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The Importance of Culture in Language Teaching, and the Implications for the Role of the Teacher - Essay Example

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Language and culture are so closely related to one another that neither can we understand the cultural traits of a society without good knowledge of that language nor we can learn that language fully without good knowledge of the background and the cultural values and norms of the society and it will be discussed in this paper…
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The Importance of Culture in Language Teaching, and the Implications for the Role of the Teacher
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Download file to see previous pages Language includes speech, written characters, numerals, symbols, and gestures of nonverbal communication.
Language, of course, is not an exclusively human attribute. Even though they are incapable of human speech, primates such as chimpanzees have been able to use symbols to communicate. However, even at their most advanced level, animals operate with essentially a fixed set of signs with fixed meanings. By contrast, humans can manipulate symbols in order to express abstract concepts and rules and to expand human cultures.
In contrast to some other elements of culture, language permeates all parts of society. Certain cultural skills, such as cooking or carpentry, can be learned without the use of language through the process of imitation. However, it is impossible to transmit complex legal and religious systems to the next generation by watching to see how they are performed. An individual, for instance, could bang a gavel as a judge does, but one would never be able to understand legal reasoning without language. Therefore, people invariably depend on language for the use and transmission of the rest of a culture.
While language is a cultural universal, differences in the use of language are evident around the world. This is the case even when two countries use the same spoken language. For example, an English-speaking person from the United States who is visiting London may be puzzled the first time an English friend says "I'll ring you up." The friend means "I'll call you on the telephone." Similarly, the meanings of nonverbal gestures vary from one culture to another. Whereas residents of the United States commonly use and attach positive meanings t the "thumbs up" gesture, this gesture has...
This essay stresses that some teachers and researchers have found it effective to present students with objects or ideas that are specific to the culture of study but are unfamiliar to the students. The students are given clues or background information about the objects and ideas so that they can incorporate the new information into their own worldview. An example might be a cooking utensil. Students would be told that the object is somehow used for cooking, and then they would either research or be informed about how the utensil is used. This could lead into related discussion about foods eaten in the target culture, the geography, growing seasons, and so forth. The students act as anthropologists, exploring and understanding the target culture in relation to their own. In this manner, students achieve a level of empathy, appreciating that the way people do things in their culture has its own coherence.
This report makes a conclusion that from the above account of culture and its relationship with language, it becomes easy to understand that culture is the most important element in learning the second language. Language is a tool to communicate with people. When we learn a foreign language, we mean to discover new horizons of culture, ideology and the way of life of the people of target language. Hence, without having good knowledge of their culture, the knowledge of their language seems useless because in the absence of cultural awareness, we cannot communicate with them effectively. That is why the study of the culture into the language teaching is so much imperative. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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