Mother Tongue and When I was PR – Amy

Part 1: Mother Tongue by Amy Tan

“Some say they understand none of it, as if she were speaking pure Chinese. But to me, my mother’s English is perfectly clear, perfectly natural. It’s my mother tongue, Her language, as I hear it, is vivid, direct, full of observation and imagery.” I think this quote is important because the author Amy Tan feels embarrassed about how her mother speaks English as if she Chinese accent and how it shapes her daily life. It tells us about the writer how Amy Tan would worry and care about how her mother speaks with an accent or no accent and shows how her mother’s language had a big influence on how she saw the world, giving it context.

3 new vocabulary words I learned:

Vivid (adjective): producing powerful feelings or strong, clear images in the mind. Sentence it appears in: “Her language, as I hear it, is vivid, direct, full of observation and imagery.”

Assurances (noun): a positive declaration intended to give confidence; a promise. Sentence it appears in: “And when the doctor finally called her daughter, me, who spoke in perfect English — lo and behold — we had assurances the CAT scan would be found, promises that a conference call on Monday would be held, and apologies for any suffering my mother had gone through for a most regrettable mistake.”

Insular (adjective): ignorant of or uninterested in cultures, ideas, or peoples outside one’s own experience. Sentence it appears in: “But I do think that the language spoken in the family, especially in immigrant families which are more insular, plays a large role in shaping the language of the child.”

Part 2: When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago

“During the January assembly, Mr. Grant announced the names of the kids who had received high marks in each class. My name was called out three times. I became a different person to the other eighth graders. I was still in 8–23, but they knew, and I knew, that I didn’t belong there.” I think this quote is important because it shows the author, Esmeralda would work hard to work on her alphabet and new language, English in her own ways.

3 new vocabulary words I learned:

Rebellious (adjective): showing a desire to resist authority, control, or convention. Sentence it appears in: “This was probably the first rebellious act she had seen from me outside my usual mouthiness within the family.”

Churning (verb): (with reference to liquid) move or cause to move about vigorously. Sentence it appears in: “I waved and she waved back. I started
up the stairs, my stomach churning into tight knots.”

Uproariously (adjective): provoking loud laughter; very funny. Sentence it appears in: ““What have I done?” I kicked myself with the back of my right shoe, much to the surprise of the a fellow walking behind me, who laughed uproariously, as if I had meant it as a joke.”

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