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Very Rough Draft

In: English and Literature

Submitted By chelsrenae90
Words 1537
Pages 7
ESSAY Mother Tongue Don't judge a book by its cover or someone's intelligence by her English. By Amy Tan • Art by Gabe Leonard I am not a scholar of English or literature. I cannot give you much more than personal opinions on the English language and its variations in this country or others. I am a writer. And by that definition, I am someone who has always loved language. I am fascinated by language in daily life. I spend a great deal of my time thinking about the power of language—the way it can evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth. Language is the tool of my trade. And 1 use them all—all the Englishes 1 grew up with. Recently, I was made keenly aware of the different Englishes I do use. I was giving a talk to a large group of people, the same talk I had already given to half a dozen other groups. The talk was about my writing, my life, and my book The Joy Luck Club, and it was going along well enough, until I remembered one major difference that made the whole talk sound wrong. My mother was in the room. And it was perhaps the first time she had heard me give a lengthy speech, using the kind of English I have never used with her. I was saying things like "the intersection of memory and imagination" and "There is an aspect of my Fiction that relates to thus-and-thus"—a speech filled with carefully wrought grammatical phrases, burdened, it suddenly seemed to me, with nominalized forms, past perfect tenses, conditional phrases, forms of standard English that I had learned in school and through books, the forms of English I did not use at home with my mother. Just last week, as 1 was walking down the street with her, I again found myself conscious of the English I was using, the English 1 do use with her We were talking about the price of new and used furniture, and I heard myself saying this: "Not waste money that way."...

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