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ap french


study guide


Unit 2

2.2 Language as Culture

written by

Margaret Schmidt

margaret schmidt

Cait Levin

cait levin


published on september 11, 2020

Last updated on September 22, 2020

available on hyper typer

2.2: Language as Culture

How does language shape our cultural identity? En quoi la langue forme-t-elle notre identité culturelle? 🗣️ 🗣️ 🗣️

“On n’habite pas un pays, on habite une langue.” (One does not live in a country, one lives in a language.) —Michel Cioran, écrivain roumain d'expression française

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As the saying goes, we learn what we live. Family, religion, society, and formal education are the institutions that shape our cultural identity, which in turn is reflected in the language we use to express this identity 😳 In a very real sense, language and culture are inseparable. Culture cannot be transmitted to society without language, and language allows us to understand cultures. This is why your French teacher spends so much time teaching you about the different cultures in which the French language is dominant! 🌍

Language allows you to belong to a group. Dialects and slang are pieces of the cultural identity puzzle 🧩 The list below provides expressions to help you understand written and audio texts in French, and to help you express your ideas about your own identity in French.

Strive for Five Vocab🔑 🔑 🔑

  • la langue natale (native) dominante; officielle

  • l’argot (slang); le jargon; un dialecte; un accent ; le langage familier

  • le verlan—(a form of slang that developed in France among immigrant populations after WW2 in which syllables are reversed)

  • l’identité linguistique (linguistic identity); être bilingue (bilingual)

  • la culture dominante (the dominant culture)

  • la diversité linguistique (linguistic diversity)

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