In “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldua, she discusses how language is intertwined with a person’s identity, and by keeping her tongue wild, not letting the closing linguistic borders control her language. The main argument Anzaldua has is that people should not be made to feel ashamed about their own languages. Throughout Anzaldua’s paper, one instance where we can see her argument come to life is on page 34 where her own mother was mortified that Anzaldua would be speaking English like a Mexican, meaning that she is speaking English with an accent. And right under that, we can also see that at “Pan American University”, she and others like her were made to take two speech classes all for the purpose of removing their accents. Lastly, on page 35, we see text where “purists” of the Spanish language view Chicano Spanish, which is a border language of people who are not from Mexico but are not white Americans either, as something that is ruining their language. From the evidence given here, we can see the attempts to ridicule people who speak Chicano Spanish face, they have been ridiculed for ruining the language and have had people try to remove it from them, they are being shamed for speaking what they have grown up knowing. Though in actuality, they are making a language that is their own, by mixing the two together they are making their own language, their own identities. Anzaldua makes this argument to show the connection the someone’s language has to their identity, and how the two go hand in hand together. She wants people to see that having a “wild tongue” does not make them less, because then that would make them less. She wants people to embrace their own languages and be proud of them as they make up a part of them. This paper contradicts the idea of people who come to the United States and try to become more American by losing their accents, or not teaching their kids their native tongue. By doing so they’re cutting themselves off from their identities just because the world said their way of accented speaking or just native tongue is wrong. When they aren’t wrong, they are making the best with what they have and being proud of who they are and what they achieved. That in the end, people should not be made to feel ashamed about who they are in their identity.
Anzaldua, G. (1987). How to Tame a Wild Tongue. In Borderlands La Frontera: The New Mestiza. Pp. 53-64. San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books.