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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Do you believe that language can influence culture

    I asked my friend what separates Indians, Chinese and Burmese. She innocently said borders. It was a great answer but I wanted something metaphysical. Culture and language were the things settled on. I want to ask rest of you, do you think there are other things despite these that denote an ethnic group? Socio economics must not be considered as economic superpowers like Singapore and Saudi Arabia were pretty poorer than their present day a couple of centuries ago. Ofcourse their neighbors can influence them, but that comes under diplomacy. Common populace though, is far beyond these things. All that they are concerned about are their languages and cultures.

    Let me give you an example. 4000 years ago, all the area from Hungary to China, from Afghanistan to Russia was occupied by Indo-European language tribes. Iterating what my friend said, culture and language are the basic blocks that denote an ethnic group. Do you think culture could have existed before a language does? Language helps people coordinate, hence is valuable and necessary to form a culture. That is something many archaeologists and anthropologists agree upon.

    Back to Indo-Europeans, Indo-Iranian languages came from Indo-European speakers who settled around present day Iran and India. Since we belong to a same language group, we share a similar culture. Zoroastrianism, is almost as old as Vedic Hinduism. Both religions believe that time is cyclic. Both believe that at the end of times a savior would emerge and world would be re-created. Initiation ceremony of Zoroastrianism and Hinduism, is wearing a sacred thread for whole life. Devas and Asuras are present in their pantheon too, but follow a different role. Names of kings of Persia, atleast the Persian names, totally can be mistaken for Indian king's names. Most of all, Iran is a name derived from the word Aryan, the same Aryans that gave rise to North Indian cultures.
  • #698724
    This thread was quite a mouthful, but I couldn't have risked the thread being open ended. Many of the members here, I've noticed, simply reply the title of the thread. I want people to go through the examples I sited, hence the given length.
    I understand that editors don't appreciate such long posts, but this clearly isn't an article material as it is a question. Members please respond accordingly.

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #698731
    Earlier, culture has the confinement of boundaries and geographical barriers. Then travel changed that. Not language.
    Language can influence people's mind. It is only an additional facility. Adam and Eve story, what language was used to tempt Adam and Eve? Instincts and necessities prompted habits and culture. Language also was one necessity and development. It helped stability of a common culture.
    More than language it is technology that influences culture. Culture is lifestyle mainly. Language can help understand culture better. Lifestyle changes bring cultural changes. That is what we are experiencing. It is science and technology that influence culture. Fear and worship celestial objects and happenings by early humans changed much not because of language but because of science and inventions and discovery. There is a sort of new universal culture spreading in all countries. The main reason is technology development. Work timings, work styles, gender styles, food culture. Co-habitation- almost everything has changed across every culture. That is because of technology. The technological development was brought by people of different cultures and different languages. But their inventions and applications influenced everywhere. No culture could offer a block to it.

  • #698749
    Totally correct Venkateshwaran. But Indo-Europeans were a vast spread group. Infact much of Eurasia. Facilitated by their technology, wheels and horse drawn chariots. And technology too, don't you think is something that is facilitated by language alone?

    You are totally correct about worship of celestial beings. But you can clearly see how rituals in a language group are similar. Like how I sited the sacred thread here.
    You are totally right about lifestyle too. But Indo-Europeans were widespread, doing various things, living in various ways. And ofcourse there are local political scenarios too.
    Let me site one more example. Indo-Europeans believe that Hell/Narak is a place on Earth and not somewhere else. Greeks believe that Hades is somewhere in a cave. On contrary to what Hindus today believe, Narak isn't underground. If you read GarudPurana you will know that Natak is a place situated on Earth. Celts believed that Hell/Netherworld was in a forest. I can site more such examples.

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #698753
    Aditya, culture was there even before language. I don't think you can connect them. But yes, language is related to culture. How you speak, the tone, the words and all that is, of course, related to culture.

    You spoke about initiation. Why? Does that thread make one any better? I doubt. And, is it in any way related to culture? Culture is all about what, how, why and who you are and one needs to be aware of the same.

    “It is better to change an opinion than to persist in the wrong one." – Socrates

  • #698758
    Your language tells about your culture. The tone you use, the words you use and the way you pronounce will talk about your culture. It will say how decent you are. When mankind started their journey on this earth, they have no language. They used to communicate through signs and signs were indicating the culture of the person. Our behaviour is an indication of our culture and our mentality.
    always confident

  • #698778
    Yes the language influence their culture to much extent. The Saudi Arab and other Islamic nations were thronging with wealth and prosperity because of the Arabic language and strong belief of their messiah. Even today being a Indian, if you know the Arabic language, instead of giving you the ordinary work as workers, they take you into managerial or front line of the company. Because the language is the basic requirement to communicate well and understand the need and doing the same. And why Hyderabadis are preferred by the Shaiks because they learn the Arabic language so well and connect with them.
    K Mohan @ Moga
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #698806
    Saji, do you have an instance or an example to site for proving culture is older than language itself? If yes please do provide.

    And if you learn about different kinds of cultures around world you will find initiation ceremonies all over. Initiation is formally letting everyone know you are a part of a religion, hence a culture. Christians baptize. Hindus and Parsees intitiate with a thread. Aboriginal tribes of Australia spear their teenagers in thighs. So sacred thread,as you say, is not a part of one's culture? We must also note that religion is a Western phenomena and culture is what we can refer to many practices that exist over the world.

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

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