Mother Tongue

Topics: Amy Tan, Language, Short story Pages: 1 (283 words) Published: December 16, 2007
Amy Tan Mother Tongue:
In the short story "Mother Tongue" by author Amy Tan, she speaks of her mother's English as "broken English" because her mother came from China and spoke as though she was unintelligent. Growing up Amy knew two languages. When she spoke to her mother she used elementary style words and spoke as though she did not know the language, while in front of fluent English speakers, she spoke eloquently with an impressive vocabulary. Amy becomes uncomfortable with the word ‘broken English' throughout her life because the term implies that her mother's language is not "fixable" and reflects the quality of what she has to say. When in reality her mother's language is more vivid and imaginary than anyone else's. Throughout the short story Amy becomes more and more accepted towards her mother's vocabulary because of the other ways she shows her intelligence. For example, she said that her mother read the Forbes report, listened to Wall Street Week, converses with her stock broker, and discusses Shirley MacLaine's books frequently.

When Amy Tan talks about the language tests she said that in Math there is only one correct answer and language tests are more of a judgment call. She pondered the idea of why Asians were more successful in a career of engineering than writing and came to the conclusion that maybe those children growing up at home were in the same situation that she was. I'd assume that it is discouraging to feel as though no one supports a writer that comes from a "broken English" home and how intense the pressure is to go into a straightforward career involving math.
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