Communication What? Analysis

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Tannen, Munoz, and Tan wrote personal essays explaining the impact of language in their lives. Problems arising from lack of communication are happening now more than ever, and these three authors state three completely different ways about how language is affecting their own lives as well as others. Though the three authors come from different backgrounds and share different stories, all the problems written by these authors can be traced back to a simple lack of communication. All of communication errors discussed prove to be unfair to one side or the other.

Without inspiration, any type of art would just be nothing but a small showing of skill without its individual story. Amy Tan once said, “The goal of every serious writer of literature is to try to find your voice and your art because it comes from your own experiences, your own pain. ” Amy Tan herself writes all of her work with her mother in mind as the reader. Her mother is her inspiration. In “Mother Tongue,” Amy Tan talk about all of the Englishes she was raised with. These include normal English and her “mother tongue” English, the way she spoke to her family, which shaped her first outlook of life.

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Along the essay, Tan sends a strong message of how we ought to view people by their individual and beautiful side, not by their shortcomings. A quote in Munoz’ story that relates is, “ Spanish was and still is viewed with suspicion: Always the language of the vilified illegal immigrant, it segregated schoolchildren into English-only and bilingual programs; it defined you, above all else, as part of a lower class. ”(72) It is sad that in our society today things like this happen, that we still judge people by their skin color or the language they speak, or even by their name.

This relates back into Amy Tans’ story also, on how certain people are denied some rights because their language is not up to our standards. For example, Amy Tan’s mother did not speak perfect English, but the points and ideas she was trying to get across are what really were important. This is unfair because her knowledge would not be visible to the average American due to not being able to understand her. Tannen’s essay, “Sex, Lies, And Coversation” spoke about the communication differences between men and women, Included in this essay are claims that the men are more likely to be speaking in public place, and less at home.

On the contrary, women are more likely to talk to their husband at home, but do not speak in public. Why this happens is explained when Tannen says, “In the public setting of a guest lecture, men felt challenged to show his intelligence and display his understanding of the lecture. But at home, where he has nothing to prove and no one to defend against, he is free to remain silent. For his wife, being home means she is free from the worry that something she says might offend someone, or sparks disagreement, or appears to be showing off; at home she is free to talk. This states that men talk in public more in order to boast their intelligence to others, but women feel more comfortable talking at home due to them not having the fear of causing conflict with others. Given this, Tannen suggests that this is one of the main reasons for the rapidly escalating divorce rate in America.

This attitude shown by the women can be seen by the mother in “Mother Tongue”, and for the majority of the Spanish speaking Americans Munoz talks about in “Leave Your Name At The Border. Similar to the mother in “Mother’s Tongue”, most native speaking Americans feel threatened to speak their broken English, or other languages in public. This causes most of their conversing with friends and family in the home, similarly to the women Tannen is referring to. All three authors bring up the topic of being able to speak comfortably at home, to emphasize the fact that everyone should feel comfortable to talk in public wherever they live, for their country is also their home.

One thing I kept noticing in Munoz’ essay was that speaking Spanish was almost looked down upon by Americans. Also, not only were people embarrassed by their name, but by the simple fact that they knew how to speak Spanish. Munoz says, “English was for public display. Spanish was for privacy, and privacy quickly turned into shame. ”(74) It’s sad how America views itself as a “melting pot” of races, yet they usually do not take the effort to understand or try to bond with someone who is different. Americans often fail to realize that illegal immigrant did not grow up speaking English.

Also forgotten is the effort immigrant put into learning the new language, as well as going as far as changing the pronunciation of their ethnic names to fit our criteria. It is only fair for both Americans to put in the effort to communicate with the immigrants, as well as the immigrants trying to learn the common English language. After reading the story “Leave your name at the border” by Manuel Munoz, the reader can instantly begin to draw a connection with Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue”. Both authors describe how they were raised and how people treated them unfairly because of their cultural background.

This can be seen in “Mother Tongue” by when Tan describes how people were reacting when her mother spoke to people with her “broken English”. This made Tan feel ashamed of her culture and even her mother. Meanwhile, in Munoz’s story, he stated when people said non-white names they stumbled while saying them and didn’t even try to correct themselves, which also became an embarrassment for the person with the native name, causing them to also feel ashamed of their culture and even their name. Both these authors openly talk about losing pride in their culture and themselves.

It is sad how Americans force our people to learn Spanish, yet we make the people who natively speak it seem like sub par citizens by making them change their ethnic names to the English equivalent. The unfairness is inferred between the two authors. In Tannen’s essay, she informs us on the lack of communication between men and women and the problems that it can cause. These problems are not so much caused by a lack of communication as to a lack of understanding how men and women communicate. Men and women have extremely varied styles of communicating and listening.

For example, guys get better grades when a man lie on the floor and close his eyes. When a girl sees this action in a guy, she decodes it as a complete unwillingness to pay attention. But, for the man, it is just a form of concentration on the subject, in this case the talk. You can see how this can be a problem, but not due to a lack of communication, but due to a lack of understanding on how opposite sexes communicates. Munoz and Tan bring up problems that arise literally from a lack of communication, or a lack of speaking or understanding a language.

The imbalance between the interests and expectations in men and women in conversation causes a communication gap between the two genders. It makes us to have different impressions of social interaction between men and woman. Someone must understand the other sex in order to come up with a solution. Similarly to this, one must understand multiple cultures and languages to come up with a solution on sealing the communication gap between different ethnicities. All three authors expose their personal connections on how lack of communication causes problems, whether it is with the opposite sex or a person who speaks another language.

Judging someone and their intellect without the basic idea of understanding their language is unfair. Men and women speak two completely different “languages” by how different their views on communication and conversation should be. Similar to this is the literal language barrier that separates two people from communicating. Communication is not easy; it definitely takes time and effort on both sides to be fair to each other. It will be worth all the effort in the end, for being understood is underestimated as one of the most important things in the world.

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