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It has been generally accepted that writing in one’s own native language is a difficult task. However, some authors have extraordinarily written their works of art in a second and even their third languages. Translingualism which involves switching between several languages is a style that has an extensive and bright history. On the other hand, autoethnography is a strategy that is applied in research as well as writing fields to illustrate and methodically evaluate personal experience so as to appreciate cultural practices. Gloria Anzaldua employs translingualism in her work, a strategy that makes her famous for her unique style of blending English and other Spanish dialects. This article will focus on a discussion to establish whether the story by Gloria Anzaldua is autoethnography or a transculturation.
Gloria’s writing is appreciated for its unique characteristic of confronting readers to push against the confines of what they know about particular situations. She splits her essay into different sections providing titles for each one (Kellman 2003, p 45). She makes readers understand to some extent what it entails to live in the physical and linguistic region of Texas. The author was born in Jesus Maria of the Valley in Texas.
The story opens with a metaphor of the storyteller’s visit to the dentist. This helps to establish the fundamental theme carried in the chapter concerning ‘taming a wild tongue’. According to the dentist, the tongue of his patient is actually very disorderly and defiant. It keeps distracting him and he realizes that something must be done concerning it. The metaphor introduces the period valuation and disagreements which are later on evident with respect to the significance of language, linguistic as well as cultural identity (Kellman 2003, p 46). This story is majorly occupied by the critical inspection of the place that the narrator is from. She uses stories and memories to display the different types of information that she is endowed with. Starting with a personal narration and progressing onto an inquisitive excerpt, the narrator manages to develop a hybrid structure which reverberates with her discovery of linguistic distinctiveness.
The same tone in textual structure progresses onto the other paragraphs. In the first paragraph, the narrator recounts her childhood argument with an Anglo teacher where she was reprimanded for speaking Spanis at break. Then, in the second paragraph, Anzaldua cites her mother’s wish for her family to converse in English without an accent. However, in this excerpt, the audience is introduced to a dialogue between the narrator and her mother as they converse in a mixture of English and Spanish (Kellman 2003, p 46). Besides coming up with a hybrid text that rotates between different types of written expressions, the narrator adds some degree of hybrid density by concurrently moving between various languages in order to make a strong assertion.
It is worth noting that while the Spanish language was restricted within the mother’s vernacular, it is also emphasized such that it takes its place together with the English text. This kind of modification is vital in marking the change from Spanish as tied to a personal way of speaking and the amplified dependence on Spanish to communicate the information contained in the piece of art. It was noted that the narrator used the Spanish language to convey information contained in certain texts more ably than if English was employed (Kellman 2003, p 48). Some of these texts required inclusion of other proportions and implications in a better way in Spanish than in English.
The hybrid approach contains variations in the types of text and opinions used thereby ending in numerous threads while resembling a given idea. For instance, the first epigraph that is written in Spanish prepares the tone of the section and portrays the variations of dark, light, and shadows as well as the sense of being concealed by silence. The epigraph helps to call on women to enact a feminist conflict to the custom of patriarchal calmness in addition to endorsement of a possible way to defy the custom of silence through a substitute and conflict language (Kellman 2003, p 49). Anzaldua integrates the two languages within a single sentence and, at the same time, she indulges herself in the confrontation in order to institute the litany of phrases used to belittle women and their dialogue.
Autoethnography is applying one’s experiences to interpret a story. In the story “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria, a Hispanic background can be applied in analysing it. The interest is to interpret the Hispanic or Chicano culture from the story. There seems to be resentments on the fact that the narrator was not taught Spanish because her parents wanted her to fit in the American culture. This is one of the experiences that she relates to in the story when she is unable to point out the number of languages a Chicano can speak. She relates the decision of her parents to an era in history when Cuban migrants wanted acceptance into the American culture (Pratt, Para 1).
The narrator identifies herself with the people that she happens to know. The experiences of the writer in the past serve to form the basis of knowledge on the past history of Cuban-American writers and their achievements. She shares her experiences of how reading the story was difficult because of the language change but retaining in attention just like how her mother does to make her pay attention. In this regard, the narrator tries to identify with other people who shared her experience. She also tries to identify with others like her who are born sharing only one culture but assimilated in another (Pratt, Para 2).
In the story, the narrator shows how difficult it is for a Chicano to speak English because it is different from the kind of English “Spanglish” one is used to. In essence, she compares her experiences as a Hispanic-American with the other Chicanos who migrate to America without being assimilated into the American culture. The point of writing a text such as “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” is to show the people how difficult it is for Chicanos to fit in an American setup because they face language barriers (Pratt, Para 3). It is also meant to teach about the Chicano culture. The text is meant to provide background information about the dialect of Chicanos and Hispanic Americans. The text shows how different Hispanic-American is in dialect from the original Chicano dialect.
As it has been evidently seen, translingualism has been employed by the narrator as the core content of her piece of work. As a matter of fact, this form of writing becomes the affiliated form of writing thereby necessitating the use of hybridity in writing. Through this style, the narrator engages a long custom of essay writing. At the same time, she employs autoethnography, as depicted by the use of personal and shared history using elements of creative writing. The narrator’s collective use of different types of languages in the writing makes it possible to understand the various types of essay writings. The most important of all these styles is that Anzaldua figures her method of essay writing to be based on speculation of an outlining and a descriptive device.