Learning the Culture to Understand People Better

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1. Do you think you need to learn the culture of people along with their language to communicate with them? Why/Why not?

I’d like to add, that learning the culture of people along with their language is necessary not only to communicate with them, but also, at the beginning to understand all the pecularities of the language. Culture and language are two strongly interrelated notions. The basis of culture is the language. And on the contrary, the language is the reflection (“echo”) of the culture. Learning a language is much more than grammatical rules, vocabulary, pronunciation and phrases. In essence, it is the process of achieving the ability to communicate with people of other cultures, and to do that, you must be able to understand the complexities which exist beyond language itself. It is this priceless knowledge which helps second language learners to understand native speakers and the proper way to express themselves in certain situations while avoiding the possibility of conveying the wrong messages. The forms and uses of a given language reflect the cultural values of the society in which the language is spoken.  Second language learners need to be aware of culturally appropriate ways to address people, make requests, agree or disagree and express gratitude, especially since their own customary behavior and intonation may be perceived differently by members of differing cultures. It is essential to understand in order to become a successful communicator. As noted by the National Standards in Foreign Language Education Project, through the study of language, students gain a knowledge and understanding of the cultures that use that language. In fact, students cannot truly master a language until they have also mastered the cultural context in which the language occurs. Some people who studies multiple languages don’t care about learning the culture behind those languages. This is really surprising to me on many levels...
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