LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
By: Muhammad Fathurrohman, M.Pd.I
(Guru Sang Dewo (SMPN 2 Pagerwojo) & Akademisi UIN Maliki Malang)
Language as a medium of communication cannot be separated from society. It is as linogren (1973 : 310) say that: There is no society without language, and there is no language without society. People who live in a society create culture that is reflected in their language. Moreover, the exact nature of the relationship between language and culture is an interesting one. Culture, in this case, is what a person must know in order to function in a particular society. So that one is able to operate in a manner acceptable to its members. Thus culture is socially acquired knowledge. The necessary behaviors are learn and do not come from any genetic endowment. As a part of culture, however, language reflects anything important in the culture within a society exists. Therefore we cannot talk about a language without knowing the society who produced it. Aspects of language reflect the fact that shows that there is a close inters relationship between language and society.
According to Allan G.Johnson that there would be no culture without language, the collection of symbol (words) and rules they use through which we mark and interpret perceptions and communicate with one another. Without culture, human would be hard-pressed to survive. As a major part of culture, language is more than a system of communication, for it plays important additional parts in the conduct of social life.
Gumpers in Giglioly stated that people tend to use their own terminology in groups communication and the majority language for interaction with outsiders. It means that group of people will prefer the terms which may be only understood by their own and common terms to communicate with people outside their groups.
People utter outside the words in language and every word can influence others. We can feel happy, disappointed, angry and misunderstood because of people utterances. Thus, language plays an important role in human interaction on building a good or bad relation with others.
In order to maintain a good relationship with others, people have to have deep understanding about society. This understanding can be reached by acquiring language, culture and thought, because culture, thought, and language are three parts as a whole, and they can’t operate independently. The philosopher, John Locke, some centuries ago proposed precisely this view: that the relationship between language and thought is such that thought is independent of language, with language deriving from thought. Given such a relationship, language can thereby fulfill its primary role, which is as an instrument for the expression or communication of thought.
Language as a part of culture closely tied up with the social structure and value system of the society. One of the long claims concerning the relationship between language and culture is that the structure of a language determines the way in which speakers of that language view the world.
Language as a medium expression is produced by the culture and adequate for the needs of the people who use it. Therefore, a word in a language maybe created as the need arises. Related with phenomenon of taboo, Wardhough acknowledge that “language is used to avoid saying certain things as well as to express them. Certain thing or not said, not because they can’t be, but because people don’t talk about those things”.
Some people think that the members of the lower class, being uneducated, use profanity because of ignorance that perhaps they do not realize that such words are vulgar taboo. Certain words in all societies are considered taboo. They are not to be used, or at least, not in polite company. The word taboo was borrowed from Tongan, a Polynesia language, in which it refers to acts that are forbidden or to be avoided. When an act is taboo, reference to this act may also become taboo. That is, first you are forbidden to do something then you are forbidden to talk about it.
Human beings are social creatures that life in society and do social interaction. They socialize with other as humans have basic drive and basic needs that cannot be fulfill independently. In order to fulfill those needs, people have to cooperation with others. On this cooperation, they need language as a medium of expressions. Besides they need social control, so that they are able to live in harmony. The source of social control, in this case, is social values that are used as moral standard of behavior for the members of society.
The social value is manner and sense of appropriateness agreed by society as basic to formulate something that is considered as right and important. From that definition we can see that human beings in their life are guided by values as standard to decide whether something is considered as good or bad, right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate. Therefore society encourage, even force its members to obey good social values so that they can live in harmony.
According to Robert MZ lawang there are two oriented of social values they are motivational oriented and value oriented. The last of the two refers to standards that influence and control the individual’s choice toward certain goal and tool by social value within a society exist. Moreover, there are three dimensions in the social value oriented of human’s action, those are:
1) The dimension of cognitive
The dimension of cognitive, on this case, refers to standard that is used in receiving or refusing any cognitive interpretation about situation in accordance with one’s personal purpose.
2) The dimension of appreciative
The dimension of appreciative refers to emotional reactions, either positive or negative, toward certain situation (e.g. the existence of English words which are considered as taboo to talk in any circumstances).
3) The dimension of moral
The dimension of moral refers to standard to decide whether something (e.g. an action word) was considered as good or bad in accordance with the religious situation of philosophy.
Persons in system social Indonesia stated that the changing of social system, in particular society caused by some factors, such as (1) The changing of social condition continually (2) The changing which comes from inside and outside that society (3) Related with social structure.
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