Both Dowdy and Barbara Mellix talk about the judgment that comes along with an individual’s language. Mellix states how she struggled throughout her life with the identity of speech and writing. To overcome this identity, Mellix expresses a dual identity by speaking Black English at certain times, and at other times, 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 regarding language in the classroom (Deplit 158). Both of these books share common themes of the impacts of language and its effects. The kind of language a person is brought up to speak contributes to nearby people judging them based on the accent of the language. In Ovuh Dyuh, Dowdy describes how she was brought up in Trinidad, where she was forced by circumstances to communicate in British English to excel in school. This also earned her approvals from her mother. However, deep within her soul, Dowdy felt separated from her peers and also from her inner Trinidadian self (Deplit 158) because she was a Trinidadian and not a British citizen.

Language and identity are two things that have been inseparable. According to the Dowdy family, British English was the preferred language. Their mother would always approve of them when they spoke British English. In addition, to achieve success in school, one had to communicate in British English. Using Black English earned laughter and scorn from their friends. Dowdy’s mother insisted that she ought to bear in mind that she was addressing 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 spoke 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 of it and considered Standard English to be more effective and acceptable throughout the nation (Reforma association 17).


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Both books talk about how language can be used to draw conclusions concerning the intellectual and potential capacity of an individual. There is always a relationship between language and the social class perception, education level, and 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 Trinidadian and those who spoke British English. Dowdy mentions how she is caught up in the dilemmas of her multiple ethnicities. 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 Trinidadian. This left Dowdy in the dilemma of wondering what her actual language was and which one she was supposed to use during communication (Deplit 107).

Alienation of the writer’s mother tongue is portrayed in some ways. Mother tongue is considered to be a less valued language, despite formerly being used in communication. However, Dowdy stands in between and opposes the alienation by using the trilingual statement. She states that all students should be able to communicate in three languages. The first language should be their mother tongue. This language will be spoken with their family and friends. The second language should be the formal language taught in school, while the third one is a professional language learned from the students’ careers and professional life (Fairclough 58).

Power is believed to lie within a certain language. It is the power that defines what kind of human beings we are. Out of our language, the rest of the world focuses its ideas and beliefs. This tends to deprive one of the freedom of thoughts, mind, and greatly the freedom of speech.

Those students studying in Britain were forced to assimilate the Standard English language to equalize with the rest of the students. If they spoke their native language, they would be ridiculed by the rest who were proficient in the language and intimidated. When performing. One was reminded to bear in mind that they are performing for whites and should use Standard English during the performance, even when there are black Americans present (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 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, as blacks were looked down upon by the whites. Most black Americans end up being assimilated into the white language to feel comfortable within the nation (Reforma association 22). Language is used as a stereotyping tool by many people. Various attributes are attributed to a person due to the kind of language they speak and also their skin color. Mellix says that despite language, one can succeed through diligence and determination. Both books state that shunning the native language expresses shame and inferiority to the real beings of the person.

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