All Of The Following Statements Are True Regarding Language Except: Language and Culture

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Language and Culture

Language is a source of communication with other members of society. It is a reflection of the culture to which it belongs. The main characteristics of a culture can be determined by closely studying its language. It is a source for transmitting various aspects of ideology. “Each act of language, whether written or spoken, is an expression of its author’s position in the social structure of a given culture” (Tabouret, 1985). Considering the importance of language in the interpretation of cultural values, many linguists and sociologists have theoretically proposed the structure, functions and purposes of language.

Knowledge of language structure, its function and purposes allows us to understand communication. This makes it easier for the listener to understand what is going on in the speaker’s mind. Parpalea (2011) states that communication cannot be successful unless speech is accompanied by certain understandings of language function. A clear understanding of language functions is essential for success in communication skills (Brown, 2007). The number of functions they study and research varies from linguist to linguist, but I have limited my research to the referential, ideational, and interpersonal functions of language.

Jakobson states six functions of language, namely referential, poetic, emotive, conative, metalingual and phatic functions. He explains that the context is known as the referent, and interprets this function in two ways, namely that it refers to the thing “spoken of” or that the truth value is associated with the element being asserted. The second application of the reference function is more important, where a statement is given that can be true or false. The nature of our everyday language is dialogic, as each person’s contributions are directed toward other speakers (Bakhtin, 1986). Therefore, in the reference function of the language, some information is conveyed to the interlocutor.

Halliday stated that language has a “potential for meaning”. “He is the creature and creator of human society” (Halliday, 2002). It expresses the three functional levels of language, namely ideational, interpersonal and textual functions. First, it is ideational, in which the speaker expresses his thoughts and experiences. This function refers to the process of conceptualization in our mental activities. It helps us understand what is happening around us. Also known as the experience function. The second function, interpersonal, is used when we form and maintain social relationships. Language is primarily a social phenomenon, so it facilitates communication and helps the speaker to project himself in the way he wants. The third function, the textual function, combines interpersonal and ideational language-based language to create text.

From the above discussion we learn that language is never without purpose; always has a purpose or function. However, the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930) gave a new direction to language studies and argued that we should pay more attention to the social conditions that make certain language structures possible. While studying the dynamics of power through language, he coined the terms “cultural reproduction,” “habitus,” and “symbolic violence.” He states that language is not only a source of communication but also a tool to maintain the power structure. Language structure is usually related to the social status of the speaker. A language habit ingrained in members of a society determines a predetermined action or reaction in a given situation. Moreover, who will speak, listen, interrupt, question, argue, etc. decides. Language acts as one of the mechanisms used to transmit cultural values ​​from generation to generation. “Cultural reproduction” leads to “social reproduction”, that is, when existing cultural values ​​are transmitted to a new generation; the norms of society are also transmitted. The hidden agenda of the ruling class is transmitted from generation to generation through language.

Socially, people are trained to adopt specific language habits and tendencies. These skills and tendencies are called “habitus” by Pierre Bourdieu. He states that people learn them through imitation. Language practices are domesticated as communication is not intentional. Due to this attribute of language, it can be classified as a form of “symbolic violence”. Through language, the norms and values ​​of the dominant group are unconsciously imposed on the subordinate group without any physical violence. Slavoj Zizek (2008) also states that “symbolic violence resides in the meaning of language itself. The ways in which we speak to each other maintain relations of dominance.”

In short, using language to communicate is not new. When linguists and sociologists realized its cultural significance, they analyzed it deeply and discovered that meanings are encoded in words. They found that every idiom has a specific function or purpose behind it. There are always several options for the speaker, but he chooses the one that suits his needs.

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