The Elements of Culture and Society
Language is a non-material cultural symbol that significantly enhances understanding among human beings. As such, every culture in society has its unique language that is used to help members understand objects and gestures. It is a language that aids individuals who share a culture to express their beliefs and values, hence its importance as a cultural symbol. For instance, it is a language that is used to differentiate power distance in cultures across the world. In China, people believe in the ultimate obedience of persons in authoritative positions and will go to extreme extents to prove the same.
If a manager in a firm allocates Chinese employees a complex project and demands that they submit it in two days, their request will be accomplished, even though at the expense of their well-being. The Chinese workers will communicate even after work hours to ensure the demands of their leader have been actualized (Soomro et al., 2015). This aspect will materialize because there is a high power distance in Chinese culture. However, if the Chinese executive is in the United States and has American workers and allocates them a task of the above nature and within a limited time frame, they will retaliate by expressing their dissatisfaction. American employees in the described scenario have a low power distance culture and will negotiate the time frame for accomplishing the responsibility above because they have a low power distance in their culture. Nevertheless, Americans will use language to express their cultural beliefs and values in the mentioned scenario.
Therefore, language is a critical cultural tool that enhances harmony in societies and allows for individuals of different cultures to share their beliefs. In the absence of language, human beings cannot have culture as they will not formulate and express the meanings of their material and non-material symbols (Tyler, 2008). Language is vital for the survival of cultures across generations and the transference of unique beliefs and values from posterity to another.
Soomro, S. A., Kazemian, B., & Mahar, I. H. (2015). The importance of culture in second and foreign language learning. SSRN Electronic Journal, 15(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2656713
Tyler, S. (2008). Human Behavior and the Social Environment I. Commission on Accreditation.
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How and why does the development of language illustrate the importance of culture and provide evidence for the sociological perspective?
Note: Chapter 4 starts from page 120. Thanks