Discuss the importance of analyzing the connections between language and culture.
We know that culture can be learnt and shared between people. But the most obvious and probably most important is that it carried out by means of language. Language and its relation to culture has key value for cultural anthropology. Language plays the major role in culture as it is primary transmission of the information and a management between people. But actually it not simple information interchange. This stronger effort by means of what we use language to influence outlook and actions of others.
I imagine that language is inseparable component of human culture. Besides, it is one of bases of human culture. I consider Language as an original matrix on which centuries had been put knowledge, concepts and beliefs by previous human civilizations. Further all this knowledge and belief is read out by the subsequent generations and in turn forms their culture. Thus language influences on the cultural environment.
Identify and explain one of the approaches to studying language
presented in the course material.
One of ways to comprehend communication between language and culture is Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
Hypothesis Sapir-Whorf (SWH) - a hypothesis of a linguistic relativity — the concept developed in the thirties of the XX-th century according to which the language structure defines thinking and a way of knowledge of a reality. According to this hypothesis it is supposed, that the people speaking in different languages, differently perceive the world and differently think. In particular, the relation to such fundamental categories as the space and time, depends first of all on the native language of the individual. The author of the concept is Whorf; this concept was conformable to some sights of the largest American linguist of first half of XX-th century Sapir (rendering Whorf support) and consequently usually is called not as "hypothesis Whorf», but as «Sapir-Whorf hypothesis».
SWH asserts, that our realities are generated or defined by our language, and that it so strongly influences our intellectual processes, that we can test only the world in frameworks and dynamics which gives us language. SWH forces us to think of the language and culture power to generate our sight and perception us of the surrounding validity and thus to generate our lives. To put it briefly, language on which people speak, operates their sight of the reality; it defines their perception of the world. The Universe picture moves from language to language. There are at least two various versions SWH. Stronger and more linguistic version of the determinist assert, that the reality-is an ideological construct. The second and less determined version, asserts, that language shapes and influences our prospects of the reality.
Exists another approach language influences on the person which has more applied character - it is Speech Act Theory.
One of basic concepts Speech Act Theory is that -if we are speaking something , we are actually doing something. When we speak, we not only do statements, exchanging the information, but we also give commands, forming relations, basing expectations. The pronouncing manner plays a key constituent role in events. In other words, that people speak, can define a way by which events are developed. According to Speech Act Theory, language it is not simple action as it is accepted in the "classical" theory of speech acts , but also influence on the interlocutor, as finds reflexion in aspect of the speech act. In other words, it is possible to tell, that language not simply displays a word meaning but also can force to operate whom or under influence words. One of positions Speech Act Theory consists that minimum unit of human communications is not only the offer or the statement, but realization of a certain kind of acts, such, as ascertaining, a question, an order, the description, an explanation, an apology, gratitude, a congratulation etc.
Apply the approach you chose to an example.
I think, that Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and Speech Act Theory are extremely important and have practical application. That is, they represent not only abstract and or abstruse ideas. If we consider prospects of how words form us and our validity, words which we use in any given speech case, we see that they have much more importance. Investigating speech actions by strict and thoughtful way, we can penetrate and understand essence of other cultures and subcultures.
As I would like to present an example, how language can influence formation of the whole nations and the people, on example a country where I was born - Ukraine . On the given example we will see practical application Sapir-Whorf hypothesis - as language (in this case Russian) can influence change of mentality of millions people.
In view of that, our country throughout centuries was war arena; different parts of
Fig#1 Used language in Ukraine.
In times of the
On the next example we actually will see practical application the Speech Act Theory - that if we are speaking something , we are actually doing something.
Practical level of consideration which I would like to show it as interrelation language and cultures relates to the power. Ideology and propaganda - one way to investigate this communication between culture and the power. If language really forms our thoughts, actions and desires which we hear things and we speak, should make necessarily huge impact on us or associates. It happens in set of levels, from mutual relations between people through political speeches. Understanding of that process, as people use words to convince other people, always is in the centre of political and social scientific reflexion and research.
As discussion continuation, I would like to show as division on language of the Ukrainian nation have been used by unscrupulous politicians in last ( 2004year ) the presidential elective company in
The candidate for presidents from east regions (Yanukovych), having strong support of the Russian mass media (on all territory the east of
In the western regions where ethnic self-identity has remained, people supported the candidate for presidents from democrats–Yushchenko (for it 51,99 % of voters) have voted. In view of that they used Russian language a little, and Russian television propaganda influenced their consciousness a little. Their values have been generated and focused on
Characteristic citations from the press of those times (2004):
“If anybody represents an above-regional Ukrainian solidarity, it is clearly Yushchenko. He speaks proper Russian as well as Ukrainian and his being a native of one of Ukraine’s most eastern oblasts and having spent his student and working life in western as well as central Ukraine cannot be matched by Yanukovych, whose biography is strictly mono-regional and whose Ukrainian is not perfect.”
“It’s also not a much of a news item that Yanukovych managed to scare some Russian speakers. There’s no language on earth whose speakers he wouldn’t scare. It’s much more remarkable how Yushchenko’s campaign let itself be turned into a handy scarecrow for the same constituency. Even its main slogans weren’t translated. When people gather at pro-opposition rallies in strictly russophone cities, they can only make speeches in Russian, but their chants are all in Ukrainian. In a way, it’s been remarkable to see Ukrainian make the transition (in Ukrainian-Russians’ eyes) from its traditional place of a bumpkin cousin of Russian to the language of civic courage”
Fig #2 Official breakdown Ukraine's presidential vote.
As we see in this example there is as an overlaying and peculiar connection between Speech Act Theory and Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.
In fact , earlier, I looked at language enough simplified - as on a communication tool between people .But, after I have studied a material, I’ve tried to use it in practical application. As a result, mine perspective on language has strongly changed.
Even in the beginning of studying of this theme, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and Speech Act Theory to me seemed as abstract and a little applicable ideas in practice. But when I have started to study more deeply them , I have made for myself opening of those processes in consciousness of people that occurred in