Language, Society, and Culture
The relationship between language and culture is deeply rooted. forth the idea that culture is the beliefs and practices governing the life of a society for which. Social context looks at relationships between language and society and looks at language as people use it. It considers the relationship. Language not only reflects and expresses facts and observations, it also is a vital component of the cultural prerequisites underlying societal development. role of language in relation to the following topics: politics, media.
Among these factors, some major ones include 1 class; 2 gender; 3 age; 4 ethnic identity; 5 education background, 6 occupation, and 7 religious belief. In our discussion below, we are going to focus on the first two factors and show their impact upon one's language use. In the middle of s, William Labov, a famous sociolinguist, conducted a rather meticulous survey at several departments in the City of New York.
The results of this investigation were reported in The Social Stratification of English in New York Citywhich has now become a classical work in sociolinguistics. And it turned out that class and style were two major factors influencing the speakers' choice of one phonological variant over another.
Is there any correlation between language, culture and society? Explain!
Based on these findings, Labor explicitly delineated the patterns of stratification by class and style and, more importantly, successfully introduced class as an indispensable sociolinguistic variable. Ever since its publication in the middle of the s, this research paradigm has become the mainstream in sociolinguistics and alternatively termed as "the quantitative paradigm, sociolinguistics proper, variationist studies, urban dialectology and secular linguistics" Mesthrie Over the past decades, in addition to the study of linguistic variation produced by class, the investigation of gender effects upon one's linguistic behavior has also been proven to be a rich resource for examining the correlation of language and society, though the awareness of this issue seems to be an older story which can be traced back at least to over two millenniums ago.
For instance, many precious examples reflecting gender differences in speech have been documented in some Ancient Greek dramas Gregersen Inspired by this very seminal article, the following years have seen a lot of publications either to support or challenge the hypotheses Lakoff put forward concerning the linguistic behavior of females in the American society.
More importantly, it is argued that these differences in language use are brought about by nothing less than women's place in society. The underlying point for this argument is rather meaningful. Then, the first thing we need do is to try to change the society. Because, as Lakoff correctly suggests, it is not language itself but women' s place in society that makes people linguistically behave in that way.
Hence, the relationship between language and society can be further illustrated by studying questions like this: Is a certain linguistic form more likely to be used by females than by their male peers?
If so, why should it be so? The natural connection of this type also explains why the study of gender differences has become an ever-lasting focus in sociolinguistics ever since the s. Sociolinguistics, as an interdisciplinary study of language use, attempts to show the relationship between language and society. More specifically, in this discipline we have two important things to think about: Similarly, when we are conducting a sociolinguistic study of language use, we have two big issues to deal with.
First, we want to show how these two factors are related to each other, and second, we attempt to know why it should be so. Put another way, we want to look at structural things by paying attention to language use in a social context; on the other hand, we try to understand sociological things of society by examining linguistic phenomena of a speaking community. The pluralism and diversity of the field, on the other hand, makes it difficult to delineate the scope of this enterprise.
Over lapping with other types of scientific research is another striking property we can observe in a sociolinguistic study. Keeping this fact in mind, if we are prepared to examine the structure of the whole sociolinguistic edifice, we can either classify sociolinguistic studies by means of a hierarchical division, or alternatively, by means of an orientational categorization. If we want to know more about a given society or community by examining the linguistic behavior of its members, we are doing a sociolinguistic study of society.
That is, we are doing sociolinguistics at a macro level of investigation. If we turn to Fasold again, we may say that at this level of discussion things that we are interested in include bilingualism or multilingualism, language attitudes, language choice, language maintenance and shift, language planning and standardization, vernacular language education, to name some important ones On the other hand, if we want to know more about some linguistic variations in language use by turning to potential sociocultural factors for a description and explanation, we are doing a sociolinguistic study of language.
Consequently, we are more interested in examining micro linguistic phenomena such as structural variants, address forms, gender differences, discourse analysis, Pidgin and Creole languages, and other more language related issues. The interested reader can find more detailed discussions concerning some of these heated sociolinguistic issues in Yang, 7. The past decades have witnessed a rapid development in sociolinguistics and the findings in this field have greatly enriched our understanding of the relationship between language and society.
Along with the gradual maturity and acceptance of this school of linguistics, there has been an ever growing possibility for us to have a new daughter discipline called "applied sociolinguistics" Trudgill Some more successful practices of this attempt have been found in language classrooms, law courts, and clinical settings, respectively.
First, we' 11 have a look at sociolinguistics in language classrooms. But before we take up this issue, we'd better raise a question like this: What is wrong with the traditional perspective in language teaching? This contrast reflects two different views of philosophy in language teaching. For the traditional school, "language learning is treated as a process of acquiring knowledge, like studying history or mathematics. The end result is that learners will know something about the language in the same way a linguist does, but will know little about the language used by others" Berns, Consequently, as the name of this theory suggested, language teachers began to pay more attention to the question of how to train their students as active and successful language users in a real language context.
As far as language teaching is concerned, sociolinguistics is believed to have provided some important contributions which can further be summarized as follows Berns Second, let us have a look at sociolinguistics in law courts. The inquiry of the relationship between language and law has opened another avenue for the application of sociolinguistic findings to some more practical issues in society.
Some fruitful practices of this attempt have been observed in this respect.Language, Culture, and Society An Introduction to Linguistic Anthropology
For instance, the important role of linguists in the analysis of language data gathered as evidence in law courts has been recognized by more and more people. Meanwhile, the joint work by sociolinguists and legislators in the preparation of some legal documents is proven to be helpful to increase the readability of this text and therefore appreciated cf. Fasold [ ]. Lastly, we turn to sociolinguistics in clinic settings. The analysis of dialogues between doctors and patients in a hospital context has also attracted the interest of some researchers in sociolinguistics.
Similar to our last case in the law court, the study of this type is also employed to illustrate things such as how the concept of power is encoded and decoded through language use in a hierarchical society and what pragmatically related patterns and forces in reference and implication are involved in a speech event like this. For this reason, a lot of efforts have been taken in a sociolinguistic analysis of discourse patterns in a clinic setting.
Because it is believed that in a highly hierarchically ordered communicative situation like this, through the study of language use by doctor and patient more implications can be obtained in terms of the impact of some sociological factors upon the linguistic behavior of the members of a speech community.
As we have indicated, a more systematic pursuit of this kind did not start until the s, with the occurrence of sociolinguistics as a new force in the study of language. After almost 40 years' development, this innovative movement has gained much momentum and vitality by incorporating the insights from other relevant sciences and has gradually secured its position as a legitimate pursuit in linguistics cf.
On the other hand, as has been shown above, the study of the relationship between language, culture, and society is a rather intriguing task. One of the difficulties observed in this attempt is the diversity in subject matters. The interdisciplinary nature of this pursuit requires a satisfactory mastery of knowledge in relevant fields such as anthropology, social psychology, sociology, ethnology, and cognitive sciences cf.
Therefore, we fully understand that what is presented above is only a small part of the whole edifice. Much of its beauty and fascination is still there waiting for the conscious and courageous explorer to search and discover.
That said, we suggest that the interested students go to the bibliographic part of this chapter for more information concerning their further study in this respect. Their Universality and Evolution. University of California Press.
The Relationship Between Language & Culture and the Implications for Language Teaching
Routledge Downes, William Are they cast as victims or villains? How are these portrayals used argumentatively, and to what end? Narratives in climate change discourse. South African journal on human rights 1: In recent years, translation studies and linguistics have entered into closer dialogue, and an important topic is the role that social and cultural context plays in the translation of texts.
In this talk, I will discuss recent work that applies linguistic and pragmatic notions of context to the study of translated text, with a particular attention to timely issues such as gender and climate change.
Contextualization in translator- and interpreter-mediated events. Journal of Pragmatics, 38 3: Translation as Paradigm for Human Sciences. The Journal of Speculative Philosophy 30 3: Linguistic culture and norm negotiation This lecture seeks to convey an understanding of how languages exist and coexist in different societies.
We discuss attempts to enforce, modify and regulate norms and the institutions, groups and individuals involved in such endeavours. We further assess the variety of ways in which linguistic norms are discussed, challenged or accepted in verbal interaction between human beings. Dept of Foreign Languages, pp. Sociolinguistic Perspectives on Metalanguage: Reflexivity, Evaluation and Ideology, in Metalanguage: Social and Ideological Perspectives, eds.
Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 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.
Language, culture and society | Bergen Summer Research School | University of Bergen
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.
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.