The core of people learning a second language put more weight on triying to learn the grammar through arcaic drilling excercises and memory techniques forgeting about the importance of the culture or simply putting it into the deep background of their activitiy. This should be more balanced during our learning process. Let’s say that the grammar of a language is made by pieces like the ones of a puzzle and that we have a picture to guide us to put them together. So the picture represents the culture of that grammar. We nned this picture to have an image with which putting the pieces together is a much more easy task.
There’s no language without culture and no culture without language. A language is just the verbal output of a culture and every language is fed by its culture. There’s no language without idioms, refrains, nicknames, riddles, etc. And all this belong to that link between language and culture. In that moment in which we think we have an advanced knowledge of a language and we decide going to a country where it is spoken finding out that we don’t get a word of local’s speech is a very widely spread phenomenon. Well, this is due to the lack of contact with the target culture.
But it is not only related with expressions or idioms. It is also related with costumes, lifestyle, social behaviour, education patterns, everyday life, historical background and even forms of artisitic expressions like art, literature or music. Consequently, there must be a balanced approach to both disciplines if we want to success in our learning.
The easiest way of getting in touch with the culture of a country if we don’t have the opportunity of visiting the country is reading its literature because literature is language alive. It projects the culture of a language and its differences between that one and our language. Anyhow, if we don’t like reading novels or books and we are more dynamic, there is a wide range of ways to get in touch with the culture of the language we are learning. I will post some of them to help you out with your learning of Spanish so keep track of my next posts. I leave you a riddle for practicing pronounciation:
“EL PERRO DE RAMÓN RODRÍGUEZ NO TIENE RABO PORQUE RAMÓN RODRÍGUEZ SE LO HA CORTADO”