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Posted on March 16th, 2013, by

Language is one of the main elements of culture, an important means of communication.
Now in the world there is no language that would preserve the memory of early stages of human development, and only based on the data of many sciences we can study the origin of language. In the whole, the problem of language and its origin is paid much attention by many scientists of different field, who try to explain the emergence of language through the study of natural languages that define human existence. Human intelligence, together with the social relations between people, finds its expression in language. Consequently, the language is an instrument of the mind, a mean of people communicating with each other. It is thought and language that are a particular forms of human life and are equivalent to human culture. The historical formation and development of language can be interpreted as an endless process of cultural development through the succession of different cultures.

Linguistic processes are closely connected with the development of the ethnic group. Ethnic groups have a number of symptoms, among which are the biological (racial unity, commonality of origin), geographical (the unity of territory, climatic conditions), cultural (material and spiritual culture, language), psychological (especially mental make-up, ethnic identity), social (particularly social economic and socio-political life, family relations). Among ethnic signs, which are relatively stable, scientists distinguish ethnic language and ethnic identity. Language is not only one of the main ethnic group omens, but also serves as a factor in the formation of ethnic identity. (Tomasello 2008)

In real life, ethnic groups are in constant contact with each other, and as a result of their interaction appear different languages – bilingualism (or multilingualism). Linguistic community is recognized by researchers as one of the major ethnic take, as well as the condition of formation of the ethnic group. In the process of social development language of one ethnic group (created by and for this ethnic group) can be used by others. Sometimes the result is a massive bilingualism (multilingualism), as well as the transition of the ethnic group to another language, and linguistic processes are often happening within the processes of consolidation, assimilation, inter-ethnic integration.

There are different variants of how and why ethnicities use languages of other ethnic communities. Most of the people enjoy one of the most widely spoken languages – English, Spanish, French; being created for one ethnic group, these languages are used by other nations, but each people makes it specific. The most common variant occurs when the linguistic interaction of ethnic groups – the transition of the ethnic group to another language. Some of the ethnic groups, when go to another language, preserve their ethnic identity – Jews, Armenians. There are also people who do not have their own statehood, which settled on the vast territory, but not dissolved in an ethnic environment and preserve the native language (Roma).

The transition of the part of ethnic group to another national language is going through the emergence of mass bilingualism. It may exist not only as a temporary phenomenon during the transition to monolingualism, but also as a stable universal phenomenon that characterizes the ethnic group. In the latter case, the main part of the ethnic group uses to communicate internally native language, and for inter-ethnic communication is used language of interethnic communication. However, there are nations which are characterized by massive bilingualism or more, while all the languages are used in all spheres of society, including law and an active mass of multilingual nation (Swiss, Luxembourgers).

Thus, the language is one of the most significant characteristic of the ethnic group and its culture, its communicative tool, that plays a huge role in the formation of ethnic communities. It stands as one of the mechanisms of ethnogenesis, as well as ties between generations separated by time boundaries. In the process of being developed ethnicity and language, which is all the more closely merged with ethnic group and became its sign.

Works cited:
James, Joyce E. The Language Culture Connection. Singapore: Regional Language Centre, 1996
Kramsch Claire J. . Language and culture. Oxford University Press, 2003
Risager K. Language and culture: global flows and local complexity. Multilingual Matters, 2006
Tomasello, M. Origin of Human Communication. MIT Press, 2008.

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