Tag Archives: Linguistics

“Knowledge of “Culture” Enhances Second Language Learning Abilities”

I took a Linguistics class last semester and psychology was never brought up, so I found it really interesting how Linguistics was brought up in our Cognitive Psychology lecture.

I found an interesting article talking about “Knowledge of “Culture” Enhances Second Language Learning Abilities”. The article is by Ms. Bhanushree Agarwal, a M.A. student in Linguistics from the University of Delhi (http://www.gjms.co.in/index.php/gjms/article/view/674). This woman’s motivation for her article is the classroom sessions of Spanish learning language. She goes in to great detail and talks about how the knowledge of culture helps to learn a second language. She mentions “Culture and language are two sides of a same coin which go together hand in hand be it anthropology, linguistics, or psychology”.ForeignLanguage-Training

She suggests that the first step towards leaning a second language is to know about the culture of the place where that language is spoken, until and unless one will feel connected to that language one cannot learn it. She quoted from Wikipedia with “ differences in the way languages encode cultural and cognitive categories affect the way people think, so the speakers of different languages will tend to think and behave differently depending on the language they use”. She agreed with this quote saying that one word is one language is not necessarily exist in the same form or context in other languages.

Culture is defined as traditions, rituals, thinking of people, set of ideas, behaviors, attitudes that exist within a large group of people (families, countries, ethnicities, etc.). Language learning is more of knowing about the people who speak that language, feeling and thinking in the same way they do. This is why communicative method is one the important tools for learning a foreign language. Learning a new language does not completely change your thinking towards the world but gives you another direction for looking at it and perceiving things.

She concludes with that language is a culture. If learners are being taught language without teaching about the culture in which it operates then students are learning meaningless and empty symbols or they might interpret the meaning in an incorrect manner. She also mentions her own experience when trying to learning Spanish as her second language. She says as she was learning Spanish, she would love to watch movies in Spanish. She also tried to get to know names of famous Spanish actors, singers, painters, and everything because then only she used to feel connected and enjoyed her Spanish learning classes.