Critical Thinking

Communication Nomads of Language” by Ariel Dorfman, both

Communication has always been the root of
humanity since the beginning of time. It is the way that one person delivers
information to the next. We tend to communicate via body language and verbal
language, with verbal language being the more common form. With each
communication there is a different language and dialect to be learned. The
language that we speak is usually taught to us by our parents at an early age.

However, as we grow older our ability to learn a foreign language depreciates
and the task becomes more difficult than we once remembered.  In “Speaking in Tongues” written by Zadie
Smith and “The Nomads of Language” by Ariel Dorfman, both articles demonstrate
the struggle of balancing more than one language. Smith loses her chance at
speaking in different languages due to her voice being forced to change without
resistance due to an environmental change while Dorfman struggled with learning
how to embrace his bilingualism. Despite everyone not being lucky to be taught
multiple languages from birth, however I feel that overtime we should be more
accepting and more open to becoming multilingual not only to increase our brain
power, but to discover new cultures, travel freely, and improve employability.

Even though, there may be struggles upon learning the multiple languages, it’s
nothing but an advantage to have throughout your lifetime

Familiarizing
yourself with an amble amount of languages and dialects is not the easiest
thing to do and in “Speaking in Tongues,” by Zadie Smith you get an idea of hard
it really is. While initially, Smith introduced herself as a single voice woman
due to the voice she picked up during her time studying in Cambridge.

Throughout her article she commends everyone who is able to not only retain the
voice they learned from their parents at a young age, but who is also able to
speak in multiple voices because that is something that she failed to
accomplish. Smith’s article really hit home for me, because as a Jamaican
American, I have too experienced what she have experienced. A part of the
article that really stood out to me was when Smith stated “This voice I speak with these days, this
English voice with its rounded vowels and consonants in more or less the right
place-this is not the voice of my childhood. I picked it up in college, along
with the unabridged Clarissa and a taste for port. Maybe this fact is only what
it seems to be – a case of bald social climbing-but at the time, I genuinely
thought this was the voice of lettered people, and that if l didn’t have the voice
of lettered people, I would never truly be lettered.” Throughout my life, I have witnessed my
aunt who once had a strong Jamaican accent train herself to having a Jamaican
accent that is hardly even noticeable since her move to the United States. My
aunt, like Smith decided that it would be best to change her voice from
lower/middle class to upper class because she felt as if it would help her
succeed on the social scale and that people would take her field would take her
more if she spoke more like them. In the beginning, Smith was able to basically
live a double life with her voices, speaking her original voice when she
visited home and then turning back on her “upper class” voice, when back at
Cambridge, but sadly it got too hard to manage. In paragraph two, she quotes “recently my double voice has deserted me for a
single one, reflecting the smaller world into which my work has led me.

Willesden was a big, colorful, working class sea: Cambridge was a smaller,
posher pond, and almost univocal; the literary world is a puddle. This voice I
picked up along the way is no longer an exotic garment I put on like a college
gown whenever I choose—now it is my only voice, whether I want it or not. I
regret it; I should have kept both voices alive in my mouth.”
Zadie Smith, like my aunt both lost apart of who they were when they decided to
change their voice to fit in with a different crowed. Thankfully, Smith gives
us hope within her article and gives us examples that you do not have to be
single-voiced in order to get to where you want to be, you can people a person
with many voices. Smith used people like Barack Obama as an example of someone
who used their ability to absorb and utilize so many voices. She stated “Obama
can do young Jewish male, black old lady from the South Side, white woman from
Kansas, Kenyan elders, white Harvard nerds, black Columbia nerds, activist
women, churchmen, security guards, bank tellers, and even a British man called
Mr. Wilkerson, who on a starry night on safari says credibly British things
like: “I believe that’s the Milky Way.” This new president doesn’t
just speak for his people. He can speak them. It is a disorienting talent in a
president; we’re so unused to it.” Obama
was and still is able to speak in many voices, he is able to change his voice
according to his audience and is still able to capture their full attention and
that is why he is so successful. Despite Smith giving up her voice and losing
apart of her identity, she doesn’t want us to do the same. Why speak once voice
when you can speak many