In the modern globalized world, different cultures significantly affect one another. However, distinct cultures still retain a number of differences; for example, some moral values may be common in one culture and quite alien to another. In addition, differences in language also can cause distinctions in worldviews. It is paramount to be aware of such cultural influences if one is to properly comprehend one’s culture. This paper provides annotations for two academic articles related to the topic of the impact of European cultures on the American one; namely, distinctions in moral comprehension, as well as linguistic influences, are discussed.
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Bock, T. (2006). A consideration of culture in moral theme comprehension: Comparing Native and European American students. Journal of Moral Education, 35(1), 71-87.
Differences in culture result in a different understanding of many aspects of one’s life, including one’s perceptions of morals and virtues. It is clear that European culture had a profound influence on what now constitutes the basis of the morals, which are characteristic of many Americans and distinct from what is typical of, e.g., the Native American culture. For example, in her article, Bock (2006) reports the results of a study conducted in order to reveal the cultural differences among European American and Native American children pertaining to their ability to identify moral “themes” in children’s stories (p. 71). The author stresses that “children, and even adolescents, do not necessarily understand story themes when required to comprehend them on their own” (Bock, 2006, p. 72). This was confirmed by the author’s research, which revealed statistically significant differences in “theme comprehension” by students of European American vs. Native American background (Bock, 2006, p. 79).
Therefore, Bock (2012), while exposing the differences in students’ comprehension of the texts, demonstrates the fact that the values which are often encountered in the modern American culture often originate from Europe and that children from families that have European origins understand the basic moral themes of the texts much better. This article helped me to realize that even the values which may be considered basic in one culture may be different in another one and that many contemporary American values are based on the European worldview.
Gao, C., & Sun, L. (2014). A historical study of the influences of European immigration on the formation of American English. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(11), 2410-2414.
It might be deemed clear that language has an important impact on the worldview of individuals, practically classifying the world into categories, which are then denoted by separate words. Not only the intercorrelations between these categories but also the very set of phenomena for which there exist linguistic units have a major impact on how one perceives the world. It is no wonder, therefore, that “language is an important carrier of a country’s national culture and is also inevitably affected by the culture” (Gao & Sun, 2014, p. 2414). This is why the study by Gao and Sun (2014) is of particular importance for the topic of the impact of European culture on the American one. The article provides an overview of the “influence” of the European language on the “American English” (Gao & Sun, 2014, p. 2413). Apart from mentioning the fact that Americans are a “nation of immigrants” (Gao & Sun, 2014, p. 2414), the authors point out that, while the basis of contemporary American English is British English, the American version of the language has been affected by a large number of other languages, and that some of the most profound influences are associated with the European such as Spanish, French, Dutch, and German. Being a melting pot of cultures, the American culture inherited a large number of linguistic units from the carriers of the named languages.
Therefore, the article by Gao and Sun (2014) allowed me to better understand the influence of European cultures on the American one, namely, to see that many linguistic aspects of the contemporary American English originate from other European languages.
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