Who is the intended audience for "Mother Tongue"?

The intended audience of Amy Tan's essay "Mother Tongue" is the people who criticize and judge Tan's mother's version of spoken English. Tan uses the essay to convince her audience that her mother's version of English communicates effectively and is a powerful language.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Amy Tan's essayMother 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,...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 1002 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on