Interesting Literature

A Summary and Analysis of Amy Tan’s ‘Mother Tongue’

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

‘Mother Tongue’ is an essay by Amy Tan, an American author who was born to Chinese immigrants in 1952. Tan wrote ‘Mother Tongue’ in 1990, a year after her novel The Joy Luck Club was a runaway success. In the essay, Tan discusses her relationship with language, and how her mother’s influence has shaped her use of English, as well as her attitude to it.

You can read ‘Mother Tongue’ here before proceeding to our summary and analysis of Amy Tan’s essay below.

‘Mother Tongue’: summary

Amy Tan begins her essay by offering her personal opinions on the English language. She recalls a recent talk she gave, when, upon realising her mother was in the audience, she was confronted with the fact that the formal standard English she was using in the public talk was at odds with the way she spoke at home with her mother. She then contrasts this with a moment when she was walking down the street with her mother and she used the more clipped, informal English she naturally uses with her mother, and her husband.

Tan calls this a ‘language of intimacy’. She points out that her mother is intelligent and reads things which Tan herself cannot begin to understand. But many people who hear her mother speak can only partially understand what she is saying, and some even say they can understand nothing of what she says, as if she were speaking pure Chinese to them.

Tan calls this clipped informal language her ‘mother tongue’, because it was the first language she learned and it helped to shape the way she saw the world and made sense of it.

Tan notes the difficulty of finding a term to describe the style of English her mother, as a Chinese immigrant to the United States, speaks. Many of the terms, such as ‘broken’ or ‘limited’, are too negative and imply her English is imperfect.

She acknowledges that when she was growing up, she was ashamed of the way her mother spoke. Her mother, too, was clearly aware of how her use of the language affected how seriously people took her, for she used to get her daughter to phone people and pretend to be ‘Mrs Tan’.

She observes that her mother is treated differently because of the way she speaks. She recounts a time when the doctors at the hospital were unsympathetic towards her mother when they lost the results of the CAT scan they had undertaken on her brain, but as soon as the hospital – at her mother’s insistence – called her daughter, they issued a grovelling apology.

Amy Tan also believes her mother’s English affected her daughter’s school results. Tan acknowledges that, whilst she did well in maths and science, subjects with a single correct answer, she was less adept at English. She struggled with tests which asked students to pick a correct word to fill in the blanks in a sentence because she was distracted by the imaginative and poetic possibilities of other words.

Indeed, Tan conjectures that many Asian American children are probably encouraged to pursue careers in jobs requiring maths and science rather than English for this reason. But because she is rebellious and likes to challenge people’s assumptions about her, Tan bucked this trend. She majored in English at college and began writing as a freelancer.

She began writing fiction in 1985, and after several false starts trying to find her own style and idiom, she began to write with her mother in mind as the ideal reader for her stories. Indeed, her mother read drafts of her work.

And Tan drew on all the Englishes , plural, that she knew: the ‘broken’ English her mother used, the ‘simple’ English Tan used when talking to her mother, the ‘watered-down’ Chinese her mother used, and her mother’s ‘internal’ language which conveyed her passion, intent, imagery, and the nature of her thoughts. When her mother told her that what she had written was easy to read, Tan knew that she had succeeded in her aims as a writer.

‘Mother Tongue’: analysis

The title of Amy Tan’s essay is a pun on the expression ‘mother tongue’, referring to one’s first language. But Tan’s language, or ‘tongue’, has been shaped by her actual mother, whose first language (or mother tongue) was not English, but Chinese.

The different forms of English that mother and daughter speak are also a product of their backgrounds: whilst Tan’s mother is a Chinese immigrant to America, Tan was born in the United States and has grown up, and been educated, in an English-speaking culture.

Much of Tan’s 1989 novel The Joy Luck Club is about daughters and their relationships with their mothers. But Tan’s interest in language, both as a cultural marker and as a way of expressing thought and personality, is also a prevailing theme of the novel.

In this respect, if the parable ‘ Feathers from a Thousand Li Away ’ acts as preface to the novel, ‘Mother Tongue’, in effect, acts as a kind of postscript. It helps us to understand the way Tan approaches and uses language within the stories that make up The Joy Luck Club .

An overarching theme of Tan’s novel is mothers emigrating to America in the hope that their daughters will have better lives than they did. This is a key part of ‘Feathers from a Thousand Li Away’, and it helps us to understand Tan’s conflicted attitude towards her mother’s use of language as explored in ‘Mother Tongue’.

Many of the mothers in The Joy Luck Club , such as Betty St. Clair in ‘The Voice from the Wall’, feel isolated from those around them, never at home in America, and hyper-aware of their outsider status, despite becoming legal permanent citizens in the country. Tan’s autobiographical revelations in ‘Mother Tongue’ show us that her own mother struggled to be taken seriously among Americans, and Tan diagnoses this struggle as a result of her mother’s different way of speaking.

Tan, by contrast, used standard English – what used to be referred to, in loaded phrases, as ‘correct’ or ‘proper’ English – and was thus able to succeed in getting herself, and by extension her mother, taken seriously by others. Language is thus more than just a cultural marker: Tan reveals, in ‘Mother Tongue’, the extent to which it is a tool of power (or, depending on the use, powerlessness), particularly for those from migrant backgrounds.

In this connection, it is noteworthy that Tan chooses to focus on the school tests she undertook before concluding that her mother’s ‘broken’ style of English has been misunderstood – not just literally (by some people who’ve known her), but in terms of the misleading perceptions of her it has led others to formulate.

The class tests at school which reduced English proficiency to an ability to recognise a ‘correct’ answer are thus contrasted with Tan’s resounding final words of ‘Mother Tongue’, which see her seeking to capture the passion of her mother, the ‘nature of her thoughts’, and the imagery she uses: all things which her daughter has clearly inherited a respect for, and which school tests fail to capture or observe.

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Mother Tongue

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critical analysis essay on mother tongue

Mother Tongue

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“Mother Tongue” is an autobiographical essay in which Amy Tan identifies the varied nature of language in her everyday life. As a result of her mother ’s presence at a talk for her book, The Joy Luck Club , Tan becomes acutely aware of the many different “ Englishes ” she speaks. Tan realizes that this is the first time her mother has heard her daughter speak in such a setting and with such a professional tone. Tan associates the English she speaks at events with the standardized forms of English she learned in school.

Tan tells stories of her past, contrasting the English she uses at home—her “mother tongue”—with standard English. Tan speaks in the same English as her mother when they are alone and in front of her husband—he is used to her changes in speech and does not detect Tan’s shift when she responds to her mother. Referencing a recent conversation she recorded, Tan relays a story her mother shared about a Chinese political gangster; parts of the transcript perfectly capture the rhythm of her mother’s speech and the detail she provides. Tan refrains from describing her mother’s English as “broken” because it suggests that her mother’s knowledge is somehow lacking. Instead, she argues that it shows the limited perceptions others have of her mother. Her mother’s stockbroker and doctors demonstrate their own closed-mindedness, refusing to take her seriously and requiring Tan to facilitate conversations on her mother’s behalf.

Tan describes her own childhood experiences with standardized English. She struggled with her English studies because of the way her mother’s use of language influenced her internal problem-solving skills, and Tan illustrates her frustration and the way she used this frustration as motivation. Instead of admitting defeat, Tan vowed to “master” the English language, assimilating to standardized English and forgoing the use of her “mother tongue” outside interactions with her mother. It isn’t until the start of her writing career with The Joy Luck Club that she realizes that the English she writes in is unapproachable and difficult to read. As such, in finding her way back to her “mother tongue,” Tan shifts her focus to an imagined reader, using a voice that she has grown to love and accept—the voice of her mother.

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Analysis of “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan

Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” presents a narrative between the author and her mother (470). The story tells of the conflicts and discrepancies between the US and Chinese cultures. The author employs the writing approach to discuss the two cultures since she is convinced that language acts as a powerful tool. She seeks to discredit the belief that Asians cannot succeed in liberal arts despite their performing well in science and mathematics.

Although the author derives pleasure in writing stories and sharing them with others, she realizes that it is not just valuable to obtain people’s attention but also offers the opportunity for self-advancement. She narrates details regarding her mother, especially concerning her use of the English language, which was rather limited. Irrespective of her fluency in speaking English, Tan always understood what her mother predestined when she communicated using “broken” English. Through the application of satire, dialogue, and pathos the publication establishes the strength of language and that its power is employed in articulating experiences and sentiments to other people.

At the commencement of the story, the author underscores that she does not prefer becoming a scholar but a writer since she can only provide personal perspectives on the English language and its disparities in different settings. Her objective was to demonstrate that she has unspeakable thoughts regarding her sentiments on how she learned English in her education but can communicate using broken English with her mother.

The author maintains that the language assisted in influencing the way she perceived things, articulated ideas, and understood occurrences across the globe. Such expressions show the feelings of the author over and above the way she understood English with the help of her mother tongue (Tan 472). Tan employed “as if” many times in the story as a way of pointing out that individuals who cannot speak fluent English appeared strange in the American culture. People in the United States wrongly believe that individuals who only communicate their feelings using broken English are stupid and their actions are meaningless for their lack of proper thinking.

In the essay, Tan presents the dialogue involving her mother and the stockbroker. In some instances, Tan is aware that her mother’s communication is not well comprehended by other people. The moment Tan saw that her mother was finding it difficult to express her ideas to the stockbroker she stated that she has many times found herself in problems with her broken English. Regardless of her difficulty in articulating her thoughts, she goes ahead to shout to the stockbroker. This shows that the mother does not realize that her broken English is at times problematic for others to easily understand her ideas. This occurrence demonstrates that, in addition to the stockbroker being of American origin, he disrespects Tan’s mother.

This is evident in the stockbroker’s pretense and ignorance of Tan’s mother despite her earning profit from the business. The mother attempts to claim the money that she is supposed to acquire from the stock. Despite the ignorance and disrespect bestowed on her by the stockbroker, the mother continues communicating, which demonstrates that she is a brave woman (Tan 473). This also signifies that the language people speak, their mother tongue affects the way others perceive. Although the mother can only communicate her imperfect English, she still reserves the right to obtain what she has worked for.

The author employs dialogue to make readers understand that individuals who can only express their notions using broken English, and not just her mother, are not lesser people than the ones who use impeccable language and deserve to be treated with equal respect over and above being protected by existing laws. It is unjust that many people from the United States always despise others who cannot use proper English in their communication. This is perhaps what pushed the author to learn perfect English since she would not want her mother tongue to become a hindrance in her articulation of feelings to other people or demand what is rightfully hers.

The moment a person gets ideas on a matter at hand; there is a need to share them with the relevant people (Bhandari 266). The application of perfect language has been found to directly ensure that articulated ideas make sense to the people listening. In a different point of view, the author could have wanted to learn perfect English and write stories as a way of employing language as a tool that ensures others become open-minded and obtain a broad perspective of the world around them.

Tan affirms that she endeavored to preserve the real meaning (470). This directly underscores the importance of telling the story concerning her mother which lies in the need to express that language ability discloses what teats cannot. The author’s intention, zeal, and application of imagery and rhythm of speech are geared towards strengthening the nature of her ideas. In the story, the author vividly describes the power of language in ones’ brain. Reading concerning the way broken English influences her mother’s experiences may change the notion of people holding the American culture of such people who find trouble articulating their ideas in impeccable English as stupid.

Tan employs satire as a means of exploring the rationale behind English acquired from school and books not being appropriate to employ at home with people such as her mother who cannot effectively use the same. In such instances, there is a need for both parties to use their mother tongue irrespective of one’s knowledge and education level. The author affirms that the different approaches to speaking English are not vital as the objective of every language is to make sense to others for easy understanding. Such is the strength of language that should be felt in all contexts and not just in the use of broken English (Bhandari 268).

People should be proud of their mother tongue since it provides the best approach of communicating with their mothers and other members of the family and understanding their feelings, experiences, over and above socializing and expressing ideas. Tan shows this when she states that she feels nearer to her family when using broken English. In addition, this affirms that people who articulate their thoughts using broken English do not lack ideas and knowledge as they could also be learned as in her case.

Mother tongue expresses Tan’s view and personal encounters, in addition to persuading other people to understand the power in spoken language. Her writing also appeals for the respect of all irrespective of the language barrier. Through the narration regarding her mother, Tan acquired the ability to reveal the existing problem that greatly affects others and which should be tackled in all cultures.

Works Cited

Bhandari, Nagendra. “Reinventing Cultural Identities in Diaspora: A Mother-Daughter Dyad in Tan’s Narratives.” Tribhuvan University Journal, vol. 32, no. 1, 2018, pp. 261-272.

Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.” The Threepenny Review, vol. 43, no. 7, 1990, pp. 470-474.

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Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” : Rhetorical Analysis

In the essay Mother Tongue , Amy Tan believes that everyone speaks different languages in certain settings and are labeled by the way they speak. The author interested by how language is utilized in our daily life” and uses language as a daily part of her work as a writer. Throughout her life she recognizes her struggles applying proper English instead of the broken used in her home.

She became aware of how she spoke was when giving a lecture about her book The Joy Club and realized her mother who was in the audience did not understand what was being discussed. This was because she never used proper English in her home or talking to her mother. It is her belief utilizing proper English and broken English is essential in communication depending who you are talking to. The next time she noticed this about her English was when walking with her parents, she made the statement “not waste money that way”. This is due to the language barrier in her household that is used only by her family. Her mother was raised in China and spoke Mandarin her English always came across as broken to everyone outside the family, which made it hard for her to understand when someone spoke proper English.

Amy insured everyone that met her mother’s that even though her English seem “broken” it does not reflect her intelligence. Even though people placed this label on her mother of the way she spoke she rejected the idea that her mother English is “limited”. She highlights the fact that even her mother recognizes that her opportunities and interactions in life are limited by the English language. Amy Tan realizes that how you communicate within the family dynamic, especially for immigrant families plays a large role in in the growth of the child. It allowed her to acknowledge that perhaps her family’s language had an effect on the opportunities she was provided in her life. For instance in her experience, she notices that Asian students actually do better in math tests than in language tests, and she questions whether or not other Asian students are discouraged from writing or directed in the direction of math and science. Tan changed her major from pre-med to English and she decided to become a freelance writer even though her boss told her she couldn’t write. She eventually went on to write fiction , she celebrates the fact that she did not follow the expectations that people had of her because of her struggle with writing and language. With her mother as an influence Tan decided to write her stories for people like her, people with “broken” or “limited” English. In the essay , Mother Tongue, Amy Tan goes to great length to persuade the readers of her experiences being multicultural family that the effectiveness and the price an individual pays by insuring that their ideas and intents do not change due to the way they speak, whether they use “perfect” or “broken” English. Tan also clarifies to the readers that her “mother’s expressive command of English belies how much she actually understands”. She uses many examples to take readers into her life experiences to discover this truth. She utilizes the first person view throughout the essay and adds her firsthand knowledge of growing up with a multiple languages spoken in the home. This was done to validate of her argument and shine a light on the importance of this issue in her life as well as her culture.

The examples she uses is when she tells a story of her mother’s struggles with a stockbroker because of her “broken “ English, Tan quotes her mother’s words “Why he not send me check, already two weeks late. So mad he lie to me, losing me money”. Amy Tan did this to give the readers an idea on how this particular situation played out and how her mother’s English affected outcome. The authors writing is also very emotional and somewhat angry at throughout the essay , it makes her and her family very sympathetic figures. Tan’s specific concern is being shunned by both white-America and the Asian population. This also further her strengthen her views that puts her in an equally frustrating position from the perspective of Americans with the stereotypical views of Asians. Many people in college looked at her funny for being an English major instead of Math as a major. Individuals of Chinese decent are associated with math or science and that is because of the stereotyping that Asian receive. This is based on studies being conducted that a majority of Asians do in fact excel in mathematics and sciences.

Amy also observed that many of her instructors towards math and science as well and was even told by a former boss that writing was not biggest attribute and should focus more onto her account management skills. The author states that “perhaps they also have teachers who are steering them away from writing and into math and science, which is what happened to me”. The author utilized the nonfiction essay form to discuss how language played a major role in her life. This also allowed her to show the readers how her relationship with the English language and her mother has changed over the years. In her essay , Mother Tongue Amy Tan describes numerous incidences that helped shape her views as a writer. The uses of first persons account to describe her experiences with her mother and how her mother’s use of the English language influenced her upbringing, such as a story her mother once told her about a guest at her mother’s wedding “Du Yusong having business like fruit stand. Like off-the-street kind. He is Du like Du Zong – but not Tsung-ming Island people….That man want to ask Du Zong father take him in like become own family. Du Zong father wasn’t look down on him, but didn’t take seriously, until that man big like become a mafia. Now important person, very hard to inviting him. She may have chosen to focus on this type sentence structure because it gave the readers sense of awareness into her life and also to make it easier for them to understand the factors that shaped her style as a writer. In conclusion after reading Mother Tongue, it became very apparent that her mother played an important part in the author’s life. However, after further reading, I determined that she could have been addressing a specific group of people. She is also explaining her story to people who read her works, since so much of her literature seems to be influenced by how she views of the English language. Amy Tan goes to great lengths in the essay to give bits and pieces of how she overcame the perception that many people had of her, since she did not do as well with English-related schooling as she did with the Sciences, or Math.

Mother Tongue Analysis Essay

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Introduction

Brief summary of the essay, analysis of rhetorical strategies, overall evaluation of the text’s effectiveness.

Over time, language has played a fundamental role in various societies across the globe. From enhancing simple things like general communication to creating a viable environment for social, economic, political and economic growth, language and literature have become very crucial tools in the growth of human life through constant progress. It is based on these reasons that some important aspects of language will be analyzed in this paper.

In essence, this paper seeks to analyze the essay Mother Tongue by Amy Tan, in which various aspects of language and rhetorical evaluation are detailed. It is important to note that Amy Tan not only uses the article to give us an insight into her world of writing and the continuous commitments she made to better her mastery of the English language, but she also expresses different rhetorical values and emotional aspects of her mother tongue that greatly helped in advancing her expertise in English and literature. It is upon these features of her language learning that the rhetorical evaluation, in this paper, will be done.

Topic Statement: An individual’s mother tongue contributes greatly to the advancement of one’s expertise and mastery of language and literature.

Thesis Statement: Even though there are many aspects and characteristics of mother tongue that are important in facilitating skill in language and literature, the most important ones are the educational qualifications and academic expertise, mastery in the use of emotions to express ideas, and the appeal to shared values of the audience.

In brief, the essay is a literary account given by Amy Tan about her life and how she gradually learned various aspects of the English language. Some of these issues include the differences between her “professional” English (the English she spoke at official forums like lectures or when writing) and her “intimate” English (the English she spoke at home with family and friends), the language and literature challenges brought by her mother tongue (Chinese) in speaking good English, and how we should generally strive to use simple English (or any language, for that matter) that is easy to understand by both native and non-native English speakers.

In expressing these important facts, ideas, notions and opinions, Amy Tan personalizes her talk by using her literature audience, her mother and her husband as examples of her mother tongue influence on her English.

These personal accounts of her life and the people close to her greatly help in passing the intended message to the readers since many people, especially audiences that use English as a second language, can easily relate to her personal experiences.

Is the author qualified?

Considering the fact that Amy Tan is not a native English speaker, she has strived to master the English language to the point that she earns a living out of her writings like the Joy Luck Club; it is evidently clear that she is indeed highly qualified as a good English writer and speaker.

In addition, Amy Tan’s good qualifications are demonstrated by the fact that she has been able to give over half a dozen talks to different groups of people on how to improve on their English. Furthermore, Amy is not a professional, she would have not been able to give these many lectures in an efficient way.

Finally, Amy Tan’s qualification and trustworthiness as an effective English communicator are made clear when her mother, who has a “limited” skills in English, is able to read Amy’s book until she gives the verdict “so easy to read”.

Does the author appeal to the shared values of her audience?

To a great extent, Amy Tan appeals to the shared values of her targeted audience, people whose English speaking or writing skills are somewhat influenced by their mother tongue. This literary appeal is, essentially, the reason Amy’s mother is able to read her book in an easy way.

Again, despite the influence of her Chinese mother tongue, Amy Tan still manages to master the English language and gives lectures to a professional audience while ensuring that she follows all the necessary English speaking skills principles.

As we move towards the end of her essay, Amy embraces the need to find a way of communicating and appealing specifically to audiences like her mother who needed simple English, the English that she grew up with. Being able to appeal to the values of both complex and simple English audiences is undoubtedly a great literary skill.

However, it is worth stating that there are some sections of the essay where Amy admits that her initial writings were majorly based on her life experiences and her environment. In as much as this may be viewed as a good thing, the writings do not entirely represent the happenings in other places that people struggle with the influence of mother tongue on their English. For example, the family routines, while she was growing up or the “judgment” calls she made when faced with tricky English tests, are not the same for all non-native English speakers.

Does the author use emotions effectively?

Amy Tan’s many adventures and experiences as she strived to learn English evoke a lot of feelings. For example, when she felt mad and rebellious when her mother did something that she thought was not good for her learning. On the other hand, she praises her mother and the influence of their mother tongue in shaping who she was as a writer.

There are also instances that Amy talks about how she felt about her writings and career progress as a writer. All these good and bad feelings clearly demonstrate her effectiveness as a speaker and writer on the use of emotions to make her readers feel or react to her work in a certain way.

Through different language tools, personal experiences and literary expression of certain emotional issues, Amy Tan greatly communicates to her readers. Of course there are some instances in the essay that she overstates her experiences and opinions to the point of forgetting about her audiences and the need to be precise. Nonetheless, in overall, her essay can be said to be effective.

From the above analysis, it is evidently clear that a person’s qualifications and academic expertise, mastery in the use of emotions to express ideas, and the appeal to shared values of the targeted audience are key factors that greatly contribute towards the improvement or worsening of mother tongue’s influence on language mastery. For this reason, language learners should ensure that these aspects are keenly considered in their learning processes.

  • Mother Tongue by Amy Tan: What Does Your Language Say about Your Identity?
  • Amy Tan’s and Personal English Learning Experience
  • "Mother Tongue" by Tan
  • Hypothesis of the Pronunciation Words
  • Bilingualism in East Asia Countries
  • Differences in Languages between Arabic and English
  • Multilingualism and Identity
  • Korean and Japanese Honorific Systems
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IvyPanda. (2019, April 8). Mother Tongue Analysis Essay. https://ivypanda.com/essays/analysis-essay-mother-tongue-by-amy-tan/

"Mother Tongue Analysis Essay." IvyPanda , 8 Apr. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/analysis-essay-mother-tongue-by-amy-tan/.

IvyPanda . (2019) 'Mother Tongue Analysis Essay'. 8 April.

IvyPanda . 2019. "Mother Tongue Analysis Essay." April 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/analysis-essay-mother-tongue-by-amy-tan/.

1. IvyPanda . "Mother Tongue Analysis Essay." April 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/analysis-essay-mother-tongue-by-amy-tan/.

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IvyPanda . "Mother Tongue Analysis Essay." April 8, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/analysis-essay-mother-tongue-by-amy-tan/.

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critical analysis essay on mother tongue

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  1. English 122 Mother Tongue Critical Essay

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  2. ≫ Mother Tongue by Amy Tan Free Essay Sample on Samploon.com

    critical analysis essay on mother tongue

  3. Mother Tongue.docx

    critical analysis essay on mother tongue

  4. "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan: Overview and Analysis

    critical analysis essay on mother tongue

  5. ≫ Analysis of Mother Tongue by Amy Tan Free Essay Sample on Samploon.com

    critical analysis essay on mother tongue

  6. Analysis of "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan

    critical analysis essay on mother tongue

VIDEO

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  4. Mother Tongue by Amy Tan #personal essay #detail summary in Urdu & Hindi #novel #englishliterature

  5. Essay On My Mother My Hero

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COMMENTS

  1. A Summary and Analysis of Amy Tan's 'Mother Tongue'

    By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University) 'Mother Tongue' is an essay by Amy Tan, an American author who was born to Chinese immigrants in 1952. Tan wrote 'Mother Tongue' in 1990, a year after her novel The Joy Luck Club was a runaway success. In the essay, Tan discusses her relationship with language, and how….

  2. Mother Tongue Summary & Analysis

    Analysis. Amy Tan opens the essay with a disclaimer: she is not a "scholar" of the English language. Instead, she self-identifies as a writer, focusing on the power and strength of words within the language and how she personally uses them in her life and writing. Tan claims to use "different Englishes " and recalls experiences in her ...

  3. Mother Tongue by Amy Tan: Critical Analysis

    In the essay Mother Tongue, Amy Tan (2006) reflects on different aspects related to intelligence and the use of language varieties. Referring to her own experience, the author describes how her mother's language affected people's perception of her. Moreover, she analyzes her speech and how it differs in various circumstances.

  4. Mother Tongue by Amy Tan Literary Analysis

    Introduction. Mother Tongue, a captivating essay written by Amy Tan, explores the concept of language and its powerful impact on an individual's identity and communication. Tan reflects on her experiences growing up as a child of Chinese immigrants in America, where she was often caught between two worlds: her mother's broken English, which she ...

  5. Amy Tan's "Mother tongue" Analysis: [Essay Example], 568 words

    Published: Mar 16, 2024. In Amy Tan's essay, " Mother Tongue ," she explores the importance of language and how it shapes our identity. Tan reflects on her experiences growing up as a Chinese-American and the challenges she faced due to her mother's limited English proficiency. Through her personal anecdotes, Tan illustrates the complexities of ...

  6. Critical Analysis of "Mother Tongue" Essay

    September 21st, 2012. Critical Analysis Essay I have chosen "Mother Tongue" for the subject of my essay. I chose this essay because Amy Tan has a unique writing style which has tone that is clear and identifiable. Tan makes her arguments in a way that is easily understood. While her tone is sometimes humorous and captivating, it still ...

  7. Mother Tongue Study Guide

    Before its publication as an autobiographical essay in The Threepenny Review in 1990, "Mother Tongue" was Tan's anticipatory response to her fellow panelists at the 1989 "The State of the English Language" conference. Describing her mother's influence on her writing style, Tan highlights the role her "mother tongue" plays in her debut novel, The Joy Luck Club.

  8. An Analysis of "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan

    An Analysis of "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan. As a college student, the importance of language and communication cannot be overstated. Language plays a crucial role in shaping personal and cultural identity, and it is paramount to understand the diverse languages spoken in different communities. Amy Tan's essay, "Mother Tongue," explores the power ...

  9. Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue": Literary Analysis

    In " Mother Tongue ", Amy Tan uses anecdotes and anaphora to emphasize that language is not about the surface structure, but rather about the underlying meaning the thoughts come from. Tan uses anecdotes throughout the essay to describe her growing wisdom of language and its evolving roles in her life. She found that while she is presents ...

  10. Mother Tongue Essay Analysis

    Thanks for exploring this SuperSummary Study Guide of "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan. A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

  11. Mother Tongue by Amy Tan: English v. The "Broken Language" Essay

    Summary. In her essay 'Mother Tongue', Amy Tan tries to use her personal experience to describe the importance of language in a society. In this analysis, the author compares perfect English language with 'broken language'. Get a custom essay on Mother Tongue by Amy Tan: English v. The "Broken Language".

  12. Mother Tongue by Amy Tan Plot Summary

    Mother Tongue Summary. "Mother Tongue" is an autobiographical essay in which Amy Tan identifies the varied nature of language in her everyday life. As a result of her mother 's presence at a talk for her book, The Joy Luck Club, Tan becomes acutely aware of the many different " Englishes " she speaks. Tan realizes that this is the ...

  13. Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

    Examine the self-reflective essay "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan. Find a summary of the composition and an analysis of "Mother Tongue's" main ideas...

  14. Analysis of "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan

    Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue" presents a narrative between the author and her mother (470). The story tells of the conflicts and discrepancies between the US and Chinese cultures. The author employs the writing approach to discuss the two cultures since she is convinced that language acts as a powerful tool. She seeks to discredit the belief ...

  15. "Mother Tongue" by Amy Tan: 10 Tips for a Literary Analysis

    Tip #7: Hone in on the different tones throughout the story, and write about them. From guilty to gracious, annoyed to appreciative, Amy Tan uses a few different tones throughout "Mother Tongue. " Identify these tones and explain how they are employed (the language used to convey the tones), and what effect it has on the reader.

  16. Essay On Mother Tongue

    Critical Analysis of "Mother Tongue" Essay. Nicholas Wiest Beverly Williamson English 111 September 21st, 2012 Critical Analysis Essay I have chosen "Mother Tongue" for the subject of my essay. I chose this essay because Amy Tan has a unique writing style which has tone that is clear and identifiable.

  17. Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue" : Rhetorical Analysis

    In the essay Mother Tongue, Amy Tan believes that everyone speaks different languages in certain settings and are labeled by the way they speak. The author interested by how language is utilized in our daily life" and uses language as a daily part of her work as a writer. Throughout her life she recognizes her struggles applying proper ...

  18. Critical Analysis of Mother Tongue essay

    Critical Analysis essay of "MOTHER TONGU" Rough Draft 08/19/ Katelynn Harvey. This is a critical analysis of the essay "Mother Tongue" which focuses on the challenges her and her mother faced being immigrants in a new country.

  19. Literary Analysis of Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

    In "Mother Tongue", Amy Tan uses anecdotes and anaphora to emphasize that language is not about the surface structure, but rather about the underlying meaning the thoughts come from. Tan uses anecdotes throughout the essay to describe her growing wisdom of language and its evolving roles in her life. She found that while she is presents ...

  20. Amy Tan's Mother Tongue

    In essence, this paper seeks to analyze the essay Mother Tongue by Amy Tan, in which various aspects of language and rhetorical evaluation are detailed. It is important to note that Amy Tan not only uses the article to give us an insight into her world of writing and the continuous commitments she made to better her mastery of the English language, but she also expresses different rhetorical ...

  21. Critical analysis essay

    5-4 Critical Analysis Essay Mother Tongue written by Amy Tan is about her life with her mother, growing up with different kinds of English and how she started writing. Tan goes into detail about how the impact of her mother's language had on her growing up. She wanted to show how challenging it can be when someone is raised by a parent who ...

  22. Amy Tan "Mother Tongue": Thesis: [Essay Example], 443 words

    In conclusion, Amy Tan's "Mother Tongue" presents a compelling thesis on the influence of language on identity and relationships. Through personal anecdotes and reflections, Tan highlights the complexities and challenges of navigating between different linguistic and cultural worlds. Her essay serves as a poignant reminder of the power dynamics ...

  23. Critical analysis essay m.kappelman.docx

    View Essay - Critical_analysis_essay_m.kappelman.docx from ENGLISH 122-X6847 at Southern New Hampshire University. Mother Tongue by Amy Tan (2006) is about informing the audience about the different ... After reading Amy Tan's essay "Mother Tongue" (2006) I have begun to look at my every day communications differently.