Effects Of Diversity In Language Cultural Studies Essay (2022)

Paper Type: Free EssaySubject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 1266 wordsPublished: 1st Jan 2015

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“If you speak a different language you see a different world”

We live in a world in which there are millions of people of diverse national, ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds; they practice, enjoy and share their culture. Amongst these elements of diversities linguistic background is considerably important. Linguistics is the study of language. According to definition of a dictionary; language is a system of communication consisting of sounds, words, and grammar, or the system of communication used by the people of a particular country or profession [5]. Languages are crucially important in knowledge acquisition. Knowledge is understanding of or information about a subject which has been obtained by experience or study [5]. Perception, reason and language are the three ways of knowing. None of the three may exist without the presence, at least, one of the others. Language is more important than perception in our acquisition of knowledge because people who speak different languages perceive the world differently since languages sway people’s thought processes.

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Language is not just a means of communication. It has impacts on our culture and even on our thought processes.[1] During the last century, language was seen by various linguists and anthropologists as being more significant than it is in carving out our perception (the process by which the sounds of language are heard, assimilated and understood). This is because of the idea of linguistic determinism which states that our thoughts are completely limited by our language. This idea is also known as Sapir-Whorf hypothesis after the two anthropologists have suggested. Benjamin Whorf had a huge interest in Native American languages and is famous for his work on the Hopi language. [4] Whorf made his analysis of languages, Indo-European and the Indian languages, to show the structural differences between these languages and how they connote a different thought and logic. [4] For instance, a Hopi word rehpi means “flash (occurred).” This sentence is composed of only a predicate and no subject, which is impossible in European languages where we always need a subject in order to make it meaningful: “It flashes” or “The light flashes.” [4] Sapir and Whorf also used comparison of colors for different cultures as evidence for their hypothesis. Experimentations in color perception and language acquisition substantiated that different cultures have different views on some particular colors. [2] For example, in India, the color saffron, a bright orange and pink blend, relates to the color of the cassocks of Hindu holy men. On the other hand, In North America, saffron represents the shade of purple crocus, golden yellow or a slightly different color. [2] The example illustrates that people from different regions of the world have dissimilar views on things, such as colors, and that is a result of the difference between their languages and cultures.

Apart from their aforementioned arguments, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf had an argument which is related to how we codify information in the brain. Language, Whorf says, is the universal set of knowledge into which we must first translate what we observe before we can interpret and understand it. [3] That is to say, the concept of knowledge is carried by the words together with their definitions. They argue that we can know neither the word “book” means nor what it exactly corresponds to, if we have not been previously taught what it is. [3] Importance of obtaining knowledge through language rather than perception is proven here. Let us imagine that a person does not know any kind of language i.e. he can only perceive the world. How would you expect that person to describe you what book is? It is not quite possible, is not it? He would start making some signs, some gestures but he would just confuse you. If another person, however, tells you, in your language, what book is you will immediately understand what he is talking about. Using perceptions not always help. As it is said earlier neither perception exists without knowledge, nor does knowledge exist without perception.

Every living thing in the world has its own way of communicating but only humans have developed a language which is more than a set of prearranged signals or symbols. Our ancestors were probably speaking a million years ago, but with a smaller vocabulary and almost no grammar. Languages have been developing and changing from back then and nowadays there are about 5000 spoken and living languages in the world. Every language has its own vocabulary, idioms, proverbs and expressions. In some languages there are words that are spelled and pronounced in exactly the same way but have different meanings. For example, hat in Turkish and hat in English. Both words are spelled and pronounced in the same way but they have different meanings. Hat in English means, “Headdress that protects the head from bad weather”; hat in Turkish means, “A line that provides communication through telephones, telegraph, or television.” As the example shows different groups of people have different understanding of certain words. When somebody says this word to a Turkish and an English guy, they would understand it in their own language. Another example is Bulgarian baba and Turkish baba. It means grandmother and father respectively. Both examples show that when you speak a different language you see a different meaning and a world. There are some specific proverbs that can be understood differently in different languages. A Japanese proverb says, Minu no hana (Not seeing is a flower) and this proverb makes a distinct sense in Japanese, than a language other than Japanese. People are likely to interpret and think about the proverb in different aspects. Again we see that speaking a different language makes you see a different world.

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Diversity in national, ethnic, religious and linguistic backgrounds of people have resulted in miscellaneous cultures, nations and languages. All of these elements are important to people. Billions of people in our world speak thousands of languages. People from different parts of the world have different understanding of the world. An Asian will have different thoughts about life than a South American, for instance. The two perceive the world different than each other. Culture and languages have influence on the way of people’s thinking whereas perception does not. It is said that perception of a person is less important than a person’s language when he is acquiring knowledge. Subject in a sentence is indispensable for Europeans, but some people do not need a subject to understand the meaning of a sentence as they view the world differently than each other. When a friend makes you close your eyes and gives you an object and wants you to tell what the object is. However he does not allow you to use your senses other than touch. You cannot really recognize the object, can you? You will immediately identify the object when your friend says; “It is an apple” let us say. Again language is superior to perception. As it is mentioned, people who are speaking different languages have different outlook on vocabulary use of other people. Their language influences them on their worldview. It is disputable issue of discussion for humans but big portion of the world admits the superiority of language on perception in acquisition of knowledge.

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FAQs

How does language affect cultural diversity? ›

Language reflects the values and beliefs of a culture

The differences between two cultures are reflected perfectly in their languages. Mastering the nuances of a language means really being able to understand people who (more than likely) grew up with an entirely different set of values and beliefs.

What is the study of language diversity? ›

Language diversity, or linguistic diversity, is a broad term used to describe the differences between different languages and the ways that people communicate with each other. Language is one of the features of humanity that sets the species apart from others on Earth, as far as scientists are aware.

Why is diversity in language important? ›

"These include ethical reasons - by supporting language diversity we are strengthening people's cultural heritage and therefore their identity. "People who speak more than one language possess improved cognitive abilities and educational outcomes.

How does culture affect language learning? ›

Culture Knowledge Allows You to Think in Another Language

There are concepts you can express in English, but you couldn't say in any other language with a word-to-word translation. By understanding cultural differences while learning a language, you'll find new ways to express these things.

How language affects our culture and society? ›

Language is a crucial means for communication and interaction. Language not only reflects and expresses facts and observations, it also influences attitudes and behaviour. It thus constitutes a vital component of the cultural prerequisites underlying societal development.

Is language part of cultural diversity? ›

As the culture evolves through time and space, so does the language. Language plays a very crucial role in preserving and celebrating cultural diversity. Every language is a window into its culture, a way of thinking and living of a society.

What are the challenges of language diversity? ›

These challenges include the feelings that they are not part of class; lack of experience to handle linguistic needs; large number of learners in language classroom; the strong influence of first language; inadequate time to address each learners' needs, and language policy not being supportive.

What are the factors that affect diversity? ›

Primary dimensions of diversity include age, ethnicity and culture, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and capabilities (Schwind, Das, & Wagar, 2007). Secondary, diversity includes mainly factors such as socio-economic sta- tus, education, religion, geographical affiliation and marital status (Sweetman, 2004).

How can you promote language diversity in the classroom? ›

Measures such as providing school signage in different languages, encouraging students to speak their first language at school, and displaying non-English books and materials creates an environment of acceptance and appreciation that benefits all students.

What is the most diverse language in the world? ›

Carmen Ang. Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse country in the world, with approximately 840 languages used.

Why is it important to reflect on cultural and linguistic diversity? ›

Why is it important for teachers to reflect on cultural and linguistic diversity? Because be more understanding of cultural differences in the classroom can help to lead teachers to choose better instructional methods that may well meet the needs of their students.

What are cultural factors that influence language? ›

Cultural Influences on Language Development
  • Language Diversity.
  • Feedback Tone.
  • Symbolic Emphasis.
  • Guidance Style.
  • Responsiveness.

What is the relationship between language and culture? ›

Language is culture and culture is language. Language and culture have a complex, homologous relationship. Language is complexly intertwined with culture (they have evolved together, influencing one another in the process, ultimately shaping what it means to be human).

What is the relationship between language and culture essay? ›

Language shapes our lines of thought and as such, it is the core element that shapes how people perceive the world. The way people communicate is largely due to their cultures of origin. Language increases the rate of ethnocentrism in individuals thus furthering their self-centeredness in culture.

How language affects your life as a student? ›

If you struggle to make decisions, learning another language might just be the solution to your problems! According to a new study, people who speak more than one language are better decision-makers, because they are less susceptible to conditioning and framing techniques.

What are the challenges of teaching a culturally diverse learners? ›

The challenges of the Multicultural Classroom

A brief analysis of these studies indicates that the most important obstacles that multicultural education teachers face today include the following: (1) ethnicity, (2) racism/inequality, (3) different epistemologies/ways of knowing, and (4) different learning styles.

What are the benefits and challenges of diversity in the classroom? ›

Diversity Improves Cognitive Skills and Critical Thinking
  • Exposure to Diversity Helps Students Enter Adulthood. ...
  • Diversity Prepares Students for Citizenship. ...
  • Diversity Promotes Creativity. ...
  • Learn about Students' Cultural Backgrounds. ...
  • Create a Culturally Responsive Learning Environment.
Jul 24, 2019

What are the challenges of diversity in education? ›

what are the challenges of diversity in the classroom in...
  • Clash of Opinions.
  • Teaching styles.
  • Difficult in promoting teamwork.
  • Observance of holidays.
  • Language.
  • Different Learning Styles.
  • The difference in Interests.

What are the causes of diversity? ›

Cultural diversity in the workplace is a result of practices, values, traditions, or beliefs of employees based on race, age, ethnicity, religion, or gender. Economic globalization is one of the driving forces of cultural diversity in the workplace.

Why is it important to teach students about diversity? ›

Diversity reduces prejudice and promotes empathy

Teaching diversity helps students to counter discriminatory stereotypes by understanding a variety of social groups and cultures. That puts them in a better position of making connections from their own lives to those of their peers.

Why is it important to promote cultural diversity in schools? ›

Children who learn about diversity and cultural awareness have better social skills, increased confidence and are often more accepting of people who are different from themselves (read the University of Nebraska's Culture Matters report).

How do you meet the needs of culturally diverse students? ›

7 ways to encourage a culture of diversity in your school
  1. Re-evaluate your teaching materials. ...
  2. Get to know your students. ...
  3. Be willing to address inequality. ...
  4. Connect with families and community. ...
  5. Meet diverse learning needs. ...
  6. Hire diversely. ...
  7. Support professional development opportunities.
Nov 6, 2020

What are the positive effects of cultural diversity? ›

8 Benefits Of Having Workplace Cultural Diversity
  • Increased Creativity. ...
  • Boosts Productivity. ...
  • Various Perspectives. ...
  • Improved Innovation. ...
  • Faster Problem Solving. ...
  • Improved Decision Making. ...
  • Reduced Employee Turnover. ...
  • Helpful Language Skills.

What are the positive and negative effects of cultural diversity? ›

Positive effects can include building a sound knowledge base with in-house talent, which can make for smoother integration of the organization into foreign cultures. One negative effect of cultural diversity in the workplace is the increased tendency of organizational personnel to indulge in interpersonal conflicts.

Why is cultural diversity important essay? ›

Cultural diversity opens the room for cultural exchange which allows people to discuss on universal issues that can have a global impact. However, without commitment, cultural diversity can lead to misunderstandings between a group of people and give rise to awkwardness and cause an imbalance.

Is development greatly affected by language diversity? ›

results confirm the existence of a causal link from common language to trade, i.e. leads to more growth and development.

Which city has the most diversity in terms of language? ›

If you take its size into consideration, Manchester is the most linguistically diverse city in the world. The city's 503,000 inhabitants speak at least 153 different languages.

Why do some regions have greater diversity of language than others? ›

Perhaps how many people can live in a given location also shapes language diversity. Some environmental and social conditions can support higher densities of people. These greater population densities might lead to increases in language diversity in a number of ways.

Why is it important to learn about different cultures? ›

Understanding cultures will help us overcome and prevent racial and ethnic divisions. Racial and ethnic divisions result in misunderstandings, loss of opportunities, and sometimes violence.

What is cultural linguistic diversity? ›

A culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) patient is one who comes from a home environment where a language other than English is spoken and whose cultural values differ from mainstream culture.

How can the use of multicultural texts impact students understanding and acceptance of diverse cultures? ›

Multicultural literature serves as a powerful tool in enabling students to gain a better understanding of both their own culture and the cultures of others. Through this deeper knowledge, relationships can be strengthened, bridging the gap between students from diverse cultural backgrounds (Hseu & Hetzel, 2000).

How are language and culture connected? ›

A particular language points to the culture of a particular social group. Learning a language, therefore, is not only learning the alphabet, the meaning, the grammar rules and the arrangement of words, but it is also learning the behavior of the society and its cultural customs.

What are the challenges of language diversity? ›

These challenges include the feelings that they are not part of class; lack of experience to handle linguistic needs; large number of learners in language classroom; the strong influence of first language; inadequate time to address each learners' needs, and language policy not being supportive.

What is the relationship between language and culture essay? ›

Language shapes our lines of thought and as such, it is the core element that shapes how people perceive the world. The way people communicate is largely due to their cultures of origin. Language increases the rate of ethnocentrism in individuals thus furthering their self-centeredness in culture.

Why languages change as cultures change? ›

The main language changing reasons are because of the entrance of industrial and cultural phenomenons, political, economic and cultural relations arrival of those who educated abroad, geographical factors (having mutual border), taboos and military conflictions.

How do you deal with language diversity in the classroom? ›

How do you Manage Diversity in the Classroom?
  1. Get to Know Your Students. ...
  2. Maintain Consistent Communication. ...
  3. Acknowledge and Respect Every Student. ...
  4. Practice Cultural Sensitivity. ...
  5. Incorporate Diversity in the Lesson Plan. ...
  6. Give Students Freedom and Flexibility.

What are the challenges of teaching a culturally diverse learners? ›

The challenges of the Multicultural Classroom

A brief analysis of these studies indicates that the most important obstacles that multicultural education teachers face today include the following: (1) ethnicity, (2) racism/inequality, (3) different epistemologies/ways of knowing, and (4) different learning styles.

What are the benefits and challenges of diversity in the classroom? ›

Diversity Improves Cognitive Skills and Critical Thinking
  • Exposure to Diversity Helps Students Enter Adulthood. ...
  • Diversity Prepares Students for Citizenship. ...
  • Diversity Promotes Creativity. ...
  • Learn about Students' Cultural Backgrounds. ...
  • Create a Culturally Responsive Learning Environment.
Jul 24, 2019

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