How is language connected to culture?

March 4, 2022

Let’s start by explaining language and culture to understand more about their unique relationship.

What exactly are language and culture?

Language is a system of “speech, manual, or written symbols” that humans use to communicate. It allows us to communicate and interpret. Language helps us to connect with others and identify ourselves.

Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a particular group of people, including language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts. Culture is often used to define or divide people into groups. Western culture, Eastern culture, and African culture, for example.

However, like language, everybody has their own distinct culture. Even though two people living in similar situations will share some characteristics. However, they cannot share the same cultural experiences or ideas.

What is the relation between culture and language?

Culture and language share human beliefs, realities, and actions within a social community. As a result, there is a relationship between culture and language. Whether it’s national folklore or daily conversation, language and culture go together.

Paralanguage is the non-lexical portion of any culture’s language. It’s a broad word that identifies things like body language and voice pitch or sound. Depending on where you grew up, the paralanguage will be different. We pick up on those behaviors, expressions, and intonations from the people around us.

Body language that brings conflict in one country is sometimes considered supportive in another. That’s why paralanguage can trigger miscommunication between ethnic groups while talking. Pitch, intonation, speech rate, facial expressions, and hesitation noises are examples of paralanguage. It has a considerable influence on the language you use.

If you’re bilingual, you’ve noticed how your voice “shifts” when you speak multiple languages. You can also note that your gestures or even attitudes change as a result of this.

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What came first, language or culture?

The formation of culture entails the use of language. Communication is merely an essential human need. In the beginning, humans have been communicating and engaging one another in many different ways. As a result, the language came first, for obvious reasons. Language is both the source and the essence of a culture.

Many languages develop. And there are still many languages spoken all over the world. Just 200 languages remain in both spoken and written form out of over 7000 languages. And many of the languages are now extinct.

It is fair to say that the complexity of languages and cultural diversity has increased over time. Languages change over time, owing to their cultural associations.

What role do language and culture play in our personality?

The language and culture you experience in life have a huge impact on your personality. Culture shapes beliefs and ethics by telling you how to get on well with others. Furthermore, it keeps you in touch with like-minded people. Also, it enhances your sense of belonging to society. On the other hand, language is a resource that enables you to communicate with your culture. In reality, language uses to deliver cultural ideas and beliefs.

Furthermore, both culture and language help us to look backward in history. Also, it shapes our thoughts. Our cultural values influence the way we perceive, talk, and communicate with others. Language affects human thoughts as well.

As previously mentioned, language and culture, as well as our personalities, continue to evolve. We learn and discover further when we meet people from different cultures. And our interactions with them can affect our characters.

Final thoughts

The more you think about a language’s cultural context, the faster you will grasp it. If you aim to learn a foreign language, keep in mind that cultural awareness plays an essential role in your learning process.

You should better understand socio-cultural factors. And learn how to approach people in that foreign language to get language skills. In a nutshell, language and culture are inextricably related.


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