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Rhetorical Analysis of a Language - Essay Example

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There is a time and place for everything and this runs true in the use of language. According to both Baldwin and Tan, language defines the person who is speaking, and gives the listener opportunity to create impressions and make judgments. However, each author presents their point of view in a different way…
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Download file to see previous pages Yet it seems manipulative to make an emotional appeal in areas like politics or religion, even if it is done often, to get votes or converts. In these cases, it only seems fair to make an appeal to one's good sense in order to make decisions based on facts rather than how one feels at the moment.
Baldwin states that "black English is rooted in American history" created by blacks during the time of slavery and designed to communicate with each other without their white masters understanding. It was designed as a method of survival. "What joins all languages.is the necessity to confront life,to outwit death" (Baldwin). He gives an example of one member of a family warning another of possible danger by speaking black English even in the presence of the white man because the white man could not understand it. Baldwin writes that "Language comes into existence by means of brutal necessity" and is a means with which to deal with life. Tan also acknowledges there are different types of "Englishes" that she uses and also proposes that
English when speaking with her mother and another when at work or giving speeches. The English she uses with her mother is what she describes as simple or "broken". From the example given of how her mother speaks, it is easy to see where others may not understand her. But Tan understands, and to her, what her mother says is perfectly clear. She also realized that she used the same broken English when speaking with her husband and Tan refers to this language as a "language of intimacy" between them. Whereas Baldwin tries to make us see his point based on historical evidence, something factual and therefore credible, Tan gets her message across by appealing to a sense of family and unity and by using a personal relationship with which everyone can relate. She tells the story where she pretended to be her mother on a phone conversation and uses humor to generate a sense well-being and openness to further the point she wanted to make. Tan writes,
"I had to get on the phone and say in an adolescent voice that was not very convincing. "This is Mrs. Tan." And my mother was standing in the back whispering loudly, "Why he don't send me check, already two weeks late. So mad he lie to me, losing me money." And then I said in perfect English, "Yes, I'm getting rather concerned. You had agreed to send the check two weeks ago, but it hasn't arrived."
Using examples of Ireland and the parts of France that adhere to their own languages even if the mother tongue of the mainland is different, Baldwin states that language "is a proof of power". The Irish have suffered because England had "contempt for their language" and wanted to dominate them. Baldwin uses the non-emotional ethos appeal by referring to events in history to show that the countries that dominate spread their language to the conquered land. Drawing on examples of other countries that have suffered similar fates as the blacks, he makes his argument
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more objective and less likely to come across as a "poor blacks, bad white" sympathy play for support.
Tan also alludes to language being a proof ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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