Mother Tongue By Amy Tan

1290 Words6 Pages
A sound foreign to others but native to her. The difference between what is understood and what is not. Was it the accent? Or maybe it was inability to complete a sentence or two? Assimilation into a high standard culture, such as America’s, and learning to speak their native language is a difficult and demanding task. In “Mother Tongue”, Amy Tan expresses the limitations caused by the use of imperfect English in society and her struggles to revitalize it into her life and her writing. Through the use of several rhetorical strategies such as expanding on her own credibility with the use of ethos, appealing to the audience’s emotions using pathos, stating statistics using logos and providing an example of repetition, Tan successfully manages to prove her point on the struggle of accepting and appreciating the language differences in her life. In “Mother Tongue”, Tan begins the story with a memory of giving a speech to a group of people. In the audience was her mother, a Chinese immigrant whom is unfamiliar with Tan’s “carefully wrought grammatical phrases,… all the forms of standard English that [she] had learned in school and through books” (p. 418). This speech intended for an academically rich audience made her realize the difference in her “Englishes”. The english she uses around her mother is quite different than the english she speaks in a formal “American” setting. Her mother’s “broken English” brought a level of “intimacy” between the two of them, but caused many

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