Language culture and thought relationship

language culture and thought relationship

The relationship between culture, language, and thought has long been one of the most important topics for those who wish to understand the nature of human. The relationship between language and culture is complex yet one is a part of the other. You learn the culture once you start learning a. The relationship between culture, language, and thought has long been one of language, culture, and thought to capture how cognitive psychology and.

Since sociolinguistics is based on language varieties. These varieties are due to cultural and social needs rather than Interlingua pressures. Even language of an individual varies from occasion to occasion.

Moreover it also varies due to socio-economic position of individual or group. This variation of language with social difference makes this notion more firms that language is social and cultural phenomenon and inextricably tied with social and cultural traditions.

Does thought depend on language? Many psychologists believe that language dictates the way we think. Others say that it actually determines our ideas themselves - not only how we think but what we think.

language culture and thought relationship

Important studies and theories have been made on this theme by Bruner child psychologistSapir and Whorf linguistsWatson behaviourist psychologistBernstein sociologistWittgenstein philosopherVygostsky developmental psychologist Wittgenstein: Sapir claimed that we experience things because the language we use guides our very thoughts.

An extension of this is that different languages guide their speakers in different ways - different language speakers not only speak differently, they think differently.

Whorfian view Language provides a screen or filter to reality; it determines how speakers perceive and organize the world around them, both the neutral world and the social world.

Consequently, the language you speak helps to form your world-view. Both Sapir and Whorf worked extensively on American Indian languages and made important contributions to our knowledge of those languages and also to linguistic theory. The work most clearly relevant to the hypothesis was done in the s, towards the end of their respective careers, so their ideas represent the results of two distinguished lifetime devoted to the serious study of language and culture, and cannot be dismissed lightly.

language culture and thought relationship

On the other hand, it is not at all clear exactly what formulation of the hypothesis Sapir and Whorf would themselves have accepted, since neither tried to define any such hypothesis, and both changed their views radically ob relevant matters from time to time. Our extreme version of the hypothesis is a combination of extreme relativism with extreme determinism. It claims that there are no restrictions on the amount and type of variation to be expected between languages, including their semantic structures, and that the determining effect of language on thought is total-there is no thought without language.

If we put these two claims together, we arrive at the conclusion that there are no constraints on the variation to be found between people in the way they think, especially in the concepts they form.

So all of these researchers believe that language determines our concepts - and we can only think through the use of concepts this is called "linguistic determinism" - and different language speakers "cut nature up" in different ways this is the linguistic relativity hypothesis Examples of linguistic relativity: Brown and Lenneberg compared English with Shone from Zimbabwe and Bassa from Liberia and found that colours which have no name in the language are more difficult to recognise than those which do have a name in the language.

Regarding the role of language for development and the relationship between language and thought: According to Piaget, thought comes before language, which is only one of its forms of expression. The formation of thought basically depends on the coordination of sensory motor schemes and not of language. This can occur only after the child has reached a certain level of mental abilities, subordinating herself, to the thought processes. The students, when using the learnt language, may use the language inappropriately or within the wrong cultural context, thus defeating the purpose of learning a language.

Conflict in teaching styles also stem from the relationship between language and culture. During the past decade, I have taught English in Taiwan and have observed a major difficulty in English instruction brought about by teachers and suffered by students.

Does language shape how we think? Linguistic relativity & linguistic determinism -- Linguistics 101

Western English teachers who teach in Taiwan bring along with them any or all of their teaching and learning experiences. From this, they bring with them what they imagine to be appropriate teaching methodology.

  • On the relationship between language and thought – a brief insight into socio-linguistics
  • Language and thought
  • The Relationship Between Language & Culture and the Implications for Language Teaching

Pennycook continues by pointing out that student centered learning is unsuitable for Chinese students. The students may not know how to react to this different style of learning. A case in point, when at the beginning of my teaching career in Taiwan, I found it very easy to teach English, but very difficult to get the students to interact with me while I was teaching. Teaching was very easy because the students were well behaved and very attentive.

Language, Culture and Thought | Umama Shah -

The difficulties surfaced when trying to get the students to interact with me, their teacher. At the time, I did not realize that in Taiwan, it was culturally unacceptable for students to interact with their teacher. The Taiwanese students were trained to listen to what the teacher said, memorize it, and later regurgitate it during an exam. The classroom setting had to be changed to a much less formal setting to coax out student interaction.

The Relationship Between Language & Culture and the Implications for Language Teaching |

The language classes taught using this style proved to be most beneficial to the students with an overall increase in the grade point average. Because language is so closely entwined with culture, language teachers entering a different culture must respect their cultural values.

As Englebert describes: As Spence argues, success and failure in a Chinese cultural framework influences not just oneself but the whole family or group. Therefore, teachers must remember to respect the culture in which they are located.

Language teachers must realize that their understanding of something is prone to interpretation. The meaning is bound in cultural context. One must not only explain the meaning of the language used, but the cultural context in which it is placed as well. Often meanings are lost because of cultural boundaries which do not allow such ideas to persist.

As Porter argues, misunderstandings between language educators often evolve because of such differing cultural roots, ideologies, and cultural boundaries which limit expression. Language teachers must remember that people from different cultures learn things in different ways. For example, in China memorization is the most pronounced way to study a language which is very unlike western ideologies where the onus is placed on free speech as a tool for utilizing and remembering vocabulary and grammar sequences Hui When a teacher introduces language teaching materials, such as books or handouts, they must understand that these will be viewed differently by students depending on their cultural views Maley For instance, westerners see books as only pages which contain facts that are open to interpretation.

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This view is very dissimilar to Chinese students who think that books are the personification of all wisdom, knowledge and truth Maley One should not only compare, but contrast the cultural differences in language usage. Visualizing and understanding the differences between the two will enable the student to correctly judge the appropriate uses and causation of language idiosyncrasies.

language culture and thought relationship

For instance, I have found, during my teaching in Taiwan, that it is necessary to contrast the different language usages, especially grammatical and idiom use in their cultural contexts for the students to fully understand why certain things in English are said. Thank you, and you? This question was very difficult to answer, until I used an example based in Chinese culture to explain it to them. One example of this usage: It was culturally and possibly morally significant to ask someone if they had eaten upon meeting.

language culture and thought relationship

Cognitive therapy has been found to be effective by empirical studies. In behavioral economicsaccording to experiments said to support the theoretical availability heuristicpeople believe events that are more vividly described are more probable than those that are not. Simple experiments that asked people to imagine something led them to believe it to be more likely. The mere exposure effect may also be relevant to propagandistic repetition like the Big Lie.

According to prospect theorypeople make different economic choices based on how the matter is framed. Counting[ edit ] Different cultures use numbers in different ways. The Munduruku culture for example, has number words only up to five. In addition, they refer to the number 5 as "a hand" and the number 10 as "two hands". Numbers above 10 are usually referred to as "many".

In this system, quantities larger than two are referred to simply as "many". In larger quantities, "one" can also mean a small amount and "many" a larger amount. These are non-linguistic tasks that were analyzed to see if their counting system or more importantly their language affected their cognitive abilities.

The results showed that they perform quite differently from, for example, an English speaking person who has a language with words for numbers more than two. For example, they were able to represent numbers 1 and 2 accurately using their fingers but as the quantities grew larger up to 10their accuracy diminished. This phenomenon is also called the "analog estimation", as numbers get bigger the estimation grows. Orientation[ edit ] Language also seems to shape how people from different cultures orient themselves in space.

For instance, people from the Australian Aboriginal community Pormpuraaw define space relative to the observer.

language culture and thought relationship

Instead of referring to location in terms like "left", "right", "back" and "forward", most Aboriginal Nations, such as the Kuuk Thaayorreuse cardinal-direction terms — north, south, east and west. For example, speakers from such cultures would say "There is a spider on your northeast leg" or "Pass the ball to the south southwest".

In fact, instead of "hello", the greeting in such cultures is "Where are you going? The consequence of using such language is that the speakers need to be constantly oriented in space, or they would not be able to express themselves properly, or even get past a greeting. Speakers of such languages that rely on absolute reference frames have a much greater navigational ability and spatial knowledge compared to speakers of languages that use relative reference frames such as English.

In comparison with English users, speakers of languages such as Kuuk Thaayorre are also much better at staying oriented even in unfamiliar spaces — and it is in fact their language that enables them to do this. Linguistic relativity and the color naming debate Language may influence color processing.