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Language - Essay Example

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Language is a dynamic and living creature. Our lives are connected with it. We gain knowledge, share our experiences and develop our lives in terms of language. Language connects our lives and once this bound is violated, we come across a problem of a challenging choice: whether to live or not to live…
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Download file to see previous pages The question of life and choice of the way we want to exist is challenged by the option of language oppression. Ethnic minorities are often prevented from a proper existence and their usual way of life in case their languages are suppressed and assimilated in accordance with “white standards” of European languages. On the basis of essays on languages and challenges of its functioning on the borderlands, we will focus on the important social and epistemological role languages play in our lives. Authors’ views on language Navarro Scott Momaday in his essay “Personal reflections” (1987) intends to show Native Americans and their attitude for language and the role it plays in their lives. Europeans and Native Americans show different attitudes in their story telling and these reflections are seen in the way they use language. He tries to show different world perceptions between Europeans and Indians. For example, he shows the way Native Americans use the verb “to live”. Very often it is used in a metaphoric way. This writer grew up in the Indian reservation near Oklahoma State and he realizes the Indians perceive the world. Thus, when they say that the sun “comes back to the Earth” they underline that the Earth is their homeland. The concept of time is endless and illusive for Native Americans. There is an essential linguistic diversity between Native Americans and white people. There is a well-developed oral tradition among the American Indians. There is a great respect shown towards the speaker. Consequently, the listener should be very attentive and comprehend every word, which is uttered when the story is told to him. The words are means for carrying liberty and the language reflects the nature of deep respect in the life of Native Americans. Gloria Anzaldua in her essay “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” (1987) discusses cultural differences, which are reflected in language as well. She talks about borderlands, where two or more cultures exist. There are essential linguistic differences not only between Spanish English or Standard English, but also between different dialects. If the native speakers are prevented from an opportunity to speak their native languages, this can be considered as violence. The author describes numerous controversies, when she was made to speak American language otherwise she had to go back to Mexico, where she belonged. At Pan American University the student had to get rid of their accents and speak American English language. Mother tongue becomes dry and people forget their speech. Chicano Spanish, she claims, is considered by the purist and the most Latinos a mutilation of Spanish. It is impossible to remove Chicago Spanish language, because it occurred in a natural way. People are heterogeneous creatures and it is natural of them to speak different languages. Pachuco is positioned as the language of rebellion. These varieties of Spanish languages are full of anglicisms. Therefore, we can see a clear tendency of language interference. A poor Spanish is positioned as illegitimate and a bastard language. The author also talks about books and films, which are created by Spaniards or Mexicans. For example, she mentions the novel “City of Night” written by John Rechy. There is a clear mixture of Spanish and English words. Moreover, in the films of Mexicans or about Mexicans, she claims, there is a clear sense of alienation and at the same time she feels like coming home. There is a great ambiguous feeling about pop art of the Mexicans. At least, the glimpses of native language are pleasant for the Native Speakers. Les Chiconos are people, who have Indian roots and they have their own tongue. Toni ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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