How to Tame a Wild Tongue is a chapter from the book titled Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza written by the author, Gloria E. Anzaldua. In this particular chapter the writer talks about her Chicana life in a time filled with immigration controversies where Latinos surviving in the United States struggled to find their national identity and a language to speak freely without shame and fear. Hispanic immigrants or Hispanics born in the United States are mentally tortured by the dominant English language and culture into changing into something that is neither English nor Spanish but an assortment of both. Anzaldúa targets Chicano readers who share her experience to find a definite identity and American readers as well in order to better understand Chicano life.
In the title Gloria Anzaldúa chose for this chapter in her publication, is a title that will not make much sense at first sight but as the reader beings to learn the first few paragraphs, he realises that the meaning of the title is how to change a person’s language and way of speaking, such as accent, with an immigrant population. In cases like this it might be the author’s own activities and her maternal language Spanish or even to become more precise, Chicano Spanish. As the reader continues reading, he discovers that forcing you to definitely only speak another language is near to impossible. Anzaldúa showed strong opposition by talking in Spanish with her friends: “My ‘home’ tongues will be the languages I consult with my sister and brothers, with my friends. They will be the last five listed, with 6 and 7 being closest to my heart. ” (56) She loved speaking Spanish and wanted at least her name to be spoken and heard in Spanish but instead she “remembers being delivered to the corner of the classroom “for talking back” to the Anglo teacher when all I was seeking to do was tell her how to pronounce my name. “If you want to be American, speak American. ‘ If you don’t like it, go back to Mexico where you belong. “(53).
Anzaldúa is showing defiance by not attempting to let go of her maternal language. She actually is proving the futility in changing one’s language and speaking patterns by switching back and forth between Spanish and English. Whenever a teacher would catch her speak Spanish at school she’d be punished by that teacher. “I recall being caught speaking Spanish at recess – that was best for three licks on the knuckles with a sharp ruler. ” (53). She was accused of talking back to a teacher when all she did was giving a conclusion. “I remember being delivered to the corner of the classroom for ‘talking back’ to the Anglo teacher when all I got seeking to do was tell her how to pronounce my name. ” (53). A society such as the one described in Gloria Anzaldúa’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” cannot be easily influenced or changed if that society is still living in their territory or near it. It is in this type of settings that futility manifests the most. On the other hand, once a society or band of individuals are taken away off their territory they’ll, unknowingly, become heavily influenced if not totally changed as it pertains to their language, culture and history no matter how proud they are simply.
In her publication, the writer discusses the cultural and gendered impacts of the language itself. From an early on age girls are taught not to talk too much, not to talk back rather than to ask questions. In Northern parts of Mexico and Southern most elements of america, the feminine plural in Spanish is excluded from the language, leaving women fall under the masculine plural. Many Latinos and Latinas think people living in these parts of the entire world are ruining speaking spanish by letting yourself influenced by the English language. You are being criticised for learning or speaking English, the language of the oppressors, thus being treated as a traitor because of your own people. “‘Pocho, cultural traitor, you’re speaking the oppressor’s language by speaking English, you’re ruining the Spanish language, ‘ I have been accused by various Latinos and Latinas. Chicano Spanish is considered by the purist and by most Latinos deficient, a mutilation of Spanish. ” (55).
In this chapter, Anzaldúa discusses some examples of the way the Spanish language changed and evolved in this area of the world because the first Spanish colonisations began in your community. A combo of different languages, Spanish, English and native American sounds and words were combined to develop into the present day Chicano Spanish. But because of the combinations, the language was seen as a “bastard” form which is neither Standard Spanish nor Standard English. It was considered by other Hispanics that the language was of poorer quality and thus caused “Chicanas” and Chicanos to feel uncomfortable in expressing themselves. Anzaldúa sees this as something that needs to be changed. The attack on the Chicano’s native language must be stopped because “When a person, Chicana or Latina has a low estimation of my native tongue, she also offers a low estimation of me. ” (58). The author states that language is part of ethnic identity and really should be something you can find pride in if women desire to enhance their self-estimation. “Ethnic identity is twin skin to linguistic identity – I am my language. Until I can take pride in my own language, I cannot take pride in myself. ” (59).
Closing to the end of the chapter, the author discusses the language in conditions of learning what it is incorporated within oneself. Through Chicano literature, such as books and poetry, through Mexican movies, such as “Nosotros los pobres, the first ‘real’ Mexican movie” (60), and music, Chicanos felt a feeling of belonging. It really is an expression of their language and therefore an expression of these. With these works, the Mexican people get an external reinforcement of these heritage and culture.
Anzaldúa discusses that on the border, the language gets forgotten. Living in the lands between America and Mexico seems to be a place of confusion, of separation of being unsure of to which side you belong. “Nosotros los Chicanos straddle the borderlands. On one side folks, we are constantly exposed to the Spanish of the Mexicans, on the other hand we hear the Anglos’ incessant clamouring so that people forget our language. ” (62). However, Anzaldúa states that deep down in their hearts, being Mexican is not about where you live or where were you born. It is not in your thoughts but in your soul. Throughout the border, conflict and confusion is strong but as Anzaldúa states, her folks have been patient and hope that 1 day the conflict and confusion will end. For the time being, the Mexican people will survive as they always had.
In coclusion, Gloria E. Anzaldúa’s story of How to Tame a Wild Tongue proved to be a convincing argument because she is the voice of the Chicano people living on both sides of the border. She narrates from her own experience of being truly a “Chicana” living in america where all the pressure of forgetting her language was placed on her shoulders for many years. Anzaldúa’s writing style is very poetic and moving and thought we would use a lot of imagery to impress her readers and also to let Non-Latin American people find out about the life of Chicanos which is well known so little about to an outsider.
Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands – La Frontera. San Francisco :
Aunt Lute Books, 1987