Friday, November 14, 2008


Why it is so important that we learn a foreign language? The process of learning a foreign language opens up a whole new dimension for all of us and it contributes in a significantly way to the development of everybody intelligence. By learning it we obtain new ways of see our world, but at the same time we fortify our own identity, and therefore also our self-confidence, due to, language also contributes to have a stronger personality to the ones that are learning it.

As we already know, the world is entering in the era of globalization, that's why acquiring a foreign language is so important, because it involves the idea that all of us can also learn to be more tolerants with others in order to become capable of accepting the right of others to think differently, appreciate the culture of one's own land and the lands of other people.

The main purposes of this essay are the relationship between language, culture and civilization, and also see why the teaching of culture should be an integral part of the English as a second language curriculum. To begin with, language is a social institution in which it plays an important role, obviously if we see language as the most important way of communication in this world. Thus we see that language is, or supposedly be, understood as cultural practice, because language involves a social practice, and both cannot exist separately, in fact they create a kind of ‘mixture’, because in the practice language and culture are inseparable. Language also helps to determine how people encode messages, the meanings for the messages, and how in that way people can organize their ideas and thoughts in this society in order to be part of a civilization.

First of all, it is important to mention that in any kind of society language is the principal means whereby we conduct our social lives. As Claire Kramsch (1998) says in her book ‘The relationship of language and culture’, language expresses and symbolizes cultural reality, because we create experience through it.

Members of a community or a social group do not only express experiences; as a part of a community we also create experience through language. We give meaning to the things that are part of this world through the medium we choose to communicate with one another, that's why 'language embodies cultural reality' (Claire Kramsch 1998). Because of that reason, in today's world is so important to learn the mother tongue language, and also another language, because doing that we are being able to express ourselves through our use of language. In that way we as a society are capable to understand and also be part of different cultures.

Foreign Language Education encourages society to develop communicative skills, that is the first educatinal goal, to develop learner's abilities in order to help students to assimilate their moral values that society impose in order to live in conformity with the accepted principles, standards and moral values to finally develop tolerance to understand others and ourselves society.

From my personal point of view, I think that the aim in teach culture in a foreign language class should be the development of student's personality by means of foreign-language culture, due to learning another language is not only a country study approach to foreign language teaching, but also a sociocultural education of each individuality and thus the whole society. However, education is practically more than that, foreign language education is also the transmission of another culture. Understanding that idea, we as future teachers of Foreign language can be able to think that culture also plays a very important role in the process of learning a foreign language so, culture in that way is part of general spiritual culture that students acquire by means of communicative language teaching in its cultural, educational, social and psychological aspects.

The process of understanding the country's culture while children are learning and acquiring the second language is not the final goal but is a tool of deeper understanding of the native culture. What we can do as future teachers is to learn how students can learn about a new country and culture. Because we have to be prepare to relate language and culture in our future places of job, classrooms in order to be clear at the moment to express and transmit to our students the idea that they have to compare their previous knowldege of their own language with the target language (the language that they are learning) in order to be meaningful the idea to learn the recently acquired language. Probably, if we do that every lesson, such cross-cultural comparison, we will be promoting a positive attitude inside the classroom, because we are going to let them be part of the process of their learning and understanding the other culture, its people and traditions. This meaningful process of learning also helps students to have a strong life position, share their points of view, thus stimulating students to learn more about their own and other cultures through critical thinking.
- Claire Kramsch. 1998. 'The relationship between Language and Culture'.
- The Importance Of Teaching Culture In The Foreign Language Classroom.
-Culture in Second Language Teaching. E. Peterson & B. Coltrane, 2003.
-Brown, Douglas, Principles of Language learning and teaching. New York, USA. Pearson Education Company. Fourth edition. 2000.

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