CROSS CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING (NAILUL MUNA)

Nailul muna – resume

CCU  Hal 32-35

What I’m trying to illustrate is the pervasiveness of faith and praying. It is a part of the some where praying and remembering happens. It does not occur the home under the leadership of well-dressed men. My aunt can pray by herself with her own spirituality and faith in  her own home. My aunt lays out apples,  mangoes, and oranges daily, and burns incense to her deceased husband and  other relatives. She burn ghost money, a special paper that is burned and that is believed will go to the deceased so that they have a prosperous afterlife.

On the surface we can explicit products and practices : praying, altars with gods and picture  of ancestors, fruit, burning incense, bowing to gods in one’s own home, burning ghost money, older woman who has trouble walking yet who kneels on the ground. Beneath the surface are the perspective and values, which are : Gods have an effect on daily life ; people can connect or reach gods and ancestors by performing certain acts; what a living person does can affect a dead person and the living should always remember the deceased (e.g., burning ghost money) people can should take charge of their own spiritually despite any hindrances (e.g., my aunt’s arthritic knees); tangible items have an effect on gods and ancestors; praying now will help in the future.

What I’ve hoped to capture with my details of the “Dried fish Tale” from Taiwan is that a great deal of cultural information is embedded within a folktale. I was able to draw my own experiences in Taiwan, my learning in class, and my mother the informant to make connections between what is practiced and what is hidden. I only looked at the first  few paragraph of the folktale, yet an abundance of related perspectives come out of it. Clearly there are many more that I haven’t been able to reveal.

This unraveling or the hidden perspectives is an process involving careful reading. The more time I read the tale, the more I’ve been able to make connections and reveal what is underneath.

4)  LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

This lesson on the use of tu and vous in French is one among many that I’ve  learned over the years. Like all French student, I learned the linguistics forms early on, with all appropriate verb endings tu and for vous, but the lessons on appropriate use, or culture, started with my first encounters with  French speakers and have continued to this day. Some may say that this is a relatively obvious example of the intersection of language and culture, but in my experience, with French and Frenh speakers , learning and appropriate use of tu/lvous  has been an ongoing   challenge of figuring out social relationship in the culture .

Once at a dinner party in French with a gathering included a few French high school teachers, I told them of difficulty I had in teaching the “rules” of  tu/vous to student in the United States, since there is no equivalent  in English. I asked them all question  “ How do use tu/vous with the students in your classes?” Naively, I expected them to answer with one voice, providing in simple formula that I could pass on to my students. In fact, there is was variation. One said “ I use vous with the students, and the use vous with me.”  Another said “ I used tu with them and they use tu with me.”  All three teacher worked  in the same school. When I asked the to explain their answer, all talked about how they wanted to present themselves  to students and  how they wanted  the students to perceive them and their role in the classroom. Each had a different view of these roles and relationship. “So much for the teacher student formality theory,” I thought to myself.

Ironically, during the course of very dinner party, we had been using vous with one another, those of us  who had met for the first time. As time passed and as we talked, the ambiance became warmer and more relaxed among us. At some point, I don’t remember exactly when, I notice that everyone had begin using tu with one another  and with me.   I joined in, assuming that we had all now reached the kind of friendlier relationship that called  for tu. We continued this way right through to the late hour when we all said our goodbyes. By chance, the next morning on my way to buy a newspaper in town, I meet one of these people in the street. I greeted her, using the tu form. Coolly, she responded with vous. The color rushed to my face; I ha made another mistake. Obviously, the “ now-we-know-each-othe-so-we-can-use-tu theory” did not apply here.

In this chapter, I examine two dimensions of language and culture: language in the culture, and language in the classroom. I present language from two view points: (1) language as an integral part of the five dimensions of culture; and (2) language to learn culture. In the first, I will show how language cannot be separated from the products, practices, perspectives, communities, and persons of the culture. In the second, I propose that language must be separated from culture in order to learn culture , using the stages of the experiential learning cycle and the cultural knowings as a pedagogical guide.

LANGUAGE AND CULTURE

In the culture, the language is literally everywhere. Anyone immersed in the culture sees and hears and the language all around. In this context, language and culture are clearly fused; one reflects other. Recently, language  have attempted to coin new words to reflects this fusion: linguaculture  (Kramsch, 1989; Fantini, 1995), languaculture (Agar 1994), or language and culture 9Byram and Morgan, 1993). The letter is the term I will use. Language and culture conveys both unification and separation.

To state the obvious, language embodies the product, practices, perspectives, communities, and persons of a culture. To fully reveal, we must examine the language. Language is the product of the  culture, as any other, but it also plays a distinct role. Members of the culture  have created the language to carry at all their cultural practices, to identify and organize all their cultural products, an to name the  underlying cultural perspective in all the various communities that comprise their culture. The words of the language, its expressions, structures, sound and scripts reflect the culture, just as the culture products and practices reflect the language. Language, therefore, is a window to the culture. The  fact that tu and vous exist and French, foe example, tells us that French speakers need this distinction in their culture. They need it in order to establish roles and maintain relationship with other French speakers, which is crucial to enacting their cultural practices.

To practice the culture, we also need language.  We need to be able to express ourselves and communicate with members of the culture as we engage with them in the myriad practices and  products  that make up their  way of  life. moreover, we need to this appropriately, using the right language in the right way, according to the   expectations of the members of the culture.  This is the language of self-expression, communication,  and social interaction,. It is based on direct experience  in the culture and interactions with members of the cultures.

 For instance, the use of tu and vous , in terms of practicing a French-speaking culture, quickly became more than an interesting fact about French language and culture. Meeting and interesting with French speakers immediately call for using neither tu or vous, namely, establishing an interpersonal relationship with them. Nothing could be more ‘daunting’ especially if there is ambiguity about this relationship.

 The end

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