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The Cultural Styled Approach Essay


When referring to linguistic repertoires, Gutiérrez and Rogoff (cited in Duranti 41) point out those linguistic repertoires emanate from the concept of practicing and taking part in the cultural practices of various social groups.

In this context, we understand that an individual’s background experiences and interests regarding a given cultural group is the basic knowledge that prepares them to solve interpersonal conflicts and equally prepares them to understand various forms of language (Duranti 41). Cultural variation is a good approach adopted by Gutiérrez and Rogoff because it is an improvement from the deficit model approach which basically pits one culture above the other (Duranti 41).

In a more liberal sense, the cultural variations approach is quite distinct, in the sense that, it compares one culture and another, based on the similarities and differences new cultures have in relation to the dominant culture (Duranti 41). These factors are embedded in linguistic repertoire, in the sense that, languages can be compared and profiled according to the similarities and differences they expose when compared to each other.

Moreover, in the study of language, this approach can be quite beneficial, in the sense that, it better encourages the accommodation of foreign languages and cultures as opposed to the deficit model, because to a large extent, the deficit model introduced the concept of superiority or inferiority of a given culture in comparison to another (Duranti 41).

However, the cultural approach of analyzing linguistic repertoires, adopted by Gutiérrez and Rogoff (cited in Duranti 41) also has its problems, in the sense that, it can be sometimes applied in overly static ways and similarly, in an overly categorical manner, such that it beats the real essence of its application.

This approach is not essentially beneficial in the general analysis of linguistic repertoires because as Gutiérrez and Rogoff (cited in Duranti) admit: “Treating cultural differences as traits, in our view, makes it harder to understand the relation of individual learning and the practices of cultural communities, and this in turn sometimes hinders effective assistance to student learning” (40).

Curiosity

In analyzing language repertoires within various cultural groups, it is important to note that curiosity plays a big role in the understanding of various language varieties. Curiosity is therefore a major component of building language repertoire and it is basically the drive that encourages students and other people to learn different language components among various cultural groups (Meyer 109).

From this analysis therefore, we see that curiosity builds a person’s interests, and even without much push, students who are extremely curious in practicing or learning a different culture are equally bound to learn various facets of linguistic repertoires quite fast (Meyer 109).

Curiosity does not however, occur as a unique branch of language learning, but rather a branch of holistic learning; meaning that other practices in different cultures are also learnt in the process and language is just one of them. Curiosity is therefore the root of all understanding of language learning (Meyer 109).

Interest in other Places

An interest in other places definitely implies an interest in other cultures because different places hold different cultures and languages. Having an interest in other places would actually entail transcending geographical boundaries to learn global cultures and practices. However, it is appropriate for Gutiérrez and Rogoff (cited in Duranti 41) to note that there is an inherent problem of overgeneralization when different cultures are analyzed.

This is an inherent problem in linguistic studies (as well) because various cultures usually have slight differences in the way their people carry out their daily activities. No matter how similar different cultural groups may seem, it becomes increasingly important to understand the underlying differences of these cultural groups, especially with regards to their language differences. An interest in other places therefore means an interest in other cultures and consequently an interest in language repertoires.

Family

Families act as a basis for the continuity of linguistic repertoires, in the sense that, linguistic attributes acquired by previous generations are normally passed down to younger generations. Family therefore acts as an important segment of building up linguistic repertoires because it is the basic component of cultural practices, since families essentially uphold cultural practices in the first place (Gupta 64).

However, in the analysis of family as a basic component of linguistic repertoires; it is important understand it in exclusivity because as Gutiérrez and Rogoff (cited in Duranti 41) note, it is an important element of cultural analysis because as their article notes, there is a danger in over-generalizing personal traits and cultural traits.

Such personal traits can be best conceptualized in the family setup, and from a broader sense; family backgrounds denote the misconceptions of cultural practices. Family setups are therefore quite essential in the analysis of linguistic repertoires because families also basically define the kind of linguistic varieties that are acceptable for people of a given cultural background. A cluster of various families therefore act as the bedrock which linguistic varieties are formed.

People with Different Styles of Speaking

Analyzing people with different styles of speaking is also an important factor of influence in the analysis of linguistic repertoires because different styles of speaking represented by these people actually represent the different styles of language varieties (existent within a given culture). An analysis of the various types of people speaking in different styles is therefore an analysis of different linguistic styles and an analysis of the various types of linguistic repertoires.

It is essential to observe different groups of language speakers because they can explain the various contexts of language varieties existing within different cultures. From a general perspective, the different linguistic styles to be analyzed also provide a platform for future researchers (and authors) to compare and analyze the various linguistic styles existent within a given culture. The same can also be said of the existent cultural practices.

Communities

Often, various cultures are a representation of the practices of different communities encompassing a given culture. Different communities have different linguistic features and therefore various linguistic repertoires can be evidenced in terms of grammatical compositions, syntax development, word order and such like features (Benor 3). The same linguistic repertoires can also fail to apply in various communities, even though they may essentially hail from the same culture.

Also, in analyzing cultural practices with the aim of determining linguistic repertoires, an emphasis of communal segmentations helps in the understanding of linguistic repertoires, in the sense that, students can be able to learn the level of openness within the community; the demographic distinctiveness the community possesses; the literacy levels; a community’s communal origins and the literacy levels of the community members (Benor 3). These variables always go a long way in understanding the linguistic repertoires existent within a given cultural setting.

Geographical Boundaries

Geographical boundaries within various cultural settings are bound to affect how different people react to various linguistic repertoires. Most importantly, it is critical to note that various geographical regions have different dialects and this fact amounts to a shift in ideological composition of different people within different geographical regions.

When analyzed from a dialectological point of view, we can see that in the past, people who existed within different geographical areas exposed a number of differences in their phonological and morphological compositions and therefore a difference was equally noted in their linguistic repertoires (Benor 3). In the analysis of cultural linguistic repertoires, it is important to dig deeper into the influences of geographical separations between different cultures because it represents variations in language and behavior which are cotteritorial.

Knowledge on Foreign Language

Knowledge on foreign language is also critical in understanding linguistic repertoires because it reiterates the commitment to comprehending various linguistic varieties within a given cultural group (Ager 5). In a deeper level, knowledge of foreign language helps in the understanding of various language varieties within a given cultural setting because it provides a deeper insight into how a given culture works and how their people think (Ager 8).

Also, if there is evidence of information regarding a given culture (in a document format), and in the language of the said culture, it is easy to comprehend such documents in their own language when a person has knowledge of such language. This is an important tool in understanding linguistic repertoires.

Works Cited

Ager, Simon. Why should I learn a language? 2009. Web.10 February. 2011.

Benor, Sarah. Framework for Comparative Analysis. 2010. Web.10 February. 2011. Web.

Duranti, Alessandro. Linguistic Anthropology “A reader”. London: Wiley-Blackwell, 2007.

Gupta, Anthea. The Step-Tongue: Children’s English in Singapore. Singapore: Multilingual Matters, 1994. Print.

Meyer, Bernd. Multilingualism at Work: From Policies to Practices in Public, Medical and Business Settings John. New York: Benjamins Publishing Company, 2010. Print.

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