Relationship between language and culture

relationship between language and culture

Language and culture are intricately related and dependent on each other. Language There is deeply rooted relationship between the culture and language. Cultures hiding in languages, examines the link between Japanese language and culture. An Insight into Korean Culture through the Korean. Language and culture have a complex, homologous relationship. Language is complexly intertwined with culture (they have evolved together, influencing one.

One should not only compare, but contrast the cultural differences in language usage. Visualizing and understanding the differences between the two will enable the student to correctly judge the appropriate uses and causation of language idiosyncrasies. For instance, I have found, during my teaching in Taiwan, that it is necessary to contrast the different language usages, especially grammatical and idiom use in their cultural contexts for the students to fully understand why certain things in English are said.

Thank you, and you? This question was very difficult to answer, until I used an example based in Chinese culture to explain it to them. One example of this usage: It was culturally and possibly morally significant to ask someone if they had eaten upon meeting.

This showed care and consideration for those around you. Even now, people are more affluent but this piece of language remains constant and people still ask on meeting someone, if they have eaten. If someone in a western society was greeted with this, they would think you are crazy or that it is none of your business.

It has enabled them to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate circumstances of which to use English phrases and idioms that they have learnt. Valdes argues that not only similarities and contrasts in the native and target languages have been useful as teaching tools, but when the teacher understands cultural similarities and contrasts, and applies that knowledge to teaching practices, they too become advantageous learning tools.

Implications for language policy Creators of second language teaching policies must be sensitive to the local or indigenous languages not to make them seem inferior to the target language. English language teaching has become a phenomenon in Southeast Asia, especially in Taiwan. Most Taiwanese universities require an English placement test as an entry requirement Information for Foreigners Retrieved May 24, Foreigners non-native Taiwanese which are native English speaking students however, do not need to take a similar Chinese proficiency test, thus forwarding the ideology that the knowledge of English is superior to the Chinese counterpart and that to succeed in a globalized economy; one must be able to speak English Hu The implications for language policy makers are that policies must be formed which not only include but celebrate local languages.

Policies must not degrade other languages by placing them on a level of lower importance. Policies for language teaching must encompass and include cultural values from the societies from which the languages are derived as well as being taught.

In other words, when making policies regarding language teaching, one must consider the cultural ideologies of all and every student, the teacher, as well as the culture in which the target language is being taught. The American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages has expounded on the importance of combining the teaching of culture into the language curriculum to enhance understanding and acceptance of differences between people, cultures and ideologies Standards One example where as policy makers did not recognize the importance of culture is outlined by Kimin which the Korean government had consulted American ESL instructional guidelines which stated that for students to become competent in English they must speak English outside of the classroom.

relationship between language and culture

The government on reviewing this policy requested that all Korean English language students use English outside of the classrooms to further enhance their language competency. What they failed to consider is that while in America, English is taught as a second language and speaking English was quite acceptable in all locations, that in Korea, English is taught as a foreign language and the vast majority of the Korean population do not converse with each other in English. Korean students speaking English outside of the classroom context were seen as show-offs.

In a collectivistic culture, as is Korea, such displays of uniqueness are seen as a vice to be suppressed, not as a virtue Kim Thus policy makers must not rely on the cultural views and policies of others, but incorporate the cultural views of the students as well as considering the culture where the teaching is taking place. Language teachers need to be informed about various teaching interaction-based methodologies, manipulate them and develop their own teaching methods compatible with the educational context to foster interaction between students Kim When creating policies, one must consider the cultural meanings of teaching materials used.

The materials may have a far broader meaning or encompass far more or less than what one has considered. An example of this is when the school I worked for decided that I introduce a discussion topic on holidays with one of my classes. The school did not enlighten me as to the cultural significance of holidays or what the Chinese equivalent of the word entails. This problem, as described by Yuleis that people have pre-existing schemata or knowledge structure in their memory of what constitutes certain ideas; e.

The culturally based schemata that the students had for holidays were considerably different than that of my own. Their ideology of a holiday was any day that was special, possibly where one did not have to go to school, a weekend, a birthday, or any other major happening. When I asked the students what their favourite holiday was, I received many replies, all of which were not what I was looking for.

I proceeded to tell them that Christmas was a holiday. This however, was a bad example as Christmas is not a holiday in Taiwan. Finally, as this paper has shown, language and culture are intertwined to such an extent whereas one cannot survive without the other.

It is impossible for one to teach language without teaching culture. The implications for language teaching and policy making are therefore vast and far reaching.

relationship between language and culture

Brooks N Culture in the classroom. In JM Valdes ed Culture bound: Cambridge University Press, pp — Byram M Cultural studies in foreign language education.

The Relationship between Language and Culture - Lexiophiles

Englebert Character or Culture? An EFL Journal, 24 2 Centre for Information on Language Teaching and Research. Hui Du False alarm or real warning? Implications for China of teaching English.

Journal of Educational Enquiry, Vol. Information for foreigners n. Retrieved June 17, from http: Interestingly, on the other side of the Franco-Spanish frontier, French Basques were positively encouraged to keep their language in use, if only as an object of touristic interest and consequent economic benefit to the area. Translation So far, some of the relatively large-scale effects of culture contacts on languages and on dialects within languages have been surveyed.

A continuous concomitant of contact between two mutually incomprehensible languages and one that does not lead either to suppression or extension of either is translation. As soon as two users of different languages need to converse, translation is necessary, either through a third party or directly.

Before the invention and diffusion of writing, translation was instantaneous and oral; persons professionally specializing in such work were called interpreters. In predominantly or wholly literate communities, translation is thought of as the conversion of a written text in one language into a written text in another, though the modern emergence of the simultaneous translator or professional interpreter at international conferences keeps the oral side of translation very much alive.

The main problems have been recognized since antiquity and were expressed by St. Semantically, these problems relate to the adjustment of the literal and the literary and to the conflicts that so often occur between an exact translation of each word, as far as this is possible, and the production of a whole sentence or even a whole text that conveys as much of the meaning of the original as can be managed.

These problems and conflicts arise because of factors already noticed in the use and functioning of language: Even between the languages of communities whose cultures are fairly closely allied, there is by no means a one-to-one relation of exact lexical equivalence between the items of their vocabularies. In their lexical meanings, words acquire various overtones and associations that are not shared by the nearest corresponding words in other languages; this may vitiate a literal translation.

In modern times translators of the Bible into the languages of peoples culturally remote from Europe are well aware of the difficulties of finding a lexical equivalent for lamb when the intended readers, even if they have seen sheep and lambs, have no tradition of blood sacrifice for expiation or long-hallowed associations of lambs with lovableness, innocence, and apparent helplessness.

The English word uncle has, for various reasons, a cozy and slightly comic set of associations. This is because poetry is, in the first instance, carefully contrived to express exactly what the poet wants to say. Second, to achieve this end, poets call forth all the resources of the language in which they are composing, matching the choice of words, the order of words, and grammatical constructions, as well as phonological features peculiar to the language in metreperhaps supplemented by rhymeassonanceand alliteration.

The available resources differ from language to language; English and German rely on stress-marked metres, but Latin and Greek used quantitative metres, contrasting long and short syllables, while French places approximately equal stress and length on each syllable.

Translators must try to match the stylistic exploitation of the particular resources in the original language with comparable resources from their own. Because lexical, grammatical, and metrical considerations are all interrelated and interwoven in poetry, a satisfactory literary translation is usually very far from a literal word-for-word rendering.

The more poets rely on language form, the more embedded their verses are in that particular language and the harder the texts are to translate adequately. This is especially true with lyrical poetry in several languages, with its wordplay, complex rhymes, and frequent assonances. Remarkable advances in automatic computer translation were made during the s—the result of progress in computational techniques and a fresh burst of research energy focused on the problem—while the spread of the Internet in subsequent decades transformed approaches to, and the ease of, all forms of translation.

Translation on the whole is, arguably, more art than science. The Italian epigram remains justified: Sometimes people want to restrict it. Confidential messages require for their efficacy that they be known to and understood by only the single person or the few persons to whom they are addressed. Such are diplomatic exchanges, operational messages in wartime, and some transmissions of commercial information. Protection of written messages from interception has been practiced for many centuries.

Twentieth-century developments in telegraphy and telephonyand the emergence and growth of the Internet, made protection against unauthorized reception more urgent, whether of texts transmitted as speech or those sent as series of letters of the alphabet.

Codes and ciphers cryptography are of much longer standing in the concealment of written messages, though their techniques are being constantly developed.

Such gains are, of course, countered by developments in the techniques of decipherment and decoding as distinct from getting hold of the key to the system in use.

The Relationship Between Language & Culture and the Implications for Language Teaching

An important by-product of such techniques has been the reading and interpretation of inscriptions written in otherwise unknown languages or unknown writing systems for which no translation exists. Linear B inscribed tablet, c. It has been pointed out above that the process of first-language acquisition as a medium of communication is largely achieved from random exposure.

There is legitimate controversy, however, over the nature and extent of the positive contribution that the human brain brings, both cognitively and linguistically, to the activity of grammar construction—the activity by which children develop an indefinitely creative competence from the finite data that make up their actual experience of the language.

The importance of social interaction between children and their interlocutors is another significant factor. Creativity is what must be stressed as the product of first-language acquisition. By far the greater number of all the sentences people create during their lifetime are new; that is, they have not occurred before in their personal experience. But individuals find no difficulty at all in understanding at once almost everything they hear or otherwise receive or for the most part in producing sentences to suit the requirements of every situation.

This very ease of creativity in human linguistic competence makes it hard to realize its extent. It is simply part of what is expected in growing up. Different people may be singled out for praise in certain uses of their language, as good public speakers, authors, poets, tellers of tales, and solvers of puzzles, but not just as communicators.

Bilingualism The learning of a second and of any subsequently acquired language is quite a separate matter. Of course, many people never do master significantly more than their own first language. It is only in encountering a second language that one realizes how complex language is and how much effort must be devoted to subsequent acquisition. It has been said that the principal obstacle to learning a language is knowing one already, and common experience suggests that the faculty of grammar construction exhibited in childhood is one that is gradually lost as childhood recedes.

AdstockRF Whereas most people master their native language with unconscious ease, individuals vary in their ability to learn additional languages, just as they vary in other intellectual activities. Situational motivationhowever, appears to be by far the strongest influence on the speed and apparent ease of this learning.

relationship between language and culture

The greatest difficulty is experienced by those who learn because they are told to or are expected to, without supporting reasons that they can justify. Given a motive other than external compulsion or expectation, the task is achieved much more easily this, of course, is an observation in no way confined to language learning. In Welsh schools, for instance, it has been found that English children make slower progress in Welsh when their only apparent reason for learning Welsh is that there are Welsh classes.

Welsh children, on the other hand, make rapid progress in English, the language of most further education, the newspapers, most television and radio, most of the better-paid jobs, and any job outside Welsh-speaking areas. Similar differences in motivation have accounted for the excellent standard of English, French, and German acquired by educated persons in the Scandinavian countries and in the Netherlands, small countries whose languages, being spoken by relatively few foreigners, are of little use in international communication.

This attainment may be compared with the much poorer showing in second-language acquisition among comparably educated persons in England and the United States, who have for long been able to rely on foreigners accommodating to their ignorance by speaking and understanding English.

It is sometimes held that children brought up bilingually in places in which two languages are regularly in use are slower in schoolwork than comparable monolingual children, as a greater amount of mental effort has to be expended in the mastery of two languages.

This has by no means been proved, and indeed there is evidence to the contrary. The question of speed of general learning by bilinguals and monolinguals must be left open. It is quite a separate matter from the job of learning, by teaching at home or in school, to read and write in two languages; this undoubtedly is more of a labour than the acquisition of monolingual literacy.

Two types of bilingualism have been distinguished, according to whether the two languages were acquired from the simultaneous experience of the use of both in the same circumstances and settings or from exposure to each language used in different settings an example of the latter is the experience of English children living in India during the period of British ascendancy there, learning English from their parents and an Indian language from their nurses and family servants.

However acquired, bilingualism leads to mutual interference between the two languages; extensive bilingualism within a community is sometimes held partly responsible for linguistic change. Interference may take place in pronunciation, in grammar, and in the meanings of words. Speaking, signing, and writing are learned skills, but there the resemblance ends. Children learn their first language at the start involuntarily and mostly unconsciously from random exposure, even if no attempts at teaching are made.

Literacy is deliberately taught and consciously and deliberately learned. There is ongoing debate on the best methods and techniques for teaching literacy in various social and linguistic settings.

Literacy is learned by a person already possessed of the basic structure and vocabulary of his language. Such facts should be obvious, but the now-accepted standard of near-universal literacy in technologically advanced countries, along with the fact that in second-language learning one usually acquires speech and writing skills at the same time, tends to bring these parts of language learning under one head.

Literacy is manifestly a desirable attainment for all communities, though not necessarily in all languages. It must be borne in mind that there are many distinct languages spoken in the world today by fewer than 1, or or even 50 persons.

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The capital investment in literacy, including teaching resources, teacher time and training, printing, publications, and so forth, is vast, and it can be economically and socially justified only when applied to languages used and likely to continue to be used by substantial numbers over a wide area. Literacy is in no way necessary for the maintenance of linguistic structure or vocabulary, though it does enable people to add words from the common written stock in dictionaries to their personal vocabulary very easily.

It is worth emphasizing that until relatively recently in human history all languages were spoken or signed by illiterate speakers and that there is no essential difference as regards pronunciation, structure, and complexity of vocabulary between spoken or signed languages that have writing systems used by all or nearly all their speakers and the languages of illiterate communities. Literacy has many effects on the uses to which language may be put; storage, retrieval, and dissemination of information are greatly facilitatedand some uses of language, such as philosophical system building and the keeping of detailed historical records, would scarcely be possible in a community wholly without writing.

In these respects the lexical content of a language is affected, for example, by the creation of sets of technical terms for philosophical writing and debate. Because the permanence of writing overcomes the limitations of memory span imposed on speech or signing, sentences of greater length can easily occur in writing, especially in types of written language that are not normally read aloud and that do not directly represent what would be spoken.

An examination of some kinds of oral literaturehowever, reveals the ability of the human brain to receive and interpret spoken sentences of considerable grammatical complexity.

In relation to pronunciationwriting does not prevent the historical changes that occur in all languages. Part of the apparent irrationality of English spellingsuch as is found also in some other orthographies, lies just in the fact that letter sequences have remained constant while the sounds represented by them have changed. For example, the gh of light once stood for a consonant sound, as it still does in the word as pronounced in some Scots dialects, and the k of knave and knight likewise stood for an initial k sound compare the related German words Knabe and Knecht.

A few relatively uncommon words, including some proper names, are reformed phonetically, specifically to bring their pronunciation more in line with their spelling. Spelling pronunciations, as these are called, are a product of general literacy. In London the pronunciation of St. Aristotle expressed the relation thus: But it is not as simple as this would suggest.

Alphabetic writing, in which, broadly, consonant and vowel sounds are indicated by letters in sequence, is the most widespread system in use today, and it is the means by which literacy will be disseminatedbut it is not the only system, nor is it the earliest. Evolution of writing systems Writing appears to have been evolved from an extension of picture signs: Other words or word elements not readily represented pictorially could be assigned picture signs already standing for a word of the same or nearly the same pronunciation, perhaps with some additional mark to keep the two signs apart.

This opens the way for what is called a character script, such as that of Chinesein which each word is graphically represented by a separate individual symbol or character or by a sequence of two or more such characters.

Writing systems of this sort have appeared independently in different parts of the world. Chinese character writing has for many centuries been stylized, but it still bears marks of the pictorial origin of some characters. Chinese characters and the characters of similar writing systems are sometimes called ideograms, as if they directly represented thoughts or ideas.

This is not so. Chinese characters stand for Chinese words or, particularly as in modern Chinese, bits of words logograms ; they are the symbolization of a particular language, not a potentially universal representation of thought.

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Character writing is laborious to learn and imposes a burden on the memory. Alternatives to it, in addition to alphabetic writing, include scripts that employ separate symbols for the syllable sequences of consonants and vowels in a language, with graphic devices to indicate consonants not followed by a vowel. The Devanagari script, in which classical Sanskrit and modern Hindi are written, is of this type, and the Mycenaean writing system, a form of Greek writing in use in the 2nd millennium bce and quite independent of the later Greek alphabet, was syllabic in structure.

Japanese employs a mixed system, broadly representing the roots of words by Chinese characters kanji and the inflectional endings by syllable signs kana. These syllable signs are an illustration of the way in which a syllabic script can develop from a character script: The Greek alphabet came from the Phoenician scripta syllabic-type writing system that indicated the consonant sounds. By a stroke of genius, a Greek community decided to employ certain consonantal signs to which no consonant sound corresponded in Greek as independent vowel signs, thus producing an alphabeta set of letters standing for consonants and vowels.

The Greek alphabet spread over the ancient Greek world, undergoing minor changes. From a Western version sprang the Latin Roman alphabet. Also derived from the Greek alphabet, the Cyrillic alphabet was devised in the 9th century ce by a Greek missionary, St.

relationship between language and culture

Cyril, for writing the Slavic languages. Spelling Alphabetic writing is not and cannot be an exact representation of the sequence of sounds or even of the sequence of distinctive sounds in the spoken forms of words and sentences. Consonant and vowel mean different things when applied to letters and to sounds, though there is, of course, much overlap. The y at the beginning of yet stands for a consonant sound; at the end of jetty it stands for a vowel sound.

In thick and thin the sequence th represents a single sound, not a t sound followed by an h sound. In kite the e represents no sound directly but distinguishes the vowel between k and t from the vowel in kit.

These disharmonies arise from a number of causes. Economy in the use of letters is one factor. In addition, spoken forms are always changing over the centuries, whereas writing, particularly since the invention of printingis very conservative.