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Does our culture determine our use of language or vice-versa?


There are seven billion people approximately in the world living in two hundred and four countries in the world with various languages in each of these countries. If you take a look into the demography of any country, you will know that everyone is of different cultural backgrounds as there are 7,000 different  languages approximately in the world. When we see a stranger by their appearance we start assuming in which language and accent they are going to talk.  Cultural identity is sometimes decimating as some communities can make fun of other communities’ language.

English came from England in the yesteryears. But, today it seems to be fading away from England as its own identity and prestige with the fast advancement and birth of American English. American English widely adopted by most of the people I the world. We very well know that today we all accept English as the globalized language maybe because the British Empire had captured almost the whole world and this conquering left its impact on all those countries to start learning English and thus it became one language that everyone knows today. Perhaps, if it was the Germans, the Chinese, the romans or the Indians would have captured all of the countries which were conquered by the British then today we would not be accepting English as the globally accepted language, whereas we would rather accept, German, Mandarin, Roman or Hindi.

When you are not a native speaker of English language, you’re speech and pronunciation gets tuned to the accents of your native language automatically. It takes immense practice to get your English to sound different from your native language. When the native Arabic speakers learn English it is hard for them to pronounce the letter ‘p’ for them as their language doesn’t have that letter so they have never heard of it before and initially when they begin to learn words with the letter ‘p’ in them they pronounce the letter ‘p’ as the letter ‘b’ as that is the closest for them to the sound of the letter ‘p.’

Today we see many forms of English being born such as Spanglish, Hinglish, Chinglish and etc which are Spanish English, Hindi English and Chinese English respectively.

When you look at the current scenario in the world, the way a person speaks English doesn’t really matter as he is able to succeed no matter what the current maybe by his own capabilities whether his culture reflects in this language or not. The main key element of language determining culture can be seen in the way writers reflect language with their cultural influence in their works and also how culture determines language is shown in movies.

For the matter of fact of movies, taking an example of Phineas and Ferb, where you see Phineas as an American child, Ferb as a British child and Baljeet as an Indian child. The accent which Baljeet has is not how a random child in India would speak English. Thus, by showing to the audiences that the way Baljeet’s character talks in the show is how Indian children talk but this is just how media puts up a wrong assumption in the minds of the people.

Yes, our culture determines our use of language and our use of language determine our culture as well. Culture influences our language as our cultural lifestyles are reflected in the way we speak is by the way you have been brought up and where you have lived. Thus, I would want to end here by saying  the use of language determines  a person’s culture because it is true that with the way a person speaks English it is very evident to the listener to know of the person’s culture.

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