Importance of Language
In the story, “From a Native Daughter”, by Haunani-Kay Trask talks about herself, and how the history of the people and their culture of Hawaii means to her. She has learned stories over time from her parents and ancestors of how things were before her, so she has a lot of knowledge about the history and culture of the people before her. She is very vocal in her voice and wants people who aren’t native from Hawaii to learn the truth about the history of the culture of Hawaii.
If Black English isn’t a language, then tell me, what is? In James Baldwin article, Baldwin wants people to understand that all English is the same, it’s just different by the way we speak it. The argument has nothing to do with language itself, but with the role of language. The role of language is an important thing because it describes the way of how you may speak. When you begin to learn the language of your parents, you start to pick up some of the ways that your parent’s speak. Once you learn your parent’s ways of speaking, you start to learn your how the role of your language describes to others how you speak and the way you speak it. The way you learn to speak your language describes the role of the language in your society that you live in. As you read on, I will begin to compare Trask’s ideas about her language and culture, while including the thoughts of Baldwin’s language.
Trask has a strong sense of language and knows how to use the language of her ancestors to apply it to today’s society. She says, ”I learned the first of these stories from speaking with my mother and father. I learned the second from books. By the time I left for college, the books had won out over my parents especially since I spent four long years in a missionary boarding school for Hawaiian children”.
After reading this quote from Trask, you can see that she has been learning the language and culture of her ancestors. She uses the language of her ancestors by remembering the stories that her parents and grandmother taught her. She is very passionate about the history of her people, and wants everyone to know the difference of what historians describe as their history of Hawaii. In Baldwin’s article, Baldwin says to us how language can also be used as a sense of power. “People evolve a language in order to describe and control their situation. What joins all languages is the necessity to confront life”, says Baldwin. In a society of people, the people of the group use language to communicate with other societies. The people within your society uses their language to describe what could be going on, or how things are going. Language within your society reveals how and why the speaker talks. The more confident and more vocal the speaker is, the speaker will have a stronger sense of language. As time goes on, you begin to see that language is evolved in ordered to communicate with other societies.
Using the language that you learn at a young age can shows us the background of how you learned your language. Trask says, “language is a form of knowing by itself; a people’s way of thinking and feeling is revealed in music”. When recording artistes write a song, they use the language that they learned to write a song. As they add in the sounds into the song, it is the way they are feeling that gives us the mood of the song. In Baldwin’s point of view, he is describing how by vocalizing yourself creates an image of who you are and where your from. By having a strong sense of language reveals the private identity, and can be used to connect larger and more public identity. As you begin to vocalize yourself, an image of who you are is created.
When you have an image created, people begin to use that image to visualize you. Trask definitely is able to be very vocal and knows how to get her points out into the open. Since Trask is also vocal, she can create an image for herself, and have an image for native Hawaiians and their history and culture. The image that Trask wants for her people is an image of a strong community that will not back down from any prejudiced comments.
Trask wants people to learn the truth about the culture and history of her native people of Hawaii. She wants the history to be factual instead of fictional. In one of her speech Trask says, “Our story remains unwritten. It rests within the culture, which is inseparable from the land. To know this is to know our history. To write this is to write of the land and the people who are born from her”. In this quote, you can see that she is trying to emphasize that the history that we have taken is by people who have visited the land. She would rather want historians to write down the actually history of Hawaiians from the native people who have lived there. In one Baldwin’s point of views, he talks about how language can also be used as a sense of power.
If a certain person is smart enough and understands his own language, then that person can use that language to convince other people into believing what they believe. When you have the ability to persuade people, then you begin to build a sense of power that is hard to break. Understanding your own language can help you with communicating with other people, understanding other people, and learning from other people. Trask definitely has this sense of power because she is able to communicate with other people, and communicate with them by telling them the history of culture of Hawaiians without forgetting any details.
In conclusion, some of the ideas of language are similar between Trask and Baldwin. In both Baldwin and Trask’s articles, they have a self image of persuading other into believing what they believe is the truth. Baldwin wants people to understand that all English is the same, it’s just different by the way we speak it. Trask wants people to understand that traditions in culture are the backbone in your development of language. The thing that connects these two writers is that both believe that language is the way people communicate to each other to get their ideas out in the open.