Language is in fact very much an influence to one’s personal characteristics; it can shape the way you’re seen and, depending on how much control you have over it, one can even shape language to show different parts of our personal selves to the public. Different languages can tell others many things about you and even just the way you speak a specific language can tell so much more about someone than they may bargain for. One’s private self is that part of someone that’s very nonchalant about the things around them; it has a very comforting feeling to it. A private self is that person you are at home, around the ones that have no choice on whether to love you or not. A public self is the complete opposite, it only shows as much as someone wants to show, we all shape ourselves in the public for others to see us the way we want them to see us. Language is one of the main changes from a public to a private self, whether it’s just a dialect or even a completely foreign language, but one has to pick and choose which is appropriate at what time and how it should be used.
Speaking two different languages can make someone have two different personalities. In this country these two languages can sometimes be very useful other times it can make some things complicated. In the essay “Authority and American Usage” by David Foster Wallace, a college professor, speaks of Standard Written English. How some may see it as the USA trying to bring their language down it’s really just the language one has no other choice but to learn and speak if looking to be heard by the higher public. He talks about a speech he made to some of his students, in this speech about SWE he states that “SWE is the language our country uses to talk to itself” (Wallace 30) SWE is the public voice; it is the voice one must speak in to be heard by and minimize the criticism by those around us. As much one may not want to learn SWE because it is not one’s own language it is one of those things that changes once we grow up; doing things you may not want to do but will help in the long run. Also In this essay David Foster Wallace speaks of how other authors and public speakers speak in SWE even if their language or dialect is really Standard Black English, SBE, one being the author Baldwin (Wallace, 30).
The most interesting question in linguistic is whether and how language affects the way we remember things and the way we perceive the world and this idea was first introduced by the influential linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf (Harley, 2008). Statements, attempting to illustrate that language is the medium by which one views the world, culture, reality and thought have aroused an ...
To the people that SBE is their first language or dialect it is their entire identity. Once this person completely learns SWE that is when SBE becomes part of their personal and private identity, turning SWE into their public language. For example Baldwin makes it very evident in the essay “If Black English Isn’t A Language, Then Tell Me, What Is?” that his personal language is SBE. However, determined to be heard he leaves it as his private language and only speaks in SWE. This is the way he wants his public to see him; not because he is hiding his own personal language but because he wants to be heard. As David Foster Wallace states, SBE is not the best way to get positive attention from a public.
Being heard is one important topic in the essay by Richard Rodriguez “Aria: Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood”. Richard Rodriguez was once a bilingual child coming to a different part of America without the ability to speak any English, which from my own experience is one of the hardest things to go through as a child. He states that he does not believe in the bilingual teaching system in response he states “I hear them and am forced to say no: It is not possible for a child, any child, ever to use his family’s language in school.”(PG36).
Private and Public Tensions in Othello The public and private domain, and the perception of Othello’s often-duplicitous characters’ language and actions within these spheres, builds the audience’s insight into their true personalities. The tension between the public and private is made explicit primarily through the character of Othello, but also through subsidiary characters and Shakespeare’s ...
He is convinced that a private language should not be spoken outside of a private homely place. I know from personal experience that when a child is put into a classroom with their personal language they lose strive to learn the new public language, in this case being English, which they will need in life to succeed. At first Richard doesn’t feel the need to learn the English language when he moves to Sacramento, but that soon changes. He states “At last, seven years old, I came to believe what had been technically true since my birth: I was an American Citizen” (Rodriguez, 40), this realization made Richard Rodriguez change his mind about the need for English, he finally realized it was a necessity for his public personality, to fit it and be a “member of the crowd” (Rodriguez, 42).
Richard Rodriguez also speaks about Black English and agrees with David Foster Wallace in the points of it being a private language. Just like Spanish, SBE is not for the public, he states “… So Black English would be a dangerous language to use in the schooling of teenagers for whom it reinforces feelings of public separateness.”(Rodriguez, 45) which is true. Not knowing a language may make some feel worthless, and less than others. At some point this can make someone mute for example Richard’s father. He started to be a lot quieter and soon enough the public voice of Richard’s family became his mother. She was the adult who was least embarrassed of her English. This shows that a public language is important; nonetheless the English Richard’s mother spoke at home was different than the one spoken for the public. So even when Spanish was almost never spoken at home this family had they had their own language something like SBE but instead it was more Spanglish. That was their private form of English and SWE was the English used when needed to be heard. Separating their private identity with their public and learning how to determine when it should be used.
When we started talking about private vs. public schools in class a lot of feelings were running high I thought. I also thought that not enough of us knew enough to make a knowledgeable judgment. Here is some pro and cons to let you know the truths about private schools and maybe some falsehoods you thought to be true. Some people say private schools offer superior education. To a point this is ...
I have also come to the realization of the importance a public language since English is not my first language and it was hard to learn. I knew I should but having bilingual education made me question that because my world had only been my home and my school, being a child I started to believe the world outside of my home and my school would be bilingual too. I was wrong. Once I started going out, making friends, hanging out with family etc. I started realizing my need for English. I had felt out of place for months before learning the language being that I was the only one of my cousins not speaking English. I did not let this stop me, soon enough I learned English and am now in college in an English class with students who unlike me most had English as their first language. I must admit I’m pretty proud of myself. As I’ve grown older I have learned how my personal and private identity does differ from my public identity, I am much more comfortable in Spanish in my home in my own room than I am in English. This does not stop me from speaking English because I know I need it in life to be prosperous, in a world filled with black fishes I don’t want to be the orange one. In the USA being heard becomes part of fitting in and fitting in becomes part of learning the public SWE language.
Unfortunately not enough people feel fitting in and being heard has anything to do with language, which in fact is wrong. Many argue about SBE being English and being a language and that it may be but the public does not accept it therefore they will not listen to it. Notice how those who argue SBE to be a language still speak in SWE because even they know that the USA’s Standard Written English is what is heard. Anyone can argue about any dialect or language and how it should be heard but should be isn’t going to get anyone heard. This is why most individual’s public identity differs from their private, because they see the need for SWE to succeed and be heard. No matter what an individual’s first language is as much as they may not admit it there is a place and time to use it, and most times the public is not the place.