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  1. Chapter 7 Language, Culture and Society
  2. 7.1. Language and Culture 1)What Is Culture?  In a broad sense, culture means the total way of life of a people including the patterns of belief, customs, objects, institutions, techniques, and language that characterizes the life of the human community.
  3.  In a narrow sense, culture may refer to local or specific practice, beliefs of customs, which can be mostly found in folk culture, enterprise culture or food culture etc.
  4. 2) Classification of culture  1. Material cultural: concrete, substantial and observable  2. Spiritual culture: theproducts of mind (ideologies, beliefs, values and concepts of time and space, for example), abstract, ambiguous, and hidden
  5. 3). Culture Vs. Nature  Nature refers to what is born and grows, while culture refers to what has been grown and brought up with, in other words, what can be nurtured.
  6. Language and culture: A dialectical relationship  1. Every language is part of a culture. As such, it cannot but serve and reflect cultural needs.  2. Yet, in another sense, language is not a passive reflector or culture. It reinforces and preserves beliefs and customs and conditions their future course. (胡壮麟等 1988:250) 4) The relationship between language and culture
  7. Language and culture: A relationship of “part to whole” Culture is a wider system that completely includes language as a subsystem.
  8. 5) Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis  It is a hypothesis concerning the relationship between language and thought, proposed by Whorf, under the influence of Sapir, his teacher. According to this hypothesis, the structure of the language people habitually use influences the ways they think and behave. That is to say, different languages offer people different ways of express the world around, they think and speak differently.
  9. Evidence  All observers are not led by the same physical environment to same picture of universe, unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in some way be calibrated. (Whorf 1940)
  10. The strong and the weak version  Strong: the language patterns determine people’s thinking and behavior.  Weak: the language patterns influence people’s thinking and behavior. L L C
  11. Summary:  1. Language both expresses and embodies cultural reality.  2. As a product of culture, language helps perpetuate the culture, and the changes in language uses reflect the cultural changes in return.  3. Cultural determinism Vs. linguistic determinism
  12. 7.2 Language and Society 7.2.1The Scope of Sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the sub-field of linguistics that studies the relation between language and society, between the uses of language and the social structures in which the users of language live.
  13. 7.4 Standard Dialect
  14. Definition  The standard variety is a superimposed, socially prestigious dialect of a language. It is the language by the government and the judiciary system, used by the mass media, and taught in educational institutions, including school settings where the language is taught as a foreign or second language.
  15. Features of the standard variety  1. It is based on a selected variety of the language, usually it is the local speech of an area which is considered the nation’s political and commercial center.  2. It is not a dialect a child acquires naturally like his regional dialect, rather it is taught and learnt in schools.  3. It has some special functions and it the language used on any formal occasions.
  16. 7.5 Pidgin and Creole
  17. Pidgin  Definition: A pidgin is a special language variety that mixes or blends languages and it is used by people who speak different languages for restricted purposes such as trading.  Features: limited vocabulary and very reduced grammatical structure
  18. Creole  Definition: When a pidgin has become the primary language of a speech community, and is acquired by the children of that speech community as their native language, it is said to have become a Creole.  Features: the structure of the original pidgin is expanded, the vocabulary vastly enriched, new syntactic-semantic concepts developed.
  19. 7.6 Bilingualism and diglossia
  20. Bilingualism  Bilingualism refers to the situation where in some speech communities toe languages are used side by side with each having a different role to play, and language switching occurs when the situation changes.  Note Rubin’s 5 major variables to be considered in predicting language use in Paraguay.
  21. Diglossia  Digglossia refers to the situation where in some speech communities two varieties of a language exist side by side throughout the community, with each having a definite role to play.  Feature: the specialization of function of the two varieties, each variety being the appropriate language for certain situations with very slight overlapping.