Tongue Shakers: Interviews and Narratives on Speaking Mother Tongue in a Multicultural Society
Tongue Shakers provides an inside look into the state of speaking mother tongue in America’s multicultural society. Through a series of interviews and first person narratives in the voices of city dwellers who are immigrants, Americans born into immigrant families, and African Americans, the book uncovers the personal challenges faced by those learning a new language and celebrates their triumphs.
In Tongue Shakers, spoken language, a subject that binds us all, takes on different meanings as we strive to communicate organically with one another. It is the Ukrainian healthcare professional who works as a translator between doctors and patients. It is the Ethiopian business executive mom who speaks and writes fluent English at her job but who works just as hard keeping her mother tongue alive in her home. It is the little Chinese boy who struggles to learn English so that he can make friends with other children in his new American school. It is the African American who must carefully pick and choose when it is best to speak Black English. It is the Hispanic family who retains their mother tongue while being just as fluent in English.
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