Synthesis Essay on Mother Tongue by Amy Tan and Censoring Myself by Betty Shamieh

In: English and Literature

Submitted By mizan125
Words 1637
Pages 7
English 125

April, 2nd, 2012

Synthesis essay

Today we live in a society that is often called a "salad bowl". It is called a "salad bowl" because it consists of various different people from various different backgrounds. We all live together in a society, but we still retain our own distinct flavors which helps to contribute to the richness and diversity of society. Unfortunately, today we also live in a society in which some of these groups are marginalized and looked down upon by others. Hence, often times as individuals we feel the need to compromise the way in which we communicate our ideas so that we can appeal to the views of the majority. Two authors explore how their attempt to compromise almost caused them to become detached from their roots. In "Mother Tongue," by Amy Tan, Tan talks about growing up as a young child in America and learning the English language. She speaks about growing up as a writer and her mother's imperfect diction which had a major influence on her. On the other hand, In her essay, "Censoring Myself," Betty Shamieh talks about being an American playwright and having to censor herself because of how her work was viewed. Both authors explore the influence that their background had on their ability to express themselves. As individuals we should not be afraid to express ourselves because of our differences, rather we should use our differences and show how our distinctions make us very unique.

Firstly, In ""Mother Tongue," Tan talks about how her mother's limited English diction skewered her perception of her mother. Tan mentions how, "Like others, I have described it to people as "broken" or "fractured" English" (Tan 273). This shows how Tan viewed her mother's English speaking abilities. She describes it as if her mother spoke damaged English, which needed to be mended or repaired. For Tan it was imperative…...

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...Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan Comprehension 1. What Tan is classifying in this essay is the different kinds of English she uses. 2. Tan identify the different categories she discusses in “Mother Tongue” almost in the last paragraph, where she named all the kind of English she uses. 3. Tan does illustrate each category she identifies 4. Some specific situations where Tan says her mother’s “limited English” was a handicap is when her mother could not be able to talk directly with people, or would not be taken serious by the people she talked to. 5. One of the effects that her mother’s limited English has had on Tan’s life is the fact that, that was the language that helped shape the way she saw things, expressed things, and made sense of the world. 6. Tan account for the difficulty she had in answering questions on achievement tests, particularly word analogies: she could not be focused on the answers, she would read the example, and then those words would be stock in her mind keeping off the rest of the options. I do think her problem in this area has something to do with the level of her family’s language skills, because she grew up with that level of language as well, that is the way that she learned. 7. In paragraph 18, Tan considers the possible reasons for the relatively few Asian Americans in the fields on language and literature. Some explanations she offers are that Asian students do better on math achievement tests than in English and that......

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Amy Tan - Mother's Tongue

...Comprehension 1. Tan is classifying how she uses different Englishes with her writings and with family. With her family, she usually uses “broken” English, and with her writing she uses “professional” English. 2. I believe that she introduces the categories in paragraphs 7 and 8. I believe she identified the categories at a right time because she begins by talking about her family and work, and then she introduces her categories. 3. Yes, Amy Tan goes into explaining the categories by sharing personal experiences. Amy does not treat both equally. I do not see it as a problem because there is no way to treat the Englishes equally when you use them in a different form. 4. Amy believes that her mother’s limited English is a problem in department stores, banks, and restaurants. 5. Her mother’s English has an effect on her life because of how broken it is she needs to pretend to be her at points, watch her mother be treated poorly, and go through several bad situations. 6. She says that math is precise and had a specific answer, as for in English was assigned several questions where she had to fill in the blank and get “bland combinations” as answers. No, I do not think her problems come from her family’s language skills. I believe that it’s pretty much an excuse that she is using, being an Asian American, and it all depends on the person to limit themselves to the English language or not. 7. She offers the explanations that Asian Americans might come from a “broken”......

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Mother Tongue

...The Mother Tongue The use of mother tongue as a medium of instruction at the primary level improves the learning ability and school performance of students because it facilitates easier and faster comprehension, encourages better interaction and class participation and strengthens self-concept and identity. The mother tongue is a language that a person has learned from birth or is most familiar with (Witold, 2005). Several studies have confirmed that using it as a form of instruction at the primary level helps the students cope well with their school lessons and activities. It provides the students with a wider range of vocabulary which is a critical tool in learning various subjects. It enables them to easily and clearly grab the course content because they do not have to decipher an unfamiliar language in the first place. At the same time, using a familiar language makes conversation between students and teachers more spontaneous. Learning the mother tongue also reinforce among the children their own culture and traditions. In response to the growing need for providing schoolchildren in all areas of society a medium of instruction that will better equip them in acquiring knowledge, the mother tongue education is currently being adapted in several countries. Research studies suggested that students under the mother tongue education projects had better grades or higher academic performance. Being better students, they contribute significantly in uplifting the sector......

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Essay Summary “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” by Amy Chua

...In her article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” Amy Chua asserted that children raised by Chinese mothers are more successful than children that are raised by Western mothers. Chau claimed that the strict and direct nature of the Chinese parenting style allows their children to have excellence in everything that they do. She noted there are many parenting studies that showed measurable differences between Western and Chinese immigrant mothers. In particular, she described one that consisted of 50 Western mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers which revealed a majority of Western mothers believed that emphasizing academic success was not good for children, and that Chinese mothers consider the academic success of their children a direct consequence of their good parenting and that any failures were a result of parents not “doing their job” (Chau, A. 2011). Chua also stated that Chinese mothers spend ten times longer working with their children on academic activities compared to Western mothers, and noted that Western children are more likely to be involved in sports. According to the Chau, there are three differences between Western and Chinese views on parenting. First, Western parents are overly concerned about their child’s self-esteem and are constantly trying to comfort their children, whereas Chinese parents presume their children are strong enough to take criticism for anything less than perfection. Second, Western parents believe it is their......

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Mother Tongue and L2 English Learners

...Mother Tongue and L2 English Learners I remember the time when I was told that in an English class the use of the mother tongue cannot be acceptable because it is not beneficial for students to learn a foreign language. So I asked to myself, why? Because I knew that you cannot speak in Spanish all the time, but “never”? In my classes I accept it for some activities and for others I do not. According to Davis Carless “Students use of the mother tongue in the task-based classroom”, the use of the native language or mother tongue (MT) is quite complex because it could be beneficial for learners but, at the same time, it could not. In general, the use of MT is stigmatized by some methods, and teachers who cannot handle a class in the target language (TL) feel frustrated by the overuse of the students’ first language. However, as the writer claims, by taking into account the type of tasks we give to our students we can analize which are the ones that imply a positive effect on the second language acquisition and the ones that imply negative effects. Thus, teachers will be able to handle a task-based class with both languages in interaction. Firstly, Carless argues that the use of MT may have positive and negative effects on second language acquisition. Positive effects seem to “serve social and cognitive functions, including the construction of scaffolded assistance and create through collaborative dialogue the opportunity for language acquisition to take place.” In fact,......

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