Understanding Cultural And Ethnic Identities Cultural Studies Essay

Language is an of import portion of being worlds. Bing able to pass on with each other and non other animate beings differentiates us from other animate beings. This alone feature of being worlds besides is a cause of diverseness in our cultural and cultural individuality. From birth we are trained to larn a basic linguistic communication but as we grow older we pick up linguistic communications from our environment in our pursuit to go accepted by the dominant population. At least that is how I see it. To hold an in-depth position of this research paper, we have to specify what linguistic communication, cultural and cultural individualities are.

Harmonizing to Merriam-Webster, linguistic communication is defined as a systematic agencies of pass oning thoughts or feelings by the usage of conventionalised marks, sounds, gestures, or Markss holding understood significances and the combination of methods to be understood by a community ( 2011 ) . On the other manus cultural individuality is the influence of one ‘s civilization on the development of individuality. Individualist cultures emphasize the importance of personal accomplishment and independency. For illustration, although many Americans, place with their Irish, West African, Chinese, or Mexican roots ( among many others ) , they still call themselves Americans. Cultural individuality is the extent to which one identifies with a peculiar cultural group ( s ) . it refers to one ‘s sense of belonging to an cultural group and the portion of one ‘s thought, perceptual experiences, feelings, and behaviour that is due to an cultural group rank. The following 10 pages will see me travel through how linguistic communication marks our cultural and cultural individuality utilizing my ain experience as an African.

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I was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. Ibadan was the capital of the Oyo Empire and still is the capital of the modern Oyo province. I identity myself foremost as a Nigerian, and a Yoruba, but that is n’t how it was about some 200 old ages ago. Before the 19th century no 1 was called a Yoruba. The peoples of southwesterly Nigeria, the Benin Republic, and Togo who are today referred to by bookmans as “ the Yoruba ” were, until the late nineteenth century, organized into a series of some 15 to 20 independent provinces. ( Christopher ) These political entities were similar but different. The Oyo Empire oversaw all the political entities and therefore the civilization of this people were similar they spoke in a similar linguistic communication but in different idiom. North-West Yoruba is historically a portion of the a»?ya»? Empire. In NWY idioms, Proto-Yoruba /gh/ ( the velar continuant [ E? ] ) and /gw/ have merged into /w/ ; the upper vowels /i I?/ and /a»?/ were raised and merged with /i/ and /u/ , merely as their nasal opposite numbers, ensuing in a vowel system with seven unwritten and three nasal vowels. Ethnographically, traditional authorities is based on a division of power between civil and war heads ; line of descent and descent are unilineal and agnate.

South-East Yoruba was likely associated with the enlargement of the Benin Empire after c. 1450 AD. In contrast to NWY, line of descent and descent are mostly multilineal and cognatic, and the division of rubrics into war and civil is unknown. Linguistically, SEY has retained the /gh/ and /gw/ contrast, while it has lowered the nasal vowels /a»‹n/ and /a»?n/ to /a??n/ and /a»?n/ , severally. SEY has collapsed the 2nd and 3rd individual plural pronominal signifiers ; therefore, an an wa can intend either ‘you ( pl. ) came ‘ or ‘they came ‘ in SEY idioms, whereas NWY for illustration has a?? wa ‘you ( pl. ) came ‘ and wa»?I?n wa ‘they came ‘ , severally. The outgrowth of a plural of regard may hold prevented coalescency of the two in NWY idioms.

Cardinal Yoruba forms a transitional country in that the vocabulary has much in common with NWY, whereas it portions many ethnographical characteristics with SEY. Its vowel system is the least innovating ( most stable ) of the three idiom groups, holding retained nine oral-vowel contrasts and six or seven rhinal vowels, and an extended vowel harmoniousness system. ( Adetugba»? 1973 ) the term Yoruba is said to be given to Oyo Empire by the Hausas who originally called us “ yariba ”

But as the Yoruba people changed from one political power to another, their individuality became stronger. The Oyo themselves had adopted the appellation Yoruba as a manner of self-reference by the early nineteenth century, a procedure likely encouraged by the high position associations of Hausa imperial civilization and Islam. ( Christopher ) and with the being of colonialism and World War II the Yoruba cultural group solidified to go what it is today.

Yoruba give up from what was a group of political entities with different idiom to uniform folk with a linguistic communication Yoruba ‘s call “ Yoruba adugbo ” . The 15 – 20 idioms which were employed a long clip ago became one linguistic communication. Despite the fact that I come from two royal households of two different independent provinces with different idioms, I can merely talk the common Yoruba linguistic communication even my parent have had difficult times seeking to retrieve the single idioms.

As a Yoruba we have certain Norms which most of us are accustomed to for illustration when must bow down when recognizing seniors, we must esteem seniors in every manner possible. Besides we are besides known to be people who are good educated and successful for illustration, M.K.O. Abiola, Obafemi Awolowo and Wole Soyinka. This specific qualities gives Yoruba ‘s certain privileges with which being able to talk the linguistic communication comes to an advantage. While I was still populating in Nigeria, I discovered that people who could talk the Yoruba linguistic communication were instantly considered as Yoruba and would have any intervention that is due to a Yoruba. Even when I came to the United States, I went for a college interview and when she my proverb my last name she merely smiled and started talking Yoruba to an already nervous me and the interview was a success as I felt comfy in my native linguistic communication. What I am seeking to state is that when she saw my last name, her cognition of the linguistic communication helps her to place me as person of the same the folk as herself and farther more from my last name she was able to infer what province I was from and pass on with me in an appropriate manner. A similar instance happened to me when I went to the beach last summer while walking I heard adult male talking it was a adult male whom I did n’t cognize from Adam but when he spoke Yoruba I could place to be a Yoruba adult male and began to speak like we have known each other for a long clip.

Research has pointed to an interesting cultural paradox in the United States. Despite many indicants of weakening cultural boundaries in the white American population ( due to intermarriage, linguistic communication loss, spiritual transition or worsening engagement ) , a figure of surveies have shown a care or increase in cultural designation among Whites

This contradictory dualism is partially due to what Gans footings “ symbolic ethnicity, ” which is “ characterized by a nostalgic commitment to the civilization of the immigrant coevals, or that of the old state ; a love for and plume in a tradition that can be felt without holding to be incorporated in mundane behaviour ” ( Joane ) . Bakalian provides the illustration of Armenian Americans:

For American-born coevalss, Armenian individuality is a penchant and being Armenian is a province of head… .One can state he or she is an Armenian without talking Armenian, get marrieding an Armenian, making concern with Armenians, belonging to an Armenian church, fall ining Armenian voluntary associations, or take parting in the events and activities sponsored by such organisations. ( Joane )

While ethnicity is normally viewed as biological in the United States ( with its history of an cussed cultural boundary based on colour ) , research has shown people ‘s construct of themselves along cultural lines, particularly their cultural individuality, to be situational and change- able. Barth ( 1969 ) foremost convincingly articulated the impression of ethnicity as changeable, reasoning that ethnicity is the merchandise of societal attributions, a sort of labeling procedure engaged in by oneself and others. ( Joane )

As one linguistic communication changes the their impression of ethnicity alteration a s we further learn Harmonizing to Joane Nagel that with this position in head, one ‘s cultural individuality is a complex of the position one has of oneself every bit good as the positions held by others about one ‘s cultural individuality. As the person ( or group ) moves through day-to-day life, ethnicity can alter harmonizing to fluctuations in the state of affairss and audiences encountered. Cultural individuality, so, is the consequence of a dialectical procedure affecting internal and external sentiments and procedures, every bit good as the person ‘s self-identification and foreigners ‘ cultural designations-i.e. , what you think your ethnicity is, versus what they think your ethnicity is. Since ethnicity alterations situationally, the single carries a portfolio of cultural individualities that are more or less outstanding in assorted state of affairss and with mention to assorted audiences.

As audiences alteration, the socially-defined array of cultural picks opens to the single alterations. This produces a “ layering ” of cultural individualities which combines with the ascriptive character of ethnicity to uncover the negotiated, debatable nature of cultural individuality. Cultural Constructing Ethnicity 155 boundaries, and therefore individualities, are constructed by both the person and group every bit good as by outside agents and organisations. Examples can be found in forms of cultural designation in many U.S. cultural communities.

For case, Cornell ( 1988 ) and McBeth ( 1989 ) discuss assorted degrees of individuality available to Native Americans: bomber tribal ( kin, line of descent, traditional ) , tribal ( ethnographic or lingual, reservation-based, official ) , regional ( Oklahoma, California, Alaska, Plains ) , supra- tribal or pan-Indian ( Native American, Indian, American Indian ) . Which of these individualities a native single employs in societal interaction depends partially on where and with whom the interaction occurs. Thus, an American Indian might be a “ mixed-blood ” on the reserve, from “ Pine Ridge ” when talking to person from another reserve, a “ Sioux ” or “ Lakota ” when reacting to the U.S. nose count, and “ Native American ” when interacting with non-Indians. Joane Nagel noted a similar layering of Latino or Hispanic cultural individuality, once more reflecting both internal and external shaping procedures. An person of Cuban lineage may be a Latino in relation to non-Spanish-speaking cultural groups, a Cuban-American with mention to other Spanish-speaking groups, a Marielito in relation to other Cubans, and white in relation to African Americans.

The chosen cultural individuality is determined by the person ‘s perceptual experience of its significance to different audiences, its saliency in different societal contexts, and its public-service corporation in different scenes. For case, intra- Cuban differentiations of category and in-migration cohort may non be widely understood outside of the Cuban community since a Marielito is a “ Cuban ” or “ Latino ” to most Anglo-Americans. To a Cuban, nevertheless, in-migration cohorts represent of import political “ vintages, ” separating those whose lives have been shaped by decennaries of Cuban radical societal alterations from those whose life experiences have been as expatriates in the United States. Others ‘ deficiency of grasp for such cultural differences tends to do certain cultural individuality picks useless and socially nonmeaningful except in really specific state of affairss. It underlines the importance of external proof of single or group cultural boundaries.

An cultural group ‘s cultural individuality involves a shared sense of the cultural characteristics that help to specify and to qualify the group. These group properties are of import non merely for their functional value, but besides as symbols. For illustration, for many Puerto Ricans in the United States, the Spanish linguistic communication is non merely a agency of communicating ; it besides represents their designation as Latinos and their difference from the bulk civilization. Even if Spanish reading and composing ability is absent, the desire to conserve some grade of Spanish speech production ability may reflect a desire to keep peculiarity from the environing society

Take me for illustration ; I did n’t larn my native linguistic communication until I was about 11 old ages old. I went to a really expansive school where everything around was English. Therefore, the lone my society needed from me at that point in clip was English. It was non until I went to populate with my expansive ma that I started to pick up my native linguistic communication. My grandmother lived in a more or less rural portion of Nigeria were most people spoke Yoruba and every bit began to mix with other childs I fortunately began to pick up the linguistic communication as the demand for communicating was evident in other to be portion of the community.

At the single degree, cultural individuality has to make with the individual ‘s sense of what constitutes rank in an cultural group to which he or she belongs. Each individual will hold a peculiar image of the behaviours and values that characterize the group ‘s civilization. In my instance Yoruba ‘s are known to be able abuse people particularly people from the Oyo imperium they are popularly categorized with the term “ agboku dide ” intending person who can diss the dead to come back to populate. While remaining with my grandmother I was non look at to be a alien and safeguard was taken when I come to play with other kids. When I was in a battle I did n’t acquire support because I did non belong, doing my whole group victory at dissing me. But as I started to larn the linguistic communication I began to derive regard amongst my braces and felt portion of the community. Peoples think twice earlier coming to diss me and the sense of belonging came to me.

The term cultural individuality is distinguished here from the related and broader societal psychological construct of societal individuality, every bit good as from cultural individuality. Tajfel and Turner ( 1986 ) define societal individuality as dwelling “ of those facets of an person ‘s self-image that derive from the societal classs to which he perceives himself as belonging ” . Their impression of societal classs is rather wide, embracing any type of group to which people perceive themselves as belonging. Such classs of class include ethnicity, but can run from school athleticss squads to professional designations, from societal nine ranks to gender or race categorizations, and from nationality groups to psychological groups ( for illustration, “ athletes, ” “ yuppies, ” “ swots ” ) . Social individuality incorporates both the individual ‘s cognition of rank in peculiar societal classs and the value and feelings attached to those ranks. Cultural individuality can be defined as the part of an person ‘s societal individuality that is associated with rank in an cultural group ( Joane ) .

Cultural individuality, while linked closely to both cultural and societal individuality, is neither tantamount to them nor coextensive. While both cultural and cultural individuality help the person to reply the inquiry, “ Who am I? ” cultural individuality is the constituent that associates peculiar cultural characteristics with group rank. Social individuality and cultural individuality trade with the symbolic facets of societal classification – the boundary between the in-group and the out-group – and the associated affect. A peculiar person, for illustration, may establish his/her societal individuality chiefly on gender, while his /her younger siblings may concentrate more aggressively on her Polish background. Therefore, the former person ‘s cultural individuality as a Polish-American would be slightly less strong than that of the latter person ( Joane ) .

Using the illustration Joanne Nagel gave, an cultural individuality is merely made possible by our linguistic communication. As one can merely cognize more of one civilization by talking its linguistic communication. No admiration when of all time scientist want to research a certain cultural group they start by first larning the ethnic ‘s group linguistic communication. After that, the scientist and people from the cultural group feel as one and as if they can associate without any barriers.

In decision, I would wish to certify to the fact that that our linguistic communication marks our individuality. the manner one speaks straight refers to where one comes from, for illustration if one speaks Gallic, the individual is from either France or Gallic speaking state but the manner the individual speaks Gallic is ever different and from this one is able to infer if the individual is an Ivorian, Senegalese, a Gallic Canadian or proper Gallic. The same is English we have the American English which differ for case we have a southern manner of speech production and the northern manner of speech production. This systematic agencies of pass oning thoughts or feelings by the usage of conventionalised marks, sounds, gestures, or Markss holding understood significances and the combination of methods to be understood by a community can distinguish us wholly like I am ever asked if English was my first linguistic communication because of my speech pattern and no affair how times I tell them that English is my first linguistic communication, I keep hearing the same inquiry.


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