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  • Writer's pictureTEDGA

Dialogue of Language and Culture

Have you ever heard the saying that the Inuit languages have a lot of words for snow? Well, that is a debatable issue in linguistics. It is debatable because we do not specify which Inuit language we are talking about. A language by definition is not just a communication tool that we use, it is also a tool that we represent our identities, nationalities, even professions. What is important in this context though these identities have contains cultural markers. Culture and language are a part of a whole without one the other would be meaningless. Let’s give an example from Turkish when we think about the word “kına” which is Turkish for henna, as a dictionary meaning its definition would be something like “it is a natural cosmetic product to dye hair and hands”, and that definition would be more or less similar in any dictionary in different languages. However, if we consider it within the Turkish culture, it is more than just a natural dye. In the Turkish context, it is a ritualistic part of the wedding ceremonies. This is just a simple example of the concept. In various parts of the world, more interesting examples are present as well. For example, some cultures use actual directions; North, East, West, South instead of familiar; left, right, front, and back. This is a huge topic in Linguistics but shortly we could summarize it as Languages are the products of human life and culture is where we are living these lives.

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