Language and the Preservation of Culture

Arguments that language is critical to the preservation of culture are common. These usually assume that language is a container for cultural content. But in a culturally complex world, it is critical to appreciate the metaphorical nature of this assumption, and the kinds of evidence that could be used as justification for or against it. The module encourages students to critically examine the metaphorical basis for claims concerning the relationship between language and culture, such as the following: (i)one’s mother tongue is the ‘best’ means for preserving one’s culture, and (ii) languages and cultures can be ‘owned’.

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