Language as a Cultural Indicator

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Language as a Cultural Indicator
There are over 3,000 languages in the world. The major language groups are: Chinese| 950 million speakers|
English| 550 million speakers|
Hindi | 350 million speakers|
Spanish| 330 million speakers|
Portuguese| 180 million speakers|

Language and Culture
Language is a powerful expression of culture and is closely associated with identity. * Language is a means of uniting people.
* Language is also a means of controlling people. (Gaeilge) * Language is the principal cultural medium. The traditions and values of a cultural group are transmitted through its language. Case Study- English

* The growth of the British Empire led to the spread of the English language to many parts of the world. * In many former colonies, English is the principal language spoken. This is the case in North America, Australia, many parts of Africa and of course, Ireland. * The growth of the USA as a world power in the 20th century increased the dominance of English. * The popularity of American and British film and television promotes English throughout the world. * English is the language of the internet, science and aviation. This establishes its importance on a worldwide level. * English was and is the language of commerce, hence its popularity. English is now the working language of the EU. * The French feel threatened by the increasing dominance of the English language. The Académie Francaise monitors the use of French to prevent the use of “franglaise”. * English as it is spoken in Ireland is changing. This is evidence of the powerful influence of the media in promoting a new way of speaking English. * English language programmes and newspapers communicate culture as well as language. Television programmes like “Friends” promote modern values and trends. Due to digital television, internet links and the dominance of English, a global culture has emerged. Focus on Gaeilge

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