Relationship between language and culture
The relationship between language and culture is deeply rooted. Language is used to convey culture. If you study a language, you also study the culture.
All people are similar at birth, until they are exposed to their surroundings that they become individuals in and of their culture. From birth, the child’s life, opinions¸ and language are shaped by what it comes in contact with. Interactions between persons or groups vary widely from one place to another. Behaviors also vary from location to location thus forming the basis of different cultures. Culture is the belief and practices governing the life of society for which a language is the vehicle of expression. Therefore, everyone’s views are dependent on the culture which has influenced them as well as being described by the language which has been shaped by that culture. The understanding of a culture can be enhanced by the knowledge of their language. Therefore, learning a new language involves the learning of a new culture.
Language teachers must instruct their students on the cultural background of language usage to promote understanding instead of misconceptions or prejudices. Language policy must be used to create awareness and understandings of cultural differences. If one teaches language without teaching about the culture, the students are learning meaningless symbols or they may use the language inappropriately or within the wrong cultural context.
It is an example of cultural awareness in learning a language. It was the first day of the English class and the teacher was introducing himself. He wrote his full name, Allan Jones, on the board and said, “My name is Allan Jones, you can use Mr. with my name. Now I’d like you to tell me your names. Let’s start with you. “he said, indicating a young girl in front row. “My name is Liliana Castro, but you can call me Lily, Teacher.” Then the teacher said, “OK. I’ll call you Lily, but please don’t call me teacher. Please call me Allan or Mrs. Jones.” Lily looked confused, but the teacher ignored her and continued to ask the students to introduce themselves.
Key words: language, culture, convey, vary, behavior, background
Description: The relationship between language and culture is deeply rooted. Language is used to convey culture. If you study a language, you also study the culture.
All people are similar at birth, until they are exposed to their surroundings that they become individuals in and of their culture.