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留学生作业代写:A Discussion of the Relationship between Language, Thought and Culture

2017-06-24 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Paper范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的paper代写范文- A Discussion of the Relationship between Language, Thought and Culture,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了语言、思想与文化的关系。语言在人类社会中的作用已经从记录信息和传播到文化的一部分演变,这是语言的本质和最基本的定义。而语言也可以通过语言符号来组织信息,从而深刻地影响人类的思想。简言之,语言本身就是一种文化。语言或艺术语言也可以构成具有意象美、情感美的审美特征的文学作品,语言和文字都是文化的载体和体现。

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In the movie Arrival, the heroine Louise found in communicating with aliens and learning about their writing that aliens perceive the world around them differently from human beings. The way the human beings perceive the world in one dimension along the time, so can only perceive the past and present. But the aliens can perceive all the things of the world simultaneously in the timeline with their unique writing system. After the heroine Louise saw alien text, she began to have memories of the future. It clearly expressed that language affect people's thinking mode, and then affects the way people perceive the world. In this article, it is to stress the changing role of language in the human history, the positive role of language by probing how language could influence human thought and create different culture.

The function of language in human society has evolved from recording message and communicating to a part of culture. Before the discussion of the relationship between language, thought and culture, it is important to figure out what is the language. This is the nature of the language and the most basic definition. In fact, people's understanding of the nature of language also has a long and complex process. Language, which exists in social life, is invisible and intangible, and it is very important in people's life. Therefore, the language is seen with magical power and is regarded as a kind of god. For example, what had happened with respect to religious belief in India is similar to what had happened with respect to language of Sanskrit (Jamanadas). Language is created by humans for human use and keeps developing during use. The ancestors of human beings need language as a medium of communication in the social life, and use it for spreading messages expressing ideas, and expressing feelings. Language can be used to do things, such as giving an order to others through words and organizing activities.. In addition to communication, language can also be used to establish and maintain social relationships. The performance of different social roles is realized through assigning the role of communication with the language such as the role of questioner or the role of respondents in the questions and answers. Through the interaction between people, social groups are divided and personal identities are recognized or enhanced. Also, this is interpersonal function of language. In addition, as it develops further, it is the great wealth of human culture.  Every language has its own special structural system and operating mechanism. It is a set of combined sound and meaning, and can automatically adjust the symbol system. This structural system and operating mechanism reflect the way of thinking of a culture. Language itself is a culture. The language or artistic language can also constitute literary works which has aesthetic characteristics with image beauty, emotional beauty. Also, such beauty in a lot of classical literary works and tradition can be passed down, spread, changed and developed due to the existence of words and language. Also it can act on other cultures. Language as the means of transmission and system of other cultures, can express, and spread art, philosophy, religion, morality and other culture system. Language as an intermediary can turn a theoretical system into a material force in practice, to produce wealth and spiritual products. Language can also be a cultural heritage spread to the next generation. Thus, language and words are the carrier and embodiment of culture.

Language could influence human thought in a profound way by making people to organize information with the available language signs in the language system. For a long time, the relationship between thinking, culture and the language is under debate. They are important topics for the understanding of the nature of human cognition (Imai, Mutsumi, Kanero, and Masuda, 70). Language is regarded by some one as only the material shell of thinking and is in a completely passive and subordinate position (Frege 1959). After the emergence of the language and thinking, they are often interacting with each other, with the language restricting the possible way to express thought.  People are born to know the world and recognize the items in the world through language. It is language that helps people form a specific way of thinking and expression. As human understanding of the objective world is realized through language, human understanding of the objective world is bound to be limited by the language and influence. For example, in language and expression about space, there are great differences between different languages. This difference will affect people's spatial cognition to a certain extent. When there are only one reference frame in spatial orientation, it is necessary to master different algorithms when using different reference frame terms to determine the spatial positional relationship among objects. The conversion between expressions is subject to different rules. In this way, the distinction of different reference system forces cognitive processing of people makes the corresponding distinction. Therefore, words of different reference system will force the language speakers to carry out specific calculations. Language concepts also force people to recall and memorize events in different ways. If one see a scene where the boy is to the left of the tree, and after a while one can not convert it to an absolute direction term unless he or she remember the view’s direction. If one remember it with words such as "Boy is standing to the north of the tree", this problem does not occur. This simple fact is of far-reaching significance because it shows that the different ways of expression leads to different degree of lack of information. If the language is used according to the absolute position to express the spatial location of things, it is not conducive to involve the experience of observers in the relationship between things. Otherwise, if the word "before, after, left, right" is used, one can not remember the absolute position and the absolute direction of things. Thus, the spatial location of the things they experience will be organized, encoded, and stored according to different spatial languages that they are accustomed to using.

Language codes the linguistic symbols into a fixed manner, namely grammars, which affects thinking or cognitive processes. One classical theory on the relationship between language and thought is Sapir-Wolff hypothesis. The Sapir-Wolff hypothesis holds that the similarity of human knowledge is based on the similarity between the semantic and structural aspects of natural language, and the human worldview depends entirely or partly on their natural language structure. The Sapir-Wolff hypothesis is divided into two versions: one argues people with different langue view the world differently, which is called linguistic determinism; the other holds that the different structures of different languages affect the way people think about the world and the way the world is divided into different categories, which is thus called linguistic relativism (Pinxten, 1976: 101). The background system or grammar is the regeneration tool for the expression of thinking within brain. It is to arrange and guide the thought, personal analytic and personal understanding of information. The formation of thinking is partly under the influence of the specific grammar. For example, people in order to effectively learn and remember the grammar of a word with a distinction of masculine and feminine features, the memory will be carried out in line with its grammatical visual memory, so that this feature is more prominent in the memory representation. For example, the word "sun" is masculine noun in language of French, and the characterization of the sun will be associated with image or words such as "strength”, and “threat", which is based on the prototypical characteristics of the male. If the word "sun" is feminine, people may tend to characterize it as "warm, nourish everything" and so on. Thus, the category of masculine and feminine features in the grammar in some language may influence their understanding of the real world entity that word represents. It is especially true for the second language learners.

Different languages create different culture as language constitutes social reality. Social construction theory is to give full attention to the language. Social constructionists believe that construction is completed in the society. And during the construction process, language plays an important role.  Social construction theory holds that that the so-called "reality" is not an objective reality, but construction of the community with the language or discourse as a medium. Discourse is the expression of social relations and social existence in a specific community, which is expressed as a whole as a set of meanings, metaphors, representations (Parker, 1992). The discourse itself is the product of the participants in the same culture, which in turn forms a framework or conceptual context for the definition of "reality" and the construction of "reality". Therefore, from the new view language, language provides an individual the category system for the classification of experience and meaning. And it thus generates and constructs the individual experience. Therefore, Language is "constructive", but not "reflective" of the social reality. Social constructivism will be a inverting of relationship between language and the reality. In its view, language is not a representation of society and reality, but rather it constitutes, shapes and constructs society and reality. Human create the language, and language shapes culture by constituting social reality within it.

When language is regarded as a social phenomenon, in fact, it also recognized the language as a cultural phenomenon. Until the 19th century, there is the emergence of scientific study of language, namely linguistics. Language is studied as a scientific object with a variety of different interpretations of different branches of linguistics. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the twentieth century, two anthropologists Boas and Sapir began to emphasize the connection between language and society, history and culture by saying that “Both simple and complex types of language of an indefinite number of varieties may be found spoken at any desired level of culture”(Kay and Kempton 65). The fundamental difference between humans and animals is that people are socially connected and animals do not. Man's social feature is mainly shown in the language and culture of human beings, so language and culture is a unique product of human social activities. In other words, people can only become people in the creating language and culture in the social activities. In a certain sense, these three elements of people, language, and culture are unified in the society. The relationship between language and society laid a solid foundation for people to understand the relationship between culture and language.

Language also reflects the different degree of cultural development. As what have been discussed earlier, language is a social and cultural phenomenon. Culture is involved in all aspects of human life, which is a large system. Then the language is one of the subsystems, but with relative independence. The development of culture has a historical continuity, and this continuity is achieved through the development of language activities. So any language is not static, but in the continuous development. The level of language development is measured by its richness and accuracy, but this does not depend on what type language itself is, but on the country or nation's cultural development level which use the language. Therefore, in general, the degree of the richness and accuracy of a language is basically parallel to the corresponding its level of cultural development. For example, color is a continuous spectrum of material properties, and it is supposed to be the same in any place. However, the expression of colors varies greatly among different types of languages: some languages have more than 11 basic words for color, but in some languages there is less. Some scholars have made some comparison, verification and analysis of this phenomenon. For example, in English and French, there are 11 basic words for color:which are black, blue, brown, gray, green, orange, pink, purple, red, white, yellow (manythings.org 2016). And these countries are relatively developed in terms of science and technology; in Telugu, it has ten color words in which yellow and green are expressed by the same word (omniglot.com). The result shows that the basic word of color in the language is basically consistent with the developed degree of the culture it represents. These phenomena are not accidental coincidence, but can be explained. It is because that more developed a social science and technology, the higher the requirements its classification of various things. If such requirement is reflected in the language, there will be rich and accurate vocabulary. Thus, language is reflecting different degree of cultural development.

The role and influence of language in cultural exchange are also obvious. In some of the early stages of human existence, some cultures were indeed independent and inherited, but more culture are often developed in the context of constant collision, communication, and interaction of different culture. Especially in today's world where transportation, communication and other technological means are rapidly modernizing against the background of globalization, it means that there will be more mutual collision, communication and influence between different cultures. The contact and communication between different cultures is obviously started by language contact. Just as the movie Arrival shows, when human beings are under contact with the foreign civilization, the first thing for the heroine Louise is to learn the language of aliens. The contact of different cultural circles, in fact, is realized through the communication of different language as language is a carrier of culture. Only by mastering the language of others, it is possible to truly understand the culture of others. Thus, when Louise mastered the language of aliens, she can better understand the foreign civilization. Therefore, the exchange between different cultures cannot be separated from language, and language is bridging the communication of different culture.

To sum up, there is in fact a close relationship between language, culture and thought. Language is first created by humans within a community for spreading information and communication. And it keeps developing and evolving with the social and cultural development, reflecting different level of cultural development.  As for the relationship between language and thinking, although language cannot determine thinking, it may affect and shape people's thinking in its own way by providing a set of linguistic materials and rules or grammar to construct the world. Then, it is also important media for people of different culture to understand each other based on its rich connection with thought and culture.

Works cited

Frege, G. Die Grundlagen der Arthmetik. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959.

Imai, Mutsumi, J. Kanero, and T. Masuda. "The relation between language, culture, and thought." Current Opinion in Psychology8(2016):70-77.

K. Jamanadas,. Brahmanism Controlled Masses through Language. 2000

http://www.ambedkar.org/brahmanism/BRAHMANISM_CONTROLLED_MASSES_THROUGH_LANGUAGE.htm

Kay, Paul, and Willett Kempton. “What Is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?” American Anthropologist, vol. 86, no. 1, 1984, pp. 65–79. New Series, www.jstor.org/stable/679389.

manythings.org. English Vocabulary Word List - The Basic Colors.2016

http://www.manythings.org/vocabulary/lists/b/words.php?f=colors-1

omniglot.com . Colours in Telugu. 2016.

http://omniglot.com/language/colours/telugu.htm

Parker, I. Discourse Dynamics: Critical Analysis for Social and Individual Psychology.London: Routledge , 1992. 5 .

Pinxten, Rik. Universalism versus Relativism in Language and Thought. The Hague: Mouton Publishers, 1976.

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