Tuesday, 7 November 2017

The Link between Language and Identity

By Nicolás García Garzón (The World in English elective)

“Language is inextricably linked with identity and in order to save identity, we must attempt to save our language.” (Kaveh, 2011)

Since countries started thinking beyond their boundaries, the world has been become increasingly interconnected, forcing them to find ways of communicating a single language to exchange ideas and cultural beliefs. Implicitly, English was chosen as the United States became the world biggest power. However, the main issue that rose from globalisation is if there is a slight possibility that English learners lose their cultural identity for learning this language.

In the first place, a person’s identity is constructed from different elements, such as the place where they grew up, cultural beliefs and language. The latter is relevant as everything someone has learnt is almost due to it and it is involved in every single aspect of somebody’s life. This means that the influence and importance that a language can have in a person is linked with unique elements and roots of a human being.

In this order of ideas, English learners are at risk of losing part of their identity in the learning process. “After learning a new language, one's perception of his or her competence, communicative style, and value systems many undergo some changes” (Kaveh, 2011), this means that they start a process of reshaping who they are, based on the new knowledge received. On the other hand, it is possible to learn English without losing the identity, as long as the English learner is able to maintain the relationship with the environment and elements in which they have built up their identity.

In conclusion, the English process learning does not mean that the entire identity is going to be lost, but some aspects of other cultures are going to influence your previous identity, as they get involved in different environments with new ways of thinking.

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