Language and Cultural Identity Analytical 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.


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Language and Cultural Identity Analytical Essay. (2020, Sep 08). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/language-and-cultural-identity/



How does language affect identity?
Language plays a significant role in shaping one's identity by influencing their thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, and by providing a means of communication and connection with others who share similar linguistic and cultural backgrounds. It can also serve as a source of empowerment or marginalization, depending on the context and the degree of proficiency one has in a particular language.
How is language linked to cultural identity?
Language is linked to cultural identity in that it is one of the ways that culture is transmitted. It is also a marker of identity, in that people who speak the same language are often seen as belonging to the same group.
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