The United States serves as a great escape for freedom and better opportunities for many immigrants that come to this country. Some may come to provide a better life for their children, some a better life for themselves, escaping religious persecution, poverty, or a harsh government regime. Being an immigrant from Russia, I have went through quite an experience with the English language myself, and I can relate to this essay, My Mother’s English, by Amy Tan. .
I was only a child of about the age of 10 when I came to this country, so I did adjust rather quickly, of course in comparison to my parents and other family members that came here at an adult age. Be this as it may, I still had to adjust to the new world around me. Coming into the 5th grade with no knowledge of English was quite a struggle. I had to put up with constant teasing, and bullying from the children in my class. Some were understanding and helped me out with the language. I remember I had to ask another Russian girl to ask the teacher for me to go to the bathroom, it was quite embarrassing, which of course was followed by an immediate response of laughter from all around. After being in this country for ten years, I still sometimes find myself pronouncing some words not quite “right”, this of course may be due to the fact that I have a close circle of friends that are Russian as well, and we end up copying each other’s pronunciation subconsciously. Now I do feel a lot more comfortable with the English language, and do make a lot less mistakes than compared to that frightened 10-year-old I used to be.
In my home, we speak Russian and English, but when my parents speak English, they also seem to make a lot of mistakes with the language, I guess it’s also because just like from the article about Amy Tan’s mother, they translate the words from Russian straight to English. Sometimes when we go out as a family, when my parents ask the waiter questions about the menu and the order, the structure and format of their words, makes me cringe with embarrassment at times.