Culture and Language

The discussion in The God Hypthosis gave me the Idea of this thread as i thought this may be a new thing to some members.

I think that the culture influence the tone of the language a lot. I am not here talking about how inferior or superior any language is but how it is communicated within different sections of the society.

As i am an Indian and also know a little about the English, i see a very clear cut difference at communication level, means, how differnt sections of the society tend to address each other.

There is a difference in using verbs and pronouns.

For example, In english, father says to son - Are you going?
Now, from this sentence, one cannot understand the difference of the status between the two persons talking as the sentence would be the same even if the son says the same to the father.

But, in Hindi, one can. The verbs and the pronouns will be changed according to who is saying to who.

In Hindi, there are two different sets of verbs and pronouns. One is for equals and the second one is for superiors.

The pronoun You has two versions in Hindi; Tum and Aap.
Tum is common and can be used amongst equals like friends, spouces and addressing to inferiors like youngs, children and subordinates. In the opposite way, Aap is for elders and superiors, like parents, boss, teachers etc.

The same is for verbs too. There are two verbs for going in Hindi; Jao and Jaeyay. Jao is common like Tum while Jaeyay shows respect.

There are many other differences also but i would not go into that.

The point i want to mention is that Hindi makes a distinction while addressing different sections by showing respect.
I do not know about other languages, but as far as i know english, it does not.

Why it is so?
And, how other languages deal with it?

with love,
sanjay

The informal form of ‘you’ in English is ‘thou’. It’s no longer used.

Most European languages have informal and formal versions of ‘you’.

As far as i know, Thou is used only in devotion, especially for the God.

Is there any such case in the verbs too?

with love,
sanjay

It was used when the Bible was translated so that’s where most people see it.

I’m not sure what you mean. Are there specific verbs in Hindi which are used only in formal and informal situations? Or are you talking about the conjugation of a verb? (Example : to be - thou art, you are)

It is not just Hindi, it is also in many other eastern languages. An interesting study was done in South Korea, their language has the same, subordinate/superior levels (possibly even deeper than Hindi).

They where having trouble with an excessive amount of plane crashes. They switched the languages spoken on planes, by the pilots, and it fixed all their problems.

I would argue that culture does not just influence language, but the reverse, as well. In french, a person does not earn a pay check like in English, instead, they win their paycheck. This influences how people understand what is going on. It is an aspect of why English countries are fight against the theories of communism harder. Earning includes as stronger aspect of ownership, winning involves mostly being lucky. (Please note, this is an argument I have heard and understand, I speak effectively no french and cannot confirm this.)

This also could simply be a chicken or an egg thing. That which came first is still not really the beginning.

Is that really true?

The Nazis fought in Spain and invaded the USSR. They are probably the most dedicated anti-communists.

And on another note… England helped spawn communism. Both Marx and Engels lived in England and were inspired by the horrors of English capitalism/society.

The Nazis were communists. They were opponents in the same way sports teams are opponents, they play for different teams, but it’s still the same game.

Marx spent a couple years in france. And Engels traveled all over Europe. They drew much from the communes that were starting in France.

Marx was German, as was Hegel his philosophical mentor.

Regardless, Marx did not create Communism. He just took over already existing Communist groups, because he was an arrogant dick, and thrust himself to the front… Many believe that Engels had more to do with the writing noted historically as Marx’s.

(Again, I must emphasise this is a theory I heard, from someone that spoke French, along with many other languages, spent time in France and has a postgraduate degree in cultural marxism. The theory made sense to me, but is not something I’m really capable of defending well. So take it as such. I’m putting it out there for the thoughts, not as a truth.)

Eric: The Nazis were communists. They were opponents in the same way sports teams are opponents, they play for different teams, but it’s still the same game.

K: ah, no. The Nazis weren’t communist. No one and I mean no one has ever before you, said that Nazis were communist. That just isn’t true.

Eric: Marx spent a couple years in france. And Engels traveled all over Europe. They drew much from the communes that were starting in France.

K: Marx traveled extensively. He was basically kicked out of many countries and finally landed in England. Engles
was a son of a very wealthy man and was for his fathers business stationed in various places.

E: Marx was German, as was Hegel his philosophical mentor.

K: yep.

E: Regardless, Marx did not create Communism. He just took over already existing Communist groups, because he was an arrogant dick, and thrust himself to the front… Many believe that Engels had more to do with the writing noted historically as Marx’s.

K: there is some debate as to who did what in regards to marx and engles writings.

(Again, I must emphasise this is a theory I heard, from someone that spoke French, along with many other languages, spent time in France and has a postgraduate degree in cultural marxism. The theory made sense to me, but is not something I’m really capable of defending well. So take it as such. I’m putting it out there for the thoughts, not as a truth.)"

K: I am learning German right now and there is a split between the you, informal and formal.

Kropotkin

I do not wish to get into a debate on this, in this thread. The original topic is very interesting and does not need this diversion. Start a new one and I’ll engage, but this is a thread on a different subject. Consider my comments towards French, Marxism, etc., withdrawn.

Right on, but is the informal/formal distinctions severe enough to make a dent in culture and vice versa?

Sadly, I suck at languages, every attempt to learn a new one has failed. I wish you luck, and thank you for the comments.

The distinction in societies is usually between an upper class and lower class, but more recently has been used to promote pejorative connotations.

The “you” in English is from the concept of the masses being mere sheep. The English word for sheep is “ewe” (pronounced exactly the same as “you”. And that is why there is no singular plural distinction, sheep don’t deserve distinction (just as in older times, slaves had no formal names).

Noblemen in England were never to be addressed as “you”, but rather “my Lord” or “Thy Lordship”. If one nobleman is talking to another he may use “Thee”, “Thou”, “Thy”, or “Thine”. Note that “thee” is pronounced identically to “the” because they both indicate “special case” or “individual case”. America rebelled against the whole idea of class distinction (now being reinstituted), and thus everyone was to be addressed as merely “you”, “sir”, or “madam” (later shortened to ma’am).

Confounding and confusing the languages and thus creating misunderstanding and confusion has been a big part of the globalization effort in destroying older national, cultural, and class distinctions (as was done in Babylon). The idea is to scramble the thoughts of the young and then when they grow up, reprogram a new order into their young. Communication, such as language, music, historical stories, and media plays a major role in hypnotizing and manipulating the masses.

Capitalizing personal names was similar. A capitalized name was an indicator of “the unique definitive article” (such as John Locke himself) rather than merely one of many. Note that many new-age socialists today on the internet don’t use capitals so as to comply with the thought of their own insignificance.

Yes.

That is what i am asking. In Hindi, Some verbs also change according to both persons involved in conversation.

I gave the example for go - Jao and jaeyay.
A father will use jao for his son but the son will use jaeyey for his father.

with love,
sanjay

I am not aware about that but my assumption is that may be true.

My guess is that not only Hindi, perhaps all major Asian languages may have this element of respect embeded in their languages.

I do not think so.
Culture evolves first, the language follows. It cannot be the other way around.

with love,
sanjay

James,

I understand what you are saing but that is not exactly i am talking about. My point is slightly different.

I am not talking about formal and informal versions of laguages. Every language tend to change a bit when deals with formal/official conversation. And, i am not getting into masses veses elites either.

I am very much talking about the informal version only. The daily use by the masses to masses.

That is why i gave the example of father/son, not king/ordinary man.

The distinion in Hindi applies to the family also. Like the case of father/son, if the two brothers will address to each other, the versions of younger and elder brother will also be the same as father/son.

It is cultural issue or necessaity. If a younger brother addresses his elder brother by Tum instead of Aap, he would be seen as ill-mannered and arrogant by the society. One has to give respect to this elders and superiors, whether outsiders or from his own family, and also to the strangers.

The Urdu (the Indian version of Arabic and Persian) is even more profound in this aspect.

with love
sanjay

You seem to be writing about the verb infinitive jana (to go) and your examples seem to be the imperative form.

What’s the difference between tu, tum and ap? And ve, ye and ap?

No, Phyllo.
I am not talking here about Bossy verbs only, but all.

Tu is some kind of spoken slang for Tum and is not used generally in Hindi. It is used only between friends and not considered as civilized word. But, Tum is an official word. Aap is for those, who are supposed to given respect. Aap is not merely a formal word but very much in general practice.

Ve means they(plural) and vegh means he/she(singular). But, when one has to give respect to someone, he will use Ve even for singular person.

For example, take the sentence- He will go.

Now, if an elder brother is saying this about his younger brother - Vegh Jaeyayga (both of pronon and verb are singular),
And, a younger brother is saying about his elder brother - Ve jaeyayge (both of pronoun and verb are plural, even thuogh used for just one person, not many).

Ye or Yey or Yegh menas this, either thing or person.

with love,
sanjay

I would guess the same as well, I know Japanese culture revolves around respect. I know they have special words for things that most Americans wouldn’t even consider. My favorite is their equivalent word for what we might call truthiness. That the societal good out weighs the truth. It interests me because that strikes me as wrong on every level, and it reminds me people else where think differently than me. To me things cannot be dealt with if the truth is not at least attempted.

I still think it’s a Chicken egg thing, culture influences language and language influences culture. they are reflections of each other, change one and the other must change with it. I back this up with a basic understanding that words have impact, all of us “talking” on ILP should understand that more than most.

I would also point to things like Steampunk culture.

The Octopus is an undeniable influence in the art and style, yet it comes from stories and language.

I, as I have stated else where, am a gamer, pen and paper not video, and anyone that denies the influence of J. R. R. Tolkien on such things is crazy. Yet, though few realize this, the first RPG’s were based off the pen and paper stuff. Final Fantasy I, was a group of designers sitting down with their Role-Playing books and making a video game out of them. The idea of “Leveling” in a video game, comes from role-playing games.

Tolkien introduced concepts that most people don’t even realize he was the “creator” of, most modern takes on faeries, elves, dwarves and so on are based off of his writing. That is a big splash effecting massive amounts of culture, from a little bit of language.

And to you.

with love,
sanjay

I concur.

That is a great phrase. I’m going to have to attempt to remember it.

That is like saying the paint is not part of the painting. Stories are communicated by language, which is in turn controlled by culture, which is passed along with stories. Circles have no beginning.

with love,
sanjay

I still fix the odd spelling error, but that has more to do with me than with you, and I do it with everyone I reply too, even many native english speakers. Over all I would say you type and think rather well in english.

Do you still need to think in your original language first, hindi I’m guessing, then translate it into english. I have a lot of trouble with learning new languages, and it’s because I attempt this every damn time, creating a problem with remembering words.

I disagree. Completely and without remorse. Yes, a picture can be quite beautiful in other mediums (I’m actually a big fan of charcoal and pencil) but the type of paint matters. Each has a different quality, that others cannot bring out. Oil paint is still the best paint for humans, as our skin is naturally oily. Acrylic has made some great advancements, but I’ll take an oil paint of a human over a acrylic painting of a human. The medium of the artwork matters, allot. I’ll pull your comment about systems and ill-manners, the medium matters for the message to get across, else comic books would be held in far higher esteem world around.

They do though.

I’m not sure what you are saying here.

I should mention, like most things I start of disliking, then investigate closer, I enjoy art, I study it in the same way I study many other things. My current favorite artist is René Magritte, if for no better reason than his picture, the Treachery of Images. It does a brilliant job of pointing out the problems with peoples thinking.