The Role of Language in Culture

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Module 3: Section 3: Essay 2: Student No; Discuss the role of language in culture. Language and Culture, is todays topic and the connection between both. Language is an important part of our lives. It is a uniquely human gift which lets us communicate and differentiates us from primates. Language is the method of human communication and is an integral part of culture and society. It can be transmitted several ways: orally, kinetically and graphically. With proper exposure, all normally developing individuals acquire language. But language is much more than just a means of communication. It is also an inseparable part of our culture. Language plays a large role in culture, with humans using it not just to communicate, but also to identify with a particular group. It can vary across regions, class, religious or ethnic groups, education levels and generations. The language an individual speaks and how they speak it informs their cultural affiliations, how others perceive and interact with them and visa versa. The relationship between language and culture. The relationship between language and culture is a complex one due largely in part to the great difficulty in understanding people’s cognitive processes when they communicate. Wardhaugh and Thanasoulas each define language in a different way. Wardhaugh defining what it does and Thanasoulas defining it as it relates to culture. Wardhaugh (2002, p. 2) defines language to be: “A knowledge of rules and principles and of the ways of sayings and doing things with sounds, words, and sentences rather that just knowledge of specific sounds, words, and sentences”. Thanasoulas is more direct in his definition “language does not exist apart from culture, that is from the socially inherited assemblage of practises and beliefs that determines the texture of our lives (Sapir, 1970, p. 2070. In a sense, it is ‘a key

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