Culture and Language


You might not even be aware of it, but you change how you use language all the time.

When many people here the word “culture” they automatically think “country.” This is not the case and it’s definitely not how we’ll be defining culture in our unit. In reality, it’s not even necessary to define culture to do well in this unit so we won’t even bother.

What is important for you to understand is that we are focusing on the many different relationships that exist between language, meaning and context.

What you need to know…

  • How is language used to communicate meaning?
  • How and why does language change depending on context?
  • How can context affect meaning?

You need to work at developing an understanding of these questions and an ability to apply them to the analysis of a range of texts.

What is meant by a “text-type”?

A text-type is similar in meaning to genre. Here are some examples of text-types:

  • Magazine article
  • Webinar
  • Letter
  • Essay
  • Text message
  • Blog post
  • Opinion column
  • Podcast
  • Poster
  • TV advertisement

In the context of this course when you hear the word “text” it just means any thing that has been created to communicate a meaning. It’s basically the thing you are analysing (or creating).

So the text is a specific example of a text-type that is being studied. It’s a generic term that covers any particular work that has been chosen to be analysed.

What is meant by “language?”

I’m not going to try to define language, because that’ extremely difficult, contentious, and I’d probably get it wrong. But I will try to explain what “language” means in the context of our English course.

Another term that is often used  in the IB Literature and Langauge course is “stylistic devices”. A stylistic device is any technique that has been used for a deliberate purpose. So language really refers to the techniques used to communicate meaning. This could be words, sentences, body language, sounds, etc.

What is meant by “meaning?”

Meaning might also be called ideas, messages, or themes, to name a few. It’s what is communicated to, or interpreted from, the audience.

What is meant by “context?”

Context refers to anything that is important in understanding the text,