Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

5.1: Introduction

  • Page ID
  • Language is central to daily human existence. It is the principal means by which we conduct our social lives at home, neighborhood, school, work place and recreation area. It is the tool we use to plan our lives, remember our past, and express our cultural identity. We create meaning when we talk on the cell phone, send an e-mail message, read a newspaper and interpret a graph or chart. Many persons conduct their social lives using only one language. Many others, however, rely on two languages in order to participate effectively in the community, get a job, obtain a college degree and enjoy loving relationships. We live in a discourse world that incorporates ways of speaking, reading and writing, but also integrates ways of behaving, interacting, thinking and valuing. Language is embedded in cultural practices and, at the same time, symbolizes cultural reality itself.

    • Was this article helpful?