In Light Of What You Know About Linguistics And The Nature Of Language, Comment Critically Upon The Views In The Following Statements:

1633 words - 7 pages

In light of what you know about linguistics and the nature of language, comment critically upon the views in the following statements:1.If you learn a foreign language, you can't in the process avoid learning the culture ofthose who speak it.It is widely acknowledged that a language, or particular strand of a language is a reflection of the society in which it is spoken. Language is also seen as portraying ones social or cultural identity. Claire Kramsch noted this correlation when she writes; "Through all its verbal and non-verbal aspects, language embodies cultural reality". We can accept that this is true of all languages, not just English.Kramsch looked at contrasting culture with nature. Nature being what we are born with (ie the means to speak and communicate) and culture being our social surroundings and what we are taught (ie Learning a particular language along with all it's social characteristics). She went on to pose the question;"The word culture evokes the traditional nature/nurture debate: Are human beings mainly what nurture determines them to be from birth or what culture enables them to become through socialization and schooling?"Kramsch goes on to say that culture and nature need and interact with each other. This suggests that speakers of a language learn not only how to speak it, but also the social norms and issues of etiquette that go with it. This shows that people who belong to a certain language will learn their culture whilst learning how to speak, read and write. However, this doesn't suggest that people who learn a foreign language will also acquire the cultural significance of it. Linguistic features such as regional and social dialects and accents would be almost impossible to acquire for someone who has previously not spoken that language or had not been culturally influenced in that nation.George Yule also recognises the tie between culture and language when he talks about "cultural transmission". He noted the way that a culture is certain to teach you the language of wherever it is spoken. Kramsch backs this up by stating that "language is culturally transmitted" as well as talking about the way that language is expressive and symbolic of culture and personifies cultural reality.In conclusion, I would agree with both Kramsch and Yule on the idea that culture is represented by the language and vice versa. However, I would argue that by learning a foreign language you would not necessarily learn it's culture, unless maybe by living in that particular country.2.I always speak the same to everybody.Although speech is sometimes looked upon as an 'informal' medium of communicating, it is the primary means by which most humans interact. However, because of the way we live, society insures that we don't all speak the same. If we look at the English language spoken in Britain, language can change in many different ways and for different reasons. Style, register, dialect and accent are just some of the ways in which our...

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