Language, Culture and Communication: Introduction

Language, Culture and
Communication: Introduction
Communicative Interactions
Meanings transmitted through
Situational , Social
and Cultural
Situational Meanings:
• Conveyed through the form of
language depending on context
• Example: formal and informal
Social Meanings:
• Transmitted by members of
different social sectors through a
particular use of language
• Example: gender differentiation,
occupation, social class position,
Cultural Meanings:
• When words carry specific symbolic
meaning or cultural specific meanings.
Transmitted by a particular use of language
• Example: language expressions
The act of speaking is action
The importance of the links between
language and culture
• To understand the importance of
human communication
• To understand social and cultural
• Cultural contexts in which
language is used
Cultural Model
A cultural model is a
construction of reality that is
created, shared, and
transmitted by members of a
group (similar to an ideology)
Speech Community
A group of people who speak the
same language, share norms about
appropriate uses of language, and
share social attitudes toward
language ant its use.
Characteristics of Human
• Productivity: the ability to communicate
many messages efficiently
• Displacement: the ability to think in the
past, the future and the present
The Properties of Languages
• Sounds
• --Phoneme: a minimal unit of sound that
functions to differentiate the meaning of
• Vocabulary
• Grammar: rules for combining sounds into
sequences that carry meaning
The Origins of Languages
• 50,000
• Started as paralanguage: non-verbal
communication (body posture, voice tone, touch,
smell and facial movements)
• All languages equally efficient (semantically and
• Semantics: the study of meaning in language,
including the analysis of meaning of words and