Contemporary english studies society culture and language relationship

Opinions on the Social and Cultural Impact of English as an International Language

contemporary english studies society culture and language relationship

The relationship between language, society and culture is central to the field of of the practical importance of culture (as opposed to music, literature and the. The relationship between language and culture. . society. For example, in a Japanese language class, a teacher may introduce some. Japanese . students can explore and appreciate English literature or gain some knowledge through. English studies (usually called simply English) is an academic discipline taught in primary, English includes: the study of literature written in the English language in the structure and activities of the European Society for the Study of English . religion in the retention and advancement of culture, and the English Major.

Second, to achieve this end, poets call forth all the resources of the language in which they are composing, matching the choice of words, the order of words, and grammatical constructions, as well as phonological features peculiar to the language in metreperhaps supplemented by rhymeassonanceand alliteration. The available resources differ from language to language; English and German rely on stress-marked metres, but Latin and Greek used quantitative metres, contrasting long and short syllables, while French places approximately equal stress and length on each syllable.

Translators must try to match the stylistic exploitation of the particular resources in the original language with comparable resources from their own. Because lexical, grammatical, and metrical considerations are all interrelated and interwoven in poetry, a satisfactory literary translation is usually very far from a literal word-for-word rendering.

The more poets rely on language form, the more embedded their verses are in that particular language and the harder the texts are to translate adequately. This is especially true with lyrical poetry in several languages, with its wordplay, complex rhymes, and frequent assonances.

Remarkable advances in automatic computer translation were made during the s—the result of progress in computational techniques and a fresh burst of research energy focused on the problem—while the spread of the Internet in subsequent decades transformed approaches to, and the ease of, all forms of translation.

Translation on the whole is, arguably, more art than science. The Italian epigram remains justified: Sometimes people want to restrict it. Confidential messages require for their efficacy that they be known to and understood by only the single person or the few persons to whom they are addressed. Such are diplomatic exchanges, operational messages in wartime, and some transmissions of commercial information.

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Protection of written messages from interception has been practiced for many centuries. Twentieth-century developments in telegraphy and telephonyand the emergence and growth of the Internet, made protection against unauthorized reception more urgent, whether of texts transmitted as speech or those sent as series of letters of the alphabet. Codes and ciphers cryptography are of much longer standing in the concealment of written messages, though their techniques are being constantly developed.

Such gains are, of course, countered by developments in the techniques of decipherment and decoding as distinct from getting hold of the key to the system in use.

An important by-product of such techniques has been the reading and interpretation of inscriptions written in otherwise unknown languages or unknown writing systems for which no translation exists. Linear B inscribed tablet, c. It has been pointed out above that the process of first-language acquisition as a medium of communication is largely achieved from random exposure.

There is legitimate controversy, however, over the nature and extent of the positive contribution that the human brain brings, both cognitively and linguistically, to the activity of grammar construction—the activity by which children develop an indefinitely creative competence from the finite data that make up their actual experience of the language.

The importance of social interaction between children and their interlocutors is another significant factor. Creativity is what must be stressed as the product of first-language acquisition. By far the greater number of all the sentences people create during their lifetime are new; that is, they have not occurred before in their personal experience. But individuals find no difficulty at all in understanding at once almost everything they hear or otherwise receive or for the most part in producing sentences to suit the requirements of every situation.

This very ease of creativity in human linguistic competence makes it hard to realize its extent. It is simply part of what is expected in growing up. Different people may be singled out for praise in certain uses of their language, as good public speakers, authors, poets, tellers of tales, and solvers of puzzles, but not just as communicators. Bilingualism The learning of a second and of any subsequently acquired language is quite a separate matter.

Of course, many people never do master significantly more than their own first language.

contemporary english studies society culture and language relationship

It is only in encountering a second language that one realizes how complex language is and how much effort must be devoted to subsequent acquisition. It has been said that the principal obstacle to learning a language is knowing one already, and common experience suggests that the faculty of grammar construction exhibited in childhood is one that is gradually lost as childhood recedes.

AdstockRF Whereas most people master their native language with unconscious ease, individuals vary in their ability to learn additional languages, just as they vary in other intellectual activities.

Situational motivationhowever, appears to be by far the strongest influence on the speed and apparent ease of this learning. The greatest difficulty is experienced by those who learn because they are told to or are expected to, without supporting reasons that they can justify.

Given a motive other than external compulsion or expectation, the task is achieved much more easily this, of course, is an observation in no way confined to language learning.

In Welsh schools, for instance, it has been found that English children make slower progress in Welsh when their only apparent reason for learning Welsh is that there are Welsh classes.

Welsh children, on the other hand, make rapid progress in English, the language of most further education, the newspapers, most television and radio, most of the better-paid jobs, and any job outside Welsh-speaking areas. Similar differences in motivation have accounted for the excellent standard of English, French, and German acquired by educated persons in the Scandinavian countries and in the Netherlands, small countries whose languages, being spoken by relatively few foreigners, are of little use in international communication.

Language, Society, and Culture

This attainment may be compared with the much poorer showing in second-language acquisition among comparably educated persons in England and the United States, who have for long been able to rely on foreigners accommodating to their ignorance by speaking and understanding English. It is sometimes held that children brought up bilingually in places in which two languages are regularly in use are slower in schoolwork than comparable monolingual children, as a greater amount of mental effort has to be expended in the mastery of two languages.

This has by no means been proved, and indeed there is evidence to the contrary. The question of speed of general learning by bilinguals and monolinguals must be left open.

It is quite a separate matter from the job of learning, by teaching at home or in school, to read and write in two languages; this undoubtedly is more of a labour than the acquisition of monolingual literacy. Two types of bilingualism have been distinguished, according to whether the two languages were acquired from the simultaneous experience of the use of both in the same circumstances and settings or from exposure to each language used in different settings an example of the latter is the experience of English children living in India during the period of British ascendancy there, learning English from their parents and an Indian language from their nurses and family servants.

However acquired, bilingualism leads to mutual interference between the two languages; extensive bilingualism within a community is sometimes held partly responsible for linguistic change. Interference may take place in pronunciation, in grammar, and in the meanings of words.

Speaking, signing, and writing are learned skills, but there the resemblance ends. Children learn their first language at the start involuntarily and mostly unconsciously from random exposure, even if no attempts at teaching are made.

Literacy is deliberately taught and consciously and deliberately learned. There is ongoing debate on the best methods and techniques for teaching literacy in various social and linguistic settings. Literacy is learned by a person already possessed of the basic structure and vocabulary of his language. Such facts should be obvious, but the now-accepted standard of near-universal literacy in technologically advanced countries, along with the fact that in second-language learning one usually acquires speech and writing skills at the same time, tends to bring these parts of language learning under one head.

Literacy is manifestly a desirable attainment for all communities, though not necessarily in all languages. It must be borne in mind that there are many distinct languages spoken in the world today by fewer than 1, or or even 50 persons. The capital investment in literacy, including teaching resources, teacher time and training, printing, publications, and so forth, is vast, and it can be economically and socially justified only when applied to languages used and likely to continue to be used by substantial numbers over a wide area.

Literacy is in no way necessary for the maintenance of linguistic structure or vocabulary, though it does enable people to add words from the common written stock in dictionaries to their personal vocabulary very easily. It is worth emphasizing that until relatively recently in human history all languages were spoken or signed by illiterate speakers and that there is no essential difference as regards pronunciation, structure, and complexity of vocabulary between spoken or signed languages that have writing systems used by all or nearly all their speakers and the languages of illiterate communities.

English Language and Linguistics and English and American Literature - BA (Hons)

Literacy has many effects on the uses to which language may be put; storage, retrieval, and dissemination of information are greatly facilitatedand some uses of language, such as philosophical system building and the keeping of detailed historical records, would scarcely be possible in a community wholly without writing.

In these respects the lexical content of a language is affected, for example, by the creation of sets of technical terms for philosophical writing and debate. Because the permanence of writing overcomes the limitations of memory span imposed on speech or signing, sentences of greater length can easily occur in writing, especially in types of written language that are not normally read aloud and that do not directly represent what would be spoken.

An examination of some kinds of oral literaturehowever, reveals the ability of the human brain to receive and interpret spoken sentences of considerable grammatical complexity. In relation to pronunciationwriting does not prevent the historical changes that occur in all languages.

Part of the apparent irrationality of English spellingsuch as is found also in some other orthographies, lies just in the fact that letter sequences have remained constant while the sounds represented by them have changed. For example, the gh of light once stood for a consonant sound, as it still does in the word as pronounced in some Scots dialects, and the k of knave and knight likewise stood for an initial k sound compare the related German words Knabe and Knecht.

contemporary english studies society culture and language relationship

A few relatively uncommon words, including some proper names, are reformed phonetically, specifically to bring their pronunciation more in line with their spelling. Spelling pronunciations, as these are called, are a product of general literacy.

In London the pronunciation of St. Aristotle expressed the relation thus: But it is not as simple as this would suggest. Alphabetic writing, in which, broadly, consonant and vowel sounds are indicated by letters in sequence, is the most widespread system in use today, and it is the means by which literacy will be disseminatedbut it is not the only system, nor is it the earliest.

Evolution of writing systems Writing appears to have been evolved from an extension of picture signs: Other words or word elements not readily represented pictorially could be assigned picture signs already standing for a word of the same or nearly the same pronunciation, perhaps with some additional mark to keep the two signs apart. This opens the way for what is called a character script, such as that of Chinesein which each word is graphically represented by a separate individual symbol or character or by a sequence of two or more such characters.

Writing systems of this sort have appeared independently in different parts of the world. For Abbott, English is not necessarily directly accountable, but rather indirectly accountable given the way it is applied within the institutional setting.

In his view, it is not English per se that impoverishes communities and destroys other languages, but rather it is people and their institutions, which use English.

He therefore sees English as being unfairly singled out as the sole culprit for repression, when it actually serves as an appendage to the policies of educationalists and politicians. Rather than eclipsing and devaluing indigenous languages, Abbott feels that English can exist alongside indigenous languages, in that mother tongue literacy is important and should be equally encouraged in the same curriculum.

Nevertheless, because EIL has been indivisible as an institutional ramification of society and culture, in playing an essential part of supporting the economy that is intrinsically and deliberately unequal to sustain privileged political and economic power, English would seem to be directly responsible, as its role should not be viewed separately from the institutions that support it.

Still, simultaneously, situations are not static, and people are becoming enlightened to some extent nowadays to the liberating potential of EIL and its capacity to exist alongside other languages. In this respect, Wurm1whilst conceding that many small and minority languages have become endangered, and some extinct, notes an encouraging trend where dominant languages, including English, can co-exist with an indigenous language and points out: Abouta widespread revival of ethnic identity feeling started among speakers of minority languages, and governments often changed their language policies to positive ones.

Bi- and multilingualism has advantages over monolingualism in matters of applied intellect, and memory and learning capacities. More languages survive now. These people are in a poverty-trap, whereby it becomes too risky to change course, even linguistically, given that any failure could spell disaster.

There are some, although limited, encouraging indications of awareness of the historical shortcomings of EIL and the need to adapt ELT to play a more progressive role. One example is Sifakiswho suggests a conceptual distinction between norm-bias and culture-bias in ELT instruction. Norm-biased approaches comprise a top-down approach, with non-native speakers trying to rise to the level of the typical native-English speaker, whereas culture-biased approaches begin from the bottom-up, with non-native speakers establishing a standard of communicative fluency that is suitable for educated non-native speakers of English.

Heldquoted in Hadley,4 defines globalization as: Despite the harmful effects of EIL in post-colonial imperialistic core-periphery relations, globalization is also creating opportunities for some ex-colonies to benefit from their historical experience with EIL, and use it for their own economic development. The term may also be used to describe a student who is pursuing such a degree. Students who major in English reflect upon, analyse, and interpret literature and filmpresenting their analyses in clear, cogent writing.

Although help-wanted postings rarely solicit English majors specifically, a degree in English hones critical thinking skills essential to a number of career fields, including writingeditingpublishingteachingresearchadvertisingpublic relationslawand finance. History[ edit ] The history of English studies at the modern university in Europe and America begins in the second half of the nineteenth century. Initially, English studies comprised a motley array of content: A chair of foreign literature was established at the College de France in These three universities were the first major centres of English studies in France.

The first lecturer and later professor of English studies would seem to have been Auguste Angellier. After spending several years teaching French in England in the s and s, he became a lecturer in English studies in the University of Lille in and a professor of English in In France nowadays, literature, civilisation, linguistics and the spoken and written language are all important in English studies in universities.