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What Are The Challenges of Limited Language Proficiency in America?

Updated on September 19, 2020
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Ian is a teacher and an experienced social worker. My role as a man in the society.

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In every community and culture, language remains the basic entity that adds value to the vital connections. Through language, we communicate and abide by cultural norms, self-identification, social responsibilities, and rights. As an immigrant in America, with limited language (English) proficiency, life might turn into a fundamental hurdle to express myself.

I would imagine the extent of difficulty that I would face with indigenous differences compared to Mrs. Tan's limited English. "A person's language skills are influenced by language spoken in the family, which also shapes the child's performance" (Tan, 3). Would this not turn out into an overwhelming challenge of my indigenous culture? Would I get to imagine the barriers faced while adjusting to the new values?

Would this not compromise effects such as prejudice, emotional isolation, housing, jobs, and education challenges? With clear challenges and diverse needs, this article categorically points out economic, social, educational challenges that would accrue due to a comparable Mrs. Tan's language hurdle.

The relevance of the Classification of the Challenges

Indeed, limited English would mean several struggles in the American land. This would deteriorate my amazing and perseverance attributes. This article cohesively categorizes the experienced challenges concerning academics, social, economic, and emotional issues. Therefore, the study makes sense of randomly set ideas to a clear and sensible idea of the possible challenges of limited Mrs. Tan's language.

Even though the hurdles are interrelated, the study considers them separate issues that might also result in variable attributes and operations. The classification principle is assigned to quality discursive points of the possible challenges that might accrue due to the language barrier.

Challenges Facing None Native English Speakers Living in America

English is one of the most spoken languages in the world's world, having 101 countries English speakers. English language has gained popularity globally, not one for speaking reasons but also majorly for scholarly purposes.

America is a country where English is used as a first language; people from other parts of the world who reside in America face several challenges in coping with the country's English language. The problems facing non-native English speakers living in America come in two dimensions.

The first dimension is the result of personal struggle to fit in the system, and the other serious dimension is from American linguistic ideology and culture.

Below are some of the challenges;

1. Racism

The concept of language has drawn a clear racial line in America. For a long time, the Non-native English speakers have been discriminated against and reminded several that they do not fully belong. The American linguistic ideology, which has installed the notion of territory protection through speaking English, has led to non-native English speakers' alienation.

2. Considered as a Threat

Non- native English speakers were considered a threat to the original people of America. This is the belief of most of the resists In America. The immigrants threatened the peaceful nature of the country, which was developed through the language. Racists in America created policies that will restrict non-native English speakers from deeply engaged in most crucial activities. Undocumented immigrants faced a high level of discrimination from the native people of America.

3. Lack of Identity

English speaking is the factor of identification in America. The relationship among people is tied to the ability to speak English better. The individuals who fluently speak English will always identify tend to have a high sense of belonging. The introduction of the bilingual education system will come along with several positive impacts with elements of equality.

4. Being Denied Their Identity

Non-native English speakers are exposed to social transformation to attain the expected level to be accepted by the native. Some individuals find it so hard to do away with their original culture in transforming themselves to nature, which is acceptable. The pronunciation and the accent, which are common ways of identifying the native individual, may sometimes be easy for some people to change.

5. Victims of Discriminative politics

Politics in America is highly discriminative to the extent that if one is not a native member, the chance to hold any political post is almost zero. Most of the nativists in America believe that any individual who is not a native English speaker may introduce other languages, which may interfere with the national identity. The idea of political identity is always tired with any political interest's language spoken by any delegate.

Anglo Americans make most of the important decisions. Some such decisions may work against non-native, but they must take effect in the country. Even though bot the government and other stakeholders have tried fighting such vice among the Americans, it has always been so difficult to completely do away with that kind of policy since the Anglo Americans have the biggest number compared to other non-native English speakers.

Some immigrate fight so hard to be accepted as native Americans. The struggle comes as a result of petty problems such as syntax error and other error which come as a result of the immigrants' first language. The syntax error and pronunciation error will always remain some of the biggest challenges non-native English speakers always face. The clear destination between Anglo Americans and immigrants is the clear tool used to foster racism and promote inequality among America's people.


In wholesome due to lack of English proficiency, my life would be similar to stories of immigrants and refugees who experience constant challenges while in America. This would end my optimistic behavior as things would escalate to worse with time.

The language barrier would remain a hurdle for my seeking directions, educational services, transportation services, and healthcare services. With a lack of ability to express myself and recognize my identity, life would turn into a series of regrets.

My cultural and ethnic background variation would also be depicted in my slow adaptation to American wishes, customs, and values. In a nutshell, a similar lack of language proficiency exhibited by Mrs. Tan would mean the above-categorized challenges that would lead to regrets on my decision to come to the US.


Tan, Amy. "Mother tongue." The Threepenny Review 43.7 (1990).

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2020 Ian Muiruri


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