LANGUAGE, CULTURE, & SOCIETY What is Language? • Mean of communication • Use of signs, sounds and symbols • Many animal and even plant species communicate with each other • Is that language too??????? The difference between animal communication and human language is recursion ( the ability to take discrete elements, like words or numbers, and recombine them in a way that creates an infinite variety of expression). • Human system of communication makes an extensive and varied use of arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols • Human language is unique in being a symbolic communication system that is learned instead of biologically inherited. What is culture? • Appreciation of good literature, music, art, and food. • For a biologist, it is likely to be a colony of bacteria or other microorganisms growing in a nutrient medium in a laboratory Petri dish. • For anthropologists and other behavioral scientists, culture is the full range of learned human behavior patterns. • Our written languages, governments, buildings, and other man-made things are merely the products of culture. They are not culture in themselves. • Culture is the way we learn to look at the world and how we function in it. • The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought typical of a population or community at a given time. Non-human culture? This orangutan mother is using a specially prepared stick to "fish out" food from a crevice. She learned this skill and is now teaching it to her child who is hanging on her shoulder and intently watching. What is society? • Societies are groups of people who directly or indirectly interact with each other. • People in human societies also generally perceive that their society is distinct from other societies in terms of shared traditions and expectations. Culture and Society • Culture and society are not the same thing • While cultures are complexes of learned behavior patterns and perceptions, societies are groups of interacting organisms • They are inextricably connected because culture is created and transmitted to others in a society Relationship Between Language, Culture and Society • In the normal transfer of information through language, we use language – to send vital social messages about • who we are • where we come from • and who we associate with • We may judge a person’s background, character, and intentions based simply upon the person's language Relationship Between Language, Culture and Society • Sociology of language – Focuses on the manner in which social and political forces influence language use. • Sociolinguistics – Focuses on how language and language use reflect the larger society Sociolinguistics • The relationship between language and society affects a wide range of encounters--from broadly based international relations to narrowly defined interpersonal relationships. • The study of relationship between language and society. • Sociolinguistics has become an increasingly important and popular field of study with globalization. Orientation of sociolinguistics • Micro-sociolinguistics Investigates how social structure influences the way people talk & how language varieties and patterns of use correlate with social attributes such as age, gender, class. • Macro-sociolinguistics Studies what societies do with their language, i.e. attitudes and attachments that account for functional distribution of speech forms in society. Rules ! • • • • • • • Punctuality. Regularity. Course Pack- a must. No retakes. Strict deadlines. No mobile phones. Note-taking preferred.
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