Professor Jake Henson
College Writing 2
20th May 2018
Language our Identity
In the modern world, more than 75 percent of the language is becoming extinct mainly due to the usage of main languages such as English and Spanish, due to this phenomenon getting jobs and privileges depended on whether the person speaks English or not. Language not only expresses identities but also constructs them. Language is part of one’s identity, If you observe into the identity factors, for example, hearing impaired or the fully deaf people, they themselves as”special” ability to communicate through sign language as part of the group identity. In multicultural societies where there are two or more spoken languages such as in Belgium, Canada (Quebec), New Zealand, and in Israel, (Arabic and Hebrew), as well as in countries of major immigration their language is part of the group identity.
People use each language to communicate, connect and affiliate with specific people according to their background. This proves that the assumption that language defines culture and identity. A group’s native language spoken by an individual is likely the strongest social identity; it is usually corresponding with immediate family and extended family. The strength of the a group depends upon the identity resides with the fact that language provides the primary means to categorize, think about, and express our understanding of the world. Languages also affect our lives in many ways, they help in communication with other people to understand them much better so sticking to using one language is not very beneficial in terms of job-based on communication skills like a salesman. Learning and understanding people who communicate in other languages other than our own native languages is highly beneficial as it improves problem-solving and decision-making.
Many people from different parts of the world come to America to live their American dream life as a result many people try their best to fit in by changing their name, changing their food habits and they try to relate most of their work to the standard Americans but as in fact many people aren’t able to completely blend in with the American way of doing their own things without sacrificing their own culture and identity. Many people get comfortable with their knowledge of simple English and their heavy accents but are looked down upon by their identity and culture. As Manuel Munoz says in the essay ‘Leave your name at the border’, “The corrosive effect of assimilation is the displacement of one culture over another, the inability to sustain more than one way of being. It applies to need to belong, of seeing from the outside and wondering how to get in and then, once inside, realizing there are always those still on the fringe.” As of this many people stick to speaking their own native language and their own working environment.
Language has been a big barrier in my life as I was born in India and after almost 5 years my family moved to Dubai, so I had to learn some Arabic to communicate with people in supermarkets and other offices. I only spoke my own native language when I got home from school and I also had to learn English as it was one of the main languages in at this time I knew about three languages and knowing three languages helped me in a lot of ways but in many places I was looked down on as I couldn’t communicate as fluently as them which reduced my overall confidence in communicating with others. My battle with the English language still torments me to this day. Being bilingual has also helped me in understanding alanguage in various ways and also being able to thing in different ways. My classmates and friends accept me as who I am, changing my identity was a big part of my life as not communicating with other people was not very satisfying this is how language affects my identity.
It is important to remember that the language a person speaks is what makes them the person they are today and learning new languages is most likely bound to happen in order to survive in the fast-changing world but that doesn’t mean that your true language and identity should be changed.