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Amy Tan Mother Language Analysis

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Childhood offers many difficult challenges, especially growing up in a family that counts English as a second language. Amy Tan grew up in such a family; including her mother, who spoke substandard English. Tan recalls this in Mother Tongue, where she writes the realization that she possessed multiple types of “Englishes,” she had, professional English full of correct grammar and pronunciation, and her “family talk” informal speech which she shares with her mother and husband. Tan then goes on to explain that people tend to view her mother as less intelligent because of her “broken” English. She recounts many stories in which her mother received inadequate service because she did not speak as clearly as others did. Tan states that she has even received limitations on her learning because of the diluted clarity of her “Mother Tongue.” Tan states that authors possess limitations, but, for a communicator, clarity requires severe attention. Some authors have a limited vocabulary due to upbringing; this alters how people view the message intended. When speaking about her mother, Tan states, “Some of my friend tell me they understand 50 percent of what my mother says.” (Tan, 1990, Para. 7) There are moments in communication where meaning can falter because of a lack of words to utilize. Tan also makes this point when transcribing words…show more content…
Tan explicitly states, “I think my mother’s English almost had an effect on limiting my possibilities in life as well.” (Tan, 1990, Para. 15) Parents greatly affect the language of their children and if one has flaws, the next certainly will in beginning. Tan later states that her childhood understanding of English harmed her test taking abilities, “So I never did well on tests like that.” (Tan, 1990, Para. 16) Tan speaks about semantic tests, and they proved difficult due to her understanding of words. Their meaning needed clarification so that she could understand
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