Re: Is language necessary for preservation of culture?

Noel Dickover (
Tue, 7 Jan 1997 15:54:49 -0500

In article <>, says...
> Keta Nannithamby wrote:
> >
> > Is the Language necessary for preservation of the culture?
> Important yes, but I wouldn't think it absolutely necessary. Culture is
> preserved in more ways than merely the spoken word, including but not
> limited to food, music, spirituality, etc.
> A related question I would ask is...
> Why do people feel the need to retain "past" culture in their current
> lives? In other words, why do many become threatened by the possibility
> of "culture" or "tradition" fading away or being replaced by current
> equivalents?

Great follow-up. Along with the question of why people feel the need to
"retain" a past culture in a new setting, I think there is a question of
whether it is even possible to retain a culture in a new setting. In
some basic sense, a culture is tied to its surroundings. This includes
the natural environment, the social sturctures, the political system, the
language, the (people's interpretation of their) past history of that
group of people, etc. When a family or group of people moves to a new
place, their way of life will be significantly altered. While one might
argue that the adults who moved from the "homeland" might still act very
similar in their new surroundings, their kids will adopt very different
patterns of interaction. It is not really possible to "retain" their
past culture. The children are, in effect, creating a new, creole-type

Also, often the children might question the adults behavior in the new
surroundings becuase many actions that were perfectly normal in the
adults homeland might not make sense in the new surroundings.


Noel Dickover