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Interrelatedness of Language and Culture

In each culture there is a certain way that language is expressed, and even within a
culture, there are many different ways to express that same language. Interestingly
enough depending on the discourse no matter what language a person speaking, the
language they choose to use can change. Just the same as I learned in my own
experiences abroad, depending on the context and social setting, I had to change my
language accordingly. The culture of the language being used overall can be connected to
the history of the country speaking the language, and the people of that country.
While I was in Argentina, already I noticed something different about the
language that I have never heard before. The Argentineans specifically in the city of
Rosario use the shesmo. The shesmo is a type of accent and distinction of the sound /y/
or /ll/ in the Spanish language. This not only sets them apart from other regional dialects
within Argentina, but it sets them apart from the entire world of Spanish speakers. When
someone is speaking in Spanish using the distinction shesmo, other Spanish speakers
will know that that person is either from Argentina or Uruguay. Having this type of
accent is part of the culture in Argentina and is the basis of how they speak in the
language.
Argentines also use voseo instead of the tuteo when speaking to people in any
given situation. What this means linguistically is that the language in Argentina can be
identifiable by the use of vos instead of t and sos instead or eres for the Spanish verb ser
which means to be. In using the voseo there are a set of rules for when a person is
supposed to conjugate in the vos form, such as just taking the regular verb ending either

er, -ar, or ir and eliminating the r and adding an s. This form of language sets the tone
for the Argentine culture as it is richly embedding within the culture throughout the
country. There are many billboard signs and sayings that are based off of the voseo such
as, sos vos which means, you are you. Not only is this a huge part of argentine
culture, but this language is consistently used throughout all mediums and in multiple
levels of discourse.
Another interesting aspect of culture coinciding with the language in Argentina is
the use of the word che directly translating to hey or an informal you but can be used
for all genders. The word che is used so commonly within the Argentine culture that
when I was living in Rosario I picked up on the word immediately. Later on, I found out
that Ernesto Che Guevara, the revolutionary leader of South America and Cuba, was
born in Argentina. Since people all over South America have been calling Ernesto
Guevara Che, it is now a slang word that stems from the revolutionary leader.
With language and culture comes confusion while learning both at the same time.
What this means is, although you think you might know a word in the target language
there are times when in that specific city, region, or country they use a different word for
the same meaning. For example, guey is very similar in meaning to the word che but is
mostly used in Mexico. Understanding and knowing the culture in which one is immersed
in is important while also learning the language, since the language is different in each
culture.
When I was in Spain for example, there were a lot of things within the language
that came from the history of the country. A lot of the words in Andaluca, such as
Andaluca originated from Arabic back when the moors settled in that area. So, there are

many words that begin with /a/ such as Almera or alcazaba that come from Arabic
influence. Another important connection to the culture when using the language in Spain
is from the text, Don Quijote. In a lot of my language classes at the university in Spain,
they taught us about Don Quijote, the text, and what occurs in the story. In one of my
other classes we learned about idioms in many different languages, and how in Spain a
lot of the idioms are derived from sayings in Don Quijote. This is a major example on
how culture and language interrelate and the importance of understanding how it can
change depending on the area in which a person is living.
Language and discourse combined make for culture in and of itself in any country.
Depending on the level of discourse and the context in which it is taking place, the
language will then change accordingly. In Argentina, I learned that during ftbol games,
the language changes to a very informal way of speaking in the language. The language
isnt very subtle in meaning, and includes curse words, and slang, normally being said at
another group of people. This is the one time where every bad book within the Argentine
Spanish language is ok to use in an offensive manner. Ftbol in Argentina has its own
culture and one of the things that makes it what it is, is the profanity and language used in
their chants and songs throughout the games.
The connection between language and culture is a very unique one, which can
only be deciphered if someone understands the semantic meaning behind what is being
said. It is important to learn the culture in order to grasp the language that is being used in
the country it is being used. There are many factors involved in the difference in language
in the culture depending on the context and reason as to why it is being used, just like any
other language. In order to learn either language or culture in a foreign country, it is

important to know either the language or culture beforehand to better make meaningful
connections.