In The Joy Luck Club, linguistic barriers are an extremely important reason the mothers and daughters continually misunderstand each other. The daughters were all born in the U.S. while their mothers are Chinese immigrants who speak broken English. Linguistic barriers also exist between the mothers and the daughters’ love interests, resulting in strained relationships with the in-laws.
Because of linguistic difficulties, the older generation must instead use stories to impart their life lessons.
Linguistic barriers are merely another manifestation of deeper estrangements between mother and daughter – namely, cultural differences.