Sunday, November 20, 2011

CCU : The relationship between Language and Culture


A.      Definition of Language
Language is a human system of communication that uses arbitrary signals, such as voice sounds, gestures, or written symbols.  In its implementation, human can make or named a symbol to sign a fact, but animal can’t do that. Language life in society and used by all people to communicate.
The term language is same with bahasa in Indonesian, lughatun in Arabic, and sprache in French. All of the terms have a broad aspect which is very difficult to understand.  There are some definitions of language from the experts;
·         Chomsky said that language is a set of sentences, each finite length and contracted out of a finite set of elements.
·         Owen (2006:1) explains that language can be defined as a socially shared combinations of those symbols and rule governed combination of those symbols. (bahasa dapat didefinisikan sebagai kode yang diterima secara sosial atau sistem konvensional untuk menyampaikan konsep melalui kegunaan  simbol simbol yang dikehendaki dan kombinasi simbol simbol yang diatur oleh ketentuan.)
·         Acording to Santoso (1990:1), bahasa adalah rangkaian bunyi yang dihasilkan oleh alat ucap manusia  secara sadar.
·         Walija (1996:1), language is the most complete and effective to carry on an  idea ,message, feeling and opinion to other people (bahasa adalah komunikasi yang paling lengkap dan efektif untuk menyampaikan ide, pesan, maksud, perasaan dan pendapat kepada orang lain)
Those are the definition of language from some expert. We can’t judge which one is the best and which one is not. Every expert has a different way to explain it; their concept of language is still same. All of them want to explain that language is a tool for communication. So language is a statement that spoken orally, symbol, or signs that used in our real communication.

B.      Definition of Culture
There are culture definitions from some experts:
·         Edgar Schein: Culture is the deeper level of basic assumptions and beliefs that are shared by members of an organization that operate unconsciously and define in a basic ‘taken for granted’ fashion an organization’s view of its self and its environment.
·         Geert Hoftede: Culture is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. Culture in this sense is a system of collectively held values.
·         R. Soekmono: Kebudayaan adalah seluruh hasil usaha manusia, baik berupa benda ataupun hanya berupa buah pikiran dan dalam penghidupan.
From all of the definition above, we can conclude that culture is a system of knowledge which covers an idea in every human’s mind.  So we can say that culture is an abstract thing. Whereas the realization is the things that create by the human being, as an act or things which is real, for examples : act, language, living tools, social organizations, religion, art and so on.  And all of them are created to make a good society.

C.      Language and Culture Phenomenon
Communication is always accompanied by the interpretation of the meaning contained therein. Meaning is never absolute; always determined by a variety of contexts which always refers to the signs contained in human life in which there is cultural. Because of that language is never separated from the cultural context and its existence was always overshadowed by the culture.
Language is unique and has a very close relationship with the speaker in cultural community, then the analysis of a language only applies to that language alone, can not be used to analyze other languages. For example, ikan in Indonesian language means the type of animals which lives in water. Ikan in banjar language called iwak. But, a word iwak in Javanese means side dish such as, meat, tofu or soybean cake. Why did this happen? Because that language is a cultural product as well as container and transmitter of culture of the language communities concerned. Another phenomenon, the terms “brother and sister” (somebody who bore in the same parents) in English means classification of people based on the gender. But in Indonesian, classification of people commonly according to the age, the oldest called kakak and the youngest called adik.

D.     Relationship between Language and Culture
Human’s live is always changes. Not only their thoughts, but also the norm and value in the society also changed. Because human is a creature who has an intelligence, not like animal. All of that norm and value are branched out to adapt the period. They made it as an orientation of their live. That’s why culture became a “method” that the human need to do on their daily activity. Whereas language is tool of communication which is to express our feeling through spoken or sign which is has a correlation in the real humans live.
Indonesia, have plenty of experience of different culture long time ago. For example, our county has been colonized by Nederland. At that time, they has a big power in this country, they make regulation and everything in Indonesia. They stole our live and freedom. We can’t do what we are going to do, everything is limited. Sometimes they forced us to do something that we don’t want to do. All of Indonesian people at that time were suffering. At that time, there were many Indonesian people can speak Dutch because Nederland brought their culture to this county but Indonesian people at that time didn’t realize it. It’s done because there’s acculturation process from Nederland to Indonesia.  But now there no people can speak in Dutch because our government before forbid us to learn or using Dutch and ask us to use Indonesian language. At the present time, there is a change very much among the public good associated with the culture and language. If the colonial era only certain people can go to school, another case with the era that gave freedom for all people to be able to participate in education for the sake of change towards a better life. The language used was gradually changing to follow the process of change.  
Therefore language is something that can’t be separated with culture. Languages ​​are born because of the culture in certain communities, as well as culture is created through language. So the culture and language are closely linked. Language contained in a society and used as a tool to communicate. Language created to communicate in society. Language appears to significantly influence cultural differences.  It also goes on to suggest that if people learn a second language, they also learn a new way of understanding and viewing the world around them. A group society makes a culture. They interacts each other with it. In the other words language give a big influence to culture in the society. It is generally agreed that language and culture are closely related. Language can be viewed as a verbal expression of culture. It is used to maintain and convey culture and cultural ties. Language provides us with many of the categories we use for expression of our thoughts, so it is therefore natural to assume that our thinking is influenced by the language which we use. The values and customs in the country we grow up in shape the way in which we think to a certain extent. In our big world every minute is a lesson looks at intercultural communication and examines how it can affect interactions between people from countries and backgrounds. As it seems, each culture dictates specific behaviors, visions, attitudes and also stereotypes. Some people can adapt more easily to different intercultural interactions than others and can perceive and accept other people’s vision more easily. 


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