Gloria Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”

In Gloria Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue”, she illustrates that one way identity can be perceived is through language. You can tell or assume a lot about a person by the language they speak. The language you speak is apart of your culture, and your culture is what defines a person most. Anzaldua expresses her frustration with not being fully entitled to speaking her language in her essay. In it she writes “as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate ” (82 )  It is apparent that she is frustrated with the different treatment she gets when people talk to her and notice that her first language is not english. In the essay, she continually speaks “spanglish” which could potentially be frustrating for readers. However,  I believe it helps get her point across because people who’s native language is english get an example of how she is constantly feeling. Due to the language that she is native to, she is tagged with a certain identity. It is unfair that she feels that her identity is being taken away from her because she is looked down upon for speaking spanish in America.  In Anzaldua’s essay she states“ I am my language.” (82) Talking badly about her language heavily impacts her identity. A person’s identity should not be viewed less of because of the language they speak. Anzaldua does not feel like she can express her passion for her language because she is not free to embrace it. All of her teachers wanted to take away her accent, not support it. As Ray Gwyn Smith wrote “Who is to say that robbing a people of its language is less violent than war.” (77) I completely agree. They both take away the innocence in a person. People do not feel free to live in their own skin, they have to live in fear and hide from their identity.


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