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Impeccable Broken English

             The English language is one of the most complicated languages to master. We have so much slang, jargon and terminology within that it takes years to learn. The United States is full of immigrants that have learned English as a second language and have tried to master it the best way they know how. Accent, inflection and pronunciation usually comes most naturally to people that are born in the United States making it difficult for immigrants to sound as if they are natives. Americans tends to be impatient and judgmental towards immigrants when they sound garbled and unintelligible, trying to articulate their ideas. In her essay, “Mother Tongue”, Amy Tan relates how people often negatively perceive immigrants based poor articulation skills and she illustrates the manner in which they are discriminated against due to their “improper” use of the English language within the professional community that is used within the family as a sign of love and high regard. .
             When people come in contact with working professionals, they tend to enhance the way they sound in order to come off as understandable, intelligent and someone who should be taken seriously. Immigrants have a more difficult time appearing this way because they already have a native tone and grammatical inconsistency from their language that emerges when they speak English. As hard as they try, their English does not sound as polished as it might when they try to deal with people like stockbrokers and doctors. Although they may read “Forbes report, listen to Wall Street Week . . . and read all of Shirley McLain’s books” (126), people that do not learn English as a first language will sound different and immediately be noted by the listener as foreign. In “Mother Tongue”, Tan talks about how when she was a girl, “[she] used to . . . call people on the phone to pretend [she] was [her mother]” (127).