September 26, 2012
“How to Tame a Wild Tongue”
In the article, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, Gloria Anzaldua focuses on the idea of losing an accent or native language to conform to the current environment. Anzaldua grew up in the United States but spoke mostly Spanish. The problem is that the language she spoke was Chicano Spanish, not true Spanish. She was living in an English speaking environment, but was not Anglo. She wasn't living in a Spanish speaking country, but was speaking a form of Spanish. She describes the difficulty of straddling to change language of Chicano Spanish. Even Chicano Spanish varies from Texas to Arizona to California. These variations, and Chicano Spanish as a whole, are considered a poor form of Spanish. It is considered “Spanish for the uneducated”. That is where Anzaldua has a problem with it. The language a person speaks is a part of who they are. If the way they speak is criticized day after day it becomes that they are being criticized. Ethnic identity and linguistic identity come together. Though Chicanos from all over the United States may speak different forms of Chicano Spanish, they are all Chicanos. Simply because the language varies doesn't mean that it makes it any less authentic. People who speak a variation on a language should not be ashamed of the way they speak. Part of their identity is in the way they express their ideas. Chicano has become more than just a sub-culture but a culture all its own. Anzaldua argues that Chicano music, movies, and literature are just as valid forms of cultural expression as any other. Gloria Anzaldua's essay expresses the need for the language of Chicano Spanish and Chicano culture to be recognized as valid. Being a Chicano, speaking Chicano Spanish, and participating in Chicano culture is not something to be ashamed of.
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