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August 22, 2012

Language and its Impact on Culture


Culture, apart from being based on rituals and customs, at times, can also be best said as clearly differentiating on the basis of its language.
With the existence of globalization, this part of differentiation, that being on the basis of language, is actively seen in almost every single nation. May that be because of the existence of society members as seen of either having migrated, such as foreign nationals, or seen of having their own set of culture in the area they have been living, such as the locals of that country.
For United States, this element that differentiates the population on the basis of language into further segments is seen of being present to a huge extent. Having a population of 310,763,614 people (US Census Bureau 2010) and with people coming from different cultures e.g. Asians, Latinos, Black Africans, the language differences as seen in United States, results in creating cultural differences of its own.
            This may account for differences between natives and the foreign nationals in areas such as customs/rituals to even languages that then glues up with the norms and values of what they all have to follow, since this too is a part of their culture.
Americans over here would regard language as not being such an important issue that has an equal impact on cultural differences. But this believe can be said of being understood clearly in a complete wrong way.
This being said where after inferring the work of Sapir & Mandelbaum (p.40 1949) that summarizes the viewpoint by stating, It is the language itself, which tells as to what belief the person seems to hold and how he/she would then interact with the culture as seen to be present in the country where he/she is residing in.  
In United States, how language impacts the cultural difference can be best understood in a number of ways.

                The first difference being when people as falling under different culture, all with their own mother tongue, apart from English, feel hesitant to consider foreign language, that being English, as the first language to communicate on a daily basis (Xing p.102, 1998). This hesitation thus results in bringing up communication gaps that later result in creating differences with the culture, as seen to be present in United States. That is a culture where English is considered as a prime language and where everybody speaks, reads, listens and writes only in English.
                  The second could be difference in English, that being the American English or The British English. Where some words in both the English would have different meanings and if not that then with different spellings (About.com 2010).  Example British would prefer saying bonnet when describing the top engine cover of the car whereas Americans would prefer saying hood (Wayne p.135 2003) when describing the same thing, since this is what their part of culture has taught them.
                  The third cultural difference being when people as falling from different cultures with different language follow their own set of rules or guidelines, since this is what they all of learned from their culture, when communicating on a daily basis. This being from a simple salutation where along with Mr/ Mrs/ Ms, some would prefer naming the other by their surnames to some that would still be happier calling others with the first names.
                    However, Americans in this regard would prefer greeting people in a professional environment by calling out with their Surnames (Shulman p.79 2006) but for most this may not be seen as being a normal case where they all would prefer calling out people from their first names in their part of the professional environment.
                  The fourth cultural difference may account for how language as seen to be present among people from different culture, would reshape their part of thinking, to what is generally accepted in their part of culture, rather than what is accepted in American culture.
                     Example, Apart from whatever language the society tends to speak, Americans, would prefer an environment that appreciates self service whereas it might be possible that people from different culture, would not always prefer a self service kind of an environment. However on a macro perspective, the western culture or in other words more of Americans would be more what happy to follow an individualistic approach (Hacket p.535 2003) whereas the eastern culture would be more happy with a collectivist approach.
                   This difference in language thus shows how cultural difference in United States could be seen to be present, as not every member is from a western society and in particular not an American. And with this being stated, it can then be best assumed that not every member would be seen to abide by the culture to its fullest, of what Americans do, thus resulting in bringing up greater cultural differences.
                   The fifth difference could be best said the change in environment, where people as coming from different backgrounds with their own part of first language would see the American culture of holding a relatively much changed environment then as compared to what their motherland seems to hold.  From a relaxed environment to a more punctual environment, from 6 working days to 5 days work, from typical cuisines to fast foods etc.
                  All this change in language that later cause cultural differences can be concluded as uprooting a wide range of needs and wants among each and every member of the society. This variation then results in widening up the gap of culture differences, where not everything is marketed according to one single community member but is marketed taking in concern the society in general. A reality what the study would regard, as faced by the American market that has a society filled up with people all coming from various walks of life with their own languages and their own part of culture to share.

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