Provide a 2 pages analysis while answering the following question: Language, Culture and Identity. Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide. An abstract is required. Language, culture and identity:
Language is the fundamental means of communication between people. People express themselves and introduce themselves to the world through language. Tan says, “I know this for a fact, because when I was growing up, my mother’s “limited” English limited my perception of her” (Tan). Therefore, language of a person sets his/her identity. Culture of an individual can be identified through his/her accent, behavior, and mannerism thus making language, an integral characteristic feature of the individual’s cultural identity.
Accent of speech varies from language to language, thus becoming a customized feature of language. Culture an individual belongs to reflects in the language to such an extent that it can be judged from his/her pronunciation and tone of speech. For example, Sikhs speak Punjabi. The accent in which Punjabi is spoken is a special feature of this language. Accordingly, when Sikhs tend to speak English, their accent remains Punjabi. Likewise, when English people speak Urdu, they speak it with an English accent. Arabs can not pronounce the alphabets “D” and “T” without touching the tip of their tongue with the inner side of the front teeth. This essentially changes the sound of these alphabets from the way they are spoken by English people. When a person utters D and T this way, his/her ancestry can be traced to Arabs without doubt. Likewise, “Chicanos and other Spanish speakers also shift ll to y and z to s” (Anzaldua). This tells that language is a very prominent feature of an individual’s culture and represents an individual’s identity.
People develop their behavior according to the ethical standards that vary from culture to culture. Actions which are considered requirements of ethics in some cultures may be understood as misbehavior in other cultures. For example, in the West, it is normal and more importantly ethical for a man and woman to shake their hands to greet each other whereas the same may be quite unacceptable to a Muslim woman. Therefore, when a woman does not shake hand with a man in any society, it essentially depicts the origin of her behavior in the Islamic culture. Islam forbids women and men to shake hands with one another unless the two are father-daughter, mother-son or brother-sister etc. Therefore, language does not always have to be verbal in order to define an individual, body language also speaks volumes about his/her cultural identity.
Culture teaches mannerism that becomes a means of identification of an individual. Germans are very critical about their deadlines. They make every effort to make sure that the work they get is done within the deadline. To them, the work loses its worth if it is done correctly but after the deadline. Unlike them, Indians are not as critical about deadlines. Thus, if a migrated employee is too critical about deadlines in an American firm, his/her country of origin can at least be guessed as Germany.
Both verbal and body language are the most fundamental traits of any culture. It is one of the foundations upon which the whole culture rests. People get identified by their accent, behavior and mannerism.
Anzaldua, Gloria. “How to tame a wild tongue.” 1987. Web. 7 May 2011.
Tan, Amy. “Mother Tongue.” 2011. Web. 7 May 2011.
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