Advanced Essay #2: Benefits of Speaking English

My name is Ashlye Fitzmaurice and in the past few weeks, the eleventh grade English class began writing their second Advanced Essay. The focus of this paper is on literacy; reading the word and reading the world. In the process of writing the paper, I wanted to contribute a topic that I was able to relate to. Shockingly enough, I was able to do so by choosing a topic that my family had struggled with and connect it to my message. Having to go back and fourth from my general idea to relating it to my aunt and also myself, I felt was a little too much, although I some how made it to work. I just hope that in the future, I can come up with a stronger thesis and make it even more debatable! That way, I'll be able be back it up with more 'evidence' and make it a stronger essay! I hope you enjoy! 


My father came to America when he was only four years old. A year later, he started Kindergarten, learning English, and later becoming fluent; the same applied to my mother. On the other hand, it was difficult for her older brothers and sisters. Specifically, her oldest sister; my oldest aunt.

For the first thirty years of her life, she had only spoken the Vietnamese and Cantonese language. Coming to America, she knew things were going to change. A new home, a new city, a new job, and most importantly a new language. They were aware that English was this main language that was used and spoken in America and it was much more difficult for her to learn it compared to my mother. Primarily affected her in ways that sought out to little opportunities, such as receiving a job.

She always told me to be thankful. “Be thankful for the life you live, people you have, and the opportunities that are given.” For her, all she wanted and desperately needed was a job. No one would hire her because she did not speak English. At times, my mother was her translator and evidently my mother was not going to be there twenty-four hours of the day, by her side. Carelessly, my aunt tried learning English, but the only words she understood was yes, no, please, and thank you.

Although, according to scientists and, babies and young infants can easily pick up new words and sound effortlessly because of the brain’s development.  “After age one it gets more difficult, but it is still much easier for children to learn new words. Whether these words are all from one language or from two or more doesn’t matter. All of the words—English, French, Russian, etc.—are stored in the same brain map. After age 10, learning new words becomes progressively harder until, as adults, it is exceedingly difficult. The older you get, the more you use your native language and the more it comes to dominate your linguistic map.”

It perfectly sums up this idea that learning a new language at a younger age is easier than learning it at an older age. Not being able to speak the English language, it gives less of an opportunity. Therefore, the solution to this problem is to take prior classes and/or lessons to comprehend and/or improve their English skills, for their own benefit. In a way, it gives them an ability to adapt and be part of something new.

For Kyle Wiens, having correct grammar is an important commodity when applying for jobs. Not only spoken, but written. “I hire people who care about those details. Applicants who don’t think writing is important are likely to think lots of other (important) things also aren’t important. And I guarantee that even if other companies aren’t issuing grammar tests, they pay attention to sloppy mistakes on résumés. After all, sloppy is as sloppy does.” He adds in his article.

At first, reading Wien’s article it sounded offensive. But actually coming to senses and realizing that nowadays, job applicants do search for how professional a person is. It can vary from a person’s attire, their use of language, and in this case, how properly formatted their writing is. I can now see why people with higher degrees have more of an opportunity than those who have a lower degree and/or none at all.

Referring back to my aunt, shockingly enough just about a year ago, she decided to go back to school. She had this idea that since her children were all grown up, have a stainable job, and nothing else can make her happier, than going back to school. Education is something she loved, it made her feel apart of something much bigger than just learning. When she started school, it was difficult. She had to start from the very beginning and until this day, she is working her way up; slowly but surely she began to get the hang of it. Here and there she would show up on my door and ask for help on a few lessons. It was so shocking to see how much she had learned and where it was going to take her.  I know it is not easy, but she continues to push herself, knowing that it will only lead to better things. It allows my aunt to adapt to a new community and be part of a something she has always wanted. She can go back to the jobs she had applied for many years ago and prove to them what she was capable of!

There comes a time where you will have to do things in your favor, as your own benefit. For one, mine is stepping foot into my current high school, Science Leadership Academy (SLA). I remember the first week of school like it was yesterday. Teachers gave work after work. It did not stop. I constantly complained and I had sleepless nights.

“Mom, I can’t do it.” I whinned.

I had not slept the night before and I can feel the bags beneath my eyes screaming for rest. It was the start of benchmark season and I was not aware of what I had gotten myself into. Sheets of paper and eraser marks were all along my bed. I couldn’t find anything and I wasn’t sure where to start. It was so overwhelming.

So I decided to scramble everything together and put it all away. It was not the thought of being unorganized, more so of having so much work, yet so little time. I knew it was my time management. Yet, I told myself that tomorrow is a new day and is going to be a productive day. Surprisingly, I woke up feeling refreshed. As I gotten ready, I planned out what was going to be done. A little English here, a little math there, break, back to English and then math. It was all about being able to balance school and social life. I had to adapt to this new way of getting my work done, because from what I can remember, middle school is nothing compared to high school.
This all brings it back to the thought of being able to comprehend a skill at an earlier time rather than waiting, before it is too late. It also implies to the idea that learning a new language at a younger age is easier than learning it at an older age. Just as to I, waiting to manage my time will only set me up for more work and less freedom. And not being able to speak the English language, it gives less of an opportunity; such as a search for a job. The only way to improve their struggle is to take classes to adapt to the American culture and later allow them to be part of something new.  

It ties to the generalization of literacy. Literacy is not only a way of being able to read and write. It’s about being to comprehend with the world in ways that you think best fits your lifestyle.  


Dave Bunnell. "Why Is It Easier for Young Children to Learn a New Language?" Why Is It Easier for Young Children to Learn a New Language? N.p., 21 Aug. 2007. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

Wiens, Kyle. "I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here's Why."Harvard Business

Review. Harvard Business Publishing, 20 July 2012. Web. date accessed*.