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The Impacts of Multiculturalism While Learning a Different Language, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1045

Essay

It was interesting the way Amy Tan’s poem “Mothers Tongue” brought to light some interesting positive and negative effects of multiculturalism like adapting to different languages and developing her cultural identity.  It was quite remarkable how Amy Tan’s learned to speak or understand a second language and different dialects which contributed to defining her as a passionate writer. Language is the tool of my trade. And I use them all-All the Englishes I grew up with (Tan, 46). This passage shared  by Amy Tan clearly gives an example of how the experiences with her mother’s broken English actually honed her writing skills” I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal: her intent, her passion, her imagery, and the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts (Tan,51). The positive and negative experiences shaped the identity of Amy Tan while further developing her appreciation for her language experiences.

The first read of Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue gave the impression that Amy Tan was angry about the treatment of mother because of her broken English. However, upon the second and third read, it was unique how Amy Tan used her language in a positive way to adapt to society.  Language is the impetus that empowers individuals to forge ties that bind into a community, thus giving them personal, social, or cultural identification (Florida Gulf Coast University). The first discovery of how different languages and meanings can be a positive came when Amy Tan was practicing a speech out loud. Her mother was astonished by Amy’s ability to speak a different language using phrases like” The intersection of memory upon Imagination” (Tan, 46). Amy Tan learned and discovered the powerful tool of learning the many different forms of the English language. The paper will discuss the positive and negative influences of multiculturalism on children and how adapting to different languages/dialects can develop a person’s identity.

It was impressive the way Amy Tan explained how she used different languages/dialects with different people learning to adapt to any situation, group or culture. The adapting to different barriers became a way of life with Amy Tan which was engrained in her personal life as well. Amy talked about how she changed her language and dialects with her husband. He had become accustomed to Amy Tan’s ability to adapt and change. My husband was with us as well, and he did not notice any switch in my English (Tan, 47).

The positive effects of multiculturalism were most evident as Amy Tan became a wordsmith learning to talk in different dialects. Amy had to learn so many different languages and dialects, that it developed her ability to adapt with any culture or situation in life. Amy had a language she spoke for her friends that was more slang, a language for the Chinese fruit stand owner, a language for her professional friends, and a language for she spoke to her Chinese mother.  The same disadvantages Amy Tan perceived from her linguistic challenges become the most positive results from growing up with such a diverse cultural and language rich background.

The negative impact of multiculturalism is a lack of understanding or empathy for   different nationalities or religions that result in disrespect and disagreements. The multicultural communities usually consist of a mix of different races and ethnic groups that have language impediments, traditions, cultures, or religion that is outside the norm. The best example is Amy Tan experience with society not being receptive to diverse cultures that do not have command of the English language. This can impact the child ability to receive extra tutoring after-school because the child does not want to bring their parents to school. Many times children will make fun of families that cannot speak clear English. Unfortunately, the prejudice is passed on to the children in society, that anyone that is an adult should take the time to learn English in America. Many times multicultural children and families can become very bitter about the daily encounters based on the accent, broken English or their appearance. And I have plenty of empirical evidence to support me: the fact that department stores, at banks and at restaurants did not take her seriously, did not give her good service, pretended not to understand her or even acted as if they did not hear her (Tan, 48).

Amy Tan poem reflected the many negative and inaccurate perceptions about multicultural families which keep families not participating in activities. The negative attitudes were depicted when Amy Tan visited the hospital, the stockbrokers and the restaurants. In the educational environment they assumed that multicultural parents do not participate in activities because they are not interested in the school programs. The truth of the matter is multicultural parents may not participate in social activities like the Boy scouts for many different reasons. For example the parent may have time constraints that do not allow the child to participate in the Boy scouts or the child does not have any friends in the Boy scouts to build camaraderie or finally the child is too embarrassed because of his family’s poor English dialect. Amy Tan explained that she was embarrassed about her mother’s broken English with provides some evidence that multicultural families may not participate because of language barriers.

There many positives for multicultural families that have learned to incorporate the language dialects within their personal and business relationships. Multicultural families are adept at learning not only their own cultures but understanding other cultures. Amy Tan learned the New York culture, the business culture, the Chinese culture, and the American culture. Also, having so many different cultures in our country allows us to learn more and become more educated on the different cultures that exist throughout the world and we get a lot of them right here in our country(World in Conversation). The positive and negative experiences are what developed Amy Tan identity and without these experiences Amy Tan would not be the person she is today which is a vibrant, graphical and eloquent writer.

Reference

Florida Gulf Coast University. (2012). The Assignment: Class discussion Tan and Baldwin. Retrieved from http://www.fgcu.edu/WritingCenter/sampleessay.html

Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.” Across cultures. Eds. Sheena Gillespie and Robert Singleton. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1999. 26-31. Print.

World in Conversion. (2011). What reasons make multiculturalism positive in the US? Retrieved

from http://www.worldinconversation.org/2011/03/29/what-reasons-make-multiculturalism-positive-for-the-us-119-blog/

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