Weaving the Connections Between Culture and Language
The ability of humans to think rationally and to use language to communicate are the factors that made them stand out among the other living creatures. Humans, unlike animals, are given high intellect to solve problems and communicate solutions with other humans. They are rational beings capable of thinking and analyzing situations. Human beings are also capable of making civilizations and literatures. Historians were able to demystify past civilizations because of the creativity of human beings, which were discovered through fossils and artifacts.
In the same manner, cultures are the products of interactions among humans, which involves language. Culture cannot exist without language. This is backed up by the idea that language is one of those factors that constitute a culture in addition to religion, traditions, literatures, music, and beliefs. Culture is something that can be acquired by its people through senses and experience. Language is also acquired based from observations, imitations, and applications of those words or languages.
Culture also serves as guides to human behaviors. It is culture that dictates the standards of right and wrong in the society it belongs to. Culture is important for an individual and is equally important in a group of people and in the society. It is the culture that shapes the personality of an individual. Through the acquisition of the culture, the person can get a clear mindset on what are the norms, traditions, and beliefs that he or she will or should be inclined.
In addition, culture can also plays a vital role in a group of people in a society. It is the culture that binds the people in a group as one. Through sharing the same beliefs, traditions, language, arts, etc. , they can easily communicate with each other and work toward the same goals. Culture makes it possible for people in the group to achieve orderliness and peace.
In relation to that, culture has also its influence on what kind of language can be considered acceptable or good, and what are those languages, which are considered offensive and should be avoided. As culture has the capacity to be open to changes, likewise is the language.
Language is not only an instrument in an interpersonal communication, but also an indicator of a social status, generation, nationality, and ethnicity. These diversities among people are the influencing factors why we have language variations. In countries like the Philippines, people who can speak English gain more admiration in the society compared to people who can just speak the vernacular language. English is considered a prestige language and makes it more possible and easier moving up the corporate ladder, if someone has a good command of the English language.
Through language, communication or interaction between one country and another become easier. Language assimilation and acculturation happen through interactions that transpire between two or more nationalities. This linguistic assimilation is evident among immigrants who completely soaked themselves in the culture of the country where they have settled.
On the other hand, bilingualism and code-switching among Filipinos are attributed to language acculturation which is evident when a blend of language from two (2) different cultures happen. Many Filipinos are considered “Bilinguals” because of their proficiency in both their first language and in English. In the same manner, code-switching or the mixing of two or more language within a single utterance is often heard among Filipinos of all ages. Here in the Philippines, it is called “Taglish” or Tagalog and English.
Language is one of the components of a culture. It is widely known that language acts as a cohesive force that ties a society or even a nation. Inadequate knowledge of one’s language symbolizes a weaker bond. On the other hand, proficiency of it may result to a more positive outcome.
Language has been continuously evolving and it is interesting how a language can blend cultures together and come up with new ideas and words. In addition, change is constant even in language where it should adapt to the needs of the people. Nowadays, new words, which originated mostly from teenagers or young adults, are formed.
As cultures evolve, so do the language because our world is constantly changing as a result of globalization, migration, and technology. Through constant exposure to other cultures, gradual changes does happen as well as one’s culture may or can adapt to others.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are that of the author and does not in anyway represents the agency or department she currently belongs.