September 5, 2012
“Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan is an essay discussing how English-speakers inaccurately associate language with not only words/vocabulary but also educational stature. “ ‘Mother Tongue’ shows us that rather than becoming accustomed to English, we should recognize and embrace our ‘mother tongue.’ The language we use is so powerful it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or simple truth.” Amy Tan indicated that complex vocabulary does not determine someone’s intelligence but the profundity of their thoughts do. I believe the message that Amy tan was trying to convey, is that language is not the best determinant to gauge intelligence of an individual. And perfect English is not the only English. There are multiple ways of expressing one’s thoughts−multiple “Englishes.” Vocabulary can describe but language can express. Language can paint a more vivid picture with critical minutiae. Words are just the icing on the cake, although, the true meaning behind your thoughts lies in your language. As Amy Tan says towards the end of the essay: “I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal: her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts.” Tan was attempting to prove that descriptive words have limited potentiality. Language is meant to “pick up the slack” of where words fall behind. Language gives you the feeling that you are actually there. Emotions and feelings only become palpable through language. Only then, are you capable of accessing and understanding the true content of an essay, book, or article. People frequently become preoccupied with vocabulary choice, they often lose focus on what truly matters− the message. . There are plenty of ways to convey your message, I just believe it’s most important that your message is totally understood. Tan realized that people often disregarded the power of language so...
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