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March 20, 2016 | Author: | Posted in asian literature, literature and language

Language , Culture and Bilingualism : Bridging or Breaking Connections

All the 15 essays elicit what Jay (2003 ) asserted , in his book Psychology of Language , that language is indeed a critical tool in the development of an individual ‘s identity , self-awareness , and intellectual and psychological growth ‘ As we all know , language has a role in connecting individuals to each other and shapes personal identity . People who share the same language or dialect often share the same feelings , beliefs , and behaviors . It provides a common bond for individuals with the same linguistic and same common [banner_entry_middle]

heritage . It may also be the means by which one group of people stereotypes another and it could isolate members of one culture to one another

Despite immigrants ‘ willingness to adopt and use English today , it is clearer than ever that their efforts at linguistic and cultural assimilation do not uniformly translate into structural incorporation (Garcna , 1995 . Immigrants are thoroughly aware of this as what the study of Fernbndez Kelly and Schauffler (1996 ) indicate that the assimilation experience and the outcomes of migration are strongly influenced by characteristics of immigrant groups and the conditions under which they came to the US . For instance , Amy Tan in her essay Mother Tongue discussed how someone who has always loved language celebrated using “all the Englishes I grew up with ” in her living and her writing . The English that she hears from her mother , despite its “imperfection ” has become their “language of intimacy , a different sort of English that relates to family talk , the language I grew up with There is quite a difference between the “standard ” English that she learned from school and uses in her professional world and the “simple and “broken ” English that is used in her interaction with her mother However , as Tan points out , speaking her mother ‘s version of English gives her bicultural insight and strength , and she sees the beauty and wisdom in her mother ‘s language “Her language , as I hear it , is vivid direct , full of observation and imagery “I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal : her intent , her passion , her imagery , the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts

On the contrary , Lan Cao ‘s The Gift of Language essay narrated how she left for Vietnam and became “Americanized . However , when her mother came over to America , this made her realize that the more Americanized she became , she becomes more distant with her relationship with her mother , and subconsciously with her real roots . She gained the ability to speak fluently in English and gained the ability to help her mother and friends . Despite these acquired abilities , she felt that she has distanced herself from them because they could not communicate on the same level . This reveals the premise of how language could not just bridge connections , but it could also break these connections with one ‘s culture

Although language is part of culture , there is no simple cause-and-effect relation between the two . Culture and language are in constant interplay with each other . UNESCO (1953 ) stressed the relevance of the mother tongue for children ‘s development , recognized for every child the right to be educated through his own vernacular . In a number of countries , where for many children the mainstream language of education is different from the mother tongue , legislation has recognized the right to bilingual education

Bilingualism obviously makes a difference . It changes children ‘s lives Children who are being educated in a weak language need to learn the subject material and the language at the same time . Raising children as bilinguals will likely delay their vocabulary growth in at least one of the languages and may set them apart from monolingual peers who speak that language

Children who live in a bilingual and bicultural world have a different perspective that may not only influence hidden cognitive and linguistic skills , but also challenge their world views and social identity . These consequences of bilingualism appear to be intangible and to defy quantification and measurement . Thus , it is more of an advantage to promote bilingualism among people in a multicultural environment . As the age of globalization advances , the American society has changed to become more aligned to recognize the culture of other people . Being in touch with your native language could summon difficulties , but these difficulties serve as challenges that a bilingual person has to face to become a better person . In promoting bilingualism , language could always be a tool to bridge people to connect with their roots and with other people

Works Cited

Fembndez Kelly , M .

Schauffler , R . Divided Fates : Immigrant Children and the New Assimilation . pp . 30-53 in The New second Generation , ed Alejandro Portes . Russell Sage Foundation , 1996

Garcia , O . Spanish Language Loss as a Determinant of Income among Latinos in the United States : Implications for Language Policy in Schools . pp . 142-60 in Power and Inequality in language Education , ed James W . Tollefson . Cambridge University Press , 1995

Jay , T . The Psychology of Language . Upper Saddle River , NJ : Prentice Hall , 2003

Lan Cao “The Gift of Language “

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Tan , Amy “Mother Tongue “

. 712

UNESCO . The Use of Vernacular Languages in Education . Paris : UNESCO 1953 … [banner_entry_footer]

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