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RELIGION AS A DOMAIN OF
INTERCULTURAL DISCOURSE
JONATHAN M. WATT
Presented by M Bolouri
November 2016
M.bolouri9@gmail.com
Religion
 prominent aspect of most human societies
 a natural locus for intercultural
communication
 Universal concept
 a conclusive definition is elusive
 Religious domain with distinguishing feature
 interconnection with the culture and cannot
be articulated apart from lg and discourse
 it develops an internal culture
Culture
Deep
unarticulated
perceptions,
assumptions, and
values
(world view)
Surface
materials and
activities
religious language involves
intercultural discourse,
Religious
talk
Religious
culture
Religious
discourse
Statement of the problem
 Spolsky (2003) “interaction between
religion and language is an area
relatively little explored to date”
 “the way that religion and language
interact to produce language contact
is virtually virgin territory.”
 The avoidance of religious themes in
linguistics
Religious texts
 articulate
norms of doctrines and ethics
 promote judgment calls on individuals
and societies,
 inviting cooperation and conformity
 offering separation and judgment
for noncompliance
Language Conservatism in
Cultural Crossover
 To maintain the former national
languages in the religious services, even
into the second and third generations,
despite the lack of comprehension
 Assumption:
1. Use of ancient languages from the
foundational texts implies authenticity and,
even to moderns
2. archaic words set in religious texts
inherently offer benefits to the listener
and represent greater respect for God.
Then why is that???
 religions tend to resist social
innovations and lend
themselves to anti-
modernization
 it means conservatism of
values, and it shows up not
only in translation traditions
but also in religious groups
around the world.
Religious Doctrine Breeds
Philosophy of Language
 religions tend to foster –
consciously or not – particular
views toward language and usage.
 religious corpora breed linguistic
ideology
Some believe that divine thought is
conveyed through a living language
Islamic theologians believe that Allah’s
words are inscribed in classical
Arabic on golden tablets in heaven
(true words of God can be
expressed only in that one
language)
Religious language
 God is both subject and object of
language. Locutionary acts that
describe and report the divine appear
alongside illocutionary acts in which
God creates, commands, promises, and
accomplishes.
 Knowing a religion thoroughly usually
requires one to read its texts. When
these texts arrive in the new culture,
they bring a vocabulary and set of
concepts into the new environment, and
begin to influence language production
in other domains too.
intercultural religious contact
can lead to…
 borrowing of language at the
lexical and other levels
 language maintenance and loss
cultural valuations and even issues
of nationalism.
Religious Language:
Intercultural Connector or
Divider?
 At its best, religion unites people
of diverse cultures; in the wake of
its worst manifestations lies violent
wreckage
 allowing people of different cultures
easy access to a new worldview
 The intercultural possibilities range
from hegemony to harmony to
hegemony.
Conclusion
 religious language at an
intercultural nexus can be:
1. a means of inwardly directed
preservation
2. a mechanism for outwardly
directed asseveration.
Topics to be investigated:
the domain of religion and intercultural
discourse
the role of language at this human
nexus
Thank you

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religion discourse analysis

  • 1. RELIGION AS A DOMAIN OF INTERCULTURAL DISCOURSE JONATHAN M. WATT Presented by M Bolouri November 2016 M.bolouri9@gmail.com
  • 2. Religion  prominent aspect of most human societies  a natural locus for intercultural communication  Universal concept  a conclusive definition is elusive  Religious domain with distinguishing feature  interconnection with the culture and cannot be articulated apart from lg and discourse  it develops an internal culture
  • 4. religious language involves intercultural discourse, Religious talk Religious culture Religious discourse
  • 5. Statement of the problem  Spolsky (2003) “interaction between religion and language is an area relatively little explored to date”  “the way that religion and language interact to produce language contact is virtually virgin territory.”  The avoidance of religious themes in linguistics
  • 6. Religious texts  articulate norms of doctrines and ethics  promote judgment calls on individuals and societies,  inviting cooperation and conformity  offering separation and judgment for noncompliance
  • 7. Language Conservatism in Cultural Crossover  To maintain the former national languages in the religious services, even into the second and third generations, despite the lack of comprehension  Assumption: 1. Use of ancient languages from the foundational texts implies authenticity and, even to moderns 2. archaic words set in religious texts inherently offer benefits to the listener and represent greater respect for God.
  • 8. Then why is that???  religions tend to resist social innovations and lend themselves to anti- modernization  it means conservatism of values, and it shows up not only in translation traditions but also in religious groups around the world.
  • 9. Religious Doctrine Breeds Philosophy of Language  religions tend to foster – consciously or not – particular views toward language and usage.  religious corpora breed linguistic ideology Some believe that divine thought is conveyed through a living language Islamic theologians believe that Allah’s words are inscribed in classical Arabic on golden tablets in heaven (true words of God can be expressed only in that one language)
  • 10. Religious language  God is both subject and object of language. Locutionary acts that describe and report the divine appear alongside illocutionary acts in which God creates, commands, promises, and accomplishes.  Knowing a religion thoroughly usually requires one to read its texts. When these texts arrive in the new culture, they bring a vocabulary and set of concepts into the new environment, and begin to influence language production in other domains too.
  • 11. intercultural religious contact can lead to…  borrowing of language at the lexical and other levels  language maintenance and loss cultural valuations and even issues of nationalism.
  • 12. Religious Language: Intercultural Connector or Divider?  At its best, religion unites people of diverse cultures; in the wake of its worst manifestations lies violent wreckage  allowing people of different cultures easy access to a new worldview  The intercultural possibilities range from hegemony to harmony to hegemony.
  • 13. Conclusion  religious language at an intercultural nexus can be: 1. a means of inwardly directed preservation 2. a mechanism for outwardly directed asseveration. Topics to be investigated: the domain of religion and intercultural discourse the role of language at this human nexus

Editor's Notes

  1. It operates at two The close relationship between these levels explains  why culture is often defined in a singular stroke, such as “a fuzzy set of attitudes,
  2. “language represents the deepest manifestation of  a culture, and people’s value systems”  capacity of religion to unify people religious language links culturally diverse people, or at least has the capacity to  do  so.  Regardless of its contents or values
  3. Articulated to Mohammad by Gabriel and then conveyed and transcribed by public