Cross-Cultural Understanding of Beliefs: the Question of the Mythical Conditioning of Language
AbstractLanguage either mirrors reality or casts a dark shadow on it. This paper dwells on the challenge thrown-up by the latter. It argues that many of the beliefs (especially religious and anthropological) which researchers (linguists, anthropologists, philosophers, etc.) sometimes attempt to translate, interpret or understand issue from MYTH; and it is exactly this mythical background that creates interpretational bottlenecks and problems which in turn, vitiate the desire to understand other cultures using the instrument of language. The paper points out that there are both linguistic and pragmatic challenges that
need to be overcome if language has to play its role as a mirror of reality. And being a bilingual or multilingual does not provide an automatic solution to this challenge. The paper, however, concludes by submitting that despite the inevitability of this myth-embedded, language-expressed consciousness, we do not resigned to cultural relativism or “language monadology” in our attempt to understand cultures different from our own. In other words, we are faced with (surmountable) challenges rather than (impregnable) impossibilities.