In order to learn a language well, we should also learn about the country as well as the cultures and lifestyles of the people who speak this language. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?
Language and society are as inextricably linked as a chicken and an egg. Language is the verbal expression of culture. I strongly agree that in order to learn a language ‘well’ you must also know the culture and lifestyle of the people who speak that language. In the following essay I intend to support my views with my arguments.
It is true that some successful language learners have never learnt about the culture and lifestyle of the native speakers. Such learners probably have a gift for learning languages and would be successful under any circumstances with regular effort. For most people, however, learning in a social context is the key to learn the language well.
Language is much more than just a means of communication. It is an art, a science, a culture, an identity and a vision. It is a lifestyle. It is like seeing the world through different eyes. For instance, the Eskimos have 24 different words for snow like – ‘aput’ means snow on the ground, ‘gana’ means drifting snow. Snow has a greater impact on their culture than ours and so on their language. So definitely learning about their culture and lifestyle would help understand the value of these meanings.
There are dialects, nuances and idioms of a language which can only be learnt if we learn about the culture and lifestyle of the people. For example, Punjabi is the mother tongue of people who live in Punjab. It has two dialects which mean ways of pronunciation and speaking. The two dialects are quite different and can only be learnt if you spend time with those people or learn about their culture. Then there are the nuances in a language which means subtle shades of meaning which can also not be learnt without knowing the lifestyle of people. Finally it is more enjoyable to learn a language if we learn about the culture and lifestyle. We are more motivated to learn another language.
To put it in a nutshell, I pen down saying that, it is definitely needed to know about the culture and lifestyle of people if you have to learn a language well. It makes learning fun and it helps to understand the dialects and nuances of the language.