Language, Literacy and Diversity: Moving Words

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In contrast to this unity of animal behaviour, human cultures are as divergent as are human languages over the world, and they can and do change all the time, sometimes with great rapidity, as among the industrialized countries of the 21st century.

The processes of linguistic change and its consequences will be treated below. Here, cultural change in general and its relation to language will be considered. By far the greatest part of learned behaviour, which is what culture involves, is transmitted by vocal instruction, not by imitation.


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Some imitation is clearly involved, especially in infancy, in the learning process, but proportionately this is hardly significant. Spoken language alone would thus vastly extend the amount of usable information in any human community and speed up the acquisition of new skills and the adaptation of techniques to changed circumstances or new environments.

With the invention and diffusion of writing, this process widened immediately, and the relative permanence of writing made the diffusion of information still easier. Printing and the increase in literacy only further intensified this process. Modern techniques for broadcast or almost instantaneous transmission of communication all over the globe, together with the tools for rapidly translating between the languages of the world, have made it possible for usable knowledge of all sorts to be made accessible to people almost anywhere in the world.

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This accounts for the great rapidity of scientific, technological, political, and social change in the contemporary world. All of this, whether ultimately for the good or ill of humankind, must be attributed to the dominant role of language in the transmission of culture. Article Media. Info Print Print.


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Thank you for your feedback. Load Previous Page. Language and culture It has been seen that language is much more than the external expression and communication of internal thoughts formulated independently of their verbalization. Load Next Page. More About.

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NL EN. More from Christopher Stroud Mastin Prinsloo. Description: Xiii, s. Series: Routledge critical studies in multilingualism Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index. Summary: "Language, Literacy and Diversity brings together researchers who are leading the innovative and important re-theorization of language and literacy in relation to social mobility, multilingualism and globalization. The volume examines local and global flows of people, language and literacy in relation to social practice; the role and nature of boundary maintenance or disruption in global, transnational and translocal contexts; and the lived experiences of individuals on the front lines of global, transnational and translocal processes.

The contributors pay attention to the dynamics of multilingualism in located settings and the social and personal management of multilingualism in socially stratified and ethnically plural social settings. Together, they offer ground-breaking research on language practices and documentary practices as regards to access, selection, social mobility and gate-keeping processes in a range of settings across several continents: Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe"-- Provided by publisher.

Language, Literacy and Diversity brings together researchers who are leading the innovative and important re-theorization of language and literacy in relation to social mobility, multilingualism and globalization. Together, they offer ground-breaking research on language practices and documentary practices as regards to access, selection, social mobility and gate-keeping processes in a range of settings across several continents: Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe" Dewey: Language, Literacy and Diversity : Moving Words.