Updated December 21, 2022

Language and Cultural Identity Analytical Essay

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Language and Cultural Identity Analytical Essay essay
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Culture, identity, and language differences and their relations are interesting topics. According to Stuart Hall (1997), he discusses the definitions of culture, identity, and language and explains the relationships between them in his article, ‘Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices’. Meanwhile, culture, identity, and language will be discussed further as well as the relationships between them.

Language and cultural differences are closely related. Hall (1997) explains that shared meaning is produced by culture. Therefore, people who have the same culture, “interpret the world in roughly the same ways and can express themselves, their thoughts and feelings about the world, in ways which will be understood by each other” (p. 2). Language acts as a representation system, which allows human beings to create and share meaning that is a product of culture. In addition, language can embody cultural differences since it signifies practice. Hall emphasizes that subjects have no meaning without a cultural context and shows it with an example of a stone.

For instance, in the Islamic culture, the “Hajar Aswad” is a stone that carries symbolic value. The second relationship is between language and identity. The relation between language and identity is stated in Hall’s article in which he states that identity is formed and constructed by language and culture. According to Hall (1997) meaning is what gives us a sense of who we are and with whom we belong and because of that, the identity of people is represented by other languages. He uses the example of a football match where the national identity of fans is indicated in different practices that are characteristic of certain groups. Language reflects changes in one’s identity and plays a role in representing one’s identity.

The third aspect is the relationship between identity and cultural difference. Hall (1997) argues that identity and cultural difference are also closely connected. On the one hand, identities are built by cultural differences. Hall (1997) points out that culture is a concept that can be understood as different groups of people with different ways of life. Therefore, the function of cultural difference is to distinguish and preserve group identity. On the other hand, people who live in a particular community or social group may have the same way of life, the same worldviews, feelings and ideas. According to Hall (1997) “members of the same culture must share, broadly speaking, the same cultural codes” (p. 2).

Thus, culture can be considered as a kind of identity. To sum up, language builds a certain identity for people and gives meaning to cultural belonging or maintaining a group identity. Hall (1997) states that recognizing the relation between language, identity, and cultural difference is important to understand the individual meaning of each concept.

Language and Cultural Identity Analytical Essay essay

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How does language affect identity?
Language exposes many facets of a person's identity, it determines how we interact with other people . Ethnic and social identity assumes an important part in which language controls how we perceive the world, no matter what the mother tongue is.
How is language linked to cultural identity?
Language is intrinsically related to culture. It performs the social function of communication of the group values, beliefs and customs, and fosters feelings of group identity (Bakhtin 1981). In other words, language is the medium through which groups preserve their innate cultures and keep their traditions alive.
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