The Divide Between Language and Culture

When I was in senior high school, I tried to learn the German language. I learned the all of the rules but something wasn’t quite right–a more intense comprehension of the cultural meanings that goes past words and phrases. This became apparent after I befriended a German foreign exchange student, Stephanie. When she talked to me, I was able to fully grasp the literal definitions of her speech but often couldn’t detect latent meanings. As she explained, “You speak German just like a textbook and not like a person.”

Language and ethnicity are merged in fundamental ways. According to Michelle Wiesenthal, a Baltimore Translation Services workers, Language is the collection of symbols that users of a certain nationality use to communicate their thoughts, ideas, perceptions, and ideals with one another. Once created, a language is applied to strengthen a feeling of cultural identity and connectedness. As a result, languages mirror the societies that created them and permit individuals to perpetuate those civilizations while also supporting a feeling of joint individuality-for instance, “We are Japanese” or “We are Italians.”

Additionally, people use languages differently according to the degree to which they think that other individuals share their national morals, behavior, and ideals. Think about the difficulties that a close friend of mine, a Washington D.C. French Translation lecturer Naomi Richard, encountered when she initially arrived in America. In her native country of Ghana, elaborate cultural norms regulate how desires are conveyed, accepted, and turned down. Men and women believe this information is shared by other people. Thus, for illustration, when undesirable requests are received, respondents frequently decline them utilizing terminology that in America would indicate agreement. Kenyans refrain in this way due to the fact it maintains the equilibrium of the encounter; requesters aren’t coldly denied, and so they don’t become too disappointed. These phrases, however, are supported by sophisticated expressive cues that suggest “rejection.” Requesters and rejecters-educated by their expertise in local customs-recognize that these are actually denials.

In the United States, not surprisingly, individuals usually don’t assume that other people possess similar awareness and thinking, so they “spell things out” even more explicitly. One Portuguese translator suggests, “When individuals refuse requests, to illustrate, they will often come right out and state no, then give an explanation of why they can’t offer the request.” Obviously, Naomi Richard and those with whom she interacted upon first moving to in the States were constantly baffled. She rejected certain requests by responding “OK,” only to discover that persons assumed she was agreeing rather than refusing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *