Language Autobiography 2013:Language reflects who I am

Throughout the past couple weeks in English class, we learned about languages that were spoken in different parts of the countries. We watched a video of people talking in at United States and we read four stories about the languages that affected them in their lives because of who they are. We wrote some short scenes of how languages had changed myself when people judge the way I talk to people. The next building block was writing an autobiographical paper that connects to life. We also had to pick a quote from one of the four stories we’ve read and connect them to our personal life. My story is about how languages influence my self and my family at home versus outside. I wrote how languages are very important to the family even though we live in a society where people judge the way we talk.

There are so many different issues with my languages spoken at home and

how I speak outside changes who I am because I will need to speak formally towards the older ones. At home, I don’t really care of how I talk towards my family members. If I speak rudely, people will think about my personality. It shows that my mom does not appreciate the way I always neglect speaking in Chinese, and it interferes with our communication when I don’t know a lot of words. I speak two languages; Cantonese and English. There has been numerous times when my mom speaks poor English. I have my own standard language when I may have an accent in Cantonese. I knew what I can say, but the pronunciations were horrible. This mainly affects me because of the languages I speak with my friends versus the dialects spoken with my family members inside that closed doors of my house. At home my family members often tend to correct my Chinese, but when they speak in english its my turn. Many times my sister and I will correct them and it help them have a better understanding with English.

Most of the time, I switch dialogues with my family members, and I end up merging the two languages together into a different language that ends up a blend of both English and Cantonese. An example of this type of situation would be when, one day I was walking down the street with my friends, while my phone vibrated. It was my mom. I picked up the phone and I heard her say “Where is you.” I know how to say that in Cantonese “nay hay bien dou? I ignored her mistake because I knew what she was talking about.“ I’m with my friends....” I switched my language to cantonese so she can understand, “no toun pién yûo hay Movie Theater.” I dislike the feeling of switching back and forth because the languages, makes it harder for me to expand the knowledge of speaking both. Then my mom says “Me pick you up? I meet you at daycare with brother and sister.” I quickly responded, “please talk better in English and I will meet you there in 15 minutes.”

I realized that I was a little harsh my with mother because she tried her best speaking with English to my siblings and myself. My mother didn’t go to college in America nor her hometown. My mother didn’t have enough money for her education and she tries to speak with us more where I respected her knowledge of knowing some english. I was happy for her, but she felt she needed to step up her game of learning more English. I also struggled with English when writing and talking to my friends. Its stereotypical thing when people say asians suck at grammar mistakes. I strongly agree with this and sometimes I don’t because people can work their way on improving. For example I don’t know when to use “has” or “have” in correct terms. Thus, the only solutions for myself is to try to talk often in English and ask people to politely correct my grammar. I pushed myself to my limits where I need to figure out improving with our grammar mistakes in my family. The only ways we can improve is having a conversation with each other, or start reading more novels to pick the English. Cantonese is more complex; there’s pin yin and chinese characters. There are tones on top of the pin yins and the words will mean differently. Thus, I may be losing the knowledge of speaking Cantonese slowly. I asked my mom if she wanted to improve on English. She said yes because it will be better to have a conversation with my two younger siblings, whom unfortunately for them never learned to speak chinese. I realized that my mom never took time for her own education because she was always occupied taking care of us, but still, she was willing to learn. It took me couple days for myself to think about my ethnicity. For most Asians, they are passionate about achieving their expectations and they have to face a lot of expectations.

An example from a text that best coincides with my experiences is the article from “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan she said “It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk , the language I grew up with” (Page 1). This quote reflects my family and myself when I am influenced by them. As I grew older, I noticed that learning different languages are very important when speaking among the group of people. I may fluster with some words that I am unfamiliar with. Incorporating with the languages shows that I want to learn the languages and the culture of their identity. I realized that people adapt to how they talk where languages came from different parts of the area. I believe there’re no one right language. The languages evolve each generations; like the people from the past who talk in Cantonese are more traditional compare to the 21st century.

We are struggling with the grammatical structures of speaking and writing. I listened to my parents English and its wrong most of the time. All I need to do is work harder towards my English by getting help from my friends. Society shows that there are some circumstances between English because people tend to pronounce the words differently. Different parts of the area will be a whole new world because of the strong accent or the background of the person. My parents were not from here and they had to adapt to the society of the language they speak. Now my siblings and I will need to balance the two languages we spoke because of the cultural language is an unique ideal to have its own meaning.There for, Cantonese has been passed down by each generation where the language is a secret value to my family lives. When the language dies off, our generations will forget the language, we speak today in our family.


Tan , Amy. "Mother Tongue." Home is Where the Heart Dwells. N.p.. Web. 11 Jan 2013. <>.