Summary Of How To Tame A Wild Tongue

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Academic Analysis: “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” In Gloria Anzaldúa’s piece, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” she explores the complex relationship that ties identity to language. She describes how childhood and adult experiences shape who she is today. She provides a glimpse into the life of a person who speaks a minority language in a majority population. She begins the essay by recounting an experience of a dentist capping a tooth and trying in vain to control her tongue. He becomes frustrated with her as she pushes out the swabs of cotton, instruments, and other implements with her tongue. She shares this story because it represents the role society plays in systematically pressuring those who speak minority dialects to adopt the majority language. This social manipulation can be direct such as shaming someone who speaks their native language or it can be indirect such as providing access to economic benefits such as a higher-paying job for those who assimilate. Anzaldúa grew up along the U.S. and Mexican border, and her native language is a mixture of English and Spanish languages called Chicano Spanish. After she grew up and left home, she found that those who speak Standard English and Standard Spanish look down on her when she speaks “Spanglish” because they view it as a bastardized version of a “pure” language. On the surface, influencing someone to assimilate sounds innocuous but the ramifications are deep. Anzaldúa says that language is identity, and the

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