When I heard we were going to be working on the Language Autobiography essay, I had a lot of thoughts in mind, since I know I had gone through many experiences with language identity and how it still has affects me in my life since I speak two languages. I can confidently say choosing a time where I had struggled the most was an easy step for me to begin my essay, but when I had got to the point into the story, it was difficult for me to narrow down and use some descriptions to tell the struggles I’ve been through. Overall, I felt great working on this essay, it’s a way of expressing myself through my language identity.
Language Autobiography Paper
Language identity has played in a big role part in my life, and I have gone through many experiences of how language identity has affected me in a way of speaking. I was put in ESOL and speech class for thoroughly nine years in Elementary school, and including the first year of high school. When I was younger, I’d never knew what ESOL class were for, I’d always thought it was a regular English class, not English learning class. I didn’t discovered that until I got to the age of twelve. Every morning or in the afternoon, a person would call for me and other English- learning students to go down to ESOL class. I still remember the moment of being embarrassed from the time I stood up from my chair and had to walked all the way down to ESOL class, and it felt as if my feelings were shuffling from the moment I was called to go down.
I was born in the U.S. and I speak two languages; Khmer and English. I was taught both languages at the same time, but I had incorporated Cambodian language more than English when I was younger. Ever since I started to developed my speaking, I was always told that my voice were tremendously deep and that I couldn’t talk right. Many people said it was probably because my tongue is big. I wasn’t really aware of that myself, I had always thought I spoke clearly until I heard my own voice from recording it. I was very aroused by the way I sounded,
“How could that possibly be me?” I asked myself.
When I listened to my own self talking in the video I recorded, I then knew what went wrong with the way I spoke, it was the “s” sounds. Each time I say a word that has the sound of an “s”, it would seem as if I had stuffed myself with a big wad of chemical cotton candy with braces hanging loose in my mouth.
I have a similar story to Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue” story. According to “Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan she says, “My mother’s English is perfectly natural, it’s her tongue. Her language, as I hear it, is vivid, direct, full of observation, and imagery. That was the language that helped shape the way I saw things, expressed things, made sense of the world.” Amy’s mother struggles with grammars, pronunciations, and people who would criticized of the way she speaks, and that relates to how I was when I was younger and had not yet developed in English language. I still have some trouble with that, but it isn’t as bad as it was then. Just like Amy’s perspective, I have always described my language identity as “broken” or “fractured” English.
One day a new student came two months after school started. This student came from Cambodia and didn’t know very much english. There were me and two other students in the class who is Cambodian, so we had to help and translate for him. One major problem is that the other two students doesn’t potentially speak our native language and I can’t necessarily translate from English to Khmer fluently. It was very confusing for the new student, but he could only understand if I said it word by word.
“ I don’t understand. You guys are Cambodian, you speak the same language, how can you not know how to translate to your fellow classmate that speaks the same language as you?”
My english teacher was concern. That was very embarrassing to me even though she said is to all three of us. I feel like I’m a very slow learner. I can understand my language, but I can’t speak fluently nor translate for someone else who knows the same language as I do. Well, that’s just how I developed my language. I can fully understand, but I can’t speak fluently in my own native language.
Throughout the years In elementary and middle school, I have not had the fully potential of confident to raised my during discussions or any other curriculum. I was always picked on by the teacher and feel embarrassed for not knowing the answers or sometimes I do know the answer, but I just don’t want to speak up. The only reason why that happened to me because I didn’t want my voice to be heard. That time I was more concernative and afraid about people opinions, and that they’ll judged me based on my opinions and the way I speak, but when I came to high school, it was a whole new world to me. I feel like I can express my feelings through language identity when I participate more in some classes and through many essays I’d written. Language identity is a way to express one main self.