Amy Tan's essay “Mother Tongue” can appeal to a broad audience, but it is also geared toward a particular subset of that audience. Broadly speaking, Tan writes her essay for anyone interested in language and how it is used. This might include everyone from linguistic scholars who study language and its usage professionally to people who speak more than one language at home to individuals simply fascinated by words and sentences.
Tan does, however, appear to speak directly to a narrower audience—namely those who believe that there is only one English language. This is simply not true, according to Tan. In fact, there are many different “Englishes”—some formal, others informal, some conforming to a “standard” English, others going off in their own direction. All of these various “Englishes” still communicate people's ideas and meanings, and as such, the speakers of all of these “Englishes” should be respected.
Tan focuses particularly on the idea of respect,...
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