For starters, Amy Tan finds herself in a struggle with her linguistic identity. She finds herself in the middle of her mother’s broken English where she has to fight the prejudice her mother faces because of her fractured dialectal. Amy speaks a different language with her mother as well as with other people, and we are told how about the struggle that she had with English as a subject. She would do quite well in Math because she says, while Math has a definite solution, English answers in most of her tests appeared more judgmental.
But Tan does not regret anything about her mother tongue background. She affirms that her mom’s dialectal brought her a long way, shaping the way she perceived things, the way she expressed herself and made sense of the world.
To her, the kind of English she spoke with her mother and to a larger extent, her husband made perfect sense and brought in some kind of intimacy that only her family perfectly understood. A textual analysis of Amy’s “mother tongue” reveals her passionate defense on her mother’s broken English.
Some of the people in her circle claim to understand only a small fraction of whatever her mother speaks. Others would not simply understand anything and looked at her mum as if she spoke in pure Chinese. Her mum is seen to face a lot of challenges and prejudice from the people around her. Rhetorical analysis on Amy’s article reveals how people around her mother claimed they wouldn’t understand much of her mother’s broken English, but Amy goes in details explaining how she finds it easy understanding every bit of what her mother says. In this rhetorical analysis, Amy’s main ideas happen to be that she at no point despises her mother’s English. She even goes ahead describing it as clear and perfectly normal. Her mastery of rhetorical devices is another aspect of her great mastery of language.
In one of her many talks about her book, The Joy Luck Club, Amy Tan display such a great mastery of language, the kind of language she had learned from school and her extensive reading, with carefully articulated grammar, in the audience of her mother who was in her company. She felt the talk all wrong seeing she was speaking the kind she never spoke with her mother. Her use of parallel structure in a paragraph she speaks of how she isn’t an English scholar and later in the next paragraph that she is a writer display her deep understanding of English.
Amy Tan had earlier affirmed that she was not a scholar of the language or literature and still she was a writer. She speaks about her love of linguistics and how much she gets fascinated by language in her daily life.
She takes some time to think about her mum’s language. The kind of descriptions it has received from people in the restaurants, banks, stores, and offices, as broken, fractured and limited. She thinks of the times when she fell a victim of the same prejudice in her childhood days. She had a difficult time with her mother, holding her with less regard and hating her for the kind of language she spoke. Her limited English is seemingly translating into her limited personality. People around her treated her less serious, some would even ignore her with sharp brutality, seeing her in the light of someone with some kind disability or some sort of incompleteness.
Amy recalls how she had to save her mother occasionally from the embarrassment that her broken dialectal brought. She would have to make calls to her mum’s stockbroker, to the hospital attendants among other services if anything was to be taken any serious. Like only the perfect English carries with it some kind of authority.
It is clear in the textual analysis of how Amy employs a lot of dialogue to give her audience a taste of her mother tongue. Although she has gained an excellent mastery of the English language as evidenced by a line, “That was my mental quandary in its nascent state,” from one of her works of fiction, Amy Tan is not about to thrash her mother tongue as someone would expect. In fact, she does not bend so much into displaying her mastery of the literary devices when she envisions her mum as her intended audience in the stories she wrote about mothers and daughters whose intended audience is mainly women. She is quite delighted when her mom finishes reading her work and seals it with one simple compliment, “So easy to read.”
Amy also recalls her early days of entry into the world of nonfiction freelancer writing when one of her bosses described her writings as the worst ever and even advised her to work towards account management. It’s only her rebellious nature and the consistency of purpose that kept her going even while surrounded by a host of critics.
Her use of her mother for purpose and audience is a proof of how much she appreciated the simplicity of language and just how much she wasn’t bothered by the critics that had been a great challenge to her mum. The main ideas that the author appears to communicate in this article are that the notion of a perfect language is not entirely the driving force behind what it is and what is not of other versions of the English language spoken.
Tan seeks to emphasize that there are no standard measures for what should be the right type of language. The purpose of her article is clearly to do away with the prejudice that comes with other versions of English whose speakers are held with less regard. Through this article, Amy effectively delivers on her purpose and audience bringing to light quite important aspects of linguistic dynamics.