Relationship between language, culture, and identity


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Relationship between language, culture, and identity

  1. 1. Relationship between Language, culture, and Identity
  2. 2. Presented to: Miss Urooj Alvi Presented by: Tayyba Bashir Amna Shamir Memoona
  3. 3. Contents Introduction Language Culture Identity Culture Influence Language Language influence culture Relationship between Language, Culture and Identity Conclusion References
  4. 4. Introduction Language and culture are intricately related and dependent on each other. Language is formed by culture, while culture is influenced and impacted by language. Without language, culture cannot be completely acquired nor can it be effectively expressed and transmitted. Without culture, language cannot exist.
  5. 5. Introduction Membership in a culture influences identity. Assumptions, beliefs, and values shared with others are a large part of feeling something in common with other people. Identification with a culture results in striving to gain membership in that culture.
  6. 6. Language CultureIdentity
  7. 7. Language Language can be defined as the system of communication comprising codes and symbols which are used by humans to store, retrieve, organize structure and communicate knowledge and experience. It is the primary instrument in the expression, transmission, and adaptation of culture. The learning of a second or foreign language enables one to view life through another cultural lens. culture Identity
  8. 8. Culture It is a set of beliefs, values, norms, customs, traditions, rituals, and a way of life that differentiates one group from another.
  9. 9. Culture culture has the ability to acquire new characteristics and forms. It is dynamic - its permutations can take place from one generation to another or from one geographical location to another.
  10. 10. Identity Norton (1997) defines identity as, “How people understand their relationship to the outside world, how that relationship is constructed across time and space, and how people understand their possibilities for the future” (p. 410).
  11. 11. Note Language, culture and Identity are dynamic , complex and ongoing processes.
  12. 12. Culture Influence Language Lexicon, grammar rules, codes and rules of linguistic communication are all entirely formed by cultural elements like natural environment, economic systems, types of social relationships etc. etc. Cultural premises and rules about speaking are intricately tied up with cultural conceptions of persons, agency, and social relations.
  13. 13. Example There numerous words to describe ‘snow’ used in the languages of peoples living in cold countries. For example freshly-fallen, icy, packing snow etc.
  14. 14. Language influence culture While on the one hand culture shapes languages, on the other hand language is also formed by them. Language is the medium of culture. Example: This is clearly seen in immigrant societies, for example, in America. These immigrants are accustomed to a certain language, and therefore, despite the assimilation, will continue to use it and keep it alive, creating different and cultured societies in this foreign land to keep the language alive.
  15. 15. Language influence culture Furthermore, not only is language an expression and a display of heritage and history, it is also the component of culture that makes it unique, and that creates a difference from one to another. “Linguistic differences are also often seen as the mark of another culture, and they very commonly create divisiveness among neighboring peoples or even among different groups of the same nation. This explains how language can be a pathway to culture.
  16. 16. Thought processes and perceptions of reality differ from one culture to another. How people think and speak is ultimately determined largely by their culture. We call this Linguistic Relativity. Language and Thought
  17. 17. Benjamin Lee Whorf – Language and thought are so intertwined that one’s language determines the categories of thought open to him or her. – “simply stated, the Sapir Whorf hypothesis says, that the content of a language is directly related to the content of a culture and the structure of a language is directly related to the structure of a culture. Linguistic Relativity
  18. 18. Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis Language is not simply a means of reporting experience; rather, it is also a way of defining experience. “Linguistic relativity is the degree to which language influences human thought and meanings. “ linguistic differences between cultures are associated with cultural differences in thinking.
  19. 19. Relationship between Language, Culture and Identity Culture and language shape one’s identity and personality. There is much importance of culture and language to one’s individual identity. Language is a powerful instrument of identity and belonging.
  20. 20. • The national level • Rank or social class • Level of sexual identity or gender • The level of generation • The level of professional identity • Culture There are numerous levels of identification that are conveyed by means of language: levels of identification
  21. 21. The national level The national level and the ethnic and/or regional one, that for historical reasons play a significant role and on which we will dwell shortly.
  22. 22. Rank or social class The expressions we use when speaking to others always reflect the status relationship between ‘them’ and ‘us’; close, friendly relations or formal reserve, respect and deference require different forms of exchange.
  23. 23. Level of sexual identity or gender • In all societies the ‘proper’ way for women to speak is different from that for men, a difference that sometimes goes as far as to the methodical use of a special vocabulary and of different syntactical structures. In European societies it is usually inappropriate for a woman to use expressions that are too ‘strong’ and direct, or to use pronunciation that is the characteristic of dialect or slang.
  24. 24. The level of generation • The words that teenagers use are very distinct from what the older generations might use. • Teen speak is very good marker of identity for teenagers. Similarly, adults and elderly people use words that teenagers wouldn't usually use, so they would be markers of identity for adults.
  25. 25. The level of professional identity • The identifying cohesive element here is the sharing of technical and special languages, of jargon that is not familiar to the community at large.
  26. 26. Example • One only has to think, for example, of the jargon used by computer programmers, • but also, albeit in a more subtle way, by university students where professional characteristics blend with those of generation and often of social class, giving rise to very interesting combinations.
  27. 27. Culture • Whether you speak with a French, Italian, Greek, Indian, Chinese or Jamaican accent when you speak English reveals maybe that English is your second language and that you actually grew up in another country and you spoke a different language.
  28. 28. Cont… • Your grammar may be a little different and people will think that you are speaking "bad English" but that is not the encouraged perspective people should be taking, it is just a result of grammar from another language being adopted into the person's speech when they speak English and as a result they speak an ethnolect.
  29. 29. Conclusion • The theoretical perspectives discussed above suggest a distinctively inseparable relationship between language, culture, and identity. Individual personal attributes do not predetermine one’s destiny in life but are intricately enmeshed into a complex scenario with other dimensions: one’s own cultural values, the sociocultural context, language ideology, power relations, the politics of language, which impact upon one’s identity causing it to be in a constant state of flux, ever-changing and shifting depending on the changing contexts.
  30. 30. References • E. Sapir, Culture, Language and Personality, (ed. D.G. Mandelbaum), Berkeley 1958, [p./pp.?]. • B.L. Whorf, Language, Thought and Reality, (ed. J.B. Carroll), Cambridge 1956, [p./pp.?]. • Norton, B. (1977). Language, identity and the ownership of English. TESOL Quarterley, 31(3), 409-429. • “Language and Culture.” Think Quest. Think Quest. Web. 31 Jan. 2011. <> .