Language And Culture Essay

1074 words - 5 pages

Anthropologists and other social scientists world wide define the concept of culture as “a set of learned behaviours and ideas that humans acquire as members of society” (Lavenda & Schultz, 2008). Culture plays an absolutely imperative role in who we, as human beings, are as a distinct species. Within the confines of the complex social structures of the world, culture allows humans (and groups of humans) to effectively express themselves. Humans also utilize culture to systematically adapt and alter the environments that surround them (Lavenda & Schultz, 2008). Culture truly is a fascinating thing, as it is the most defining feature that distinguishes Homo sapiens from other biological animal species. One of the most significant components of culture is the deeply intricate idea of language. Language, as a cultural marker, has received more recognition and analysis than seemingly any other aspect of culture (Currie & Mace, 2012). The extensive use of ;anguage serves to help shape the identity of cultures and acts as a main facilitator for cultural diversity. These implications that language possesses carry a broad significance with regards to how humans go about their lives. The concept of language, due to its function as symbolic system of communication, performs an incredibly important purpose in shaping who we are as diversely cultural human beings, and will continue to have effect as we progress into the future. Through the analysis of what language is as an entity, how language directly connects to culture and cognitive thought, and how it greatly impacts variation in human culture, one can better understand the importance of language within the broad contexts of cultural diversity.
Language is by no means a simplistic concept. As a critically important means of communication, language operates to help us humans “articulate and clarify the incoherent turbulence of our inner world” (Armstrong, 2007). In technical terms, language exists as an intricate system of subjective symbols. To explain this notion further, a “symbol” is simply a feature or aspect that represents something else (Lavenda & Schultz, 2008). By means of this complex code of symbols, language has grown and undergone a sort of social evolution over the course of history to become a key fixture in the lives of human beings. As biocultural organisms, the characteristics that define humans correlate to both biological and cultural influences (Lavenda & Schultz, 2008). In relation to this biocultural aspect of human beings, language itself constitutes as a biocultural phenomenon. Biological and cultural factors strictly govern the structure of language and how it is put into use throughout societies. Due to these factors that determine how language behaves, it has managed to find itself deeply ingrained in how we, as humans, live and view the world around us (Dashwood & Son, 2011). The make-up of language as a whole (though some languages do not harness all of these component)...

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