HOW TO TAME A WILD TONGUE
Anzaldua’s argument is fueled by her personal experience dealing with the repercussions of speaking her native tongue. As a child she would be encouraged by her mother to speak english so that she would avoid trouble. At school, she was beaten. Gloria writes that, “being caught speaking Spanish at recess – that was good for three licks on the knuckles with a sharp ruler.” Obviously, this would leave a negative impact on someone, making them resent the unjust punishment and the order to stop expressing yourself. This is why Gloria wrote this article, to be a voice that encourages people to rebel against assimilation. She has resented the fact that she is looked down upon for speaking her various forms of Spanish, and now it was her chance to express her anger.
To be absolutely honest, I do not know why Anzaldua writes in Spanish in her essay. It makes her target audience difficult to pin point. She could be writing to average Americans, telling them her story of oppression and how her identity was robbed; she could be writing to Spanish speakers, inspiring them to be themselves despite what other might think. It just doesn’t make sense why she would switch back and forth from English to Spanish. As a Spanish speaker, this made reading the essay agonizing. It sounded so entitled and edgy, and down right disgusting. Non-spanish speakers are removed from the immersion when they have to pause and ponder what the italicized word says. Spanish speakers have to switch between languages when reading- an unpleasant task. For example, Anzaldua writes,”[c]hange, evolucion, enriquicimiento de palabras nuevas por invencion o adopcion have created variants of Chicano Spanish.” To an english only speaker, half of that sentences means nothing! The choice to write in Spanish makes Gloria seem like a bitter woman who is unwilling to cooperate and even tell a compelling story in a single language. There is no purpose for writing in Spanish, as it is usually explained after or just glazed over by the next english sentence.
•We all use different a English for different situations- sometimes without even realizing
•We judge people’s English speaking ability, and by doing that we judge them as a person
•People’s English ability limit their success and alter the treatment of others
•People’s English ability can impact the life and English ability of their loved ones
•The forms of English one knows are very useful in telling a story to your audience
I don’t see a strategy in her organization. To me she it just telling a story in quite an incoherent manner.
In summary, I believe both writers are encouraging their audience to be proud of their natural language. Gloria Anzaldua preaches pride in the Chicano language and Amy Tan preaches acceptance of ones own English style. Gloria’s strongest element is her obnoxious use of Spanish, while Tan’s is the cute stories of her mother.
I do not have a “secret language.” How can language be secret if it must be spoken, whether it is with words or with the body. I grew up with English being spoken as a secret code between my parents, leaving my brother and I out of adult conversations. I didn’t understand it at the time..
My english is more modern compared to my parents; it uses more lingo. Beside that, we speak English the same.
Being in an academic environment really sensors my personal language, as I am fond of using curse words. It also requires to speak maturely and complexly.
Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.” Threepenny Review, 1990. Print.
Anzaldua, Gloria. “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.” Borderlands/La Frontera. 1987. Print.