All posts by danielrossholland

“Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan

Each of us was born into our own worlds of language and each of us has a first language that our families brought us up in, our “mother tongue”. We a raised into a specific way of speaking that it will always be a part of us. Amy Tan says it perfectly, “It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk, the language I grew up with.” She goes on to describe how she was once similar to her mother’s broken English, and how it was hard for other people to understand what she was trying to interpret. Her mother, to this day, still speaks in this broken style of the English language. 

Amy Tan has become a well known writer in some parts, and speaks both English and her first language very fluently. She speaks in front of large groups of people about the books she has written, and is very professional in the way she presents herself. In this writing, she talks about how she discovered during one of her speeches in which her mother was present. After when she got the chance to talk to her mother, Amy caught herself speaking in broken English with her mother. I found this very interesting and I tied it in with the last couple classes speaking on language dialects and how we sometimes pick up different ways of speaking depending on what kind of people we surround ourselves with. I often find myself changing up the way I speak when I am around family and then going back to something different when I am around friends. 

Amy Tan worked hard to rid her speech from broken sentences and eventually became a renowned writer for our time. I know that I have never really had a hard time speaking the English language well, but I know that this story could really stand out to those who found or still find it difficult to speak our nations language even after living here for so long. English, as a language, is constantly changing from a sociological standpoint, and it will continue to do so until the end of time.