Language Defines Identity, and Creates Creative Writing

Pages: 3 (942 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Communication - Language

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .

Language can be used to keep others out of the group: as when people will speak in the tongue that is not understandable by the outsider. Or, language can be used as a means of inclusion, as by adapting tongues to welcome newcomers.

Language has been shown to have direct impacts on the construction of reality -- and not just socio-cultural reality. For example, Hudson points out that different cultures have different "linguistic strategies" for describing spatial and temporal realities (94). For example, different cultural-linguistic groups have different means of conceptualizing direction. "Some people consistently used a left/right approach, and others consistently used compass-points; very few people mixed the two," (Hudson 94). The difference seems mundane and inconsequential, but it can highlight core ways language shapes not just identity, but reality itself. Language can shape one's physical orientation in space, in the here-and-now. Thus, language may also be able to shape one's psychic orientation and worldview.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Creative Writing on Language Defines Identity, and Creates Assignment

Research in social cognition is ripe with evidence that language impacts intercultural communication; and that translations are inherently problematic because of that fact. Idioms and poetic phrases are easily mistranslated, because there will be no cultural reference points outside of the original. Similarly, something may be "lost" in the translation. What is lost might be simply a matter of lack of experience: such as a person from the Arctic never having seen a palm tree and thus having no word for the fronds or the trunk. However, what is lost in translation can be more impactful in terms of human relationships. Emotions that are considered standard because they have been given a "voice" are legitimized via language. If those emotions are not codified in language, then it would be impossible to translate those concepts. Problems related to historical texts testify as to how important sociolinguistic theory is in shaping reality. Social policy is a product of sociolinguistic theory.

As Sapir states, "language has a setting," (221). Language can never be separated from that setting without it losing something -- or gaining something -- or at least changing in some meaningful way. English is a language that has evolved and grown to accommodate for its cultural intersections. Colonization, globalization, and trade have all morphed English into a great hybrid tongue that borrows from Arabic, French, old Dutch and German. A study of a living language can highlight the ways that language represents a specific culture in a specific historical epoch.

Works Cited

Anzaldua, Gloria. Borderlands: The New Mestiza -- La Frontera. Aunt Lute, 1999.

Chomsky, Noam. Language and Mind. Cambridge University Press, 2006.

Hudson, Richard A. Sociolinguistics. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Sapir, Edward. Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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