Culture and language


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Culture and language

  1. 1. Culture and Language<br />
  2. 2. What is language?<br />Language is a system of symbols with standard meanings <br />(Rai & Panna, 2010, p.33)<br />Language is a linguistic practice in context <br />(Risager, 2007, p. 167)<br />Linguistic practices create meaning which in turn creates culture, i.e. languaculture<br />(Risager, 2007, p.170)<br />
  3. 3. Characteristics of Language<br />Conventionality <br />the agreement of the symbols<br />A dog is a dog because we collectively call it dog.<br />Productivity <br />Language is communication expressing meaning and new meaning can be created due to the productivity of language<br />Displacement<br />Language also conveys information about something which is not present in the immediate environment; it allows us the communicate the abstract<br />(Rai & Panna, 2010)<br />
  4. 4. Dimensions of “Languaculture”<br />Semantic & Pragmatic Dimension<br />“This dimension is about constancy and variability in the semantics and pragmatics of specific languages” (p. 171)<br />Poetic Dimension<br />This dimension explores the meaning created through syllabic structure of the language<br />Identity Dimension<br />The way in which a language is used and what language is used identifies you in connection to your culture<br />(Risager, 2007)<br />
  5. 5. Language & Culture<br />Language not only reflects culture. . .it is the way in which individuals are introduced to the physical and social world. The language spoken by a person has a great impact on the way s/he perceives and conceptualizes the world <br />(Rai&Panna, 2010, p. 35)<br />Endangered Cultures<br />
  6. 6. Diverse Language Functions<br />Cultural Worldview<br />Cognitive Formation<br />Social Reality<br />Group Identity<br />Social Change<br />
  7. 7. Cultural Worldview<br />
  8. 8. Cognitive Formation<br />“Language serves as a mediating link between our cultural worldview, on one hand, and thinking patterns” <br />(Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2005, p. 154)<br />Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis <br /> a theory developed by Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf that states that the structure of a language determines or greatly influences the modes of thought and behavior characteristic of the culture in which it is spoken. <br />
  9. 9. Social Reality<br />“Language acts as a gatekeeper in naming and selecting what is considered ‘news’ or ‘real’ in our environment.”<br />“Vocabularies in different cultures direct members’ attention to the things that are important in their social experiences.”<br />“Everyday language in a culture serves as a prism through which individual interpret ‘meaningful’ versus ‘meaningless.’<br />(Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2005, p. 156)<br />
  10. 10. Group Identity<br />“Language represents a rallying point for evoking group sentiment and shared identity.”<br />“Language serves the larger cultural-ethnic identity function because it is an emblem of group solidarity.”<br />There is pride in the ability to speaking one’s native tongue; however, there are times when individuals change languages. This is called code-switching.<br />Code-switching is switching languages to increase or decrease intergroup distance.<br />
  11. 11. Social Change <br />As innovative social beings, we are creators of the social tool of human language.<br />Language has the ability to inhibit us and to set us free.<br />What We Learned from 5 million Books<br />
  12. 12. References<br />Rai, R. & Panna, K. (2010). Introduction to culture studies. Mumbi, Global Media.<br />Risager, K. (2007). Language and Culture Pedagogy: From National to a Transnational Paradigm. London: Multilingual Matters Limited.<br />Ting-Toomey, S. & Chung, L. (2005). Understanding Intercultural Communication. New York: Oxford.<br />