A great post I read this week

I chanced upon this piece by Elizabeth Gomez called My Life as an Engrish to English Translator a few days ago on the Freshly Pressed collection. I laughed hard and was touched by it and so I thought I’d share it with you. It relates a series of experiences where the writer, presumably Korean-American,  had to keep “translating” her Korean mother’s hilarious “Engrish” on numerous occasions all through her childhood. But the light touch belies the seriousness behind it all–the episodes are really about a lot more. The post reminded me a lot of Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue.

It’s a piece of memoir which does a few things that are very hard to do simultaneously in the same space. It’s stupendously funny and yet heartbreaking at the same time. It takes up a perspective which might have resulted in a stereotyped, cardboard character but it shows depth even as it makes fun of some attributes that the writer’s mother exhibits as she struggles with her spoken English. Above all it’s touching, poignant, vivid and stays with you even after you’ve read it once. It did for me.

Hope you enjoy it.

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9 thoughts on “A great post I read this week”

  1. Of course I could only love this bittersweet post, which reminds me so much of my own experience. Like Elizabeth my children went through embarrassing moments and I was fully aware of it as well. Interestingly they are growing into very open young people who have absolutely no problem whatsoever to understand any kind of accent. I am a little proud of it since I am probably the main reason. Thank you for guiding us to this great blogger and for reminding us of Amy Tan, too.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience. The hegemony of the English language works very differently in India where I grew up. It worked differently for different generations–my grandmother, mother and me. Perhaps I’ll do a post about it.

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