The terms denotation and connotation are usually used for explaining the meaning of the word. Reading Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue, it is possible to elaborate on the usefulness and explanatory power of the terms under discussion. Connotation and denotation are extremely important and may be identified at any sphere of our life.
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Talking about the language as a means of communication, Amy Tan points out that English in everyday life and the one people use while their professional discussions is different, not in denotation, but in connotation.
Amy Tan’s piece of writing mentions a situation when she is communicating with her readers in the presence of her mother. She uses English language which can be defined as the collection of speech figures and grammar for communication. She uses English language every day for talking to the family members, friends, strange people etc.
But Amy Tan’s attention is paid to a particular aspect of her communication. She has noticed that the speech figures she used while talking to her readers were absolutely different from what she got used to apply in everyday speech. Why did she notice it? The presence of her mother was crucial factor for the case.
The difference between language used in causal life and at work is great. Everyday communication makes people talk simple language, sometimes lacking proper grammar constructions and implementing simplified words for expressing thoughts. At work, people usually use the language people want to hear from them.
Being a writer Amy Tan wants her readers to feel confidence with her, to make them perceive her as a clever person who can express her ideas properly. This is the difference in the connotation meaning of the language used in everyday life and at work.
Being a writer, Amy Tan has to use lengthy speeches to insure her readers that she a thoughtful person and her books deserve attention. The use of specific language at work may be also explained by unconscious desire to impress others with the status, to show a group of people that she gained her present position due to her knowledge. The connotation of the language used at work is the desire to impress others and to make those understand that the occupied position is exactly what a person needs.
Dwelling upon domestic situations, another connotation meaning is identified. At home, people use language for expressing their ideas not because they have to impress a family member, but because they want to deliver specific information. This information may be connected with personal opinion, distribution of duties or just entertaining data.
Therefore, using language at home people usually endow it with specific figures which are simple for understanding, lack duration and other burdening figures. The main idea of the everyday communication is to deliver information which can be easily perceived.
Thus, it may be concluded that it is possible to see the notice of the differences in language connotation in the situation described by Amy Tan. She has conducted many interviews and talked to great deal of people, but only when she gathered the representative from two different world, work and life, she noticed that having similar denotation meaning language may have different connotation one.