A brief analysis of Chinese and English thought patterns Kaplan, Robert. (1966) Cultural Thought Patterns in Inter-Cultural Education. Language Learning 16 (1-2), 11-25 Different approaches • Cultural differences in the nature of rhetoric (verbal communication; discourse) supply the key to the difference in the way language is understood. • Rhetoric is a mode of thinking or a mode of “finding all available means” for the achievement of a designated end. • Rhetoric concerns itself with what goes on in the mind rather than what comes out of the mouth. • Most language education is based on grammar, vocabulary and sentence structure. Logic as a cultural phenomenon • We have primarily been contrasting language according to lexical and grammatical differences. • Is language tied to culture or is culture tied to language or are the separate? • Logic which is the basis of rhetoric comes from culture; it is not universal. • So, rhetoric is not universal either. Languages’ interpretation of the world • Every language offers to its speakers a ready-made interpretation of the world. • Also called a metaphysical word-picture. • The differences in different world vies result in such things as the positive answer to a seemingly negative question. • Which came first, the world view or language? metaphysics • The branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality, including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value. Difference in perception • • • • English says: “I see him.” The Eskimos say: “He appeared before me.” The first one indicates that the seer is in control. The second one indicates the importance of the event and the seer is less in control. • The Anglo-European thought pattern came from the Greeks like Plato (427-347 B. C.) and shaped by the Romans, Medieval Europe (6001600) and later Western thinkers. • Eskimo history is about 5000 years old and includes people that live around the North Pole in Alaska, Canada, and Russia Different tools to work with • Why can’t we just switch vocabulary and grammar and communicate freely in a second or third language? • Because we lack the rhetoric and sequence of thought of the second language before we are trained. English essay structure • Introduction states your premise, • then you use facts and examples to back it up, sometimes with subdivisions, • and then you draw a conclusion. • All to usually prove or argue a point. • This is linear thinking. Asian roots • Most East Asian countries were heavily influenced by Chinese thought, for example, Korea, Japan and Vietnam • Ancient Chinese thought is based primarily on Confucius (551-479 BC) • With some influence by the Daoists: Laozi (6th century BC) and Zhuangzi (350-300 B.C) • Buddhist thought starting at the end of the Han Dynasty (about 200 AD) Modern Asian thought • Modern thinking--and therefore writing-has been influenced by German, Russian and English writers. Asian writing style • Approach by indirection. • Paragraph development goes in a widening circle • The subject is described in terms of what it is not rather than what it is. • It is never looked at directly. • This results in what is perceived as a lack of clarity and directness. Definition of college education College is an institution of higher learning that gives degrees. All of us need culture and education in our life. If we receive no education, it would be like living in hell. One of the greatest differences between humans and animals is that man has made rapid progress in education. The higher the divination, the higher the educational level. So college education is very important which goes without saying. Conclusion • We are not making value judgments. • These are just different ways to write about the world based on the way people perceive the world. • Bilingual individuals need to be aware of these difference • Teachers need to make there students aware of these differences. • In short, contrastive thought is part of contrastive analysis of any two languages. Conclusions continued • Kaplan’s article also discussed – Semitic languages, a group of related languages whose living representatives are spoken by more than 467 million people across much of the Middle East, North Africa and the Horn of Africa that include Ugaritic, Phoenician, Aramaic, Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic, South Arabian, and Maltese. – Romance languages: Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Latin, the language of ancient Rome. The six most widely spoken standardized Romance languages are Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Romanian, and Catalan. There are in total about 25 Romance Languages now in existence. – Russian. • These different patterns should also make it clear that not everyone outside of Asia thinks in a linear manner. • A graphic rendering of the different thought patters can be seen this way.