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How Language Reflects Culture and the World Wide View

The relationship between abstract notions thought, and language as a means of expressing thoughts and notions are complex. Language and culture “can be seen as a way to describe and represent human experience and understanding of the world and members of a language community share systems of beliefs and assumptions which underlie their constructions of the world.” (Peoples 2006). These constructions, however, and views of objective phenomena, beliefs, and histories are communicated through language, thus establishing a connection between language and the culture of a community.

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Language is a basic source of the exchange of ideas; “in all language behavior there are intertwined, in enormously complex patterns, isolable patterns of two distinct orders, where they may be roughly defined as patterns of reference and patterns of expression.” (Hinkel 1999). In the early Boasian linguistics, language systems, discourse, and lexis reflect ways of looking at the world and its various realities. According to Hinkel, the lexicon signified the ideal procedure for the separation of “Amerindian world views and beliefs” and those of the Europeans through the explanation for the spatial, time, and natural phenomena. Considering that languages have their grammatical characteristics, it is not worth it enough to dwell on the differences in the different languages from the lexical descriptions and grammar rules. (Peoples 2006).

For the study of culture, “anthropologists and sociolinguistics” composes the greater fraction. From the top of mind perspective, “anthropologists are concerned with culture as a way of life of people, the social constructs that evolve within a group, the ways of thinking, feeling, believing, and behaving that are imparted to members of a group in the socialization processes.”

(Peoples 2006) went ahead and stated that language and its uses within a group are of interest to social anthropologists since they are a significant part of human behavior that represents symbolic action regarding the social structure and interactions within the group. This, in addition, shows that the behavior articulates culture and determines how language is used to express meaning.

Anthropologists through their work on sociology came up with the culture theory. The culture theory that was produced through the sociological perspective and association incorporates the concept of “culture and cultural meaning systems,” in addition to the representative of the individual beliefs and emotions in this case. The theory is mainly concerned with the collection of language and the interrelationships in a team and also in groups. Therefore, using the culture theory context, scholars denote language as a system that signifies the individuals’ way of living and the various ways of communication. (Hinkel 1999).

Different people of different races and also ethnic backgrounds use different ways during their address as well as communication. This also includes their pronunciation of the various words with the same alphabets in their speaking. This is more so related to the ethnic background and the family relations in their early child age. This also depends on the neighborhood and the social relations.

As Yule (1996) states, language could shape perceptions and world views both by its vocabulary and by the way it leads people to communicate about subjects such as space and time. “Any language vocabulary assigns labels to only certain things, qualities, and actions in addition to forcing people to communicate about time, space, and relationships between individuals and between people and nature, and so forth in a certain kind of way.” Potentially, this constant on the way people must speak to be understood by others can shape their views of what the world is like.

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Language helps in the definition of the world view of its speakers through the provision of labels for certain kinds of phenomena, like things, concepts, qualities, and actions, which different languages define according to different criteria. There is a difference in how various people share their occasions and time concerning their language of origin. (Yule 1996).

Also, in all societies, there are governing rules, where some ways of living are not allowed in their ways of life for religious reasons. In this case, linguistics has some taboos also, where some words cannot be uttered by certain people where they are deemed as culturally immoral, improper or offensive. (Hinkel 1999).

The societal cultural aspects of a group of people are related to their language of communication. The various factors that affect this in the society include, “occupational, ethnic, and other kinds of groups develop vocabularies and speech styles to facilitate communication,” which helps to differentiate the various ways of life including the personal career and make the individuals unique from other members of the society. This helps in signifying the individual culture and also the race of those of different people. (Peoples 2006)

Through the analytical evidence that the language use, the social anthropologists work on the culture of the various races and help to understand the interrelationship of people in different regions in the world and their various styles of living.


  1. Hinkel E., 1999. Culture in second language teaching and learning. Cambridge. Cambridge university press.
  2. Peoples, J., Garrick B., 2006. Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. Belmont. Cengage publishers.
  3. Yule, G., 1996. The study of language. Cambridge. Cambridge university press.

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