Does Language Make Who We Are?

Clark   Tuesday, June 10, 2003, 10:31 GMT
I am 100% American, 50% Californian (my dad, not my mom, is from California) and 25% English (one grandparent is from England).

So who am I? Does language have anything to do with who I am today? What if my parents were from non-English-speaking countries? Would I be a different person just because my language would not have been English?

I am not trying to get answers from everybody about me, I am trying to get input from other people about this topic. I am using myself as an example. I know exactly who I am, and I think language does have a great deal to do with how everyone turns out.
mike   Tuesday, June 10, 2003, 11:53 GMT
You consist of a number of layers overlapping one another. The layers I'm talking about are any experience, knowledge and your genes. You are what you are because of the three things. Language belongs to the domain of knowledge, so yes language is an important aspect of your identity.

But I'm strongly against determining who we are by the accumulation of knowldege, life experiences and genes. I believe we are more than the sum of the three components. I think if you got rid of them you'd still exist in the purest form of all. Full consciousness. At least that's what I think.
deaptor   Tuesday, June 10, 2003, 12:03 GMT
I would like to hear how do you suggest to get rid of all experience and genes altogether? The only answer that I see is to die. Well, maybe those who died obtain the purest form of all, but it seems to me there is no way to verify that assertion while we are alive.
mike   Tuesday, June 10, 2003, 12:23 GMT
Yes no way whatsoever. But if logic tells me about the existence of the three components I just mentioned I can as well presume that if one was deprived of the components something would still remain. I simply refuse to believe we are what we are thanks to circumstances. Still, it is just a presumption, nothing else. But I guess you're bang on as to what you said about death.
Fisher   Tuesday, June 10, 2003, 12:26 GMT
I have a friend who was born in one of the asian ex-USSR republics, has an extensive collection of genes from outside the ex-USSR, has lived in Russia for about half of his life (after the break of the USSR), has Russian as his first language, and finally moved to the US, where has gotten the green card.
Who is he?
Teddy Bear   Tuesday, June 10, 2003, 13:59 GMT
He is somehow American but Russian in origin.
scottish   Tuesday, June 17, 2003, 14:22 GMT
yes, u are english, u are a wanker
Boy   Monday, June 23, 2003, 17:57 GMT
My some cousins were born in Virginia, USA. So, they're Americans but their parents are not by origin. They took a visit to my house a few years ago. The way they behaved with us it sounded like they came from another planet. Hanging out with them was a difficult experience for me. They blew whistles at every girl they saw on the streets. And, they spoke some harsh and inappropriate remarks to my country even their parents are belonged to the same country. They pretended themselves like they were supermen.
The citizens are from other countries have no respect and importance for them because they can't speak English as fluent as Americans do. They don't possess as beautiful accents as native Americans do. My question is whether an importance of a language and the value of a country can make people inferior over others?

a) Does language have anything to do with who I am today?

Yes. It certainly does. If you spoke English in an American accent, people would give you more importance and respect because your country has a full control over everything from restuarants to media, or every kinds of products. People are influenced by the American culture. They love everything of yours.

b)What if my parents were from non-English-speaking countries? Would I be a different person just because my language would not have been English?

Yes. You'd be, 'coz you don't have to speak English the way native speakers do. It has to be noticed that what type of culture is currently popular, what type of language is widely popular. On balance, you're lucky to be an American because your country is well developed and your country's language is widely spoken. If you came to my country, speak American English, people'd give you more importance and try to socialize with you more tenderly as compared to other citizens who don't speak American English. I agree with you. Whoever you're, culture and language certainly play a big role into it. You'll be called a different person.

Ameobi   Monday, June 23, 2003, 22:54 GMT
hahah, boy you are an extremely ignorant and uneducated person beyond belief.

I certainly do not respect any person just because they have an American accent. People get respect by gaining respect not by their countries status. And if you actually got a passport and travelled outisde USA you will realise that everyone is the same.

And have you ever heard of globalisation? Last time I checked American kids were playing on thier Playstation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube (all from Japan) A hell of a lot print from their computers using Cannon Printers, listening to Sony Walkmans, Sony DVD players and Videos and Television. All japanese brands does that mean Americans should start respecting Japanese people more than other countries? European companies sell more products in America than vice-verser.

There are something like 280 million Americans, a hell of a lot in poverty. A country that has no national health service, terrible mass tranport systems, less workers rights and human rights than Europe and allows everyone to carry guns around. Standards of living are better in Canada and Australia and western European countries.

To me your obviously an American, because no idiot on this planet would make such an idiotic post like you've just done.
Clark   Monday, June 23, 2003, 23:16 GMT
While I agree that this person is very ignorant, America is not that bad of a place to live in. Yes, our transportation system SUCKS!!!!!!!! And in some parts of the country, there is NO transportation system at all. As for the health system, yes, I am for a National Health System, but in all fairness, the system we have does work; not as good as it could do, but it works and people who want and need urgent care, can get the care they need.

I do not know the statistics of the amount of people in poverty in America, but I can tell you there are more people who are not in poverty.

Basically the point I am trying to make is that America is not a bad place to live, and no all Americans are as bad as this person. And to me, your last sentence seems to me like you hate Americans. Which makes you a little hypocritical, doesn't it?
Kabam   Monday, June 23, 2003, 23:36 GMT
Text quoted from
Writed by a French student.


It is a simplistic vision and often a caricature of "the foreigner". In fact, the people imagine the others before knowing them. It is a simplification, in order to identify someone; it is very pejorative but more simple to remenber than the reality.

For the French, the Americans are overweight because their food isn't balanced, especially in the fast food restaurants, and it is the picture that the TV gives all the time. It influences a lot of French ideas, in particular for the people who have never been to the USA.

The Americans haven't got an old culture: their history is very young. When we say USA we think Coca-Cola, "silicon-valley", death penalty, violence but not their past.

America is the most important country of the world, the dollar is very powerful, so the Americans believe they are the strongest, and they want to impose their way of life with globalisation; they can manage the technologies but they can't make an election or protect themselves from an attack.

The Americans have an extreme society, they can be rich, beautiful, full of hormones and silicon; or they die on the street without none. In France, there are fewer differences between the people, there isn't only a star and a tramp, and we have a long culture: everybody knows the revolution and the human rights. But patriotism and religion are not respected by the people, a few people go to church on Sunday morning and none puts a flag on his house.

The Americans think the French girls are hairy and easy; the French boys wear tight jeans and berets. For them, we stink because deodorant was born in America and it came to France a long time after. These stereotypes date back to the second world war. Now, things have changed, none wears a beret nowadays.

In America everybody smiles to everyone, but in France it isn't natural to smile to everybody only if we know the person, so we look aren't polite, but it is wrong.

We have seen the stereotypes were based on the differences between the countries, and not on the reality. The solution, is to open our minds and travel to see other things."
Boy   Tuesday, June 24, 2003, 00:14 GMT

I told you exactly what I actually observed in my country. Let's suppose, a person from my country knows English very well and have a chance to hang with three different citizens. Say, An American, a German and an Arabic.
All these people know how to speak English well. From my angle of observation, my countryman would love talking with the American one because by definition he has a perfect pronunciation and accent. Moreover, a pleasant one as compared to remaining two. They don't have pleasant accents because of their mother tongues. I have seen many cases infront of my eyes when people gave more respect to English speaking people over non-English speaking people. This is a reality bite. Usually, it would happen the way what you defined in your first two lines of the post. Sorry, but it isn't the case atleast for my countrymen. They're really influenced by the American culture.

a)All japanese brands does that mean Americans should start respecting Japanese people more than other countries?

In my countrymen's eyes, It should be the case, though. Japanese are providing comfortable stuff world wide and proving themselves are better than others. They rose in the sky from destruction. They are not lazy. They're hard-working people. Why should we give equal respect to other citizens even If they don't give anything to this beautiful planet except rubbish, accusations and all that Jazz. Why should I respect an Arab citizen even what they have given to the world so far except terrorism and killings?

Look, I'm using internet. Millions other citizens use the same thing but come and write extremely harsh words towards Americans. Today, the world is becoming smaller and smaller. How is it possible?

You should not forget the role of Americans for making this world a better and a modern place and that's what people from other countries are forced to give more respect and importance to them apart from their accents.

The language of English is too way popular in my country. Even though some people are learning it because they think they'll get more respect and importance from other people and they'll admire them. In a word, they are learning it because they can get the admiration from other people. People will socialize with you more if you speak the language alongwith a good accent and that's a fact. Here, everyone wants to learn the language.

This is a fact that I'll give you more respect if you come from a native country. I won't give you if you come from a non-native country. This is a general thinking of a man in my country. This post will sound a little bit ignorant but this is the skinny about my countrymen.

My writing of English will show you that I'm not belonged to the USA.

Kabam   Tuesday, June 24, 2003, 00:33 GMT
That does not sound ignorant, that sounds rubbish! You juddge a people only on its usefulness from a materialist perspective.
I'm sorry but I learned a lot from the Arabs who you believe to be all "terrorists and killers" when I went to Marrocco. About the different notion of times, about what really counts in life too. When you live far from your occidental comfort with people who have nothing to offer but their kindness and hospitality, you learn a lot about humanity inner richness. I'm afraid this is something you can't understand if you've never visited any other country.
Of course Marrocco wasn't perfect, no country is. But from each country, you learn. You learn what you don't do in you home country and that should do. You learn what you don't do in your home country and that you are right not to do.
Tell me if you know anything about what's interesting in Australian Aboriginal culture? Probably not, since you seem to choose what interested you according to what the avarage people find "important" or "highlighting". Maybe you should be more curious about the rest of the world. But I can't decide for you.
Kabam   Tuesday, June 24, 2003, 00:37 GMT
Vive la diversité, vive la différence, vive l'ouverture d'esprit !
Long live diversity, long live differences, long live open-mindness!
Rock   Tuesday, June 24, 2003, 05:37 GMT
This is the thread of long posts !