The essays, Mother Tongue, by Amy Tan, best known for her book, The Joy Luck Club, and Se Habla Espanol, by Tanya Barrientos, delve into the many powers that language holds.
These essays reflect how by not speaking a language in proper form and by not speaking a language at all, affects the lives of the subjects of the stories.
It led me to also believe that in the use of “Se Habla Espanol” Barrientos was trying to hence that it is used in a variety of places with the same three words. It is important to Barrientos because speaking Spanish is what kept the Latino community together and without knowing Spanish she could not call herself a Latina and have pride in herself. The reason Barrientos added Spanish words to the writing is for the reader to see Barrientos’ perspective of knowing Spanish.
Connecting it to the stereotypical Latino that they are all the same did support my impression as the title conveyed that Barrientos saw that the Latinos were people who “wait[ed] tables and clean[ed] hotel rooms.” It meant to Barrientos that speaking Spanish meant to be poor. Without knowing the language, the feeling of being left out is present.
The Power of Language Language plays an important role in communication by bringing people together and enriching their relationships.
Language can also alienate those who do not speak it properly, or at all, from those who do.There are millions of people who inhabit the Earth; many speak some form of English, a language whose poetry dates as far back as the mid to late six hundreds of the common era.Over the centuries the written and spoken language has grown through technological developments such as papyrus, the printing press, typewriters, and the internet, as well as cultural occurrences like industrialism, the canonization of literature, colonization and globalization.Barrientos is now determined to learn her native language. The author Tanya Maria Barrientos decided to give her article a Spanish title prepared me for the subject by showing me that it will be about Spanish in some way or form. The anecdote at the beginning of the text has the effect of showing the point of view of the conflict that Barrientos has in learning her native language; which caught my attention in wanting to know why she would degrade her own native language. The significance of learning Spanish to Barrientos is that she tried hard for two decades to isolate herself from stereotype but then suddenly a shift in society changed it all.These stereotypes are reasons why Barrientos did not want to be called Mexican and never wanted to learn Spanish.If diversity had been celebrated when Barrientos was a child, as it is celebrated and honored now, she would have grown up speaking Spanish and being proud of her heritage.According to Barrientos, “To me, speaking Spanish translated into being poor. It meant being left off the cheerleading squad and receiving a condescending smile from the guidance counselor when you said you planned on becoming a lawyer or a doctor” (561).They are not respected in a lot of communities, they live dirty, and they have bad jobs.Children are very impressionable and tend to take on others’ opinions as their own, but as they grow older, they develop a greater understanding and perspective of the way things are and the way they should be.As adults, both Tan and Barrientos learned to accept and embrace the languages that previously embarrassed them.