Learning about culture is just as important as learning the languages. To fully appreciate a language, we need to understand the culture of the people who speak it.
Language is the method of human communication, either in written or a spoken form whereas, culture is the idea, values and beliefs we have in our society.
Communication or language is a mechanism for channeling culture and cultural bonds that reflects and reproduces culture. Different ideas are born form different languages within the same culture.
Culture is something influenced and impacted by the language whereas, language is formed by the culture of a society. Similarly, language is not only an expression or a means of communication, but a component of a culture that makes it unique and specific.
Our values and speech shapes our identity and personality. It not only does represent the individual identity, but represents the identity of where he/she belongs to.
Humans are born in the same way and experience the same stages of life. However, the difference is the environment in which each individual grows up and the accent which he/she becomes familiar to. This creates a specific identity of a certain values and speech that differs from person to person.
When we learn a new language, it doesn’t no specifically involve only the alphabets, the word arrangements and rules of grammar. It also involves the specific society’s customs, values and beliefs.
So, while learning or teaching a language, it is very much important that the culture where the language belongs to.
So, what is the relationship between Language and Culture?
Let’s take an example of the words we use and how we use it on a daily basis. All of us learn those words with the help of people around us, that’s language. But the way we use those words that’s our culture.
In American English, there are endless supply of superlatives even in ordinary situations such as: awesome, incredible, fantastic, and many others.
Similarly, there are also superlatives such as: killer, sick, sweet, or wicked. These words might not make sense to everyone. People might use these kinds of words based on the situation and to whom they are speaking.
These words reflect the culture of U.S. and how words links them and enables users to claim affiliation with these subcultures.
Every word we speak is an example of the beliefs, values and its origins. For instance, Japan was an agricultural society depended to its nature. As a result we can see lots of phrases in Japan concerning to the nature and climate.
Similarly, in Korea, the term called “our” is mostly used due to their collectivism culture rather than individualism. The phrase using the term “our” is very popular word due to the culture they follow. This shows that the culture has a huge influence on the language we speak.
The difference between two cultures are reflected perfectly in their languages. It is important to understand people who grew up with an entirely different set of values and beliefs to understand the real relationship between language and culture.
When we grow up in a society, we learn the glances, gestures and the pattern of voice and tone of communication of that society to emphasize what we want to say or do.
These techniques of communication are often learned mostly by imitating and observing people which is part of both the language as well as culture.
The words we speak might be language, but the way we speak it, is all part of our culture that our parents and society has been teaching us from the day we are born.
The implications of the link between language and culture is very important to understand the values, ideologies and history. One must be able to understand the cultural background of language to truly learn the language.
So, how deep is your understanding to the languages you have learned? Have you just memorized their definitions or translations, or do you really understand what they mean and what are their implications?