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НазваLanguage, thought, and culture (реферат)
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Реферат на тему:


Language, thought, and culture


Culture Bound. Edited by Joyce Merrill Valdes.


Cambridge Language Teaching Library. –


Cambridge University Press, 1998. – pp. 3-6.


In 1911 when Franz Boas published his Handbook of American Indian

Languages, he could not possibly have imagined that one day an excerpt

from it would serve as an introductory article in a book that might be

used in a course on teaching culture in foreign- and second-language

classes; in fact, the teaching of foreign languages at that time was far

removed from his sphere. Yet his work inspired a generation of

anthropologists and sociologists before the applied linguists took up

the subject of the effect of culture on languages and vice versa, and

shaped it to their own use. The process of learning more about the

interrelationship between culture and language within the native

environment led the way to consideration of the effect of a second

culture on second language learning.


The extent to which language, culture, and thought have influenced

one another, and which is the dominant aspect of communication, have

been matters of controversy for three quarters of a century; the

influence of the work of Boas, Sapir, Whorf, Hoijer, et al. is seen in

the amount of both speculation and careful research that has ensued.

Stated perhaps simplistically, the current consensus is that the three

aspects are three parts of a whole, and cannot operate independently,

regardless of which one most influences the other two. To see them as

three points in a constantly flowing circular continuum is surely more

accurate than, say, to see them as an isosceles triangle, with one

dominant over the other two. It is conceivable that the lack of

acceptance of artificial languages such as Esperanto may be explained by

their isolation of language from culture. Thought, in any real sense, is

very difficult to express without an underlying value system understood

tacitly by both the sender and the receiver in a communication, whether

both, one, or neither speaks the language natively, no matter how

scientifically successful the language may be. While it is true that an

artificial language may be a politically wise choice for intercultural

communication because it is offensive to none, on the other hand it is a

poor choice for a more basic reason: No one can feel, or therefore think

deeply, in an artificial language.


The research that has been produced in this century has evolved the

theory that a native culture is as much of an interference for second

language learners as is native language. Likewise, just as similarities

and contrasts in the native and target languages have been found to be

useful tools in language study, so cultural similarities and contrasts,

once identified and understood, can be used to advantage. Devotion to a

language other than one's own is quite common among those who venture

into other languages, most often with the connection in mind between the

language and the people who speak it. One says, "I love French – it's so

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