Language in Multicultural Society


  • Dr. Neerja Samajdar Associate Professor, Center for Korean Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India



Learning a language, is not only learning sounds, alphabets and grammar, but it also means learning the customs and cultural norms. We all grow up in social circles, we informally learn how to use language expressions, gestures, tones. We get to learn the acceptable behaviors or language use in our society. We all speak Languages. We all imbibe Cultures. Language expresses a particular meaning that represents the culture of a particular social group. We interact with a language and culture becomes its reference point.

Krober(1923) expresses, "Culture, then, began when speech was present, and from then on, the enrichment of either means the further development of the others". Hence, language and culture are complex, yet inseparable form of human interactions. Culture is complexly intertwined with language. Human interactions are defined as communication. The communicative force of culture works not only in representing aspects of reality, but also in connecting one context with another.

According to the linguistic relativity principle, the way we think about the world, gets influenced by the language we use to express it and vice versa. Therefore, consciously or unconsciously, we show certain behaviors and carry certain language habits which are deeply rooted in our culture. Thus learning a language means learning and adopting that culture.  

This paper deals with this very relationship of language and culture with a cross-cultural interaction, how teaching and learning a foreign language plays a role in learning the target culture. This paper will make recommendations for effective culture education in foreign language classroom to develop intercultural competence.


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How to Cite

Samajdar, D. N. (2020). Language in Multicultural Society. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 8(7), 69–77.