Language: Culture and Background Knowledge Reading: Y. Kachru

Language: Culture and Background Knowledge Reading: Y. Kachru

Language: Culture and Background Knowledge Reading: Y. Kachru & L. Smith, Chapter 2 Kachru & Smith, Chapter 2: Context of Culture Speech (communication) happens in the context of culture in a particular community (society). Chapter 2 Context of Culture attempts to connect the three components: 1. Culture;

2. Society; 3. Speech Context. 2 1. What is Culture? A. Geertz (1973) Culture is a historically transmitted pattern of meanings embodied in symbolic forms by means of which people communicate, perpetuate, and develop their knowledge about and

attitudes toward life. 1. What is Culture? B. Quinn and Holland (1987) Culture is what people must know in order to act as they do, make the things they make, and interpret their experience in the distinctive way they do. 4 1. What is Culture?

C. Bloch (1991) Culture is that which people must know in order to function reasonably effectively in their social environment. Social environment consists of social organizations and behaviors that are instruments through which people relate to each other. 5 1. What is Culture? D. Kachru and Smith (2008)

Culture is both historic and immediate; It shapes action - verbal as well as a variety of other actions - and in turn is shaped by them; It is a dynamic process rather than a static, monolithic entity with a stable existence. 6 Kachru & Smith, Chapter 2: Context of Culture So, culture is, All-inclusive, all aspects of life. Metaphors:

-A filter through which people see the world. -The raw dough from which each person fashions a life that is individual and satisfying. 7 Kachru & Smith, Chapter 2: Context of Culture Culture is Universal - Everyone belongs to one or more cultures; - It is the template for rituals; - It is the way to organize and interpret experience; - It simplifies living by giving structure to daily

life, minimizing interpersonal stress. 8 External and Internal Symbolic Systems of Culture External and Internal Symbolic Systems of Culture - External symbolic systems that vary among cultures include dress, personal appearance, and make-up.

- It may be acceptable to some cultures and families for young girls to wear make-up, while others find this inappropriate and suggestive of premature sexuality. 9 External and Internal Symbolic Systems of Culture Internal symbolic structures include beliefs

about natural phenomenon, luck, fate, ceremonies, work, play, medicine, health, hygiene, politics, religion, sex roles, social and economic class, food, childrearing, age-related activities, and the importance of the arts and humanities. 11 2. What is Society?

A. Ginsberg (1932) A society is a collection of individuals united by certain relations or modes of behavior which mark them off from others who do not enter into those relations or who differ from them in behavior. B. Linton (1936) A society is any group of people who have lived and worked together long enough to get themselves organized or to think of themselves as a social unit with well defined limits. 2. What is Society?

C. Mandelbaum (1970) Society is a social system consisting of groups whose members together perform certain functions that they do not accomplish as separate groups. The groups are thus interdependent, and they are interdependent in a particular way. That is to say, the participants in each group act in regular, anticipated ways towards members of other groups and toward the external environment. 3. What is Speech Context/Situation?

Human actions, including verbal interactions, take place in institutions defined by societies, such as the institutions of family, workplace, education, worship and others. S-P-E-A-K-I-N-G Setting both physical and psychological Participants speaker, hearer, addresser,

addressee Ends goals, purposes Act acts (statements of fact, questions, requests, invitations, thanks, etc.) Key mood, joking, serious, etc. Instrumentalities speaking, writing, text message, e-mail, language, etc. Norms of behavior, of language use, cultural values, etc.

Genres business letters, business meetings, casual conversations, fairy tales, recipes, term papers, etc. The Structure of Background Knowledge Schemata (scheme): structures in memory that remain active and developing A and B were going shopping when they had an accident. = They were hit by a car.

Frames: principles of organization that govern events in which they are subjectively involved School: teacher, student, assignments, desks, etc. Scripts: a standard sequence of events that describes a situation Im thirsty -> Would you like something to drink? Scenario: knowledge of the settings and situations behind a text Thanksgiving = turkey,

family, holiday, closures, etc. Example Before carrying the rice up into the barn, the time arrives for making merit at the threshing floor. They make a pavilion and set up a place for the Buddha image and seats for monks at the threshing ground. In the evening of the day appointed for making merit at the threshing floor, when the time arrives monks come and perform evening chants at the threshing ground. (Rajadhon 1968)

Schema: knowledge representations of rice farming Frame: knowledge of components of making merit Script: knowledge of event sequences of making merit Scenario: actions associated with making merit Class Group Exercise: Kachru and Smith conclude in the chapter that labels such as American or British or Indian or Thai culture are referred to as if they are monolithic

entities with no internal variation. That, however, is not true. Each one of these cultures represents variations based on factors such as region, ethnicity, age, gender, class, social status, education, and profession. Class Group Exercise: It has been said that the US mainstream culture (middle class) includes the following: 1. Individualism (individual freedom) 2. Independence and self-reliance 3. Equality

4. Ambition and industriousness (hard work) 5. Competitiveness 6. Appreciation of the good life 7. The perception that humans are separate and superior in nature Class Group Exercise: Discuss possible variation(s) (or degree of variations) towards each value in the so called mainstream American culture. Where possible, draw on the readings by

Cunha and Hong Kingston to illustrate how the authors either assimilated to or resisted those mainstream American values.

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