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Chapter 6 Language & Cultural Identity. Cultural Identity The association of language with a person’s sense of self. A natural connection between language.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 6 Language & Cultural Identity. Cultural Identity The association of language with a person’s sense of self. A natural connection between language."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 6 Language & Cultural Identity

2 Cultural Identity The association of language with a person’s sense of self. A natural connection between language spoken by members of a social group & that group’s identity (by accent- voc- discourse patterns) / speakers identified as members Membership to a social/discourse comm. Draws: – Strength & pride – Social importance – Historical continuity

3 How do we define which group one belongs to? – In isolated homogeneous communities, Members are: who share common cultural practices and daily face- to-face interactions. – Difficult to define boundaries in modern open mixed societies / Clip # 28 – E.g. Old (Trobrianders) tribes vs. modern open societies 1/ Group Identity: Group identities based on race Not easy to define: – Many genetic differences E.g. between members of the same White/Black race

4 2/ Regional identity equally difficult to define E.g. population of France/ “a multinational state.. It is one nation, the product of a long history” 3/ National Identity: – Never clear-cut/ citizenship – E.g. Turkish passport vs. Turkish national identity

5 One language = one culture – (not always true) – Individuals assume several collective identities/ are likely to change over time. - e.g. Immigrants (Turkish)/ ‘long distance nationalism’/ sense of self linked to country of origin- political views…/ nostalgia ‘old country’/’long distance nationalism’/ language differs/ ‘imagined community’

6 Cultural Stereotypes Our perception of someone’s social identity is culturally determined. Diffusion: – Stereotypes are formed by extending the characteristics of one person (or group..) To all. – E.g.  ‘All Americans are individualists’  ‘All Chinese look alike.’  Clip # 29

7 Examples 1. When one’s impression is focused by the classificatory concepts prevalent in his society – E.g. The official Singaporean ethnic categories: Chinese, Malay, Indian

8 2. Societies impose racial & ethnic categories only on certain groups. – E.g. Danish women vs. African-American boy/ he used ‘race’ to identify his cultural identity but they depended on language. 3. The complex language- cultural identity relationship – E.g. Chinese speak languages/ dialects that are mutually not understood but still identify themselves all as ethnically Chinese.

9 Language Crossing as Act of Identity One way of surviving culturally in immigration settings – E.g. Arabs in Paris- Pakistanis in London – Code-switching/ to change footing/ to show solidarity or distance with other discourse communities By crossing languages, speakers perform cultural acts of identity – E.g. two 12-year olds mexicans in the American school/ ‘piano’ – Clip # 31 – Intonation/ mock or distance

10 Linguistic nationism The association of one language variety with the membership in one national community. – E.g. The French Academy (francophone) – Clip # 33 – The intellectual language of scientific research monitors proper English use in scientific circles by Anglo-American journals. Nation states try to overcome the tendency to separate the identities of subcultures by refocusing national identity either around a national language or around the concept of multiculturalism. / mutual linguistic understanding/ cultural homogeneity Also the use of ‘one and only one language’ can be to exclude outsiders & as a sign of political allegiance./ a sign of monolingual pride ‘I had ten years of French and still cant speak…’/ suspicion around bi-multilinguals

11 Standard language, cultural totem Standard language: – The way national identity is expressed – Created from a multiplicity of dialects – One variety of language is selected/ taught in national educational systems/ protected by official grammars & dictionaries/ indicator of insiders & outsiders Barbarism: – Denotes any use of language that offends contemporary standards of correctness. – E.g. Ancient Greeks / ‘barbarian: an alien from an inferior culture’/ when language is not Greek – National Academies/ misuse of standard language considered a moral offence/ e.g. ‘butchering’ or ‘slaughtering’ a language.

12 Language acquires a symbolic value beyond its pragmatic use and becomes a totem of a cultural group. Exercise of national or colonial power/ when one language is imposed over others. – E.g. English over Spanish in New Mexico/ spread of English as an international language

13 Linguistic & cultural imperialism Linguicism: – ideologies and practices which are used to impose power between groups which are defined on the basis of language. – E.g. English linguistic imperialism (a type of linguicism)/ regarding language as a source of power/ using it on a world-wide scale ‘globally’. – Clip # 34 Linguistic rights have to be upheld – Threat of the monopoly of one language over the others – One to one relationship bet culture & language – Each language is unique/ the ppls unique means for comprehending the world

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