Language Autobiography 2013: My Journey

This unit, we had been talking about how language affects us. How people view slang, how accent are different in every country. We were given a project to write an essay about how language is related in real life. We had to write an autobiography of how language affects us. A lot of people view slang differently; some people thought that slang is for African American people. Other views it as a way that people talk around their environment. I learned that language is an obstacle that I had to face and it took a part of me and it gain a part of me. I also learn that language can also be stereotype by different race. 

The journey

I was born and raised in New York, Brooklyn. I was taught to speak Chinese first and English second. However, throughout my journey as I grow older, I was quadrilingual. I learned how to speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Foochow and English. When someone asked me, “How am I doing?” I can answer in Mandarin “wu hao” or Cantonese “wo ho” or Foochow “loy hall.” I have an accent when I speak English and I used to get bullied due to this problem. Every time a word came out my mouth, people would say, “I don’t understand you, what the hell are you speaking?” and they will go into making racist jokes. From my experience, I view Language as an obstacle that everyone has to face because the struggle of language brings out the negative image.  

During third grade, every time I tried to talk to someone or ask a teacher a question, I would hear giggling behind my back, people whispered, “What is she saying, does the teacher even understand her?” I start to stutter as words start to come out my mouth. My voice will slowly echo away, until my teacher says, “Amy! Speak louder! I can’t hear you!” At that moment, I nodded my head and stayed silent. Sometime I would get so angry and grip my fist under my table because I’m not fighting back. The smell around my table smell like sour sweat, sour feet sweat, and rotten apple. Sometime I wanted to say, "Why you stink?" I wanted to fit in so I started to talk more often and made fun of other people. I would say stuff like, “why is your head so big? You stink, you need to shower, your stupid.” Sometime when a teacher asks me to stop talking, I reply, “No, shut up” and go straight back to talking.

I started to help them by helping them on homework, letting them copy, and allowing them to cheat on my tests. I know these things were wrong to do, but they guaranteed a friendship between them and I. This fat kid said, “Amy, go punch that kid,” I was hesitating, I wanted to back up but I couldn’t, I went and punched that kid. I heard cheering behind my back and I felt proud. My mouth suddenly open and my smile got bigger. I walked back to my table feeling proud. I realize that I’m finally fitting it. I’m finally not alone. Ever since that day, I started to sit around these kids, laugh and joke around. Sometimes they will make fun of my accent but will soon say, “Amy, you know I’m joking.” Throughout third grade, people will come up to me and say, “Amy, you changed, what happen to you? I thought you were a good kid, not those kind of kids who will hang around people who gets into fights or even got locked up before.” I didn’t know how to respond to that because I thought I wasn’t doing anything wrong.

At home, I feel comfortable with whatever I speak because no one judges me. Most of the time, I speak English with my siblings. Most of the time when I am having conversation with my mom, I would speak English and she would get pissed and reply in Foochow, “loy meohite new gon se mal. New soon gon se mal. New á bit loy meohite loy me tawn enou.”  (I don’t understand you. What are you trying to say? I don’t know English that well.) Soon my mom will start to lecture me that when I go to china, it’s a bad influence on us. It shows shame, you need to speak Chinese at home and English in school.

“Language is the sources of misunderstandings” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery People misunderstand basic on your accent. Sometime they fail to understand you and make fun of me. Many people misunderstand me because my pronunciation is not normal due to my accent.

In my neighborhood, people who are Chinese, look at me like I’m an outsider because I’m hanging out with white and black people.  They say that Chinese people need to speak Chinese and hangout with Chinese people only. Language influence the way I am, the people who I hang out with, and how others view me due to the group I am with. It makes me insecure of my identity.

Language affects the way we are today. It takes and added a part of who we are today. While losing and gaining these part that make us today, your race start to view you differently too. For an example while I was gaining a part which I never had before which was doing bad things that I knew that was wrong such as calling people names, talking their stuff and hiding it, people around my neighborhood who are Chinese are afraid of me because they believe that I will bully their child. They start to stereotype me basic on the people I am hanging out with.

The struggles of language bring out the negative image by doing negative things to fit in such as bullying others, hanging out with the wrong group and talking back to teachers. I noticed that people who have stronger accent are often bully and made fun of because they are not view as normal people and they are also view as weak people.


Moncur, Micheal. "The Quotations Page ." The Quotations Page . N.p.. Web. 13 Jan 2013. <>.