I think there are two points in Tan’s essay. One main point is that her mother’s language has the power to shape not only Tan’s identity, but also the relationship she has with her mother. Her mother’s language helped shaped the way she saw things, expressed things, and made sense of the world. Though her mother’s English was broken or limited, she had no trouble understanding it, because she grew up with this language and she has adapted her mother’s way expression. She took part of what her mother said about a wedding as an example to show that this is intimacy. Words like “Du Yusong having business like fruit stand. Like off the street kind” cannot be understood by all. Because of her mother’s limited English, which the author believed reflected the quality of what she had to say, she was ashamed of her mother. She provided plenty of evidence to support her perspectives: the fact that people who served her mother did not respect her. Furthermore, Tan thought her mother’s English almost had an effect on her possibilities in life. She provided some examples that also applied to most Asian Americans that her true abilities lay in math and science, but never in English. Then she expanded her first point to Asian Americans, most of whom are enrolled in engineering, wondering if they also had teachers who were steering them away from writing. She does think that “language spoken in the family, especially in immigrant families which are more insular, plays a large role in shaping the language of the child” (Mother Tongue, 714).
An experience that I have had with language happened not long after I came to Seattle. One day I met a girl who was also waiting for the same instructor whom I intended to meet outside her office. We chatted for a while, and then I asked her where she came from. She said a place, somewhere near Seattle. I nodded and replied, “I could tell it from your accent.” She seemed a little surprised and said, “Accent? I do not have an...
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