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Language As Symbols

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Language As Symbols

  1. 1. Components of Culture: Language
  2. 2. Language Defined: <ul><li>A set of symbols that expresses ideas and allows people to think and communicate with each other. </li></ul><ul><li>Can be verbal or nonverbal. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Even within one language, confusion is common. <ul><li>How many interpretations can you think of for these sentences? </li></ul><ul><li>“ There’s a fork in the road.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ He shot his mouth off.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ My neighbor had her second car stolen.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The artist painted me on the porch.” </li></ul>
  4. 4. These are actual headlines taken from the newspaper. <ul><li>“ Soviet ships collide, one dies.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Obesity study seeks larger test group.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Safety experts say school bus passengers should be belted.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Squad helps dog bite victim.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Drunk gets nine months in violin case.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers.” </li></ul>
  5. 5. Can you answer these questions? <ul><li>Why are they called “stands” when they’re made for sitting? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are a “wise man” and “wise guy” opposites? </li></ul><ul><li>Why it called “after dark” when it’s really “after light?” </li></ul><ul><li>Why do “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing? </li></ul>
  6. 6. Understanding language becomes even more challenging for non-native speakers. <ul><li>What do these “Kiwi” expressions mean? </li></ul><ul><li>“ Spit the dummy” </li></ul><ul><li>“ I’m stuffed!” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Do you have a torch?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Are you in college?” </li></ul><ul><li>“ He’s had to do some hard yakka!” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Want some shark and tatties?” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Language can also be a source of discrimination. <ul><li>Language and Gender: </li></ul><ul><li>The use of the word “man” in words like chairman and mankind. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of the pronouns “he” and “she” affects thinking about gender. For example, nurses and secretaries are usually referred to as “she.” </li></ul>
  8. 8. Language can also be an expression of racial and ethnic discrimination. <ul><li>Some words have more than one meaning and create negative images, such as “blackhearted” or “a black mark on your record.” </li></ul><ul><li>Negative words can also become associated with groups, such as referring to Native Americans as “savages.” </li></ul>
  9. 9. How important is it for members of one country to speak the same language? <ul><li>How should a society balance respect for individual cultures and a need for unity? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Language, Race & Ethnicity <ul><li>The percentage of Americans who do not speak English at home has continued to increase over time. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Language and Culture <ul><li>Language is an important way to transmit culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Through language children learn </li></ul><ul><li>about their cultural identity. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Proverbs are one example of how culture is conveyed through words. <ul><li>“ A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ The early bird gets the worm.” </li></ul>What do these proverbs say about American culture?
  13. 13. What do these proverbs mean? <ul><li>“ Lower your voice and strengthen your argument” (Lebanese proverb) </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;When the brothers fight to the death, a stranger inherits their father's estate.“ (African proverb) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Flies never visit an egg that has no crack.” (Chinese proverb) </li></ul>
  14. 14. African Proverb <ul><li>“ Abafugibwa ngabo: atannagikwatamu ye agitenda obwangu.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Those who are ruled are like the shield: who never got hold of it, thinks it light. Those who don't rule think ruling is easy.” </li></ul>
  15. 15. Maori Proverb <ul><li>“ E moa i tangata ringa raupa.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Marry a man with blistered hands.” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Mexican Proverb <ul><li>“ Anda tu camino sin ayuda de vecino.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Walk your own road without the help of a neighbor.” </li></ul>
  17. 17. To Summarize: <ul><li>Language is a set of symbols, which allows people to communicate with each other (both verbal and nonverbal) </li></ul><ul><li>Language can be a source of discrimination. </li></ul><ul><li>Language is a common source of confusion, even among members of the same culture. </li></ul><ul><li>Language is a vital means of transmitting culture. </li></ul>

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