Language as an Agent of Cultural Transmission or a Custodian of Culture.

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Before one can discuss language as an agent of cultural transmission or a custodian of culture, the meaning of the terms should be know. Language is the medium through which people communicate their feelings, thoughts and aspirations to one another. The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defines language as

"the system of sounds and words used by human to express their thoughts and feelings". Language is an intergral part of culture and it has the ability to transmit a people's culture. But what is culture? According to the Longman Dictionary of contemporary English, "Culture is related to the ideas, beliefs or customs of a society". Culture includes everything from what a particular group of people eat to their laws and punishments for crimes. Every language represents a thinking. Therefore, language is the most important tool for transmitting culture from one generation to another. In fact, culture and language are thoroughly interwined that loss of one leads to loss of the other. Almost all learning experiences involve language to some extent. It is the primary tool one uses to symbolize what one experiences and thinks. A main purpose of language is to transmit culture from generation to generation. This culture is learned by new members of the group and shared by all members of the group through language. Language is used in different ways by different cultural group, and what counts as appropriate usage of language differs from society to society. Languages have evolved to serve the cultural need of their speakers and serves as the principal vehicle for cultural transmission across generations. Culture influence how language is used and what is to be normal language development.

To succeed within a cultural group, one needs to learn not only the linguistic code of that group but the ways in which language is used. Language is an important marker of identify. One is able to differentiate an Igbo, Hausa or same language, social groups differentiate...
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