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Multi-Language Clash Synthesis essay

Joeyson 7 / 15  
Nov 19, 2009   #1
Having trouble writing this synthesis essay which I am supposed to analyze 2 essays and switch from each essay in each paragraph. Please give me as much feedback , Is my thesis clear enough? Does my topic sentences relate to my thesis?

Multi-Language Clash
Richard Rodriguez & Amy Tan

Richard Rodriguez and Amy Tan talk about their experiences with non-American backgrounds living in America. Both essays "Aria: Memoir of a bilingual Childhood" by Rodriguez, and "Mother Tongue" by Tan, are very similar in they both emphasize the importance of language and how it affected their lives. Both Rodriguez and Tan stress the importance of their family's language. Tan expresses two major issues; how language has impacted both her and her mother's lives and the different English's she uses toward her mother and others. Similarly, Rodriguez explains how language has affected him and his family's lives and the transition from Spanish to English.

Tan states in her essay that she loves language and its power. Tan and her mother both speak to each other differently than Tan would speak to someone else like, "It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk, the language I grew up with" (Tan 418). Even though they both speak English to each other, it's not how other people talk to one another. Tan is so used to hearing her mother talk in a "Broken" (Tan 419) English, she doesn't seem to notice much of a difference between broken English and clear English. She grew up listening to her mother talk this way and is so used to it. This way Tan and her mother talk is their family talk, the special way they communicate. Rodriguez shares the same family language.

Rodriguez and his family, which are Mexican immigrants, have a special family language as well, Spanish, which is used primarily at home. Rodriguez thought of Spanish as more of a private language, "I'd hear strangers on the radio and in the Mexican Catholic church across town speaking Spanish, but I couldn't really believe that Spanish was a public language, like English" (Rodriguez 330). It seems as if Rodriguez was living in two different worlds. He would go inside and speak only Spanish, but when he left, he would speak mainly the little English he knew. Rodriguez loved his family's language and felt when he was addressed by a family member he would feel "specially recognized" (Rodriguez 330). Although family language is very important, both Tan and Rodriguez learn to cope with having to adjust to a clearly spoken English environment.

Tan talks about how many different English's she uses and writes about, "I began to write stories using all the different English's I grew up with" (Tan 423). Three is the number of English's, which is weird because most of us only know one English that is clear and understandable, Tan describes this as "Watered down", in where Tan translates from her mother to other people. Tan talked to her mother in "simple" English so her mother could understand her better. Her mother talked to Tan in"broken" English, which a lot of us wouldn't usually understand. All three English's helped Tan become a better writer. Just think about it, knowing one English is good, knowing three English's must be astounding. Tan knew English her whole life, however Rodriguez didn't.

Rodriguez grew up learning only Spanish, and for that, it affected relationships with others outside his family and his school work. "until I was seven years old, I did not know the names of the kids who lived across the street"(Rodriguez 328). It must have been hard to make friends when he was younger without knowing basic English. He states he listened to what people have to say and learned English this way. He could distinguish Spanish from English by the "high nasal notes"(Rodriguez 329) of English. He seemed to think of Spanish as more of a softer sound and something he enjoyed. The way he describes English speakers makes it sound that English is frustrating to hear and he can't stand it. Probably the greatest factor in Rodriguez learning English was the nuns that came to visit his house and influenced Rodriguez's family to use English only in the household. They came because they felt his lack of English affected his school work, and it did. Years later, English became his primary language and he lost his personal family language.

Both essays stress the importance language is and how both Tan's and Rodriguez's family language has affected the way they write and think. Tan and Rodriguez both have different views and backgrounds. Both of them write a lot like one another and could learn a lot from each other if they were to meet. I felt as if I was reading the same essay with different details. Tan and Rodriguez are also so very similar in that at the end of both of their essays, they really understand how their language affects their writing, loved ones, and most importantly, themselves.

EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Nov 20, 2009   #2
you need one more sentence at the end of that first paragraph. It is really good --you make an observation about each, and it is well-written, but at the end you should give a sentence that makes a meaningful observation -- based on the content of your essay -- about these two in relation to one another.

There are two types of compare/contrast essay: alternating is to talk about one in the first body paragraph and another in the second body paragraph. Opposing is when you write a paragraph about a certain point of comparison and write about both essays in relation to that point of comparison.

You have a good transition sentence at the end of that 2nd paragraph.

This is a run-on sentence:
Tan knew English her whole life; however Rodriguez didn't.
There, I fixed it with a semi-colon

The conclusion is very important. It's what the whole essay amounts to. I think you should give a sentence or two that refer to the CONTENT they provide and not just the style.

:-) Good luck! You write very well already.
pheelyks - / 19  
Nov 21, 2009   #3
Tan knew English her whole life; however Rodriguez didn't.
There, I fixed it with a semi-colon

The clauses on either side of a semi-colon must be independent; "however Rodriguez didn't" could not be a sentence on its own, therefore a semi-colon is incorrect here. A comma, however, works:

"Tan knew English her whole life, however Rodriguez didn't."
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Nov 22, 2009   #4
Pheelyks, thanks so much for the attention to the situation, and for all the great help you've been giving people. In this situation here, though, can you see that the clauses on each side of the semi-colon are indeed independent? They are independent, because either could stand alone as a sentence.

The way you corrected it is actually a run-on sentence. It is a kind of run-on sentence called a "comma splice."

So, maybe we can have some more friendly debate about it! I still say the correct way is this:

"Tan knew English her whole life; however, Rodriguez didn't."

"Tan knew English her whole life. However, Rodriguez didn't."

It is okay to write this as a sentence: "However, Rodriguez didn't."

Please let me know your thoughts. It may be that I actually have a misconception, so I'll be very grateful if you correct me. This stuff is interesting to me, because I am a nerd. Kind regards,
pheelyks - / 19  
Nov 22, 2009   #5
Your assessment of the rule in general is correct, I believe, but I don't think "However, Rodriguez didn't" stands as an independent clause/sentence. Rodriguez didn't what? There is no transitive verb (I know that's not always a determiner of an independent clause, but generally...), and no way of knowing what the sentence is about without context. "Rodriguez did not" might actually be more correct (it reminds me of a sentence one might read in a primer, but it might be correct), but the "however" makes an explicit reference to something outside the sentence (whereas the reference made by "did not" is implicit).

I've never had a lot of formal instruction in grammar--I pick up terms as I go along, so my explanation might not be perfect. If "however, Rodriguez didn't" is an independent clause, then the semi-colon is correct (and the comma incorrect), but I'm not convinced.

To complicate matters further (and solve the problem), we could make the second clause firmly independent by moving the however to a parenthetical: "Rodriguez, however, didn't." The sentence would then read "Tan knew English her whole life; Rodriguez, however, did not."
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,334 129  
Nov 24, 2009   #6
If "however, Rodriguez didn't" is an independent clause, then the semi-colon is correct (and the comma incorrect), but I'm not convinced.

Well... in order to see how it actually is an independent clause, think of this sentence:

However, Rodriguez slept not.

That is not the way I normally talk, ha ha, but it demonstrates the loose way "not" can be used. In school, I learned that a complete sentence requires a subject and a predicate. However, Rodriguez did not.


A sentence can even just be: Rodriguez did.

That is complete, too.

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