English and Literature
Submitted By ferferjam127
Authors Nancy Sakamoto of “Conversational Ballgames,” and Richard Rodriquez of “Private Language, Public Language,” discuss language barriers in each of their articles. Sakamoto experienced these difficulties while living in Japan with her husband and Rodriguez struggled with them as a Hispanic child growing up in an American middle class neighborhood. These articles have several similarities and differences. They share common ground in that they both illustrate language difficulties yet they vary in regards to style and focus. Both of these articles depict the authors’ endeavors to bridge the language barriers they encountered. “Conversational Ballgames” reveals the author’s struggle to communicate in Japanese. Sakamoto states, “I began to notice that often, when I joined in [a conversation] the others would look startled and the conversation topic would come to a halt” (529). She goes on to say, “It became clear that I was doing something wrong, but for a long time I didn’t know what it was” (529). Likewise, “Private Language, Public Language,” shares a glimpse into the life of a Hispanic boy straddling two worlds: English speaking America in public, and Spanish speaking Mexico in his home. Rodriguez begins to relay this conflict with the statement, “In public, my father and mother spoke a hesitant, accented, not always grammatical English” (536). His portrayal continues when he says, “At five years of age, I knew just enough English for my mother to trust me on errands to stores one block away. No more” (536). Rodriguez reveals that he spoke English poorly, and that he did not know enough words to express a complete thought (536). Ultimately, both of these articles are good illustrations of language as a barrier rather than a bridge. In contrast, these articles are written in starkly different styles. Sakamoto approaches her point from an…...