Both Dowdy and Barbara Mellix talks about the judgment that comes along with an individual’s language. Mellix states how she struggled throughout her life over the identity of speech and from writing. To overcome this identity, Mellix expresses a duel identity by speaking Black English during a certain time and during another time she talks and writes in Standard English. On the other hand, Dowdy talks about the hidden harmful power that lies beneath language as well as the attitudes regarded towards language on students in classroom (Deplit 158). Both of this books share common themes of the impacts of language and the effects of the same. The kind of language a person is brought up to speak contributes to the nearby people judging them according to the accent of the language. In Ovuh Dyuh, Dowdy describes how she was brought up in Trinidad whereby she was forced by circumstances to communicate in British English so as to perform well in school. This also earned her approvals from her mother. However, deep within her soul, Dowdy felt separated from her age mates and also from her inner Trinidadian self (Deplit 158) because she was a Trinidad and not a Britain citizen.
Language and identity are two things that have being inseparable. According to the Dowdy family, British English was the most preferred. Their mother would always approve them when they talked the British English. In addition, to acquire success in school, one had to communicate in Britain English. Using Black English earned one laughter and scorning from their friends. Dowdy’s mother insisted that she ought to bear in mind that she was addressing to a white audience. She also describes how she came to be aware of the contrast between the reality and her language fantasy when she announced “over there’ and received laughers and giggles from her friends who were of the British English. In Mellix’s family, natural language was commonly used within the family by the family members and friends (Joseph 37). Barbara Mellix recalls how she was taught the art of speaking and when to do it. The Mellix family only talked British English when addressing people outside their family and when they needed to gain equality with the rest of the people. Melix was aware that she was discriminative and shaming their real selves by communicating in Standard English. Mother tongue was commonly used and accepted in the Mellix family while the Dowdy family disapproved it and considered Standard English to be more effective and acceptable throughout the nation. (Reforma association 17).
Both books talk about how language can be used in making conclusions concerning intellectual and potential capacity of an individual. There is always the relationship between language and social class perception, education level and the family background of an individual. Language bases have rendered the African American Children under a great disadvantage of being down looked. There was a language barrier between those who spoke the Trinidadian language and those who spoke the British language. Dowdy mentions how she is caught up between the dilemmas of her multiple ethnics. During their childhood, Dowdy recalls how they were ridiculed by other children due to the kind of language they talked. On the other hand, they would be ridiculed by adults if they did not speak the Trinidad language. This left Dowdy in the dilemma of wondering what her actual language was and which one was she supposed to use during communication (Deplit 107).
Alienation of the writer’s mother-tongue is portrayed in some way. Mother tongue is considered to be a less valued language despite being formerly used in communication. However, dowdy stand in between and opposes the alienation by use of the trilingual statement. She states out that all students should be able to communicate in three languages. The first language should be their mother tongue. This language will be spoken to their family and friends. The second language should be the formal language that is taught in school while the third one is a professional language which is learnt from the student’s careers and professional life (Fairclough 58).
Power is believed to lie within a certain language. It is power that defines what kind of human beings we are. Out of our language, the rest of the world focuses their ideas as well as beliefs. This tends to deprive one the freedom of his or her thoughts, mind and greatly the freedom of speech.
Those students studying in Britain were forced to assimilate the Standard English language so as to equalize with the rest of the students. If they spoke their native language, they would be ridiculed by the rest who were perfect in the language and were intimidated. When performing. One was reminded to bear in mind that he is performing to whites and should use Standard English during the performance even when there are black Americans within (Fairclough 58).
Both Ovuh Dyuh and Mellix talk about how language has various effects. Mellix tries to withhold her real identity through her speech and her writings (Joseph 64). Sometimes she communicates in Black English and during other times she uses Standard English. Joanne Kilgour expresses how she has been under confusion about her real identity since she belongs to multiple ethnicities. Their mother was so stern in making sure that they were publicly accommodated by speaking Standard English. The identity that accompanies language was great. Being a black American made Mellix feel ashamed since blacks were down looked by the whites. Most of the black American ends up being assimilated to the white language so as to feel comfortable within the nation (Reforma association 22). Language is used as a stereotyping tool by most people. Various attributes are regarded towards a person due to the kind of language they speak and also due to their skin color. Mellix says that despite language, one can succeed through diligence and determination. Both books state that shunning the native language is expressing shame and inferiority to the real beings of the person.