Language as a Cultural Factor in Understanding Our Clients

Carmen Gloria Rodriguez, Fordham University


Language, that system of defined and meaningful verbal forms which is the medium of social relations, is an absolute necessity of a social system. It is not only the medium of social relations at any given moment of time; it is also the medium by which the cultural forms of a society are transmitted from one point of time to another. It is indispensable for the persistence of a social system. It is the abiding framework by which a society appears as the con­crescence of its past. Language therefore, is inextricably interwoven with the social system of which it is part. Hence it is of importance in the ethnic community systems of New York City. Language is not only the fundamental medium of social contacts, social expression, and social experience, but it is also a likewise symbol of nationality and of social status around which are wrapped many intimate memories and innermost emotions. It is the whole for cultural contacts and cultural interactions; by it the history, the traditions and memories of people age long vanished become a part of the living present. Because of these deep and indestructible associations, it doesn't seem either reasonable or intelligent to demand that the Puerto Rican migrants shall completely forget their native speech and suddenly learn a strange language in the very moment of transition from his old to a new environment.

Subject Area

Ethnic studies|Sociolinguistics|Social work

Recommended Citation

Rodriguez, Carmen Gloria, "Language as a Cultural Factor in Understanding Our Clients" (1957). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30509554.