Cultural emphasis

Cultural emphasis is defined as an important aspect of a culture which is often reflected though language and, more specifically, vocabulary (Ottenheimer, 2006, p. 266). This means that the vocabulary people use in a culture indicates what is to that group of people. If there are a lot of words to describe a certain topic in a specific culture, then there is a good chance that that topic is considered important to that culture.

Contents

Background

The idea of cultural emphasis is rooted form the work of Franz Boas, who is considered to be one of the founders of American Anthropology (Ottenheimer, 2006, p. 15). Franz Boas developed and taught concepts such as cultural relativism and the "cultural unconscious", which allowed anthropologists who studied under him, like Edward Sapir and Ruth Benedict, to further study and develop ideas on language and culture (Hart, 2005, p. 179).

Application

One way in which cultural emphasis is exemplified is a populace talks about the weather. For example, in a place where it is cold and it snows a lot, a large collection of words to describe the snow would be expected.

For example: whiteout, blizzard, sleeting, snowdrift, powder snow, packed snow, fresh snow.

In a place where it is hot, a cornucopia of associated terms would be expected.

For example: dry heat, muggy, humid, sticky, monsoon season, sweltering.

A concentration of related terms for similar phenomena suggests the importance in distinguishing between them. Furthermore, if you are not from the area, or that culture, you might not have experienced or know the difference between, for example, a dry heat or a humid heat, when the difference may have huge implications for the outcome of a particular action.

References

  • Hart, W. B. (2005). Franz Boas and the roots of intercultural communication research. International and Intercultural Communication Annual, 28, 176-193.
  • Ottenheimer, H. J. (2006). The anthropology of language: An introduction to linguistic anthropology. Belmont: Thomson Higher Education.

See also

  • Eskimo words for snow, popular urban legend that the Inuit or Eskimo have an unusually large number of words for snow
  • Linguistic relativity, or "Sapir–Whorf hypothesis", the idea that the varying cultural concepts and categories inherent in different languages affect the cognitive classification of the experienced world in such a way that speakers of different languages think and behave differently because of it

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • emphasis — noun 1 special importance/attention ADJECTIVE ▪ big (informal), considerable, great, heavy, huge ▪ schools that put a heavy emphasis on sporting achievement ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • Cultural studies — is an academic field grounded in critical theory and literary criticism. It generally concerns the political nature of contemporary culture, as well as its historical foundations, conflicts, and defining traits. It is, to this extent, largely… …   Wikipedia

  • cultural anthropology — cultural anthropologist. the branch of anthropology dealing with the origins, history, and development of human culture, and including in its scope the fields of archaeology, ethnology, and ethnography. Also called social anthropology. Cf.… …   Universalium

  • Cultural heritage management — (CHM) is the vocation and practice of managing cultural heritage. It is a branch of cultural resources management (CRM), although it also draws on the practices of conservation, restoration, museology, archaeology, history and architecture. While …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural imperialism — is the domination of one culture over another. Cultural imperialism can take the form of a general attitude or an active, formal and deliberate policy, including (or resulting from) military action. Economic or technological factors may also play …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural policy — is the area of public policy making that governs activities related to the arts and culture. Generally, this involves fostering processes, legal classifications and institutions which promote cultural diversity and accessibility, as well as… …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural communication — Cultural relativism is the view that cultures are merely different, not deficient, and each culture’s norms and practices should be assed only from the perspective of the culture itself, not by standards embraced by another culture. It is the… …   Wikipedia

  • Cultural Zionism — (Hebrew: ציונות רוחנית‎ Tsiyonut ruchanit) is a strain of the concept of Zionism that values Jewish culture and history, including language and historical roots, rather than other Zionist ideas such as political Zionism. The man considered to… …   Wikipedia

  • CULTURAL LIFE — Introduction The movement for the return to Zion which emerged as a force at the end of the 19th century was based on a variety of motivations, including the political – the demand for an independent homeland where the Jews could forge their own… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Cultural history — The term cultural history refers both to an academic discipline and to its subject matter. Cultural history, as a discipline, at least in its common definition since the 1970s, often combines the approaches of anthropology and history to look at… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.