Language is much more than a method of communication. Permeated within it are traditions, customs, and legacies of one’s culture. The identity of an entire population is in the distinct vocalizations of their native language. Unfortunately, as a wave of immigrants enters the United States at young ages, many face language barriers that pose significant challenges. Language barriers affect a multitude of immigrant populations to different degrees. This, in turn, causes many of them to abandon not only their native tongue but a piece of their ethnic identity, as well. In Maxine Hong Kingston’s personal narrative,“The Language of Silence,” she describes the difficulties she experienced throughout her childhood with a language barrier as a
Demetria Martínez’s Mother Tongue is divided into five sections and an epilogue. The first three parts of the text present Mary/ María’s, the narrator, recollection of the time when she was nineteen and met José Luis, a refuge from El Salvador, for the first time. The forth and fifth parts, chronologically, go back to her tragic experience when she was seven years old and then her trip to El Salvador with her son, the fruit of her romance with José Luis, twenty years after she met José Luis. And finally the epilogue consists a letter from José Luis to Mary/ María after her trip to El Salvador. The essay traces the development of Mother Tongue’s principal protagonists, María/ Mary. With a close reading of the text, I argue how the forth
Detra, I can relate with you as I am also not a Texan native or know much about Texas government and its history. When I hear about Texas first thoughts that comes to mind is either their love for their football team, bbq, or women’s big hair do’s. That’s what I related to “everything is bigger in Texas” with, however as I have read it also relates to their pride, their state size and their growing population. I also never understood why Texans are extremely proud people then again as I have been reading and as you have mentioned they have had an interesting history and have shown that they will fight for what they believe in no matter the cost.
Language is a very important part of culture. It’s the method of communication between people, it’s a comforting feeling to hear your own language, and it defines who you are as a person. In the Hispanic culture the language spoken is Spanish. Spanish is such a popular language in the united states that many people become bilingual to be able to speak English and Spanish. "Spanish is the most spoken non-English language in U.S. homes, even among non-Hispanics. A record 37.6 million persons ages 5 year and older speak Spanish at home, according to an analysis of the 2011 American Community Survey by the Pew Research Center” When visiting a different culture, the language barriers are scary, I recently visited Mexico and not knowing what people were saying was frightening, Luckily Spanish is common so it wasn’t hard to find someone to translate. I remember feeling so warm inside hearing someone who speaks English talking, it was comforting to
I am a U.S. born citizen. My parents moved to the United States in 1984 without knowing anything about this country. Looking for a fresh start and new opportunities, my parents settled in Houston. With hardly knowing any English, my parents knew this was the place to make dreams become a reality. Luckily, I had older siblings to look up to whenever I needed help. Like Lahiri, I was trapped in between two different cultures while I was growing up. At home, I only spoke Spanish, but in school it was English. My habits and customs were different than others. Life as an immigrant’s offspring can be very difficult. As I grew older, I allowed myself to open my eyes and see the beauty of being an American from Hispanic descent.
United by the obligations of the law, yet entirely divided by society, welcome to America. Patriots chant “equality” one moment, and “deport them” the next. Cruel, unaccepting, and uncompassionate, American society of the majority often appears to view itself as sovereign, turning a blind eye to, and often contributing to, the struggles of minorities. In “Mother Tongue”, Amy Tan (1990) does an excellent job of sharing her experience with similar issues as she tells her readers about the struggles her mother encountered due to being an immigrant who only spoke “broken” English. Society often put no weight into what Tan’s mother had to say, believing her ability to express her thoughts reflected the quality of said thoughts, which are of absolutely no correlation (Tan, 1990). This often led to Tan having to intervene for her mother, especially during serious situations that required resolution (Tan, 1990). Immigrants, no matter how intelligent or talented, may be plagued by continuous struggles because of a lack of understanding of English or American culture, stereotypes encouraged by the media, and discrimination, especially in the workplace.
The Benefits of Being Bilingual “My Spanish Standoff” by Gabriella Kuntz explains how the fear of prejudice against Latin America in the United States led her and her husband to avoid speaking and teaching their children Spanish. One reason that she decides not to teach her native language to her children is because she saw how the Anglo-Saxons in the community treated her because of her dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. Another reason, she mentions involves the fact that her children developed accents and were unable to understand either language completely. Because of this, Kuntz decides only to speak to them in English to prevent others from criticizing her children for speaking with broken grammar and thick accents. She believes
In the article How to Tame a Wild Tongue written by Gloria Anzaldua covers a real life story that Gloria lived. She was born into a Mexican home in the United States during the 1970s. She was looked down upon by her peers due to the fact that she spoke Spanish. When she was in school they got her in trouble because she spoke Spanish in one of her classes. Gloria also never knew that Spanish words were not all male dominant, they also applied to females. The biggest struggle for Gloria was that she often used both English and Spanish when she would talk to her peers. While some argue that she was in the wrong, I believe that she has a right to keep in touch with her roots because nobody should be ashamed of where they come from.
Weslaco: The town that created who I am today Whenever I am asked where I am from I always respond, “South Texas”. People will reply with a question, San Antonio? , and I usually have to clarify that I am south of San Antonio, about four hours away no San Antonio is not south texas, the Rio Grande Valley is south texas. In the Rio Grande Valley there is a town named Weslaco around five minutes from the border of Mexico. We live in a community swarming with Mexican culture. Our city’s population is approximately 36,000 and from this population about 85 percent is composed of Hispanics or Latinos. As if we are our own country we have our own language which consists of Spanish, English, and Spanglish. We are knee deep in culture so it is easy to be against the norms in our community, and personally I have dealt with this problem.
In his essay, “Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood” by Richard Rodriguez, goes into detail about the struggles he is faced with growing up as a Bilingual Hispanic in America. He was an immigrant living amongst upper class American’s with his family. Strictly speaking Spanish gave him a sense of safety and comfort. In school, he would not feel comfortable speaking and was not sure where he belonged. When he first started school, he was a part of the bilingual program up until his parents were informed if would be better for him and his family to learn English. Rodriguez struggled at first with the battle of losing the closeness he had with his family. Feeling like he had lost his cultural background and let his father down. Explaining the struggles, he overcame to become who he is today.
Luisa Guzman Gomez In Mother Tongue by Amy Tan, an American Chinese writer describes the different types of English she uses throughout her life. The different types of English are tied to her social identity which is evident in An Introduction: At the Root of Identity, from Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us by Claude Steele a social psychologist writes about the variety of stereotypes places on people and how that ties with identity. Both writers highlight their perception on stereotypes they have in their research and life.Tan and her mother deal with stereotype threat based on their language. These conditions on their identity make Tan realize she has to be accepting of her broken language because it is a reminder of her culture and it keeps the bond between Tan and her mother alive; challenging the ideas on stereotype. This ultimately suggests that Tan no longer internalize the negative beliefs of individuals but rather is proud embracing who she is.
Many people in the United States have a sense of comfort with their own culture and language to the point where they will not abandon those things in order to pick up a new language and lifestyle. In the article named, “Why and When We Speak Spanish in Public,” written by Myriam Marquez, she explains how her family continues to use the Spanish in public in the United States, even though they have lived in the United States for over 40 years. Marquez explains, “For me and most of the bilingual people I know, it’s a matter of respect for our parents and comfort in our cultural roots” (542). People are simply not going to change who they are and where they come from just so they can conform to the normal population of the United States. For the most part, people who come the United States are happy that the country has not implemented a national language law because the people who come here can
She also argues that many Latinos who have lived in the United States for quite a long time, but they still speak English with an accent because they often talk to each other in Spanish. She says that many Latinos preferably attended Sunday mass in Spanish rather than in English. Obviously, it appears that Kuntz makes her decision not to teach her children her native tongue mainly based on those facts that she sees and experiences in her lifetime.
Language as a combination of single words and different ideas affects us everyday in life. In the essay “Mother tongue” by Amy Tan, the author describes how her mother’s English influences her in her career and life that the “mother tongue” does not limit her as a writer, but shaped her and her perception on life instead. And her attitude to her mother’s English changes from the initial embarrassment to the final appreciation.
Foreigners find comfort when using their native language at home. Also, people belittle a foreigner's native language. Mujica reports a known politician in favor of adopting English as the official language for the United States, and she felt the train of thought was dense (217). Foreigners are singled out, for not comprehending English. Rodriguez recalls a gringo [American or English person] rudely asking "What can I do for you?", Rodriguez sensed he could not adapt to the gringos society, but stay safely tucked away in his Spanish society (213). Also, people make a foreigner's native language feel too formal. Rodriguez describes the nun who introduced him to his first classroom in his new academic career, and how her voice echoed with a dullness, while she sounded each syllable of his Hispanic last name (212). Equally important, people insinuate English to foreigners. Youngquist and Martínez-Griego observed that many of the families at a local learning center spoke Spanish, and limited English, and tried to teach English to their children. Instead of helping their children learn English, it interrupted the learning development for both languages (92). Peopl humble a foriegner's language.