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Analysis of Mother Tongue by Amy Tan - Essay Example

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This is the Analysis of "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan Essay. People who learn English as a second language always have trouble mastering pronunciation, grammar, and style. …
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Download file to see previous pages It is what this analysis of “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan: draft essay seeks to address. The book talks of the different versions of ‘broken’ English the writer speaks as she struggles to create a linguistic identity. She also touches on how her mother had issues with the language and how the society mocked her for lack of prowess in the language. Stylistic Devices in ‘Mother Tongue’ Amy Tan uses many stylistic devices to drive her points home. The most noticeable is the parallel construct she creates in her introductory paragraph. She explicitly states that she is not an English scholar before telling us she is a writer. The way she uses this style gives her room to create a stark contrast that, in a way, defends her mother. She lets us know that you don’t have to master English to be a writer. Another style she implements in the write up is personification. A good example is when she says ‘language is the tool of my trade’ in the second paragraph. It tells us how she uses English to communicate while also hinting at how she thinks of languages. She elaborates that she employs ‘all the Englishes’ she grew up with to communicate. The personification of the language gives it character and a being, making it an amorphous entity that does not necessarily take one distinct form. It is further cemented by the fact that Tan's mother and other people have a variety of English dialects. Amy also employs repetition to drive her main opinion at home. She is of the idea that there are different ways to speak English. The diverse forms of the language she uses when communicating with different people reinforce this. For instance, the English she uses when speaking to her mother is different from what she uses when talking to classmates or teachers. While the word Mother Tongue refers to the first language someone learns, Tan's reference to this word is pegged to the English dialect her mother uses. Words like ‘fractured,’ ‘broken,’ and ‘fractured’ are heavily used to emphasize what others think of her mama’s language. Tans' idea is to first capture our attention by identifying with criticism before highlighting how efficient some find this form of broken English useful. After all, it is still presentable enough to be understood by anyone who speaks English. The writeup points out how even though some say her mother speaks incomprehensible English, Tan can still understand it just as she can understand the other forms of the language other people speak. She uses this to argue that we do not have to speak a given version of English to communicate. She still uses anecdotes and narrations of her life experiences to show the problems she faced when talking with her mother, and what the society thought of her form of language. She employs dialog to let us experience how her mother speaks to convince us that even though it is not the ‘textbook English,’ it is still comprehensible. Bottom Line: Why Multiple Forms of English are Not Bad The core purpose of this essay is to show us that there is no right form of English. Tan's opinion is there are diverse versions, and people who speak or put them into writing should not be looked down upon. In every other paragraph, she makes use of the word ‘Englishes’ to drive her point home. It is not a grammatically correct word. It sends the point home. A paragraph in her article points out that it is narrow-minded to gauge someone’s intelligence from their language. Broken English does not mean someone is not learned. Tan's mother still keeps in touch with her stockbroker, reads famous authors and prominent columns in well-known papers like Forbes. She can grasp complex arguments and concepts, although she does not speak standard English. Her argument shows how we easily generalize and think of people with a dissimilar language as less intelligent. To her, a language should never be a standard of intelligence or prowess. What matters is whether the person can grasp crucial concepts, internalize them, interpret, and understandably present conclusions. It does not matter whether the presentation will be different. We should be grateful we can understand them even if it takes some effort. Another pointer to bolster this argument is Tan herself. You can misjudge her if you find her conversing with her mother. Her writing is very different. Her text uses simple and easy to read standard English. Her very last paragraph takes time to address how she thinks people get derailed when correcting grammar and style instead of trying to understand the reader’s points. She tells us that she is concerned with communicating with her audience instead of writing colorful text that will appeal to her readers. She feels that she does not have to write like a native English speaking professor to be understood. Her writing has a good pattern of using her personal experiences as a basis of the argument before extrapolating into real-life scenarios. It makes it more credible since she is not only a good example but also a writer who avoids confrontational criticism when possible. ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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