Writing the narrative was a very easy task in opinion. Well the writing itself was easy, but thinking of what to write was not. I knew that all I had to do was write about myself and ,as I expressed in my narrative, writing about myself is a very easy topic for me to write about. However, when I normally write about myself, which is usually in my own journal, I write about what I want and however I want to. I know that there is no one that is going to grade how I write about myself in my journal. My only critic is me and as self critical as I am, I am also very prideful when it comes to my personal writings. So to be given an opportunity to write about myself as an assignment should have been easy right from the start, however being told that I have to write about a very specific part about myself and not whatever I pleased seemed quite paradoxical. Like I said in my narrative, for a very long time writing to me was just a requirement to pass a class. I had to push aside my bias towards written assignments and think about this specific assignment in a whole new way. I was not being told to write a narrative for the sake of writing one and having something to back up my grade at the end of the semester (which I know technically is the reason why I have to write papers in first place but for the sake of my argument lets pretend otherwise). I was being given an opportunity to share a part of me with the professor or whoever reads the narrative. It was as if I had to simply rip a page out of my journal and hand that in for a grade.
McCulloch’s article shed light on the correct versus incorrect ways of the English language. McChulloch reveals that the truth is there is no correct or incorrect mode of utilizing the English language. There is no “right” way of speaking English, just as there is no “wrong” way. The correct way of looking at language would be the “micro language” versus the “macro language”. Micro language is the way that we- as individuals- understand English to be. It’s dictated by race, age, gender, location (where you have grown up), family, the different locations you are at, and the languages you speak. These ways of life have significant impacts on how each individual goes about speaking. It becomes easy to pick up certain jargon at public school, and just as easy if you were to sit down and grab coffee with Einstein. Outside influences serve as the means for shaping the way we speak, and there is no doubt that each person is influenced differently. Macro language is essentially the general language that everyone is able to understand. Certain words stick, and so (for example) when it comes to speaking about couches, everyone would be on the same page because everyone knows what a couch is. It’s the more universal terms that everyone uses and understands.
Some people speak more “formally” because of the way they were raised, and it then raises the issue of social standing amongst the different classes. However, at the end of the day I’ve come to a greater understanding that language is all a matter of individuality. At some point or other, everyone’s dialect shifts and undergoes changes, as will my own.
Tiffany Martinez’s “Academia, Love me back” is a recounting of a moment in her life that speaks for many of us first generation Americans. When she was in college, she was handed back a paper written by her and in the paper the word “hence” was circled. In between the text was a note left by the professor grading it stating, “This is not your word”. Afterwards, as if the note itself was not enough of an insult, the professor stated in front of the whole class that that was not her language and he would like to know where she cut and pasted her work from. This was a moment she describes as making her feel invalidated and disrespected. The credibility of her work was not being determined by her effort nor her intellect. Instead she was being judged based on her last name and where it comes from. Martinez continues explaining that it was a moment that left her overwhelmed. She knew it was an experience that was to be turned into fuel for her self motivation however, it was also an experience that reassured the way she believed people viewed her.
Throughout the article you can notice that Martinez uses a heavy amount of pathos to describe the event. She is not only trying to describe the event itself, but to give the reader insight on the emotions and feelings it caused to surface. Martinez meticulously selects words that portray the way she felt. The exact way. For example, when she describes the situation she states “In this interaction, my undergraduate career was both challenged and critiqued.” Notice how the event started due to her paper, however she feels that it insults her career as a student as well. She also chooses the word “challenged” rather than a less aggressive word like “doubted”.
“Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan is an article that gives attention to the English language and how it has various forms of being spoken. She begins the article explaining that she is a writer and a life long lover of language. Tan believes in the power of language, which she has learned to use throughout her life. However, she acknowledges that the language she uses, English, does not only come in one form. Tan points out that there are many “Englishes” and that these different dialects of English are all under her tool belt. The most prominent one in her life was that of her mother’s.
Tan continues to focus the article around her experience with her mothers way of speaking English. She explains that her mothers way of speaking English was not as fluent as most due to her Chinese background. Tan would describe her English as broken or limited to others, but they were terms that she came to get uncomfortable using. They are terms that not only changed peoples perspectives on her mother’s way of expressing herself, but on who she was as well. Tan admits that she knows this because she was one of those people growing up. Tan’s mother’s English was a reflection of who she was and to Tan that meant that if the way she spoke was imperfect it must mean that her thoughts are as well. However, Tan then continues to explain that she realized she was wrong as she got older. Her mother may not be able to speak English as fluent as her mother tongue, but she could understand it a lot better.