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In What Way Are Language, Identity And Worldview Interrelated? Intercultural Relationships Essay

1322 words - 6 pages

In what way are language, identity and worldview interrelated? Explain, with examples
from your own experiences, how the understanding of the relationship helps you understand
communication in English and/or (an)other international language(s) in the 21st century?
Identity is defined by Jackson (2014, p. 130) as “our self-concept or sense of self. It
defines how we see ourselves and our place in the world.” Many things can define avowed
identity, or the way in which one perceives themselves. However, factors such as nationality,
the outwardly appearance and names or titles can change, not only the way that one perceives
themselves, but also the way in which they are perceived by others. This is known as ascribed
identity. Just as there are many factors that influence identity, there are also many types of
identity. Personal identity consists of personal characteristics such as age, gender and
nationality, but this alone does not define an individual- a person can also have a social identity
based on their religion, occupation or personal relationships; they can have a cultural or ethnic
identity based on cultural values and beliefs; they can also have language identities based on
the language that they speak. While these are vastly different forms of identity, they can also
become interrelated as they stem from the same person.
Language and identity are linked based on the fact that language influences some aspect
of an individual’s identity, specifically in terms of a person’s ethnic identity. Ethnic
background will often influence the language that a person speaks. Along with this, ethnic
identity is often interlinked with a person’s cultural identity- and cultural identity is linked with
social identity- an aspect of identity that includes a person’s language and/or accents. Language
and culture are inseparable, as many languages cannot be completely understood without
adequate understanding of the culture that it represents. This is a chain of links that could go
on and on as many aspects of a person’s identity can overlap with another characteristic in
different fragment of their identity- therefore, the links between language and identity are
undeniable.
In the same way that language and identity are connected, worldview is also a result of
a person’s identity. Worldview is defined as the overall perspective from which one sees and
interprets the world, or how one understands reality and the meaning of life. This view stems
from a person’s subjective experiences, the way that they were raised and additionally, the
language that they speak. Wittgenstein (1973) stated that “the limits of my language mean the
limits of my world”. This is supported by Humboldt’s (1999) belief that “thought and
language…are one and inseparable from each other”, and also by Sapir, who believed that
language and thoughts are in relationship of mutual influence. This is due to the fact that it is
impossible to express or even think thoughts without language, and as...

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