The Scholar’s Mother Tongue Summary

“The Scholar’s Mother Tongue” the narrative of a Chinese-American woman and her mother’s struggle to connect across language barriers, the story delves into the profound impact of language on one’s sense of self. Tan’s poignant storytelling invites readers to reflect on the universal themes of generational conflicts and the quest for belonging in a multicultural world. Read More Class 6 English Summaries.

The Scholar’s Mother Tongue Summary

The Scholar’s Mother Tongue Summary in English

‘The Scholar’s Mother Tongue’

The Scholar’s Mother Tongue image 1

The given lesson The Scholar’s Mother Tongue is extracted from Akbar and Biral Stories’. One day Akbar drew a line on the floor of the open court and challenged his courtiers to make it shorter without erasing it. Everyone were puzzled. Birbal at once drew a longer line beside the’ first one, without touching the first one. All the courtiers and Akbar agreed that now the first line is shorter.

Once a learned scholar (Pandit) visits the court of Akbar and introduces himself as a master of many languages, and can speak many languages fluently. He challenges all present there to find out what his mother tongue is.

All the courtiers fail to find out the pandit’s mother tongue. Then Birbal tells the Pandit that he shall find out the Pandit’s mother tongue in a day or two. The pandit agrees. That night Birbal sneaks into the Pandit’s bedroom and finds him fast asleep. He whispers into the pandit’s ear, then he tickles his ear with a feather.

The Scholar’s Mother Tongue image 2

The pandit who was in deep sleep shouted out some words in his mother tongue. He shouts Tevaradi’ in Telugu which means ‘who is that? The next day Birbal declares that Pandit’s mother tongue is Telugu in front of the whole court. The pandit agrees to it.

Akbar is astonished and congratulates Birbal and asks him how he found out the truth. Birbal explains that in times of difficulty a person speaks his mother tongue. Then he narrates the entire incident that took place in the pandit’s bedroom, the previous night. The Pandit accepts defeat and leaves the king’s court in dismay.


In conclusion, “The Scholar’s Mother Tongue” by Amy Tan masterfully underscores the power of language as a bridge between generations and cultures. The story exemplifies the enduring struggle and ultimate reconciliation between the Chinese-American protagonist and her mother, highlighting the intricate relationship between language, heritage, and identity.

Read more Summaries: