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Culture Of English Speaking Countries Cultural Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Cultural Studies
Wordcount: 3364 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The meaning of word culture may be found in every, even the smallest dictionary. It comes from Latin word colere, which means to cultivate.

The notion of culture can be interpreted in different ways, because of the fact that it can be spelled with capital C or small c, and different comprehension by the representatives of distinct sciences. The culture can be understand by the common people’s material as well as immaterial products such as spiritual and symbolic, that consist of behavioural and intellectual model.

The culture is very often widely known as the whole of material and spiritual community’s achievements and considered as civilisation. It is said that culture is explained as model of conduct with trained and inborn behaviour.

The knowledge about culture is examined by the subject cultural studies, but there are the other aspects of culture that are taken under the consideration e.g. the philosophy of culture, the history of culture, cultural anthropology, sociology of culture, and ethnography.

Originally the concept of culture indicated the transferring natural environment into more useful and helpful for human beings. It was used the first time by the philosopher Cicero in his work Disputationes Tusculanae to explain the culture as “the teacher of order and decency, the inventor of the principles and rights”(2005).

The development of culture and language has the origins in ancient times e.g. Greek distinguished their people, referred by themselves as cultural people, from the others less civilized. This may be confusing, but Greek thought that if others speak unintelligible languages cannot be called cultural nation. However speaking unintelligible language does not mean that they are not as intelligent as the others, it only underlines the cultural differences between nations. People use their language to reveal the similarity and identify much the same cultural background or customs and emphasise the difference between them.

Following subchapter will focus on the English speaking countries’ culture in order to show the similarities and differences between countries that speak the same universal language, known as lingua franca.

1 English – speaking countries’ culture

As I mentioned above the concept culture can be spelled by capital C, which means the achievement culture. It is comprised of history, holidays, sports, literature, poetry, music, dance, visual arts, cinema, and architecture, those are the achievements that citizens are proud of. Taking into consideration the notion culture with small c as Tomalin and Stempleski described in their work as the way of life or behavioral culture, which can be explained by the capability to function socially and linguistically in modern world (1993).

The cultures I want to describe briefly have in common many things and concepts, but I will try to depict the most known all over the word and the origins.

The culture of the United States

The origins of American culture involve the Native American, African-American and Latin American, because of the fact that North America has the history connected with slavery and ethnic subcultures.

American culture involves traditions, ideals, customs, beliefs, values, arts, and innovations developed both domestically and imported through colonization and immigration. Predominant ideas and ideals from the European continent such as capitalism, democracy, forms of monotheism, and civil liberties are present as well as those which developed domestically such as important national holidays, exceptionally American sports, proud military tradition, innovations in the arts and entertainment, and a strong sense of national pride among the population as a total unit.

It may be said that Americans are competitive nation, in the race to success. Their individual independence, material wealth, hard work with freedom at the same level tell word about the American character. The whole world can see with their own eyes e.g. how the celebrities live in reality shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians.

The culture of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy, which is hereditary in he way that the oldest man child, or if there were no sons, female child, becomes the next monarch in the royal family.

In Great Britain the notion Britishness is used, to underline the British National Identity. People in Great Britain describe themselves as British, English, Scottish or Welsh. As a direct result of the British Empire, British cultural influence (such as the English language) can be observed in the language and culture of a geographically wide assortment of countries such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and the British overseas territories as well as in the others like Pakistan or India.

The origins of Western culture can be seen in Protestantism as well as in representative democracy. In the history the Industrial Revolution marked the biggest changes in Britain’s transportation, manufacturing and agriculture. Nowadays the profound respect all over the world have British literature, poetry, cinema on the same level with music and television.

3 The culture of Canada

The elements of cultural history of Canada comes European countries, such as France and Great Britain, but also the United States have some linguistic, economic and cultural contribution into Canadian culture. Canada has been shaped by waves of migration that have joined to form a unique mixture of customs, cuisine that put mark on the socio-cultural development of the nation. Canada is the multicultural and bilingual country, with a high level of industrialization, economically advanced, and is on substantial level of depending on their own natural resources and trade exchange.

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Canada is a country with a large surface area, and what goes with it is very diverse ethnically and culturally. Moving between different regions or provinces, you may notice significant differences in customs and culture. One of the factors having a significant contribution to Canadian culture have been and continue to be immigrants arriving from around the world. Many Canadians see their country’s culture as inextricably binding the multiculturalism of their country.

4 The culture of Australia

Name of Australia relating to the continent comes from the phrase of Terra Australis, the Europeans used it until the middle of the eighteenth century. It is a Latin term meaning Earth, and South (Latin terra – earth, australis – southern).

Australia is a highly developed country with a multicultural society. Compared with other countries Australia is listed highly when it comes to the quality of life, health care, average life expectancy, education level, Human Development Index (Australia is in third place after Norway and Iceland), the freedom of economic activity, personal freedom and political rights. Australian city in the forefront of world cultural life.

1. 5 The culture of Irish Republic

The Irish are known for centuries for their hospitality. There is a belief by which a reversal back to the stranger in need, the house brings bad luck. While many old beliefs and prejudices disappear, Irish warmth and hospitality are important features of the national. Practiced not only in homes but also for example in pubs. Anyone who joins the group of drinkers, it automatically sets all queues. In the years 500-200 BC The Celts lived on the island. They started to develop culture, art, literature. Saint Patrick arrived on the island in 430, and he assigned a Christianization of Ireland.

1. 6 The culture of New Zealand

New Zealand consists of two major and many smaller islands, including Great Barrier, D’Urville’s. New Zealand’s economy is one of the most diverse of all countries of Oceania. It is based on sheep and cattle and cultivation of cereals, fruits and vegetables. Importance of fishery and forestry.

2 History of English culture teaching

The role of culture learning a foreign language in the class has been relevant to many teachers and researchers, and provoked some controversy, but its validity as equal addition to foreign language learning is often neglected or even contested.

So far, two main perspectives have an impact on the teaching of culture. One relates to the transmission of facts, information, culture, which relies on statistical information, namely institutional and other aspects of civilization, target information, intellectual, or immersion in literature and art, as well as literal information, which may focus on customs, traditions of everyday life. This interest in facts, not meanings, however, leaves much to be desired as far as understanding of foreign attitudes and values is concerned, and virtually blindfolds learners in a minute although important aspects of their own, as well as target nation identities, which are not easy to guess and divined. The other relates to the transition of connections between own country and the target one.

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Stated after Lessard-Clouston, in the past, people have learned a foreign language by studying its literature, and it was the main medium for culture. Between 1960 and 1970, linguists seek to base language learning in general, because of the emotional and physical needs, so that a “foreign culture less threatening and more accessible to learners of language”. At in the highest period of the audiolingual era in the teaching of foreign languages, the importance of culture was not important for the study of literature, but for learning foreign languages (1997).

It is worth to mention, that the distinction between the culture with capital C, art, music, literature, politics and so forth, and the culture of the small c behavior and everyday life of people has helped to disperse the myth that culture is an intellectual gift only for the high society.

It was only in 1980 that scientists start to refer into the dynamics of culture and its important input to the ‘successful’ language learning. What is more, advances in pragmatics and sociolinguistics exposing the essence of language, which is no longer thought only as describing or communication, but rather as a conviction, cheating, or punishment and control, resulted in a frame of reference people and culture of pre-patterns, and led to attempts to “overcome cultural differences in teaching”. When the student understands the perspectives of others and is offered an opportunity to reflect on their own prospects in the process of decentering and the level of reciprocity, a moral, judgmental trend arises, which is not ‘defined purely formal logical grounds’ (Byram, Morgan; 1994).

Finally, the student must take the role of a foreigner so that he can gain the insight of the values and meanings that the latter is internalized and unconsciously negotiates with members of the society to which he or she belongs.

Kramsch also believes that culture should be taught as an interpersonal process and, instead of the cultural facts, teachers should encourage language learners in coming to grips with the “different culture”. She argues that the increasing multicultural society, students should be aware of some cultural factors at work, such as age, gender and social class, provided that the former usually have little or no systematic knowledge about the membership of a society and culture, or do not have sufficient knowledge of the culture to allow for interpretation and synthesis of cultural phenomena performed (1993).

From all the above, language and culture are so much associated with their boundaries are very blurred and it is difficult to realize the assumptions and expectations that we have in our possession. To repeat, that language teaching is culture teaching, to show that “the teaching of language … one is inevitably already teaching culture implicitly” and acquire knowledge of foreign languages should be automatically involves immersion in a foreign culture in which these two, language and culture stand at the same level.

3 Knowledge, awareness and competence

Fenner (2000) said that if education is considered as development and growth, the aim should be to give a foreign education learner the opportunity to develop a cultural knowledge, competence and awareness in a way that can lead to a better understanding of foreign culture. There is some confusion as cultural knowledge, awareness and competence are used in the literature on teaching culture. Therefore, these terms will be explained briefly.

According to various researchers, the term cultural knowledge can be explained as a systematically arranged information on the culture of the country which provide some outline to understand it. Another opinion presented by the duo Tomlison and Masuchara, this knowledge comes from outside, is presented by a stranger, as it should be shown, it is not distorted, reduced the importance of vocabulary, based only on available sources and information. It is usually presented in the form of explanations, descriptions, statistics and generalizations (2004).

The cultural awareness of other cultures based on the same level as their own, the sensitivity to the impact of cultural behavior to the use of language and communication. said awareness includes their own culturally-induced behavior, the others culturally-induced behavior and ability to explain the cultural point of view. Byram (1998) states that cultural awareness can be understood as a reflection of cultural identity, the question of forgotten values and beliefs of their culture and compared with culture caller. This comparison helps students understand and recognize the differences between cultures: their own and the target one.

On the other hand, the term cultural awareness is presented as the opposite of the term cultural knowledge. on the ground that it is still something added or amended, varied and changing, interdependent and affect each other. while cultural awareness is obtained from other people, as cultural competence is extracted from the human experience through visits to a foreign country as well as through literature, music and television.

To understand other cultures concept of competence Byram presents two concepts have run off with him: intercultural competence and intercultural communicative competence. first concept consists of the following elements: attitudes such as curiosity and openness to new cultures and the science of them; knowledge – and practice of perpetuating it in their daily lives, the skills of interpreting and comparing such comparisons and linking documents or events from one culture to the documents and events from other cultures; Aggregated impacts and explore the skills to be able to use knowledge about other cultures in everyday communication, critical approach to culture – that is, the ability to critically examine their and other cultures. That can be summarized with the citation:

“(…) someone with some degree of intercultural competence is someone who is able to see relationships between cultures (…) and is able to mediate, that is to interpret each in terms of the other, either for themselves or other people. It is also someone who has critical or analytical understanding of (…) their own and other cultures – someone who is conscious of their own perspective of the way in which they were thinking is culturally determined, rather than believing that their understanding and perspective is natural.” (Byram, 2000)

During the teaching of culture we should take into account the goal as well as situations in which you want to learn the culture. The greatest impact on learning is placed on the acquisition of cultural competence and develop cultural awareness. Let us be frank teaching culture in schools is a matter of tertiary if not further, because the teachers first focus on grammar, vocabulary, speaking then a culture where time is on it. Citing Stern, the reasons why the teaching of culture are delayed for a further plan are: the large area of the culture of English-speaking countries; the lack of current information on the country; after all books cannot be exchanged every year and the culture is variable; what procedures to use teaching cultural elements to make them clear, understandable and interesting for students.


Teaching of culture consists of several components: grammatical skills, communication skills, fluent, as well as the chance to change attitudes in relation to his own and other cultures. as mentioned in the previous chapter cultural competence is without doubt an integral part of teaching the culture of another country, and many teachers choose this as a fruitful target for foreign language classes.

It can be argued that the term ‘communicative competence, which in the past ten years, not rubbed trail, so to speak, in the teaching of foreign languages, with particular emphasis on the role of context and circumstances in which languages may be used carefully and appropriately, “missing the mark, when it comes to actually equipped students cognitive skills they need another cultural environment”.

In other words, as in the broader context of language, that society and culture, has been reduced to a variable elusive of any definition, as many teachers and students constantly talk about it without knowing what its exact meaning is, it stands to reason that the term competence Communication should become nothing more than empty words and artificial, resorted to if for no other reason than to “an educational point.” In reality, what most teachers and students seems to have forgotten is the fact that knowledge of grammatical competence must be supplemented with understanding of cultural importance.

1 Inseparability of culture teaching from language teaching

Implications for the discussion of teaching culture in language education are obvious.

Currently, researchers at EFL or ESL does not attach great importance to the teaching of culture. Similar studies have been carried out largely based on the important role of culture in the foreign language classroom. Teaching culture is an essential element of language education.

In the field of teaching foreign languages, one aspect that occasionally appears as a discussion is the relationship between linguistic knowledge of language and knowledge of the culture of the target language. From the author’s limited experience in teaching foreign languages, it seems to many foreign language teachers, the teaching of culture means teaching courses in culture, he lay on special courses, such as the U.S. government, British history, literature, etc. the question of “culture” is often associated with the end of the plan of teaching foreign languages. It seems that there is always something but if the teacher can find time to introduce a little bit of culture in foreign language class, maybe a little music, a traditional custom wedding, Christmas, stories from the Bible and Greek mythology in the last minute of class or final lesson of the course. But there is one class session enough? Is that needed?

But this kind of questions, and studies of this type appear in many language teachers is that culture can be separated from the language of that culture is something that must be intentionally introduced into the language and the student, the student and the teacher has some decisions as to whether ” cultural integration ” is to be included in the “program” or not. What are the issues of culture taught students, and when it is appropriate to teach?


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