Mother Tongue Essay

680 WordsDec 1, 20113 Pages
In “Mother Tongue,” Amy Tan uses different Englishes that include “broken” or “simple” English and formal and sophisticated English. Tan utilizes “broken” English when she speaks with her mother, and she describes it as her “language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk, the language I grew up with.” She uses the more proper English in public and professional settings. For example, Tan communicates in a more formal English when she is discussing her writing and her book, The Joy Luck Club, to a large audience. When I hear someone speaking in “broken” English, I sometimes feel bad for them because it is difficult for them to convey their message to the person they are speaking with. I do not feel superior to the individual who is conversing in “broken” English because I cannot judge someone on the basis of how they talk in the English language. They probably are proficient in another language that is foreign to me, and if I were to learn that language and speak it in a “broken” manner, I would not appreciate it if people looked down upon me because of that. There are stereotypes and misconceptions concerning people who speak in “broken” English and how they are perceived to be uneducated and stupid, but this is very ignorant. Another aspect that has shaped my views on people who speak “broken” English is the fact that my parents speak in “broken” English. However, this has not limited their possibilities in life, as my parents are very successful today. This disproves the statement that people who speak in “broken” English are uneducated and dumb. Also, when I hear someone speak in “broken” English, I do not think it is a big deal because I am accustomed to hearing my parents and numerous other people speak it. I live in a multicultural city where people come from several backgrounds, and I encounter people every day who speak

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