I am doing an assignment about the essay "Mother Tongue," but I am having a hard time understanding the claim of the author and the target audience. I came up with the idea that the author's claim is that one's use of language does not indicate their amount of knowledge or worth, but I am not sure if I am thinking of the right answer.

Amy Tan claims that one’s use of language does not indicate their amount of knowledge or worth. She proves this claim by illustrating how knowledgeable and thoughtful her mother was despite not speaking English fluently. The essay’s target audience consists of people who dismissed her mother due to the woman’s “broken” English. Tan wants to show these people, as well as any reader, how lack of language fluency actually hides the speaker’s intelligence and value.

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In her essayMother Tongue,” Amy Tan indeed argues that a speaker’s command of a language belies their knowledge, thoughts, and worth. She demonstrates this claim by illustrating that her mother’s “broken” English caused people to dismiss her. Tan’s intended audience are those people who looked down on...

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In her essayMother Tongue,” Amy Tan indeed argues that a speaker’s command of a language belies their knowledge, thoughts, and worth. She demonstrates this claim by illustrating that her mother’s “broken” English caused people to dismiss her. Tan’s intended audience are those people who looked down on her mother condescendingly because they could not understand her mother’s words.

Even though her mother speaks English that is not grammatically correct or fluent, Tan understands her words’ meaning. For example, despite speaking “broken” English, her mother successfully communicates how a gangster attended her wedding to pay respects (and the way that event even came about). Tan insists that her

mother's expressive command of English belies how much she actually understands. She reads the Forbes report, listens to Wall Street Week, converses daily with her stockbroker, reads all of Shirley MacLaine's books with ease—all kinds of things I can't begin to understand.

In fact, Tan illustrates how her mother knows that her stockbroker is withholding a check—and how she cleverly finagles a visit to dress down the stockbroker to his boss in person.

Throughout her childhood and as an adult, Tan witnesses how people brush off her mother. She sees that

people in department stores, at banks, and at restaurants did not take her seriously, did not give her good service, pretended not to understand her, or even acted as if they did not hear her.

Even when her mother insists on learning important medical information about herself, such as a benign brain tumor detected by a CAT scan—especially since her husband and son died from brain tumors—she is ignored. The hospital and medical staff show no respect for her knowledge or empathy for her concerns; however, they suddenly change their attitude when fluent-English-speaking Tan speaks up for her mother.

The target audience of Tan’s argument seems to be not only the people who dismissed her mother (e.g., salespeople, restaurant staff, medical workers), but also anyone who may have an implicit bias against non-native English speakers (or a people speaking any language as a second language). Her essay shows readers that their perception and judgment of a person who does not speak a language well may be inaccurate. In fact, the description “limited” English makes Tan think that

everything is limited, including people's perceptions of the limited English speaker.

A non-native speaker’s use of language obscures the full range of the person’s knowledge and thoughts. Tan feels that her mother’s speech is “vivid, direct, full of observation and imagery” and that it demonstrates

her intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts.

Most importantly, no matter how skillfully a person speaks a language, that person is worthy of respect.

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