Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2018


Kennedy Coffie’s “Mastering Languages” is a personal essay that nicely demonstrates how our way of speaking can tie us to a community and sense of communal identity, while shutting us off from other communities and identities. Kennedy’s mother taught her children and insisted upon “proper English,” while her father was content to speak the dialect of his southern community and, once Kennedy’s mom passed away, to let his daughters speak the language of their urban Chicago community. Kennedy offers insightful reflections on her journeys between different English language communities. (Seth Mendelowitz)


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