Is language not a cultural object?

Skippy   Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:38 pm GMT
Culture isn't simply divided by race in the US, culture in Texas is completely different from the culture of California or New York, etc. across the races.
Ouest   Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:05 pm GMT
"Culture isn't simply divided by race in the US, culture in Texas is completely different from the culture of California or New York, etc. across the races. "

OK, it seems then that culture has nothing to do with language then.
Guest   Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:01 pm GMT
That depends on how you define culture!
furrykef   Tue Oct 09, 2007 8:22 pm GMT
I wouldn't go so far as to say that language and culture are completely unrelated. If you look at the Japanese language and their culture, you'll see that they're hopelessly intertwined. The Japanese language is VERY "Japanese". It's hard to explain... but Japanese has this complex system of honorifics that have everything to do with one's place in Japanese society, as well as broader notions such as the huge role that vagueness plays in the Japanese language... you CAN say things directly in the Japanese language, but that's not the way you're supposed to do it... especially not if there's anything at all bad about what you're saying. Although I've never lived in Japan, and therefore I'm not speaking from experience, one thing I can gather is that the Japanese are nearly obsessed with outwardly projecting a good and happy image -- no matter what the reality is -- and this is heavily reflected in their language.

But, at the same time, Japanese culture wouldn't fall apart if the Japanese language disappeared and were replaced completely by a language such as English. The Japanese culture and language are intertwined, but they aren't so entirely inseparable that one cannot exist without the other. It's just that they don't exist without each other, not that they can't.

- Kef
Milton   Tue Oct 09, 2007 10:55 pm GMT
Language is just a communication tool. That's how Americans and Brazilians use it, they don't give a damn about Oxford English or Lisbon Portuguese. Old colonial ruler's grammar rules are not to be obeyed...New grammar rules are made in US and Brazil, that suit Americans/Brazilians better than the old, strict European rules.
Ouest   Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:20 am GMT
If language and culture are not closely linked, wouldn`t it be better not to use names of languages or states in order to classify different cultures. French language is well defined, but the term "French culture" is not really helpful.
Guest   Wed Oct 10, 2007 11:45 am GMT
If japanese language would be replaced by English, then, probably, japanese culture would change, too. But why should it be replaced?

Consider hebrew or arabic culture and religion? Can you really imagine that would be the same if there would be another language? Can you really imagine western culture with kanji letters?

The name of a language often is derived form the name of the people, or the term for people in that language or just a single person! So it's just the other way round.
Guest   Wed Oct 10, 2007 12:05 pm GMT
@Milton

<<Language is just a communication tool.>>

How long does it take to wield a new tool quite well, how long does it take to communicate in a new language as fluently as in your mother tongue?

<<... they don't give a damn about Oxford English or Lisbon Portuguese.>>

Even in England, there are people who do not speak Oxford English but some kind of dialect. In Portugal, it will be the same, I guess!

<<Old colonial ruler's grammar rules are not to be obeyed...>>

Did the old colonial rulers concern about grammer?

<<New grammar rules are made in US and Brazil, that suit Americans/Brazilians better than the old, strict European rules.>>

Do you really think that European rules -- what is that? -- are strict? See the actual European languages' grammers with their many exeptions.
K. T.   Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:09 am GMT
I think Japanese language and culture are linked. There are four politeness levels in Japanese. This isn't so easy to translate into English.

I don't think French and culture are quite as linked, though. For years, very few foreigners were speaking Japanese except a few Dutch and Chinese traders. One culture, one language. On the other hand, many diplomatic people, Russians and others were learning French. French isn't limited to France.

Let's say language and culture are sometimes deeply connected, sometimes not.
Guest   Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:58 am GMT
<<New grammar rules are made in US and Brazil, that suit Americans/Brazilians better than the old, strict European rules.>>

New grammar rules?? What are you talking about? The rules are the same and the language is the same.


But maybe in one aspect you are right; the ones who use "strict grammar" might be living in a stricter community or, in other words, in a community with deep roots, strongly connected to the past and to the land.
Perhaps in Europe, in general, languages aren't easily changed because they are respected on another level, people see it as a legacy and are proud of them. In this way, language is indeed a cultural legacy.
Herbist   Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:02 am GMT
A man's culture will directly influence his deeds, comportment and reactions, his way of living etc. The set of grammar, vocabulary and syntax he uses for verbal and written communication will have no direct impact on his deeds. It is less important whether a bible is written in Greek, French or English, the content is important.

Indirectly, language has a big impact on behaviour, since language tends to make a selection of what can be known and what people you meet with.
Guest   Thu Oct 11, 2007 10:53 am GMT
<<A man's culture will directly influence his deeds, comportment and reactions, his way of living etc. The set of grammar, vocabulary and syntax he uses for verbal and written communication will have no direct impact on his deeds. It is less important whether a bible is written in Greek, French or English, the content is important.>>

You can believe in that God has given the content of the bible. You also can believe in that the bible was created by humans to control the behaviour of other humans. The content can be translated in every language, of course. But I think that the culture in which the bible is keept also influences the content, over time. In the old testament, humans name the animals, so clearly, there is an language influence on the content of the bible.

<<Indirectly, language has a big impact on behaviour, since language tends to make a selection of what can be known and what people you meet with.>>

If that would hold, then there never would be progress in any part of life and science.
Fran├žois   Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:16 pm GMT
The immigration in US is not with the Italian people but the Germans!
Fran├žois   Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:22 pm GMT
i meant the biggest.
Herbist   Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:52 am GMT
<<<<<<<<
<<A man's culture will directly influence his deeds, comportment and reactions, his way of living etc. The set of grammar, vocabulary and syntax he uses for verbal and written communication will have no direct impact on his deeds. It is less important whether a bible is written in Greek, French or English, the content is important.>>

You can believe in that God has given the content of the bible. You also can believe in that the bible was created by humans to control the behaviour of other humans. The content can be translated in every language, of course. But I think that the culture in which the bible is keept also influences the content, over time. In the old testament, humans name the animals, so clearly, there is an language influence on the content of the bible.

<<Indirectly, language has a big impact on behaviour, since language tends to make a selection of what can be known and what people you meet with.>>

If that would hold, then there never would be progress in any part of life and science.
>>>>>>>

I don't see the big language influence on the content of the Bible? Are the Greek and Hebrew versions not equivalent, at least as equivalent as two translations of the Bilble done by two different authors into the same third language?