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Language Barrier - Essay Example

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Language Barrier Both Amy Tan, in “Mother Tongue” and David Sedaris, in “Me Talk Pretty One Day” give clear examples of the insecurities involved with attempting to communicate in a language not yet mastered. Comparing the situation in both the articles, “Mother Tongue,” by Amy Tan and “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” by David Sedaris, it is contrasting…
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Language Barrier Essay
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"Language Barrier"

Download file to see previous pages The situation in the article, “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” by David Sedaris, is totally different. Sedaris is venturing to learn the skills of French language at the age of forty-one, rightly feeling like a “true debutant” but the environment at the school intimidates him as all students in the school speak the language confidently, and their outfits are also very trendy, which further adds to the feeling of insecurity in Sedaris (Sedaris 1). Comparing the feeling of insecurity in Sedaris with that of Amy’s mother, Sedaris develops insecurity from the class room environment, as the teacher asks questions to all classmates quite sarcastically, for example, she comments on the Polish Anna’s hatred for mosquito, remarking, “…we’ve been blessed with someone as unique and original as you? Tell us, please” (Sedaris 2). The very anxiety of waiting for his turn in the class makes Sedaris insecure. As the teacher comes to Sedaris to ask what things he hates, Sedaris commits the blunder of not differentiating between feminine and masculine forms of his favorite things like ‘bruises’ and ‘electric floor waxer,’ which the teacher takes as a very serious mistake in French language. The teacher does not spare Sedaris and makes fun of the mistakes committed by Sedaris, remarking: “Were you always this palicmkrexis? Even a fiuscrzsa ticiwelmun knows that a typewriter is feminine” (Sedaris 3). It did not take much time when Sedaris started feeling a phobia from the French whenever a possibility arose to speak in French; he started preferring not to speak in public places at all. All students were in the same situation, pissed harshly by the French teacher that someone confided to Sedaris that like Sedaris, they were on the verge of crying alone at night. This fear psychosis is further heightened when the teacher pokes a shy Korean in the eye with a freshly sharpened pencil and in the name of apology for the act, finds fault with the Korean student only (Sedaris 3). One can share the relief felt by Sedaris at his understanding of each and every word of complain spoken by the teacher to him. His joy speaks all: “Talk me more, you, plus, please, plus.” Comparing the experience of Sedaris, of speaking a foreign language with that of Amy’s mother, her mother had to pass through irritating situations. Amy’s mother’s English was comparatively poorer; her acquaintances could hardly manage what she spoke but to someone like Amy, her English was totally understandable. One need not discern the reason, as Amy herself shares it. The ‘broken’ English spoken by Amy’s mother made her mother vulnerable in the eyes of others like her stock-broker who did not remit her the profit of her investment in share market by the due time, taking the benefit of her poor English language skills. It was the reason why Amy’s mother used to ask her daughter to manage her phone calls by disguising as Amy’s mother, not Amy so that her remarks were taken seriously. Amy’s mother used to omit the use of nouns, pronouns, and the verbs while conveying messages (Tan 2). Poor grammatical knowledge of the English language sometimes landed Amy’s mother in emotional outbursts-like situations when one time, she ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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