Principal: “Good morning! Welcome to the school and the new grade. I hope you like it.”
Students: “Good morning!”
Principal: “How are you today?”
Students: “Good. You?”
Principal: “I am good, thank you. How was your summer?”
Students: “It was nice.”
After that, the principal then proceeded to read out each student’s name and told them which room to go to and which teacher to follow. Then I couldn't understand what she was saying because of the lack of power in my English. A quote that reminds me of that moment is by Rita Mae Brown, “Language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides”. The language the principle was speaking I knew had power, which made everyone respond. I also had trouble understanding the accent because from where I came from was Bangladesh and there, English is spoken in a different way. English was used because different languages were used for communication. So I ended up going to the wrong room and making a fool of my self. This made me realize the power of knowing a language.
In Bangladesh things were spoken differently and in America things were too. A Bengali and English accent are different from each other by the sound. For a Bengali accent it sounds like the letters are softer and fast spoken than those in English. For a English accent it sounds more rougher and slow spoken. English is also spoken through vowels but in Bengali there’s no structure of sound, it just flows out. When I first came to America speaking for me was hard and it was really embarrassing because everyone knew and could speak English, but I couldn't. Quoting from The Warrior Woman, to me it seemed like almost “a telephone call made my throat bleed and took up that day’s courage,” and I felt sad sometimes about it.
ESOL teacher: “Can you ask me what time is is?”
Me: “What time is it?”
ESOL teacher: “Okay now can you read me the time?”
Me: “Its uhh four thirty-six?”
ESOL teacher: “No four thirty-nine.”
Soon my ESOL teacher helped me understand English better. Quoting from The Warrior Woman, “I cut it so that you would not be tongue tied. Your tongue would be able to move in any language,” she was that. She taught me how to pronounce words and what they meant. She also helped me with my handwriting and spelling, even to this very day I can’t explain myself clear but I know the basic things to help me explain because of her. To me language is power of myself and how I express me. When speaking English I always try my best to communicate what I want to say and how I say it. When I say English language I say with power because I want others to understand me and I then feel better about my language and accent. My accent may not be very fluent like an Americans talking but I know my speech is fine because I’m embracing me and my culture, from Bangladesh.
Language is a common communication amongst others that can identify things. Things like who you are, where you come from and how you describe them and we say those thing by power which is how our words come out. There are definitions for how our words come out. One is called pialet, that mean what you say and how you say it and how a person say is by their accent. Another definition of a way of how language is said is called slang. That mean new fashionable words and phrases people use because its simple and fun to understand. Another thing is that some people may not understand you even though if your speaking the same language because in different area they have different name calling for things. For example, in Philadelphia people say hoagies which to other people are “sub sandwiches”.
Apart from being a means of communication, language is also used to gain political power. Quoting from the essay If Black English Isn't a Language, Then Tell Me, What is? By James Baldwin”- “It goes without saying , then, that language is also a political instrument, means, and proof of power”. To me it means that language isn't just used for communication but also by power. For let us instance consider two people contesting for election, and one of them knows the local language. It will be easier for the person who knows the local language to gain people’s votes and support. It will also be easier for him to help people and retain his position of power. Language also gives you the power to communicate with people who speak the same language, without letting other people know what you talking about.Over the years, I have realized the significance of a knowing a language is very crucial to our everyday life. Although, at times I feel out of place for not properly understanding everything in the English language. Over the years,I feel like I have gradually built my vocabulary words and now I’m able to function with the help and support of my teachers and peers. By my teachers and peers I have a better understanding of English and now know what to say to others so they know what i’m saying. Therefore, it is important that we understand the language in order to have power.