Reading Response 6:
I really enjoyed reading the Language and Culture stories and comparing them to How To Tame a Wild Tongue and our class discussion yesterday. As I was reading the two stories, there were several observations I made in comparison to How To Tame a Wild Tongue. For instance, in the Korenglish story, the writer says that their father feared that they would grow a heavy Asian accent that is usually carried by Asians who learn English as their second language. This was relevant to Gloria’s story in the sense that she felt Chicano’s are not given the same opportunities as people whose standard language is English. The writer also says that their father believed that what American’s view, as the ‘perfect’ accent would help their social skills as well as future employment in corporate America. We discussed this a little bit in class and talked about the struggle that immigrants face when trying to survive in our society. They are forced to adapt to and adopt our cultural norms. It also stood out to me in Korenglish that the grandmother spoke in an “unofficial language,” which was a combination of Korean and English. The writer said that it is like an exclusive code that only she and her grandmother could understand. This reminded me of How To Tame a Wild Tongue when Gloria said that certain people could only recognize certain variations of the Chicano language and dialect. In the second Language and Culture story, the writer helped reaffirm some of my own views and perspectives on different languages and cultures. They said that, “there are many cultural differences not only in conversations but also in how people behave.” This is proof that culture and behavior go hand in hand. The writer also continued in saying that when they came here from Japan, they realized that they had been generalizing American people according to what they saw when they first came here and their mind was closed to accept the differences. We talked about this in class, just on the opposite end of the spectrum. We described how people who speak English, especially Americans, define other people by where they come from and their cultures. I ashamedly admit that I am guilty of this myself. I struggle with embracing other peoples languages and cultures, simply because all I have ever known is my language and my culture. I wish that I had taken the opportunity more seriously when I was learning Spanish in middle school and high school. I think it’s really important that we see people as themselves and as individuals, and just like the writer said, “we never know what kind of person someone is until we talk to them.” This is a defining truth that we can take from these two stories and How To Tame a Wild Tongue.