Mother Tongue Amy Tan Analysis


Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” is a powerful essay on the importance of language. Tan writes about her struggles with English as a second language, and how her mother’s use of broken English has helped her to understand the strength and beauty of language.

Tan’s essay is a moving account of the power of language to connect people. She writes about how her mother’s broken English has allowed them to communicate in a way that is both intimate and honest. Her essay highlights the importance of language in our lives, and how it can be used to connect us to others.

The way people communicate is often an indication of how they think. Amy Tan examines various elements of intelligence and language use in her essay Mother Tongue. The author reflects on her own life experience, describing how her mother’s language shaped others’ perceptions of her. She also considers the ways in which she speaks differently in different situations.

The essay Mother Tongue is, therefore, about language and how it can shape people’s lives. Amy Tan’s mother came from China to the United States in the late 1940s. She had to start a new life in a foreign country where she did not know the language. This made her feel insecure and led her to make various mistakes when speaking English. For instance, she would often mix up words or use the wrong grammar. As a result, people would often think that she was not intelligent.

However, despite her broken English, Amy Tan’s mother was actually very smart. She was able to provide for her family and run a business. It was only when she started communicating with her daughter in Chinese that Amy Tan realized how smart her mother actually was.

The way we speak can, therefore, have a significant impact on how people perceive us. This is something that Amy Tan experienced firsthand. Her mother’s broken English led people to think that she was not intelligent. However, the reality was quite different. Her mother was actually very smart and had a lot of wisdom. This just goes to show that we should not judge people based on the way they speak. We should instead try to understand them and see them for who they really are.

I believe Tan’s essay is an excellent example of a thorough and deep analysis of how low language competence might result in a misunderstood image of someone. In fact, the selection of words and grammatical structures alone does not define one’s mental abilities, especially if the user isn’t fluent in the language.

Furthermore, employing simple language may help readers better comprehend a literary piece. As a result, the author’s main contention is that intellect isn’t defined by language use and that varying levels of language competence contribute to making one’s work more accessible.

One of the examples that Tan gives is when she is talking to her mother on the phone. Her mother uses very broken English, and Tan has to interpret what she is saying. This is an example of how language can be a barrier between people. However, it also shows how people can overcome this barrier by using their own Mother Tongue to communicate.

Tan’s essay is a good reminder for writers to think about their audience and to use language that is accessible to them. It is also a reminder that we should not judge people based on their use of language. Instead, we should try to understand where they are coming from and what they are trying to say.

The first piece of evidence supporting Tan’s statement is that in everyday life, people use a variety of language skills, which has nothing to do with their mental abilities. Indeed, because individuals adjust to the linguistic quirks of their associates during conversation, this language shift may take place without them even realizing it. The author herself can converse in a formal and grammatically correct manner while among people who expect her to have exceptional linguistic abilities.

However, she can address her family using more colloquial language and disregard some grammatical rules. The second reason why Tan’s statement is valid is that the level of proficiency in a mother tongue affects one’s ability to acquire other languages.

It has been proved by research that if a person knows two languages from birth, they have an advantage over those who start learning the second language in adulthood. The brain of a bilingual person functions differently since it processes information in both languages simultaneously. In contrast, a monolingual person can only focus on one language at a time.

Thus, it becomes evident that Amy Tan is right when she states that “the rule of thumb seems to be that the better you write in your mother tongue, the better you will write in English.” Mother tongue is the language a person learns from birth and it significantly influences their linguistic abilities.

Tan, in contrast, grew up in an Asian American family and unconsciously makes grammatical errors in casual conversation with her mother. The author recounts the instance when she was giving a presentation on her fiction to a large group of people. She remembers that her talk was “heavy” with “minimalized forms, past perfect tenses, conditionals phrases,” as she addressed the crowd speaking English fluently.

In contrast, when she was talking to her mother, she used sentence fragments and incomplete thoughts. Amy Tan concludes that it is important to think about the way we use language in order to be able to communicate with people of different backgrounds effectively.

Amy Tan’s essay “Mother Tongue” is a moving account of the author’s relationship with her mother, who speaks “broken” English. Tan discusses how her mother’s limited English has shaped her own view of language and identity. The essay is also a warning against judging others by their appearance or their speech. Just because someone doesn’t speak perfect English doesn’t mean they’re not intelligent or worth listening to. Mother Tongue is an important read for anyone interested in communication or linguistics.

Tan’s essay is also available as a Mother Tongue audiobook, read by the author herself. Mother Tongue is included in Amy Tan’s book The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Essays. The Opposite of Fate includes another famous essay by Tan, “Fish Cheeks,” which tells the story of a young Amy Tan feeling embarrassed by her Chinese heritage at a Christmas Eve dinner party.

It’s also feasible to argue that even though limited English proficiency is commonly associated with illiteracy, it may have particular importance for the speaker. Tan explains that because this kind of language was frequently used in her family when she was a kid, she grew up understanding the world through the prism of her mother’s English.

In other words, the language she speaks with her mother is not a simplified version of English, but a separate dialect that has its own rules, which are based on the limited vocabulary and specific cultural context.

Thus, it is possible to conclude that Amy Tan’s essay “Mother Tongue” is a personal narrative that provides insight into the author’s life experiences with regards to the development of her language proficiency. The essay is also significant in terms of demonstrating how one’s culture and background can influence their understanding of the world. In this regard, Tan’s essay can be seen as an exploration of identity, which is shaped by both individual experiences and cultural factors.


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