It is commonplace that foreign students face numerous challenges whenever they take up a different language. In America, for example, all learning takes place in English, and foreign students are expected to adapt quickly. Consequently, theories exist concerning the suitability of this requirement, with scholars presenting their views for or against the same. As a result, this paper studies common views and divergent opinions on the topic as presented by Amy Tan and Richard Rodriguez concerning this topic.
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Both authors agree on the fact that students experience drastic changes in their life, which often pushes them to adopt this choice. Foremost, resistance to change often limits the options available to a person in their new society. Inferiority complex habitually affects these people thereby curbing their creativity and participation levels in school and societal ventures. As a result, confidence levels remain diminished, making persons miserable. This is because they view themselves as unworthy misfits and outsiders in their environment.
They also note a lack of regret for their choice to adopt English. This is accurate since they both acknowledge that their present achievements would be impossible if they stuck to their native language. They do not cite any objections, logical arguments, or studies against the adoption of a new language. Both writers have become better persons after they accepted English as a medium of communication since it enabled them to earn recognition in society and live their lives comfortably, without any interference or inconvenience. It is noteworthy that these common areas do not imply the absence of a difference in opinion by the two writers. These variations dominate subsequent paragraphs.
Tan argues that persons should not lose touch with their native language entirely. This is because it incorporates a different dimension to their conversations, most of which are overlooked when using English. Native speakers can convey passion, rhythm, imagery, and intent in a manner different from English speakers. This phenomenon mostly affects persons who have adopted English as a second language. This makes communication a nightmare for these persons during the communication process.
She also argues that the mother tongue affects the quality of English spoken by these persons. This is because of the glaring differences between the two languages. For example, sentence structures, logic, and flow of ideas vary between different languages. This implies that persons have to conceive ideas in their native language before translating them to English. This is a great inconvenience since the original meaning and intent of a person are often lost in the process. She further cites her experience with English exams during her school life, where she could not respond to a simple logical question but had to think extensively before providing a straightforward answer.
In addition, most students are discouraged from majoring in foreign languages by their teachers. This implies the need for dedication and commitment to studying the language by the student to achieve success. Sadly, most of them lack this attribute. A case of Asian students studying in America appears, mentioning the fact that most of them excel in sciences, math, and other subjects based on logic. She argues that most students score less in English as opposed to the other subjects. Consequently, their teachers encourage them to major in these other options instead of English.
Most importantly, Tan argues that striking a balance is integral for every person who intends to communicate successfully in a foreign setting. To achieve this, persons need to focus on the essence of the message they intend to convey. This is because a person’s message often disappears whenever one factors in structure and other complexities of language when relaying a message. Summarily, she argues against entire assimilation and advocates for the retention of cultural identity.
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Richard argues for the complete assimilation of persons into their new cultures. This is because sacrifice constitutes an important aspect of the study process. This implies that a person gains a new identity only after giving up his or her previous identity. This implies that a person has a private and public individuality, which cannot co-exist. It so happens, because private individuality highlights a person’s distinctiveness from the multitudes. Persistence in this attitude is causes withdrawals since distinctions appear explicitly. As a result, public individuality is encouraged by this writer. This implies the extent of similarity between a person and the masses. He notes that greater similarity increases confidence levels in a person since he or she identifies better with the group. This implies better participation and expression of ideas, hence the usefulness of the individual.
He contends that sacrifices are an important part of the process. To support this, he cites a case of his family, which had to forego the family warmth and joyful conversations to become accomplished English speakers. While acknowledging the fact that Spanish still arouses certain emotions in him, he informs that his choice to become bi-lingual was the best he ever made since it afforded him countless opportunities in life. It also enabled him to appreciate his American citizenship and opened a new chapter to their family life.
In conclusion, it is impressive that both writers have common ground as regards several concepts of the topic. The most notable among these is the need for numerous sacrifices and the difficulty experienced by new students. It is noteworthy that these experiences may vary greatly, some changing the lifestyle of an entire family. This underlines the need for unconditional support and understanding when dealing with these persons. The support should come from all quarters, including parents, teachers, and fellow students.