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Summary of Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”

Amy Tan reflects on the varieties of English she uses as an Asian American. She notes the differences between the grammatically impeccable language she uses in her writing and the often incorrect phrasing she uses when conversing with her mother and husband. Amy’s mother does not possess the same grammatical mastery of English, but it does not reflect her keen intelligence and an acute understanding of many things. Because of that, Amy refuses to call her mother’s imperfect English broken or limited, as it would suggest that it lacks coherence and clarity of perception. She reflects on why Asian Americans are less successful in writing than in more technical specialties. She remembers how her boss discouraged her from majoring in English and how she thought to disprove this perception by crafting sentences that were grammatically correct and lexically rich yet overly cumbersome. Eventually, she decided to draw on all familiar varieties of English to portray her mother’s wholesome perception in a technically correct language and feels rewarded when her mother calls her writing “easy to read” (Tan 26).

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Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.” Read, 2006, pp. 2-23.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 13). Summary of Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”. https://studycorgi.com/summary-of-amy-tans-mother-tongue/

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"Summary of Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”." StudyCorgi, 13 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/summary-of-amy-tans-mother-tongue/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Summary of Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”." January 13, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/summary-of-amy-tans-mother-tongue/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Summary of Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”'. 13 January.

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