Unanswered [8] | Urgent [0]
  

Home / Writing Feedback   % width Posts: 2

"...ethnic unity and cultural identity are routinely defined by language.."


fatima89 1 / -  
Feb 28, 2012   #1
There are many differences between that exist between countries, with language being the obvious one. One of the greatest obstacles to overcome when traveling from abroad to the USA is the language barrier. Even after years of learning another language, it can be challenging completely if we don't relate to it. Moreover, one's identity and connection to their ethnicity can be thought of as being deeply rooted to their native language. Hence, according to Robert D. King in his essay "Should English Be the Law?", "in much of the world, ethnic unity and cultural identity are routinely defined by language". In other words, entire countries see themselves as whole not through their history, but rather through a common language. Thus, to belong to one language group is to belong to the culture. For instance, "to be an Arab" an individual must know the language. Many experts agree that language and ethnicity are what strongly define a culture. Nevertheless, some controversy persists regarding this topic.

In his essay, King gives us a general overview on the history of buildinga language-government relationship. He argues how unimportant seemed the united language establishment years ago, at the times of Great Kings. Centuries ago, to become a great nation meant to have a strong ruler and position in the world. The trouble with language started with French revolution, when it decided to diminish any competitive languages in the country. Therefore, the language chauvinism became into the play. As he goes on, King explains, that the issue is overestimated in the world, and in America. "Language is a convenient surrogate for nonlinguistic claims", he writes. Basically, it's trying to conceal other problems countries have. In the tormented by wars and racial disputes twentieth century, countries tried to get away from their former invaders. However, the language is not the problem, but a solution in search of independence.

In his essay, "Achievement of Desire", Richard Rodriguez writes about his struggle in finding his true identity. He made the choice to break away from his Spanish heritage at an early age and lived with this difficult decision his whole life. According to Rodriguez, national identity and language posession are intertwined. Thus, choosing one language over the other, he chose not to be Spanish. Eventually, he was lost between two realities: his home and school which are "cultural extremes".No matter how clear and sophisticated is Rodriguez' English may be, however, his last name will always belong to another ethnic group. Language can only help to improve one's academic success, but ethnicity is married to the mother tongue.

Another writer, Barbara Mellix, allied at some point with the statement. In "From Outside In", she admits she tried to get away from her origins to become a better person. It is even more interesting to read her story, since she was born in the US and always spoke English. The Southern English, or Black English, was spoken at home and the Standard spoken with relatives from the North. In her essay, we read that children from minorities were not taught common proper English. Minorities always had something to prove, especially when it came to language The most important thing they had to prove they were just as good as whites. Thus, proper English was like church dress for Mellix: she put it on on special occasions. Therefore she made an effort to speak more eloquently in her professional life. Society has its own rules, even if the law doesn't define one. To be accepted into the mainstream society and achieve something, she knew she had to step away from her background.

On the other hand, we can argue that language isn't necessary the factor that forces us to stand only on one side of the road. In her essay, "Mother Tongue", Amy Tan describes the difficulties she had to overcome to understand that knowing more languages makes her more powerful. She writes about her mother, who was greatly underestimated by people around her because she had some heavy accent. Moreover, Tan points out that society has biased opinions about people from different ethos groups. Thus, she went against the flow and became a writer even after she was told it would never happen. Amy Tan is a perfect example of a multi-national persona. She knew she had to change to reach her goal, but she didn't cut out her Asian legacy. She embraced her dual nature and became a whole individual.

Jennyflower81 - / 690 96  
Mar 11, 2012   #2
There are many differences between that exist between countries, with language being the obvious one. One of the greatest obstacles to overcome when traveling from abroad to the USA is the language barrier. Even after years of learning another language, it can be challenging completely if we don't relate to it culturally .

**you don't need to keep starting sentences with words like hence, thus, moreover. these words are unnecessary and distracting

He argues how a united language seemed unimportant seemed the united language establishment years ago, atduring the time of Great Kings.

The trouble with language started with the French revolution, when it was decided to diminishthat any competitive languages in the country be diminished .

Therefore, the language chauvinism became into the play.
This sentence should be omitted, it sounds odd.

In theIn the past, people were tormented by wars and racial disputes.During the twentieth century, countries tried to get away from their former invaders.


Home / Writing Feedback / "...ethnic unity and cultural identity are routinely defined by language.."