Language and culture | Languages In Danger
Not all expressions of culture require language, and not all aspects of language are culture-dependent. It is worth taking a closer look at the relationship. The relationship between language and culture is complex yet one is a part of the other. You learn the culture once you start learning a. Here, cultural change in general and its relation to language will be considered. By far the greatest part of learned behaviour, which is what culture involves.
While the Swedish element is still strong, new vocabulary now often comes from English. There are several terms used to refer to varieties used by certain groups of speakers within a speech community. Sociolect or social dialect is a broad technical term for such varieties in linguistics. Both linguists and laymen use the term slang to refer to varieties of colloquial speech. We have just seen that the urban dialect of Helsinki is called slang.
Another example is teenager slang — varieties used by teenagers for chatting among friends, often associated with school. Sometimes teenagers of one school even have their own kind of slang which differs from that used in other schools. An important function of slang is to demonstrate and maintain in-group relationship: A good example is hip hop culture which originates in cultural practices of Afro-American and Latino youth in New York suburbs and is associated with their slang. As hip hop culture became popular in other parts of the world, elements of this slang spread along with the customs, especially rap music.
Varieties associated with a professional field for example, medicine or an activity such as hunting or weaving are called jargons or language for special purposes. A jargon is usually not thought of as non-standard language while a slang typically isand it may be used both in speaking and writing.
These explanations are only rough guidelines — there is no conformity in the use of such terms. Maybe this is inevitable, because the varieties themselves have many facets and can be classed in different ways. Another term that is used in different meanings is argot. We may make a distinction between argot, slang, and jargon by considering the purpose of their use: A jargon in turn mainly offers more differentiated means for communication within a certain field or about a topic.
Vocabulary for special purposes Slang, argots and jargons differ from the standard variety mainly with respect to vocabulary. How do they build their vocabulary, where do new words come from? There are several techniques that can be found in languages all over the world. First, the words may come from another language. As mentioned above, the Helsinki urban dialect took its vocabulary mainly from Swedish. Teenager slang nowadays uses many words from English.
In medical or academic jargon we find words of Latin and Greek origin. The secret language of British Gypsies is or was Anglo-Romania language based on English but with many Romani words.
An explanation by Prof. Yaron Matras from Manchester University: Speakers may insert a Romani word occasionally when welcoming Romani guests or when meeting with other family members. Sometimes the use of Romani is for humour, and sometimes British Romanies will use Romani words among themselves in public places in order to prevent Gaujos non-Gypsies from understanding what they are saying. Thus, someone might say: Romani in the UK, at: Which words come from Romani, can you guess their meaning?
Their grandchildren, me included, have only the pogerdi chib, now. I married away from the kawlo rattee, a gawji whom I love to this day. Apart from my grandparents, I have never heard the pure chib spoken.
I agree with Jacqueline, though — if you want the pukkered chib, go to the kawlo ratte, not the Romanes Rai or Rawnee. See also the Angloromani dictionary at: The old standard and the new special meaning may be linked by metaphor — a similarity is seen between the two concepts.
Saying the opposite of what you mean can also be an indicator of a special situation, something out of the ordinary. It consists of reversing the meaning of whole sentences. The techniques may be the same as in the standard variety, but in slangs and argots there are often some special means of derivation that mark words as belonging to this slang.
Two widespread techniques found in slang and secret languages, as well as in language games popular with children are i to insert additional vowels or syllables into a word, and ii to reverse the order of syllables or other parts of a word.
These two techniques may also be combined. You can find examples from many languages of the world in the English Wikipedia entry Language games.
Thus, pu-pin-va-lo-da becomes pu-pu-pi-pin-va-pa-lo-po-da-pa of course, the fun is in speaking these words quickly. Examples for words created by reversing parts of the original word: Back slang examples from Blake First, although these are primarily or exclusively spoken varieties of a language, at least English Back slang and French Verlans rely on the spelling of a word, thus, written language.
For example, if the English word knife [naif] were just spoken backwards, we would get fine [fain]. But the Back slang form of this word is eefink [i: The French word femme is pronounced [fam], so if Verlans were based on pronunciation the outcome would be [maf]. The other interesting fact is that this technique and varieties where it prevails are used by very different groups of speakers — from criminals to children.
A fourth function was touched upon with the example of Jiriwirri — special words can be used to mark a situation or a conversation as extraordinary. This function may be less important in Europe, but it is an important part, for example, of Australian aboriginal cultures. Several Australian languages have special varieties used in conversations between family members where a participant of the conversation is by social convention not allowed to speak in an ordinary way to another person.
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There are certain taboos, words that must be avoided in the presence of certain persons, and therefore a variety called avoidance language must be used. As the taboo often involves in-laws, avoidance languages are also called mother-in-law languages the variety a man must use when speaking to his mother-in-law.
In these avoidance languages we find the same techniques as described above: Language is doing and culture is a verb For both culture and language, various scholars have independently noted that these concepts are better understood as activities or processes, not as things — they are something we do or something that happens rather than something that exists or something that we possess. To illustrate this idea, we may try to use the names of these concepts as verbs instead of nouns. Reasoning about the nature of language, Wilhelm von Humboldt argued already in that language is not a product or result of activities, but the activity itself, and a creative force.
This perspective leads us to new questions regarding the connection between culture and language, for example: How and in which situations do we do culture with language? Which linguistic activities are cultural practices? What forms do they have in different cultures? We may distinguish everyday cultural practices and those performed only at special occasions.
Another distinction is between practices shared by all members of a community and customs which are performed only by special members, because they require more training or talent such as writing poems or a special status such as preaching. Examples for customs performed by ordinary members of a culture are: Some of these customs are universal — greeting and thanking are found everywhere in the world — others are more culture specific.
Some are oral practices performed by speaking and listeningothers are literary practices using writing and reading. Languaging happens everywhere… seen in Berlin, photo Nicole Nau When a practice is widespread among cultures, there are still differences in the way it is performed.
We become aware of these differences when we learn another language and visit the place where it is spoken. The more the culture where we are guests differs from our own, the more we recognize how much of our daily use of language is in fact cultural practices. A certain occasion, for example starting a meal or drinking wine at a party, may require just one or a few words in one culture, while in another culture much more has to be said or written.
Click here to watch an example of a toast performed in the endangered language Svan. Genres text types Language is a constant companion of our everyday life, and it is used for many more purposes than to convey information. Important social acts such as marrying or welcoming a child to a community are performed by speaking certain formulas. Many celebrations require elaborate speeches. Using language is often an important part of religious practices: Each practice comes in a certain form that can be more or less fixed by tradition.
For example, in many cultures the marriage vow has a fixed form. This is the English version of the Roman Catholic marriage vow: I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life. Other ceremonies only determine the structure of a text and require the presence of certain elements, but otherwise allow for variation.
A speech given by a student at a graduation ceremony will include elements such as: The different forms of different linguistic practices whether we think of them as cultural practices or not are called genres or text types. The term genre is probably best known from literary studies, where it refers to types of literary works such as the drama, the novel, the poem.
In linguistics it is used in a broader sense and may refer to more mundane texts as well, both written and spoken. For example, cooking recipes are a genre, as are greeting cards, forum discussions, or oral exams at school. A genre is characterized by its structure, the choice of words and constructions, the structure and length of sentences, and by certain features of pronunciation.
It has been shaped by the situation in which the text is produced and by the function it has. The function of radio news is to inform, therefore they are read in a neutral voice, while a story read to entertain listeners is delivered in a more vivid mode, and a sermon read during worship requires still another intonation.
In each culture we find very many different genres, and it is probably impossible to make a full inventory of the genres used in one speech community. As cultural practices change, some are given up and some new ones are started, genres also change and new ones may be introduced. Take for example cooking recipes. The typical recipe is a short written text published in a cookbook or a journal, or a web-site and so on.
It is written in the absence of the reader and read in the absence of the writer. It is more natural to pass on knowledge about cooking by showing and explaining while preparing the meal than by writing a text. We also note that the word for recipe is often borrowed compare in Europe alone: English recipe, French recette, Spanish receta, German Rezept, Russian recept, Swedish recept, Finnish reseptiwhich shows that the genre itself has spread from culture to culture, alongside the practice of sharing knowledge about meals in this form.
Find the language Chipaya on the Interactive Map with a recipe for quinoa soup! Task At the Sorosoro website on endangered languages you find two videos where speakers from Africa explain the preparation of a traditional meal.
Compare the video with the help of the subtitles with the recipes given at the same site: How do these two forms of explanation differ?
What do they have in common? In many European countries cooking shows on television or videos on the Internet are popular today.
How is the preparation of meals explained there — is it more similar to the Sorosoro videos or to the written recipes? Oral traditions In each culture there are certain texts or text types that have a special status: In European cultures this kind of language use is often associated with the word literature. The word literature is historically linked to the word letter Latin littera and thus to writing. This makes it awkward to use this word when speaking about oral texts and performances.
For example, the Polish Wikipedia entry on literature begins like this: A definition that reflects this relationship might start like this: From this, they bring with them what they imagine to be appropriate teaching methodology.
Pennycook continues by pointing out that student centered learning is unsuitable for Chinese students. The students may not know how to react to this different style of learning. A case in point, when at the beginning of my teaching career in Taiwan, I found it very easy to teach English, but very difficult to get the students to interact with me while I was teaching.
Language and culture
Teaching was very easy because the students were well behaved and very attentive. The difficulties surfaced when trying to get the students to interact with me, their teacher. At the time, I did not realize that in Taiwan, it was culturally unacceptable for students to interact with their teacher. The Taiwanese students were trained to listen to what the teacher said, memorize it, and later regurgitate it during an exam.
The classroom setting had to be changed to a much less formal setting to coax out student interaction. The language classes taught using this style proved to be most beneficial to the students with an overall increase in the grade point average. Because language is so closely entwined with culture, language teachers entering a different culture must respect their cultural values.
As Englebert describes: As Spence argues, success and failure in a Chinese cultural framework influences not just oneself but the whole family or group. Therefore, teachers must remember to respect the culture in which they are located. Language teachers must realize that their understanding of something is prone to interpretation.
The Relationship Between Language & Culture and the Implications for Language Teaching | guiadeayuntamientos.info
The meaning is bound in cultural context. One must not only explain the meaning of the language used, but the cultural context in which it is placed as well. Often meanings are lost because of cultural boundaries which do not allow such ideas to persist. As Porter argues, misunderstandings between language educators often evolve because of such differing cultural roots, ideologies, and cultural boundaries which limit expression.
Language teachers must remember that people from different cultures learn things in different ways. For example, in China memorization is the most pronounced way to study a language which is very unlike western ideologies where the onus is placed on free speech as a tool for utilizing and remembering vocabulary and grammar sequences Hui When a teacher introduces language teaching materials, such as books or handouts, they must understand that these will be viewed differently by students depending on their cultural views Maley For instance, westerners see books as only pages which contain facts that are open to interpretation.
This view is very dissimilar to Chinese students who think that books are the personification of all wisdom, knowledge and truth Maley 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.
The Relationship Between Language & Culture and the Implications for Language Teaching
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.
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.