Does language determine culture?
I'm still trying to figure out whether this question is meant to provoke us or break new philosophical grounds. Usually we ask the question like this: does culture determine language? We'd all say 'yes' and then retire to the bar.
Departing from traditional philosophical argument I want to consider some issues which may or may not be related and probably not within the strict meaning of the question.
1> Is language an archaeological site of cultures past? And in a more pro-active way, is language the bridge between cultures past and cultures yet to come?
By archaeological ground I mean, do we find evidence of past cultures in today's language? In the same way we take archaeological sites to find evidence of past civilizations?
Take the expression: D-Day. We all know where this came from and the circumstances. Yet today it is very common to find this expression, or an adaptation of it, in the business press. Usually related to the launch of some new product.
The big question is where do we get such concepts such as: god, good, evil, miracles, justice and so on? What came first, the society in need of some fundamental explanations about life? Or the concepts which worked themselves into the psyche of culture and society?
2> How does language influence the information technology culture? Anyone who had to use a computer would know how demoralising language can be in the context of a personal computer. I'm thinking of those error messages computers throw at us. However, the point is that the language of clear instructions makes our techno-savvy life much easier. In some cases it could easily mean life or death.
But the real issue is this: what type of necessary and sufficient conditions does language play in human/machine interaction? We may be here looking at some form of simple speech recognition (''make me a cup of coffee'') to more complex activities such as rational judgements (maybe a sci-fi style court of law). The basis...