Amy Tan’s essay “Mother Tongue”, claims that we speak different languages when we speak to each other. Our intelligence is measured by how we speak. Tan uses language as an important part of her fictional work. Tan draws on her experiences to help her understand the “englishes”. Tan, a Chinese-born child, had to learn two languages. She used educational English that she had learned in the classroom and spoke it with her family. Tan’s Chinese Mother speaks of her “broken English”, and how it is used to show respect in Chinese culture. Tan also mentions that her mother does not speak English well. Tan’s mother is unable to speak English well, so they have developed a language of their own. Tan learned that conversing in a language other than her mother’s was difficult for her. Tan would often say something she didn’t mean or only speak to her mum. Tan’s mom has to be very careful when she is around people. She cannot always say things correctly.
Her mother is often treated unfairly by different people because she brings diversity to the spoken language. People would pretend to not understand her words and disregard what she had to say because of the diversity she brought to the conversation. Tan’s mother made her speak to different people when she was younger so that problems or issues could be dealt with more clearly. Tan, when addressing her mother, believes that the language spoken within families, especially migrant households, has a big impact on children’s future lives. Tan says Asian students may be good in math and sciences, but aren’t so great at English. Tan explains that it is due to culture. Tan explains that in Chinese society, kids are always encouraged to excel at math and scientific subjects but not English. Tan explains that she had a limited English as a child because of her parents’ culture. Tan claims that math was easier for her than English because there is only one correct answer in math. The multiple options in English were logical and Tan’s poor English was a result. Tan mentioned that she enjoyed being examined, and that her boss had told her to stop writing. This criticism encouraged her to continue writing and to change her major. She was happy with the path she chose and felt that her poor language and writing skills didn’t match up to what people expected of her. Her mother influenced her to start writing stories aimed at people with “limited” or broken English.
My parents were migrant workers, and my English was also “broken”. At times I’ve had to speak for them. It’s unjust to judge someone by their speech. My father makes mistakes when he tries to speak English. My father is not made to look dumb or uneducated by this. Maine can see how intelligent he is when he does business with major corporations. The fact that you aren’t fluent in a particular language doesn’t mean you’re stupid. Maine is more patient after she makes a mistake when reading “Mother Tongue”. I used to build false assumptions before reading “Mother Tongue”. I make the assumption that you aren’t well-educated if you speak proper English. I’ve noticed that families speak in their own language to be able to communicate more easily. I believe it is essential to speak a foreign language. This is especially true if your family has migrated. A second language can help families understand things faster.
After reading “Mother Tongue”, i have learned how to respect those who are unable to speak a foreign language. When others express their feelings, I should be extra respectful. It is also important that I do not criticize those who are unable to speak fluently in a certain language. Maine is also inspired to support other who don’t understand Yankee culture or can’t speak English. I’m aware of how it feels, as I was once new to this nation and that I feel it like to be new to U. S. This article made it clear that some new immigrants in the U. S. were treated horribly because they spoke English. Americans tend to think that those who do not know English are uneducated. This causes a lot of racism and prejudice, which makes Americans seem untrustworthy to other cultures and nations. In “Mother Tongue”, it was explained that the U.S. continues to grow and change. We should continue to learn more about alternative cultures. It’s easy for U.S. if they learn about alternative cultures.
Reading “Mother Tongue”, I am glad to say, opens my mind to many new things. It helps remind me of a problem I had when I was younger. It was my duty to speak for them so they could see things from a better perspective. Maine was able to see that I needed to be more open to helping someone with difficulty adjusting to Yankee cultural norms or a language. Amy Tan mentions this when she talks about being “limited” in English or having “broken” English. This caused her a lot of problems and I realized I needed to be more open to helping someone else with the same issues.