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1.1 Background of the Problem

Language is a system of communication in speech and written used by people of a

particular country (Oxford, 2008). Because of language used as a system of communication,
so it is used in all of our life segments, for instance: in our social life, in economic, politic and
many others. The relation between language and the society in our social life become the
nature of the study of Sociolinguistic. Language is really closely related with culture. The
term of culture is not only used to concern about some kinds of arts, but it intend to be used
in the sense of whatever a person must know in order to function in a particular society.
Goodenough (1957, p. 167), defines a societys culture consists of whatever it is one has to
know or believe in order to operate in a manner acceptable to its members, and to do so in
any role that they accept for any one of themselves.

The necessary behaviors are learned and do not come from any kind of genetic
endowment. In each society has its own culture and of course the culture between one society
and another are different. So in this occasion the writers would like to make an analysis about
Hypothesis Whorfian, Kinship, Color Terminology, Taboo and Euphimism in which ways
the people in their own society and culture express.

1.2 Formulation of the Problem

1. What are the language and culture?

2. How about language and culture in hypothesis whorfian?

3. How about language and culture in kinship, color terminology, taboo and euphimism

4. How are the relationship between language and culture?

1.3 Objectives of the Problem

1. To know what are the language and culture.

2. To know how about language and culture in Hypothesis Whorfian.

3. To know about language and culture in kinship, color terminology, taboo and euphimism

4. To knwo the relationship between language and culture.



2.1 Definiton of Language

In Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI) III edition (2005: 88) states that:
"Language is a symbol system sounds arbitrary, which is used by members of a community to
work together, interact, and identify themselves."

The term language in every country has its own aspects, in accordance with the wearer.
Definition of language according to experts:

1. According to Sturtevent, a system of arbitrary vocal symbols, used to express

communicable thoughts and feelings and enabling the members of a social group or
speech community to interact and to co-operate.
2. According to Chomsky, language is a set of sentences, each finite length and
contructed out of a finite set of elements.

There are many other definitions of language put forward by the linguists. Each
restriction has been put forward, in general have the same concepts, although there are
differences and emphasis. Linda Thomas and Shan Wareing in their book Language, Society
and Power stated that one of the ways in studying a language is to view it as a systematic way
of combining small units into units larger the objective of communication. As an example, we
combine language sounds (phonemes) into words (lexical items) in accordance with the rules
of the language we use. Grains of lexical then combined again to make grammatical structure,
in accordance with the rules of syntax in language.

Thus the language is a utterances that spoken by verbally, verbal arbitrary. Symbols and
signs used in language implies relating to the situation of human life and real experience.

2.2 Definition of Culture

Culture is a very broad term. So a lot of definitions that can be disclosed. The term
culture here is not refer to the culture in the sense of art such as music, literature or art. The
term culture here is the knowledge that should be known by someone who lives in a
particular society. Goodenough in Wardaugh, stated that a societys culture consists of
whatever it is one has to know or believe in order to operate in a manner acceptable to its
members, and to do so in any role that they accept for any one of themselves.

Wardhaugh (1992) stated that, Culture, therefore, is the knowledge how that person
must possess to get through the task of daily living. Hall (1997 : 2) provide a clearer
definition and more can be used in the field of sociolinguistics: To say that two people
belong to the same culture is to say that they interpret the world in roughly similar ways and
can express themselves, their thoughts and feeling about the world, in ways which will be
understood by eachother.

We know that excess of human beings is thinking and the ability to express feelings and
thoughts. Over the last decade there was a fierce debate between language and thought. Some
argue that the language and the mind is an identity that stands on its own. And the other have
argued that the language and the mind cannot be separated from one another. Many people
supported on this second opinion. One idea that is well-known about the relationship between
language differences between cultures is a hypothesis Sapir - Whorf is often called Whorfian

2.3 Whorfian Hypothesis

Culture is a reality that is determined by the language, and language is something

inherited culturally. However, Sapir emphasized that the language that determines how our
perception of reality. Furthermore, Sapir asserted his opinion by stating that, when a social
community removed from the life of an individual, then the individual will never be able to
learn to speak, means of communicating ideas in accordance with the tradition of a particular

Sapir considers that studies in Linguistics which generally range from about
understanding the symbol, term or terminology of linguistics should start switching and more
focused on trying to understand the language elements that support the understanding
between speakers and listeners.

Hypothesis Sapir - Whorf states that the world we know is mainly determined by the
language in our culture. Kramsch (2001) also suggested that people talk in a different way
because they think in a different way. They think in a different way because they offer a way
of expressing language (meaning) the outside world around them in a different way ".
According to Edward Sapir and Benjamin Whorf, language is not only acts as a
mechanism for ongoing communication, but also as a guide toward social reality. In the other
words, the language does not only reflect the perceptions, thoughts and experiences, but also

be able to determine and shape it. In another meaning people which different languages:
Indonesian, English, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and others are likely to see the same reality
in a different way as well. The implication languages can also be used to give a particular
accent to an event or action, such as an emphasis, sharpen, soften, exalting, harassing and
Whorf find a job as an engineer in the field of fire prevention those speakers of English
mark a place for fuel (bottle of petrol) with a "full" or "empty". Whorf said that the
implication of the word empty makes the people around the bottle of gasoline was less
cautious. Whereas gasolines bottle which "empty" is actually full of gas and can cause
explosions far more danger than bottle that full of gasoline. Whorf argued that the structure of
our language can influence our behavior.
In studies with the Hopi language, a native language in America, Whorf comparing the
language with which he calls "Standard Average European" (SAE) which are English, French
and German. He found the differences between the terms of orientation and time in the
comparison and concluded that because there are differences in the perception of Hopi
speakers also different from the perception of SAE speakers.
When we see the connection between language and culture with Whorf view, language
means facilitating a filter for our reality. Language determines of how speakers acquire and
organize the natural world and the social world around them.
In Whorfian hypothesis appears linguist supporters and a lot of linguist who criticize the
hypothesis. Linguists who support Whorf, says that when there is a special term in a language
it easier for speakers to refer to the term. Linguist who criticizes Whorf hypothesis says that
when the hypothesis is true, then there is no possibility to explain the specific definition was
in a language where the term does not exist. We must assume that all languages have the
necessary linguistic resource that allows speakers to convey what they wanted to.

2.4 Kinship
An interesting way to observed which humans use language in everyday life when refers
to kinship. Therefore kinship systems have unity in all parts of the world, but people use
different systems to talk about their kinship. Kinship systems between communities culture is
different with one another. For example In German, , the term for "brother" and "sister" are
only used to brother or sister, is very different with Indonesian language, where the term
brother or ssister can also be used in conjunction with other social, undue reference the
relationships within the family. For example, in English grandfather refers to our father's

father and our mother's father but did not refer to our brother's wife father. In Javanese the
term Simbah refers to the father of our father or mother.
So, not distinguished simbah from father or mother, just that there are simbah/
eyang, Kakung (grandfather) and simbah / eyang putri (grandmother). It is influenced by the
culture of each society, that in kinship system, Javanese and Indonesian is not distinguish of
gender, which important is seniority. While in the UK and European culture in general (also
China) gender is very important.

2.5 Taxonomie
Taxonomy can be interpreted as a classification or grouping by class or subclass that
aims to help people to understand what is meant. As an example, in Javanese, the word lara
Weteng (stomachache) classified into various stomachache, such as mules, mbedhedheg,
kemramnyas, ampek. Another example is the word nggawa (bring), can be classified into
njunjung, njinjing, mbopong, nyunggi.

2.6 Color
Color Terminology is the terms that used by the people to describe color (Wardhaugh,
2002:233). Different cultures have different terms for colors, and may also assign some color
terms to slightly different parts of the human color space: for instance, the Chinese character
(pronounced qng in Mandarin and ao in Japanese) has a meaning that covers both blue
and green. On the other explanation color is all around but it is not everywhere treated in the
same way. We sometimes cannot directly translate color words from one language to another
without introducing from subtle changes in meaning, e.g., English brown, French brun and
Indonesia coklat. That means every place around the world has its own term for describing
color whether it has some similarities or not.

2.6.1 The Relationship Between Language and Color

An attempt has been made to relate the extent of color terminology in specific languages
with the level of cultural and technical complexity of those societies in which these languages
are spoken. There is some reason to believe that communities that show little technological
development employ the fewest color term, for example the Jale of New Gumea have words
corresponding to dark and light alone. On the other hands, technologically advanced societies
have more color term. Societies in intermediate stages have intermediate numbers: for

example, The Tiv of Nigeria has three terms; The Garo of Assam, and The Hanunoo of the
Philippines have four; and The Burmese has seven.

2.7 Taboo and Euphimism

Taboo is the prohibition or avoidance in any society of behavior believes to be harmful to
its members in that it would cause them anxiety, embarrassment or shame (Ronald
Wardhaugh, 2002). Hetherington (1980), give an ideal description of taboo as follows:
Generally speaking, we may say that whatever a society fears will be labeled taboo. Thus,
any action that is frightening not merely those literally forbidden can come to be regarded
as taboo. For example, death is not forbidden, but it is frightening enough that talking about
death may not be allowed. When the act is fearsome, it is very common for the name of that
act to become equally fearsome and therefore forbidden. On the other words taboo is a
prohibition or rejection of some types of behavior or language because they are considered
socially unacceptable.
In every community, there are certain words are considered taboo. These words are not
spoken, or at least, not spoken in front of guests in formal conditions. For example, in Zuni
Indian society, there is a ban to said takka which means "frog" in religious ceremonies. It
word is replaced with a complex sentence, which literally means "something which sits on
the river and speaks out".
While Euphemism is defined as the use of words or other forms to avoid any form of
prohibition or taboo. Thus, Euphemism is usage of a good word by change the words deemed

2.7.1 The Categorizations of Taboo

Euphemisms are motivated by different taboos in society. Every culture has its own
topics that are forbidden and should not be talked about directly. There are three categories of
taboo "according to the psychological motivation behind them", such as:

1. Taboo of Fear

Everything that brings in terrifies power and is believed to endanger life. This
kind of taboo referred to the supernatural things, such as directly disclosure the
names of God and spirits.
In a certain group of people, the words that have religious connotations
considered not feasible when used outside of formal religious ceremonies.
Christians are forbidden to use the Lord's name carelessly. This prohibition was
later developed into a prohibition against the use of curse, which is believed have
magical powers. The word hell and damn darn changed to hack and darn, with the
hope and belief that change the pronunciation of it will deceive 'the power
generated' of the word.
In Indonesia, a society of South Coast of Java looked taboo against anyone
who travel or recreation on the beach wearing red clothes. This taboo is happen
because they believe that supernatural beings Ruler of the South Coast Nyi Roro
Kidul, known as the Queen of the South Coast do not like or angry with tourists
dressed in red and certainly believed there will be adverse effects that will be
received by the offenders.

2. Taboo of Delicacy
People also try to avoid direct reference to topics they find unpleasant, such as
diasease and death. Illnesses suffered by someone are something that is unpleasant
for the sufferer. Diseases which disgusting usually avoided to mention and should
be replaced with a euphemism. Disclosure of diseases makes shame and disgrace,
certainly will be uncomfortable to hear, for examples in Indonesia such as ayan,
kudis, and borok. These word should be replaced with epilepsy, scabies, and
abses. And other example in Indonesia some of the names of diseases which are
congenital defects such as buta, tuli, bisu, and gila can be replaced with tunanetra,
tunarungu, tunawicara, and tunagrahita.
Dying and death is very taboo in Western civilization. They do not like to hear
or use the word die and more inclined to like the words pass on or pass away.

3. Taboo of Propriety
The three most common areas in this category are sex, certain body parts and
Excretions. People find it difficult to talk about going to the toilet, and have
invented numerous ways of avoiding direct reference to the topic.

As we know the people in some places have their own ways to something that
related to sex. People tend to be ashamed when they refer to a term connected
with sex because it is highly personal and private. In most societies, therefore,
direct reference to sex and its related word are strongly forbidden or avoided. In
the Victorian age, a woman was never pregnant but enceinte. Perhaps this is
because pregnancy issues from sex and always a delicate subject. Other example
to having the sexual intercourse, people say like these: getting it on, getting off,
sleeping with, or going to bed with. And to refer the word whore or prostitute
it is replaced by many other expressions: call girl, courtesan, hooker, ladies of
pleasure or ladies of evening.
For parts of body, In the Victorian age, it was forbidden to refer to legs
because of highly sexual. So the word limbs were substituted for it. For
naked, we can find out some euphemisms like the following: nude, without a
stitch on or a natural.
For excretions People tend to avoid direct mention some physiological
phenomena. This taboo against referring to certain functions of the body
particularly those which are connected with secretions and excretions, results in
various milder or periphrastic replacements. According to Victoria Fromkin &
Robert Rodman (1978), there are so many euphemisms which the Australian
replaces the verb urinate like follows: drain the dragon, siphon the python,
water the horse or squeeze the lemon. Other example is to perspire is a polite
way of saying to sweat.

2.8 The Relationship Between Language and Culture

Language and culture have a coordinative relations, namely the relationship which is the
same position. Masinambow (1995) mentions that the culture and language is a system that is
inherent in human. Relation between language and culture is so tightly, even it is often
difficult to identify the relation of them because they affect each other, co-exist and run side
by side.

Language is a means to preserve culture. A culture will be able to understand by the

recipient culture if they understand the language of the culture. Even many arguments said
that the culture born because of language, without a language culture would not exist.

However it turns out the language of a society strongly influenced by the culture of its
society. In semantic analysis, Abdul Chaer said that language is unique and has a very close

relationship with the culture of the wearer, the analysis of a language only applies to that
language, cannot be used to analyze other languages.
A similar argument states by Levi-Strauss (1992). According to him, language is the
result of culture. In this case is means that a culture affects language. For example, between
sundanese and javanese language

Bahasa Sunda Bahasa Jawa

Amis : manis Amis : amis

Gedang : papaya Gedhang : pisang

Raos : enak Raos : rasa

Atos : sudah Atos : keras

Cokot : ambil Cokot : gigit

The words in Sundanese and Javanese although have the sound and spelling are same
but have different meaning. It is occurs because of differences in cultural background that
affect the meaning. The procedure for a person speaks strongly influenced the cultural norms
of ethnic or certain groups of society.


Language is an utterances that spoken by verbally, verbal arbitrary. Symbols and signs
used in language implies relating to the situation of human life and real experience.

Culture is a shared background resulting from a common language and communication
style, beliefs, attitudes, and values.
Languge and culture can be influence to the kinship, color, taxonomie, taboo and
euphimism. According to Whorfian hypothesis culture is a reality that is determined by the
language, and the language that determines how our perception of reality.

In the reality, language is affect the culture. Often difficult to identify the relation of them
because language and culture affect each other, co-exist and run side by side. Language and
culture is cannot be separate. Language is culture and culture is language.


Wardhaugh, Ronald, An Introduction to Sociolinguistic Fourth Edition, Blackwell,

UK. 2002.