Relationship of language and religion

relationship of language and religion

The topic of 'language and religion' is relatively new to sociolinguistics and the . research on the relationship between religion and language policy: one. The interplay between language and religion has been neglected by linguists and researchers in Iran. Language and religion have a significant relationship. The relationship between language and culture is deeply rooted. Language is used to maintain and convey culture and cultural ties. Different ideas stem from.

The students, when using the learnt language, may use the language inappropriately or within the wrong cultural context, thus defeating the purpose of learning a language. Conflict in teaching styles also stem from the relationship between language and culture. During the past decade, I have taught English in Taiwan and have observed a major difficulty in English instruction brought about by teachers and suffered by students.

Western English teachers who teach in Taiwan bring along with them any or all of their teaching and learning experiences. From this, they bring with them what they imagine to be appropriate teaching methodology.

Pennycook continues by pointing out that student centered learning is unsuitable for Chinese students. The students may not know how to react to this different style of learning.

A case in point, when at the beginning of my teaching career in Taiwan, I found it very easy to teach English, but very difficult to get the students to interact with me while I was teaching. Teaching was very easy because the students were well behaved and very attentive. The difficulties surfaced when trying to get the students to interact with me, their teacher.

At the time, I did not realize that in Taiwan, it was culturally unacceptable for students to interact with their teacher. The Taiwanese students were trained to listen to what the teacher said, memorize it, and later regurgitate it during an exam.

The classroom setting had to be changed to a much less formal setting to coax out student interaction. The language classes taught using this style proved to be most beneficial to the students with an overall increase in the grade point average.


Because language is so closely entwined with culture, language teachers entering a different culture must respect their cultural values. As Englebert describes: As Spence argues, success and failure in a Chinese cultural framework influences not just oneself but the whole family or group. Therefore, teachers must remember to respect the culture in which they are located.

Language teachers must realize that their understanding of something is prone to interpretation. The meaning is bound in cultural context. One must not only explain the meaning of the language used, but the cultural context in which it is placed as well. Often meanings are lost because of cultural boundaries which do not allow such ideas to persist.

As Porter argues, misunderstandings between language educators often evolve because of such differing cultural roots, ideologies, and cultural boundaries which limit expression. Language teachers must remember that people from different cultures learn things in different ways. For example, in China memorization is the most pronounced way to study a language which is very unlike western ideologies where the onus is placed on free speech as a tool for utilizing and remembering vocabulary and grammar sequences Hui When a teacher introduces language teaching materials, such as books or handouts, they must understand that these will be viewed differently by students depending on their cultural views Maley For instance, westerners see books as only pages which contain facts that are open to interpretation.

This view is very dissimilar to Chinese students who think that books are the personification of all wisdom, knowledge and truth Maley One should not only compare, but contrast the cultural differences in language usage. Visualizing and understanding the differences between the two will enable the student to correctly judge the appropriate uses and causation of language idiosyncrasies. For instance, I have found, during my teaching in Taiwan, that it is necessary to contrast the different language usages, especially grammatical and idiom use in their cultural contexts for the students to fully understand why certain things in English are said.

Thank you, and you? This question was very difficult to answer, until I used an example based in Chinese culture to explain it to them. One example of this usage: It was culturally and possibly morally significant to ask someone if they had eaten upon meeting. This showed care and consideration for those around you. Even now, people are more affluent but this piece of language remains constant and people still ask on meeting someone, if they have eaten. If someone in a western society was greeted with this, they would think you are crazy or that it is none of your business.

It has enabled them to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate circumstances of which to use English phrases and idioms that they have learnt. Valdes argues that not only similarities and contrasts in the native and target languages have been useful as teaching tools, but when the teacher understands cultural similarities and contrasts, and applies that knowledge to teaching practices, they too become advantageous learning tools.

Implications for language policy Creators of second language teaching policies must be sensitive to the local or indigenous languages not to make them seem inferior to the target language.

The Relationship Between Language & Culture and the Implications for Language Teaching

English language teaching has become a phenomenon in Southeast Asia, especially in Taiwan. Most Taiwanese universities require an English placement test as an entry requirement Information for Foreigners Retrieved May 24, Foreigners non-native Taiwanese which are native English speaking students however, do not need to take a similar Chinese proficiency test, thus forwarding the ideology that the knowledge of English is superior to the Chinese counterpart and that to succeed in a globalized economy; one must be able to speak English Hu The implications for language policy makers are that policies must be formed which not only include but celebrate local languages.

Policies must not degrade other languages by placing them on a level of lower importance. Policies for language teaching must encompass and include cultural values from the societies from which the languages are derived as well as being taught. In other words, when making policies regarding language teaching, one must consider the cultural ideologies of all and every student, the teacher, as well as the culture in which the target language is being taught.

The American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages has expounded on the importance of combining the teaching of culture into the language curriculum to enhance understanding and acceptance of differences between people, cultures and ideologies Standards One example where as policy makers did not recognize the importance of culture is outlined by Kimin which the Korean government had consulted American ESL instructional guidelines which stated that for students to become competent in English they must speak English outside of the classroom.

The government on reviewing this policy requested that all Korean English language students use English outside of the classrooms to further enhance their language competency.

The Relationship Between Language & Culture and the Implications for Language Teaching |

What they failed to consider is that while in America, English is taught as a second language and speaking English was quite acceptable in all locations, that in Korea, English is taught as a foreign language and the vast majority of the Korean population do not converse with each other in English.

Korean students speaking English outside of the classroom context were seen as show-offs. The particular distinguishing form of speech in a form of speaking that differentiates it from others is the linguistic properties of that particular language. Languages are therefore classified as related or otherwise when they have similar or closely related linguistic patterns and such like. Within Africa, there are many kinds - classifications - of people hence languages. Paul Thatcher agrees that majority of African belong to the division of mankind called Negro15, but he identifies others that include Caucasian group, Nilotic, the Pygmies, San, Khoikhoi and Bantu-speaking people This classification is really a crossing of language and culture.

Seligman17 has a slightly different classification thus: To Paul Thatcher, Linguistically, Africa is the most complex part of the world containing almost a thousand district languages The languages are often divided into: It will suffice to say therefore that there is an inseparable link between language classification and culture which is recognisable all across Africa and even the world at large. In other word it could be safely said that there is inseparable union, and not just a relationship, between languages, religions and cultures.

Non of the trio can be discussed without an allusion into the other two either directly or indirectly. The three are super-imposed sets one on another, with just little free spaces left for any particular one. In a figure presentation, if the trio are represented by the three shapes A, a triangle, B, a circle and C a rectangle, then the relationship will be as shown: Interaction between the Trio.

Because of the many languages in our world, there have always been clashes of language, religion and culture; and a conscious or unconscious imposition of foreign languages and cultures or other people. This came with colonization promotions.

relationship of language and religion

Is there really a holy language of God? Words in every culture, therefore, grew out of the needs and experiences of that particular community. What is not experienced can not be described; hence, there will be no word in the particular culture for the feeling that is not experienced in the culture.

This brings the reality of the problems in interpreting, translating and transliterating as illustrations of the interrelating of language and culture. It must be said that when a language one does not experience an event that is in another language two, then that particular experience can never be translated. Any attempt at interpretation of such will only be superficial, partial and untrue.

It is therefore very important to know that interrelating language and culture are highest within particular languages and their cognate cultures and Religion. Therefore translations of religious concepts such as God, Man, Sin are only projections of language as they exist in their primary culture and not a fair transposition of what the concept may be in the first language or culture.

In this respect it should be clearly stated that it was a misconception that the idea of God could not be conceived in nay particular language, culture or by any community of people. Most of the early missionaries of foreign religions to Africa postulated the idea that some cultures could not perceive the concept of their foreign god, out of ego complex, gross naivety, and complete misunderstanding of both the culture and language of the Africans.

The issue of holy language of God is therefore a false and repressive theology used by proponents of such to deceive and really enslave the uninitiated in servitude. Such a theology makes a ridicule of God.

God understands all of human, regardless of place, colour, language, culture or community. Henry VIII will be actively remembered. Culture Culture is such a comprehensive word whose usage spans across many academic disciplines. The faculties range from basic and general sciences, to Education, the Social Sciences, Management Sciences, the Arts-Humanities and others.

Culture within the sciences brings to mind the art or practice of growing, raising and manner or method of tillage It is the cultivation rearing of a particular product or crop or stock for supply. In this zone, culture is the growing of living material, such as bacteria or tissues, in prepared nutrient media.

It is any inoculated nutrient medium whether or not it contains living organisms Culture in the Social Sciences, Management Sciences, Education and the Humanities are not only closely related but they overlap in matters of definition. Culture, within the conglomeration, includes the act of developing by education, discipline and social experience. It is the training or refining of the moral and intellectual faculties.

Culture is the state of being developed in the sense of enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training.

Culture, in this dimension, includes the intellectual and artistic content of civilization. It is the refinement in manners, taste and thought.

It covers the acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities and broad aspects of science as distinguished from vocational, technical or professional skill or knowledge Closely akin to this is that culture is the body of customary beliefs, social forms and material traits that constitute a district complex of tradition of a racial, religious or social group. Culture is therefore that complex whole that includes knowledge, belief, morals, law, customs, opinions, religion, superstition and art.

Part of culture therefore is a complex of typical behaviour or standardized social characteristics peculiar to a specific group, occupation or profession, sex, age group or social class The group consciousness of culture includes recurring assemblage like artefacts, house types, methods of burial and community ways of life, that differentiate a group of human or archaeological rite from another Alan Bearls28, an anthropologist, asserted there would be disagreement about what was meant by the term culture29 but he went on to define culture thus: It is importance because it brings in the real connection of culture to people and groups, hence to their language which is the focus of this chapter.

It should be noted that the issues of whether culture could be, and is really pure, polluted, accented or adulterated are possible points of consideration in culture. Cultural identity especially in relevance to people therefore includes morality, dress, language, home living, marriage, rites of passage, kingship and many others.

The special interest of this chapter is interrelating religion, language and culture. One can and should therefore ask which one really contains the other? Language is used in expressing religion and culture but language too is cultural.

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There is religious language, there is religious culture, there is language culture and there is culture of language.

All these are shades of the interrelatedness of religion, language and culture. Now the attention can go into examples of peculiarities of interrelatedness within Religion, Language and Culture. Examples of Interrelating There are peculiarities in Christian religion that are not really translatable in other languages and culture. Hebrew language is the original cultural home of Judaism, and Christianity. It is therefore not a surprise that there are many concepts that have their best meaning in the Hebrew language and culture.

Angel is a transliteration of and a?? It is again not translated as the concept does not exist in many other languages and cultures; hence it is borrowed through transliteration.

relationship of language and religion

In English language the concept is missing. In Islam, Arabic is the language of the Koran. The text is therefore that of the Arabic culture. The mode of dressing now transported world wide for Islam is therefore more cultural than really religious.

The propagation of Arabic language as the only language where the text and message of Islam is fullest is understandable, but it makes the others with their own concept of God in their native culture, aliens in the Arabic language. Images and concepts of God are always described in anthropomorphic language regardless of the brand of religion. The gate was used once the big broad gate was closed. Today many take the needle to mean the sewing needle! While thinking about the language for God, the kingship within the community has always influenced the concept of God.

These concepts can only be explained at there very best.