Language and Tradition

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Tradition has been defined as ‘the total set of beliefs, attitudes, customs, behaviour, and social habits of the members of a particular society’. Our culture informs us what is appropriate, what is regular, what’s settle forable when dealing with other members of our society. Our culture lets us know what to expect from others, what they will say in certain situations, and the style in which they will say it. It lets us know how they will act, and how they will react. It’s the knowledge of the ages handed down to the present. We’re affected by it, and it is affected by us. Culture is in a relentless state of flux, altering incrementally, altering the way we speak and the way we think, the way we act and the way we react.

That tradition is indelibly linked to language is undeniable, for language is a vehicle by which it is transmitted, probably its chief vehicle. One observable way in which language acts as a vehicle for, or a transmitter of, tradition is in the usage of idiomatic language. Idiomaticity is arguably the most typical form of language, by way of percentages of the whole. Idiomatic language, most often found within the form of phrases consisting of more than one word, often doesn’t conform to say the grammatical structure of non-idiomatic language. For example, in the phrase, ‘at massive’, as used in the expression, ‘the general public at large’, or in the sentence, ‘The escaped convicts had been at massive for two weeks before being recaptured.’, the preposition ‘at’ appears before what appears to be an adjective, ‘massive’. This seems to be in direct contradiction to the ‘regular’ place such a part of speech occupies in a grammatically correct sentence, viz. earlier than a noun, resembling in the following examples, ‘at home’, ‘at work’, ‘on the office’ et al. The phrase, ‘at massive’ showing on the web page in isolation from any context that may make its meaning more transparent, has an opaque quality the place semantic that means is anxious, and perhaps still retains a few of its opacity of that means even within the context of a sentence.

To members of the community utilizing such idiomatic language, there’s tacit agreement on what these phrases mean, despite their opaque quality. Idioms are cultural entities.

To learners of a international language, any international language, culture imbues language with this opacity. The word, table is easily understood and learned, but what concerning the phrase, ‘to table a motion’? That phrase carries a cultural value that’s not readily appreciated or apparent to a learner. The that means does not reside in the individual words that make up the phrase. The verb, ‘to table’ should initially seem nonsensical to a learner. Likewise, ‘a motion’ should appear like an anachronism, having discovered that motion is a synonym for the word ‘movement’.

Each culture has its own collection of phrases which are peculiar to it, and whose meanings usually are not readily apparent. Have been this not so, George Bernard Shaw’s adage that America and Britain are nations separated by the same language would haven’t any ironical appeal. Ostensibly, we speak the same language, the British and the Individuals, however both varieties use many different words, and have many alternative phrases which might be typically mutually unintelligible, and typically uttered very differently. Generally only the context in which a phrase or word is used serves to disentangle. Generally even the context is just not quite enough. Typically we think we now have understood when we have not.

This factors out another feature of tradition sure language; that it exists within a larger entity, that localized varieties exist. What is understandable to an individual from one area could also be unintelligible to 1 from another. If this is true within the community of a particular set of users of 1 language, how a lot more must it hold true to learners of that language. Many a learner of English, feeling herself proficient, has gone to England only to seek out the language at worst totally unintelligible, and at finest emblematic, but still not fully comprehensible.

The ‘cultural weighting’ of any language, in the form of idiomatic phrases, is understood by members of that cultural community, or maybe more appropriately, and more narrowly defined, by the members of that particular speech community, and conversely, isn’t readily understood by those that come from one other tradition or even another speech community, albeit ostensibly within the identical culture.

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