Amy Tan s Mother Tongue Summary amp Themes study com

Amy Tan begins by announcing, “I am not a scholar of English…I cannot give you much more than personal opinions on the English language and its variations in this country and others. ” How does this opening set up your expectations for the rest of the essay? Why do you think she chose to begin by denying her own authority? Tan writes about the different “Englishes” she speaks. What categories does she divide English into? Why are these divisions important to Tan? How does she say they affect her as a writer? At the beginning of the essay, Tan herself questions how to put a label on the complex “Englishes” that she has grown up with.

Mother Tongue by Amy Tan Home Is Where The Heart Dwells

To Tan, these “Englishes” do not just represent a way of speaking they are multi-dimensional and a big part of her journey to find out who she truly is. Through self-reflection, at the end of her essay, she is able to come up with four categories of the English she uses: the kind of English she speaks to her mother (considered a “simple English”), the English her mother uses with her (considered a “broken English”), her translation of her mother’s Chinese (considered a “watered down” version), and the kind of English Tan aspires to capture (her mother’s internal language- the translation of Chinese if her mother could speak English perfectly. )These divisions matter to Tan because each of these “Englishes” uniquely contribute in forming who Tan is. As a writer, this exposure to all of these “Englishes” has affected her greatly. She no longer focuses on writing to the readers who can understand English perfectly. Tan’s understanding of the multifaceted “Englishes” present in our nation allow her to get her message across to a larger audience.

How does writing for a literary audience affect the language Tan primarily uses in the essay? What kind of English do you think she believes her audience speaks? Why? Support your answer with quotations from the text. Tan is aware that the literary audience will have a higher expectation of her writing. Therefore, she does not write in the manner in which her mother would speak (“broken English”). However, throughout her essay, any reader, whether an English scholar or student would easily be able to understand what Tan is trying to convey through her writing.

Mother Tongue by Amy Tan Summary Scribd

In her essay Tan states: “Fortunately, for reasons I won’t get into today, I later decided I should envision a reader for the stories I would write. Jeffrey Michel Prof. Natalia Sucre ENG 6656 Tues, September 65, 7567 Essays #6: Rough Draft Language Power in “Mother Tongue” A higher level of sophistication and articulation in one’s speech portrays one as a very well educated person. Such a person’s language makes them an admirable individual that can lead people and hold power with ease. In the article “Mother Tongue”, Amy Tan emphasizes the idea that we all speak different languages unconsciously and that we are categorized by the way we speak.

Language is power people develop that power through their own sense of cultural and historical language and usage because language comes from culture. In “Mother Tongue, ” Amy Tan discusses the different experiences she had that made her realized the different types of English’s she uses. The first time she realized this was when she was giving a talk about her book, The Joy Luck Club. When realizing that she had been using proper English to speak to her audience, after seeing her mother in the crowd. A language she had never used with her mother but her mother understood it. Tan felt embarrassed because the only way her mother would communicate with her was through “broken” English and contradicts how much she actually understands. This reminds us that even though her mother’s English seemed “broken” Amy Tan still understand her mother tongue.

In situations of being her mother translator made her realize the different types of English’s she uses. When Tan was young she used to speak to her mother’s stockbroker on the phone and act as if she was her mother in order to get people’s attention. She had the idea that her mother’s English was limited and so her opportunities throughout her life would be limited too.

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