Language and Identity First of all, Identity is the belief as “who we are and how we are” which we all have as individuals and it is based on many fundamental factors such as Ethnic group, Racial, National, Gendered, Social Class, Language, Sexual and Religious. As it is clear that identity has many essentials and it is not made of just one fact but has something to do with many, I will focus on the relationship especially between language and identity in this paper. The concept of “identity” has talked a lot in many societies these days.
It is mainly because world has been becoming more civilized and English Is becoming an international language through entire societies dramatically. English has spread around the world and the fact that it is spoken and used to communicate by many non-native English speakers Is raising some controversial questions such as “Do you have to become a native English speaker In your mentality In order to speak a perfect English, “Are you a different person when you speak a different language? , “Can you become a near native speaker without going who you are when you migrate in other countries? ” These questions are interesting to many people who speak more than one language other than their mother tongue because this identity crisis usually happens in second language learning. What I mean by “identity crisis” is that your identity as who you are is lost in you and you don’t feel like you belong to the place where you are. We don’t think about our own identities on dairy basis when you are in mother land or any other social places you belong to.
It is because identity only becomes an issue when It Is In rises and crushed. For example, when you migrate In other nations, you might suffer with your new Identity as Immigrant and you might feel Like you are Isolated from native people because of the cultural difference and language. Language will comes first when it comes to identity crisis since you interact and communicate with others through language. Language has an important function of your self-representation and it is the essence of your existence in any society.
Language represents your identity in society that you are part of the society not as outsider but you also belong o that culture, society, and community even if you are biologically different from others. It is said that when you speak whatever other language, your body changes because your vocal cord feels different, sense of yourself feels different, your gesture might look deferent and your body language is also different. According to an American social psychologist Amy Cuddy, your body language has something to do with Its language that you speak and your non-verbal behavior shapes who you are.
And body language you make when you speak affects how other sees you and even owe you see yourself. So your body language which normally based on your language plays an important role when you communicate with others since every non-verbal you are. The other thing that I would like to mention about the relationship between language and identity is that the problem with returnee who are called and considered as “Kikuyu-shied’ in Japanese society. Those who were born or grow up in other countries when they are young, they automatically and naturally learn other foreign languages because of the environment they are.
And when they return to heir national country they belong, they usually face some cultural problems that is related to language and identity. The common preoccupation people have about returnees in Japan is that returnee’s self-esteem is higher than those who Just grow up in Japan and they are more likely to express their feelings and thoughts directly to people which is considered as negative communication style in Japanese society. It is impossible to control your identity because there are so many factors related to identity.
However I believe that the example of returnees in Japan exactly shows how engage and culture are important to build up your identity. I believe that country doesn’t define who you are but language you speak as native level and culture you are familiar with, society you grew up has a huge impact on your identity. Because the language you speak is based on culture that the language is mainly spoken so language and culture and identity is not a separated issue. It is all connected and influential one to another. You become who you are because of the influence from the language you speak and society you are surrounded.
You think and feel and imagine through your language and decisions are made by your language. Therefore Language refers to identity issue and identity issue refers to language issue. It is a reciprocal topic that we need to direct.