The Power of Language Essay examples
1074 WordsMay 7th, 20125 Pages
The Power of Language
Language plays an important role in communication by bringing people together and enriching their relationships. Language can also alienate those who do not speak it properly, or at all, from those who do. The essays, Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan, best known for her book, The Joy Luck Club, and Se Habla Espanol, by Tanya Barrientos, delve into the many powers that language holds. These essays reflect how by not speaking a language in proper form and by not speaking a language at all, affects the lives of the subjects of the stories.
People who can speak a certain language, but only in ‘broken’ form, are generally looked down upon by native language speakers. In her writing, Mother Tongue, Amy Tan writes about her…show more content…
However, many Hispanic families were and in some cases, still are viewed as lower-class citizens. According to Barrientos, “To me, speaking Spanish translated into being poor. It meant waiting tables and cleaning hotel rooms. It meant being left off the cheerleading squad and receiving a condescending smile from the guidance counselor when you said you planned on becoming a lawyer or a doctor” (561). They are not respected in a lot of communities, they live dirty, and they have bad jobs. These stereotypes are reasons why Barrientos did not want to be called Mexican and never wanted to learn Spanish. If diversity had been celebrated when Barrientos was a child, as it is celebrated and honored now, she would have grown up speaking Spanish and being proud of her heritage.
Children are very impressionable and tend to take on others’ opinions as their own, but as they grow older, they develop a greater understanding and perspective of the way things are and the way they should be. As adults, both Tan and Barrientos learned to accept and embrace the languages that previously embarrassed them. Barrientos immersed herself in her Mexican heritage and enrolled in many Spanish classes. With each enrollment, she faced yet another stereotype that came with being of Mexican ethnicity; her instructors thought she should already know Spanish since she was Latina. Barrientos is now determined to learn her native language. Tan has learned to love the way in
Justin Newton October 1, 2015 ENG 100-B80 Ms. Asbury Se Habla Espanol Essay Summary In Tanya Barrientos’s essay ‘Se Halba Espanol” she expresses her struggle of being a Latina who doesn’t speak English. Being born in Guatemala, a Spanish speaking country, she and her family moved to the USA at three years old. Once moving to Texas her parents made the decision for the children to cease speaking Spanish only to speak, read, and write in English molding them into America’s culture. She wanted to prove all of the stereotypes wrong but believing them herself. She stated “To me speaking Spanish translated into being poor. It meant waiting tables and cleaning hotel rooms.” She felt it was a compliment in her eyes for not being seen as a Mexican while not speaking Spanish equated to being white. As she grew older she began to love her heritage, she wanted to know more about her heritage so she just dove right into it all head first.