The language that people speak closely bonds them up with their senses of identity and how they view the world. Language is used to strengthen the culture and form creative thinking and sensibility. The ability to speak more than one language allows one to live between the two or more different cultures. It is the role of language to give someone their identity and a place of origin to identify themselves with. The two articles written on the role of language and voice explain the authors opinion clearly on how the language can be used to shape someones cultural expectation and sense of self. The role is more evident in the article Speaking in tongues by Zadie Smith and Normads of Language by Ariel Dorfman. The two essays bring out the relationship that exists between language and culture.
Nomads of language written by Ariel Dorfman explores his opinion on the fact that the migration of language has brought impact on humanity (Dorfman p. 89). In his explanation, he identifies the fact that due to migration. There have been wavering between the conditions that lead to anguish, and as a result, Dorfman explains the ways that can be followed to keep the language as part of our identity, assimilation, and rejection. In his opinion, he thinks that if one migrates to a new country, they try to become an integral component of that new society and they, therefore, tries to hide their mother tongue and tries to shadow their accent.
By doing so, he said, it makes them undervalue their language and their identity. Hiding one's accent and feeling ashamed of their mother tongue causes one to lose a sense of self and also their cultures since they feel they need to be accepted in a certain society (Dorfman p. 89). People faces heart nostalgia when they speak their language, and they feel at home even when far away from home. Some others feel like they are disloyal to their family, home and culture if they fail to speak their native language. Fear of rejection causes a cultural tactic survival that makes them hold to their language
In the article Speaking in Tongues, Zadie Smith explores his opinion in introducing how voice and language represent cultural identity. Her opinion formulates the fact that everyone speaks in tongues at one point so that he or she can be part of a particular group. People tend to adapt to another way of life and culture in the context of when in Rome do what Romans do (King and Smith 116) The society that everyone lives in comprises of different identity that is noticeable through the language.
She claimed that our voice is not the only thing that changes, but the cultural identity too. People are more adaptive than they think they are and also speak in more voices than they can constantly remember (King and Smith 116). In his opinion, Smith states that when one reads Barrack Obamas book, Dream of My Father, one cannot be able to tell if the book was written by a white or a black. The reason is merely due to change of voice and language representing the oneness that America had longed for.
Zadie identifies how she can be able to change from working class London to high-class Cambridge. She believed that she could become a serious writer when she speaks the way those people speaks (King and Smith 116).She believed that adapting to a different culture through a change of voice can help her climb the social ladder. By changing voices, one of her new voices and could not change to the other voices, therefore, becoming dominant and formulating her identity. By changing voices and languages, one adapts that culture, and it eventually becomes their self.
I understand the purity of language but also think that the two authors were right in their opinion towards the relationship of language and culture. By speaking two languages or more improves one strength and knowledge but it also changes one identity and culture. People try to fit in and change their accent and language to be accepted in the society they are in, but they forget that it changes their personality and characters too. Eventually, the adopted voice and language becomes dominant and their identity for good.
Dorfman, Ariel. The Nomads of Language. American Scholar Winter 2002: Vol. 71 Issue 1, p89, 6p
King, Bruce and Zadie Smith. "White Teeth." World Literature Today 75.1 (2001): 116. Web.
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