“Mother Tongue” PowerPoint by Amy Tan

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“Mother Tongue”
by Amy Tan
Teaser/Anticipation Question
• List three (3) different dialects/accents of
American English.
– What are the stereotypes or generalizations of
each listed?
– Give some characteristics of the people that speak
in these certain tongues.
Reading Questions
“…the forms of standard English that I had learned in
school and through books…”
• How do you think she feels about presenting
this in front of her mother? Why do you think
she feels this way? Cite an example from the
text to support your answer.
“It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort
of English that relates to family talk, the language I
grew up with.”
• Predict: What type of English is she used to?
• Why do you feel that this is a language of
intimacy?
• What tradition, rituals, etc. do you have with
your family that you don’t do with others, or
some things that you link with your family?
• Can you think of any instances where
discrimination has occurred around you, to
you, or to someone you know? Explain the
situation.
• How did it play out?
• How did it make you feel?
• You are in a class based on a score given from
a standardized text like this. Do you feel these
tests are accurate? Why or why not?
“…the answers on English tests were always a judgment call, a
matter of opinion and personal experience.”
• Why do you agree or disagree with this?
• The answer to this question lies solely on the
fact that you are able to fully explain or
defend yourself.
“…would finally prove I had mastery over the English language.”
• Why do you think she has to prove she has
“mastered the language?”
• Who is she really trying to prove it to? Why do
you think this?
“A terrible line, which I can barely pronounce.”
• Why is this terrible?
• It sounds very intelligent. Explain why she
dislikes it so much.
“The English I spoke to my mother, which for lack of a better term might be
described as “simple…”
• What type of writer do you think she will
become with “all the Englishes?”
“I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal…”
• When she uses all the Englishes, what type of
character does she create of her mother?

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