just like for the two people, Tanya Barrientos and Amy Tan, language was used to unite each of them with their family yet caused problems to arise, which would divide them from their own people or society. Each author uses their own life examples relating the stories to each other yet one author is ostracized from her native people, the other, by an English speaking society. In this we are going to look at two stories side by side and how they relate to one another and how they differentiate.
In Tanya Barrientos’ “Se Habla Español” she explains how she was born into a Spanish speaking family but when they moved to American when she was three, her and her family stopped speaking English. They way she looked at it was back then, speaking Spanish meant all you could do was wait tables and clean hotel rooms and were constantly being looked down on and criticized. Because of this Barrientos enjoyed her Americanized self and that she often acted as to not know any Spanish to feel superior. She believed that by staying away from Spanish, that stereotypes would stay away from her. Once America changed its views on ethnic identity and people were celebrating the ethnic diversity, the Latino community was held together by the Spanish language, yet it was that which kept her apart. She finally decided to swallow her pride and set out to learn the language people assumed she already knew. Although she can follow a large part of Spanish dialogue, she still gets caught up over difficult construction. She believes there are others out there just like her though.
In Amy Tans story “Mother Young” Amy takes a...
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