Reading Response 6: Language & Culture Stories

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.

Reading Response 6 with Notes


Reading Response 5: How To Tame a Wild Tongue

As I read, How to Tame a Wild Tongue, I was very inspired and interested in learning more about the Chicano culture, language, and discourse. Gloria Anzaldua’s words were so powerful and it was evident that she was passionate about her language and identity. I found it extremely fascinating that Chicano Spanish is as diverse linguistically as it is regionally. Gloria explained that if you want to really hurt her, talk badly about her language. As I came to this point in the text, I began to realize that we are our language. I also began to examine myself and noticed that I can be rather defensive when it comes to my own home language. It makes me who I am today and it’s upsetting that some people would try to diminish that part of me. Before reading this, I had not put much thought into the concept that our language determines our identity, and that language and identity go hand in hand, but I’m grateful that this reality has now been brought to my attention. This was a defining moment when my perspective began to change as Gloria pointed out “to be close to another Chicana is like looking into the mirror.” We take our language for granted in America, mainly due to the fact that it is dominant in our society. English is a very powerful language and not only does it affect the culture of United States citizens, but it also influences the literacy, discourse, and culture of people who are not Americans. In addition to discourse and identity, Gloria explains, “Chicanos and other people suffer economically for not acculturating.” This is quite obvious in our country today. The struggle of identities and borders inside and outside of our country causes people to feel like “outsiders,” or people who don’t belong. There is a constant power struggle for people whose primary language is not English and it saddens me that they feel rejected because of that. It’s important to be considerate of other people’s language, culture, and discourse, simply because their language has every right to survive, just as much as ours does.

Notes for Reading Response 5