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Chinese English. “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan

The article under consideration, “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan, sets the context for exploring the variations of the English language and its correctness from the point of view of the literary version. The author thereby claims that the English of Chinese immigrants is no worse than its any other form since it has no connection with one’s intelligence. Therefore, the purpose of the article is to prove that there is no such thing as correctness when it comes to a language. What matters is the success of communication as a whole rather than correspondence to specific rules inherent in the official version of the English language. The style of the article can be described as informal due to the presence of a variety of details from the author’s personal life as well as the life of her mother. The struggles of the latter with the language acquisition evoke the feeling of compassion to the people whose life in society is complicated by the lack of such a vital skill. The article’s overall tone also reflects a range of emotions towards both the person and their surroundings, such as anger and confusion. Hence, the purpose of the article, its style, and tone are the primary details that can be learned about it.

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A closer analysis of “Mother Tongue” allows to gain a better understanding of the author’s claim through the consideration of its structure. The narrative progresses as Amy Tan is growing up and facing various obstacles related to her mother’s limited English skills. Such a development reflects the emergence of further complications related to the language and higher involvement of the author in the problem. The first time she realizes the problem when her friends tell her that they do not understand what her mother is saying even though it seems to be easy for her. It adds to the apparent biased attitude of schoolteachers who refuse to think that immigrant children are incapable of mastering English. Finally, the necessity to solve problems with bank accounts for her mother emphasizes the real difference between the author’s family and society in terms of the language they speak. This structure, which is a progression from Tan’s early years to the full understanding of the gap between native speakers and immigrants, allows the reader to receive detailed information on the struggles of immigrants. Through the lens of such a narrative, the author’s claim becomes more apparent for people who do not consider the limited English of immigrants to be a language at all.

The article written by Amy Tan is an example of effective writing that allowed her to achieve the purpose, which was to prove that there is no correct form of a language. The inclusion of numerous personal stories adds to the impression one can receive without actually being in such an environment and see it through the eyes of immigrants. Indeed, it is impossible to fully understand the perception of the English language by this population group without being one of them. This misinterpretation leads to the biased attitude of people and the alleged incapability of students from immigrant families to reach the heights in the chosen occupations. Hence, the successful transmission of the message contained in the purpose of the article was possible solely due to the use of personal information. It allowed the reader to plunge into the world different from the one where there is only one type of English.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Chinese English. “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan'. 31 January.

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