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Personal Experiences Essay

624 words - 3 pages

Assignment: “Personal Experience Essay”

During my early years in the United States, my main source of language development came from watching television and whatever nuances I was able to pick up from fellow students in school. Needless to say, my English was not something one would label proper. I only came to realize, how much I was lacking in my language skills as the years went by and Istarted interacting with different people in different atmospheres. Though I have been residing in the States for over 13 years now, I still find that my knowledge of the English language is far from sufficient.

A perfect example of the aforementioned is when I was taking English as Second Language classes in school in Vermont. Amy Tan talks about how some of the answers on her English test were always a judgment call. “The correct answer always seemed to be the most ...view middle of the document...

The author writes: “my mother loved to talk, and her limited English forced her to repeat elementary sentences on a regular basis. She did however, master filler words.” In regards to these “filler words” I find that not only are the immigrants mastering them, but also the native speakers. Many people tend to use certain words to fill sentences due to a lack of vocabulary. Phrases such as “like” and “you know” are so widely used, that we as immigrants, tend to get an impression that they are apart of a proper English to be used on a daily basis. For me personally, the purpose these “filler words” serve is to provide more time for me to think of how and what word to use next, I hope this makes sense to the reader. As I develop better expertise and understanding of the English language, I try my best to eliminate these “filler words”out of my speech completely. I understand this will take time and most certainly my dedication.

Another disadvantage of not speaking a language properly is that people who do comprehend the language fully may manipulate you. Lan Cao talks about the above-mentioned in “Keeper of the Word”. A specific example is when the writer says: “since my mother couldn’t understand half of what anyone was saying, television watching, for me, was translating and more.” The author brings up an instance where she was watching television with her mother and had to explain what was taking place in the show. She clearly admits translating what occurred in an inaccurate way. The explanation she gave her mother required less elaboration, which benefited the writer, but was unfortunate for the mother.

I can think of many instances where my own family members would leave things out or add things to a statement I needed translated. Though I can understand why they would do so, I think it is unfair. I have made a promise to myself to never mislead anyone in that way. We, who have been fortunate enough to have the resources to learn the language, have a responsibility to pass on our knowledge to people who require assistance with any language issues.

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