CONTEXT AND CULTURE
Part 2
CULTURE
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What is culture?
It is the conventions and procedures, including
those related to paralanguage, pragmatics, and
genre, together with values, beliefs which lie
behind them, are elements of cultural knowledge.
CULTURE
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What is cross-cultural communication?
It is communication between members of
different national or ethnic communities.
How is it related to Applied linguistics??
It is related in many ways, for example, language
planning, foreign language education, and
translation (In a monolingual setting).
CULTURE
What if the society is multilingual? How is it
related to applied linguistics?
 Clinical Linguistics:
deals with individuals whose communication
needs involve more than one language and more
than one set of cultural procedures.
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Language use in workplace and law courts:
communication involves members of different
communities.
WHAT IS CONSIDERED TO BE CROSSCULTURAL?
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Communication across different groups with
different knowledge and values can be conceived
of as being cross-cultural.
Examples:
Generations
 Social classes
 The two sexes
 Sexual orientation
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WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT?
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The differences between cultures vs. the
similarities between cultures when it comes to
applied linguistics.
With no cultural background, a shared language
can cause instances of miscommunication.
The role of applied linguistics is to raise
awareness of the degree to which meaning of
behavior is culturally relative, thus combating
prejudice, and contributing to the improvement
of community relations and conflict resolution in
general.
DO YOU THINK THE STUDY OF CULTURE IS
CLEAR CUT?
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Of course not!
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There are cultures within a culture.
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Example: The African American culture in an
American Culture.
Culture is constantly changing.
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Example: The loss of titles in addressing people in
England
TRANSLATION, CULTURE, AND CONTEXT
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Look at this example:
Uvazhayemy Gospodin Smith
Russian
Respected Gentleman Smith
English
Or would you prefer
Dear Mr. Smith
TRANSLATION AND APPLIED LINGUISTICS
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It is impossible to translate a text from one
language to another using the same phrase
structure, voice, and meaning at the same time.
A translator has to choose which effect to achieve
through translation (literal translation, or a
smooth, flowing text that communicate the same
meaning).
Culture has to be understood to be able to
translate from one culture to another.
TRANSLATION, CULTURE, AND CONTEXT
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Example:
In English the word “you” can be translated to
French but the translator has to decide between the
following:
 Vous formal second-person pronoun
 Tu
informal second-person pronoun
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Example
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Translation of news headlines between Arabic and
English.
Which one do they use? Why?
The word “martyrdom” or “Shahada”
TRANSLATION, CULTURE, AND CONTEXT
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For translators, decisions had to be made all the
time on what structure to use, what meaning to
convey and effect to be added to get well
understood text. A knowledge of context and
culture is necessary.
Why don’t we rely on Machines to translate for
us?
The human factor that understands culture and
context is missing.
TEACHING CULTURE
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It has long been that the teaching of culture is
related to language teaching. However, there are
differences.
Example:
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If you want to learn Chinese. Then, you already have
some interest in the Chinese culture and you will be
willing to learn it.
How about English?
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Because of its Lingua franca status, English is
viewed differently.
TEACHING CULTURE
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Different ideologies may reject a culture while in
need of learning the language (teaching English
in Saudi Arabia).
Applied linguistics doesn’t interfere in such
issues. But, it would try to give informed insights
to help those who will have the obligation to
make such decisions.
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Context and Culture