Mother Tongue By Amy Tan

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Adelina Belecciu (Professor’s Name) ENG101 (Date) “Mother Tongue” Response Essay In the essay “Mother Tongue,” Amy Tan emphasizes the idea that the language we are taught in childhood plays an important role in our lives. She writes about the profound effect language has on her life and how she is inspired by her mother’s “impeccable broken English” to become a writer (317). Tan describes her mother as an educated person who can read sophisticated and technical literature written in English with ease. However, Tan’s mother is often left feeling frustrated and alienated when communicating with others because of her speaking style, which belies her comprehension of the English language (317). Throughout her formative years, Tan discovers a disheartening pattern in regard to her mother’s dialogue with speakers of conventional American English; legitimate problems and requests that her mother is expressing are often not taken seriously or even worse, they are unapologetically ignored. In particular, Tan recalls a situation where her mother’s request is treated sympathetically and acted upon only after Tan­­who sounds more American than her mother­­ speaks on her behalf; “...we had assurances the CAT scan would be found...and apologies for any suffering my mother had gone through for a most regrettable mistake” (317). Tan reveals feeling “ashamed” of her mother’s English and she is troubled by the prevailing perception that the language spoken at home must

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