In the context of this essay “mother tongue” implies the language they use at home, the language she grew up learning and the language she often uses with her family. Amy grew up talking this English with her mother.

This English was affected by the Chinese influences of personal experience and opinions that were under the Chinese influences. The fact that she switches to this “mother tongue” with her mother tells of the fact that it is accepted in her family. On the other hand Amy uses it with her husband who does not correct her English but talks to her in it.

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