The links between language and culture


23 Mar 2015 18 May 2017

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The objective of my research

My research is based on understanding about how culture is linked to language and verse-visa. This topic wonders me sometimes; I was unable to get a better understanding. I know it is very confusing, hard to understand as people always argue about it and limited of resources to actually find out about the truth. There are too many researchers giving different interpretation and perceptions about language and culture. I am very curious and interested in giving my own opinion and do some research of what has been described liked before. I hope that my reader will have bigger picture.

The context of my article is as follows:

  • The differences between language and culture
  • How language and culture connects with each other?
  • How language interacts with culture? How language interacts with context?
  • How words are extracted from culture? And how phrases are extracted from culture? (example of the Mayas)(Chinese words or characters)
  • Why culture and language is important?
  • Biography
The difference between language and culture

Language is a form of communication that is used by human beings and animals. Through this communication, is used through either none and verbal communication. Studying just language can be classify as phonology and grammar where phonology represents sounds which has different sets of phonemes that makes understand and learn the proper pronunciation. Grammar can further be categorized as morphology which combing sounds and morphemes are sounds combined in larger units used in making a normal speech. Non communication is another type of communication that includes facial expressions, tone of voice, sense of smell, sense of touch, and body motions.

Language is always argued but it is said that language is a component of culture because much of the rest of it normally transmitted orally. It's impossible to understand the subtle nuances and deep meaning of another culture without knowing its language well. Culture gives the perceptions of identification within a society, where we are identifying individually or group.

Language influences our culture and the way how we think as most people say that language is part of our culture because it's the way how we used and see it within our environment, therefore it's the way how we interpret it because anthropologies found out that it depends how people identify or categorize things in the environment and that provides important insights into the interests, concerns, and values of their culture. It influence our language because from since we were born, we have our first language, the language we are the language we were thought this comes from our parents generation, therefore our native language is part of our identity and which tells us more about our culture. Like for example, in Belize, there are three kinds of Mayas existing, namely Mopan, Ke'kchi, and the Yucate, but the big question always rose as to how we differentiate ourselves. We identify ourselves by the language we speak, the culture we are living, our beliefs, although some things are similar but we have different approaches of doing things.

Language is all about culture and culture is all about language, because this is main basic product of human, then human uses language to communicate with this then commutation brings the culture to the society. For example as mentioned culture is a product of language and language is a product of culture therefore these interpretation how the world see language and culture and to assume culture is to know a culture is knowing a language. It's not necessarily that one should know a culture or must know the culture, in my personal opinion it there must be something that should be known, because this relates each other. For example, I am in Taiwan studying, I do know little about their language, and little about their culture which fits to know the reality about the people and the environment. While others do know about the culture but know a little or none about the language.

Nevertheless with further research I found out about an article published in 1990 by the world declaration on education for all (WDEFA) mentioning "literacy in the mother tongue strengthens cultural identity and heritage. Based on my understanding, since language relates to each other, any mother tongue language spoken should be maintained so keep up the culture meaning that that language should be readable and writable.

Comparing and looking at the history of the Mayas, the most interesting part of Maya is there writing systems, like their pictograph the picture images with universal meaning, ideographic-picture image with arbitrary meanings, logograph which is the units in writing representing whole words, syllable units represent syllables and alphabet units representing sounds that are

How language and culture connects with each other?

Language and culture are connected in several other intricate and dynamic ways. The language is a product of culture and simultaneously the culture is shaped by how the language allows us to view it. In any kind of language things are view differently but it must orient in a friendly manner.

The background of most inhabitants of a culture are similar because we centuries ago we tend to hear the same stories that were said.

Language connects culture in many ways, through changing the needs and trends in culture, For example words and expressions maybe needed to express concept that are been discovered or even been invented. These discovery or inventions are used in everyday life. Since culture describes the way live and think while language shows the way we speak and express ourselves becomes changeable from time to time and places, for example, there are some words that described or distinguish people living in rural or urban areas. On the other hand some words used mean the opposite in different places; both can have a positive or negative point of view so there particularly these happen due to changes in culture.

How language interacts with context?

Context is a notion used in the language science (linguistics, sociolinguistics, discourse analaysisi, pragmatics, semiotics) in two different ways namely as verbal and social context

Verbal context referes to surrounding text or talk of an expression(word sentence conversational turn, speech act ext) influences the way we understand the expression

Social context were defined in terms of objective social variables such as those of class gebder or race more rescently, tend to be defined interms of social indentity being construed and displayes in text and talk by languages uses

Language interacting with context form are extremely difficult to delineate because sometimes things are hard to differentiate especially when deciding whether certain things belongs to a culture and also when making decision

The context of culture is language socialization, ths merges ti the communication practices with the context of culture. Studying the language perspective is the pursuit of cultural underpinning thea give meaning to the communication interaction between expert and novice member within and cross contexts of situation.

Researchers theorize about culture within different theoretical frameworks, looking culture to which includes "bodies of knowledge, structures and of understanding, concepts of the world, and collective representation which are extrinsic to any individual and contain more information that any individual could know or learn.

How words are extracted from culture?

Extracting words from culture are the most difficult to describe because culture concentrates from various aspects of human life and history.

An example of words extracted from culture is 'tequila' as that is essence of Mexico which symbolizes its culture.

The other article that I had read is about the Chinese folk model of facial expressions which was analyzed at linguistic perspective view. This research was provides how facial expression are perceived and interpreted by people in the Chinese language. Also the findings are about how facial is encoded from culture view of perceptions and conceptions of a face which are not commonly reflects in the English language

Let me continue about how the Mayas got their words. The Mayas spoke many languages as well and the languages are transcribed via hieroglyphs and other written on substances. They painted their words on bark paper that has disintegrated, while just two were presumed to be prestigious forms of the Maya language which were said to be from southern area and one from the Yucatan peninsula,

Epigraphy, which means writing on something, refers to writing on an enduring substance like stone. As such, it was impressed, inscribed, or chiseled rather than written with the stylus or reed pen applied to ordinarily decaying media like paper and papyrus. Common topics of epigraphy include epitaphs, dedications, honors, laws, and magisterial registers

The Rosetta Stone, which is housed in the British Museum, is a black, possibly basalt slab with three languages on it (Greek, demotic and hieroglyphs) each saying the same thing. Because the words are translated into the other languages, the Rosetta Stone provided a key to understanding Egyptian hieroglyphs

As the origins of the Maya languages are rose in the western hemisphere from three major families, then splitted into dialects, as the time changes, the languages were changing too and became distinct. There were words, vocabulary that reflects importance things in every culture, most of the time one word can having different meanings in different cultures.

The language structure of the mayas sounds similar, while the features difference in meanings based on sounds namely pitch of vowels, glottalization of consonants, glottal stop. The history studied mention that when the Spanish developed the roman alphabet for the maya language they ignored glottal and tone distinctions. The maya language is considered to be polysynthetic referring to one complex word expressed many ideas and the word order are structured as verb-object-subject or verb subject. There is no femine and masculine pronouns but prefixes signal the genders for example "na""ix""il"

Few researchers like Woodbury view the purpose of languages that "its linked to essential cultural content". He first described what can be transmitted and interpreted by the native speaker is more complete than if another language is used to convey the same message. For example the use of directional in Man and other Mayan languages is a linguistic trait which conveys and decisive meanings besides the idea of direction. These speakers can communicate and comprehend the metaphorical ideas that are added to messages. Secondly he describe that if a group of people loses their native language, their cultural heritage is also lost.

Another example will be some of the Chinese words linking to Chinese culture and beliefs. Like for example a wedding cards that are designed, it is design in a traditional that refers to good blessing, a drawing or a word written or a Chinese character "?"on the card signifies blessing, unlimited fortune and happiness.

Chinese characters usually have one or more meanings and some of them are particularly loved by Chinese people. Here is the top ten list of the lucky ones.

  1. Fu - Blessing, Good Fortune, Good Luck
  2. Fu is one of the most popular Chinese characters used in Chinese New Year. It is often posted upside down on the front door of a house or an apartment. The upside down fu means good luck came since the character for upsite down in Chinese sounds the same as the character for came.

  3. Lu - Prosperity
  4. It used to mean official's salary in feudal China. Fengshui is believed to be the Chinese way to health, wealth and happiness. If you are interested in Fengshui, you may check out the book 'The Feng Shui Kit.'

  5. Shou - Longevity
  6. Shou also means life, age or birthday.

  7. Xi - Happiness
  8. Double happiness is usually posted everywhere on Chinese weddings.

  9. Cai - wealth, money
  10. Chinese often say money can make a ghost turn a millstone. It is to say money really can do a lot of things.

  11. He - harmonious
  12. 'People harmony' is an important part of Chinese culture. When you have harmonious relations with others, things will be a lot easier for you.

  13. Ai - love, affection
  14. Don't need to say any more about this one. Just want to point out ai is often used with 'mianzi' together. Aimianzi means 'be concerned about one's face-saving.'

  15. Mei - beautiful, pretty
  16. The United States of American is called Mei Guo in the short form. Guo means country so Meiguo is a good name.

  17. Ji - lucky, auspicious, propitious
  18. Hope all is well.

  19. De - virtue, moral

De means virtue, moral, heart, mind, and kindness, etc. It is also used in the name for Germany, i.e., De Guo.

How phrases are extracted from culture?

Phrases are extracted from culture that express or expand imagination of a reader and a listener

Why culture and language is important?

Culture is so important because these practices can continue to be passing on to generations to generation and younger generation will be able to see and read about what had existed long ago. This refers to practices of beliefs, religion, lifestyle, or traditions and festivals and this is what makes a community representing culture. Any culture represents the principle of an individual's life because it is so unique for this counts the attitudes, personality, and other behavior characteristics.

While language is main tool used every day, be it different dialect, it still makes us survive. This is the only we can communicate or spread ideas from one to another.

Therefore language make us identify ourselves of 'who we are and' while culture describe 'what we do'.

Language and culture is so important when doing business, presently in most parts of the world things are quite good because they interact with each other and by being successful each country needs to understand the different languages and most of all needs to know the general background of a country's culture. The main advantage of being able to speak another language is that it allows easy communication among each other.

Therefore learning another language gives us deeper understand of the culture, gives sensitivity to have us maintain strong relationships.


I am the second child of Mr. and Mrs. Cresencio Cho Sr. born on September 11 in a lovely village named San Antonio Village, Toledo District, Belize. My primary school days were great; I enjoyed it a lot and earned few awards. My secondary education was quite challenging but I still made it through with the help of my parents. After completing my high school, I began working as receptionist at a resort, cashier at the one of the high school's cafeteria in southern Belize, then became interested in teaching, did three years of elementary teaching under the Catholic mission, then decide to change my career. I apply for a scholarship with the international cooperation development fund of Taiwan and I was fortunate to receive it, and that's how I came to Taiwan,

Presently, I am a senior student, majoring in business administration. My hobbies are cooking, chatting, singing, listening to music, and sewing, meeting new friends. I love travelling, since 3 years living in Taiwan, I love the country, environment, the convenience it has and of course the people who are always welcoming.

I became interested in taking this class with professor Blundell, language and culture, I really enjoyed the content of the class, especially in sharing his experience, this motivate me that I want to experience the same if I get the opportunity although my major is business. I mostly enjoyed the outing arrangement, visiting the museum, this make the class more interesting getting to know more about Taiwan's culture especially to learn about the indigenous people.

Learning about the indigenous people of Taiwan makes me compare my cultural background, I belong to the indigenous group of my country Belize known as the Mayas, particularly I belong to the Mopan Maya group, Belize has three types of Mayas, the Mopan, the Ketchi, the Yucate.

From what I observe and learn, we do have some similarities in our lifestyles. The only difference is the way how live, because like for example, ancestral objects can still be seen, the offerings, the beliefs,

This class is very beneficial, if there's another similar course as this one, I will be more than interested to learn more.

I am willing to share my knowledge based on what I have seen, I have heard what I have learned, what I personally experience being here for four years.


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