Culture is an attribute of a certain locality of people, identified by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and art. It is influenced by the environment one is living in, the weather conditions, and racial behavior. Language is a means of communication between human beings which is structured in a conventional way, and is used by living beings to convey their inside feelings and opinions. Our abstract thoughts are communicated to others by means of a language, be it written or oral. Similarly, to express my feelings to my parents I had to use two different languages, my spoken language and the Braille.
When I was younger my parents and I had two different languages, as I could talk to them and communicate what I felt. On the other hand when I wanted to write a letter to them, they could not read it because I did not know how to type, hence I learnt to read and write Braille. Learning Braille helped me in writing something personal down in my diary that my parents could read and understand. But on the other hand if I wanted to send them a letter I had to ask someone to write it for me or I would just verbalize it.
My family and I always showed affections towards one another, as we were called ‘The huggers’ by our friends and relatives. We have deep feelings of love for each other inside us which we wanted to share with each other rather than keeping it inside us. I don’t feel that other families do not do this but in our family the love is more strongly expressed.
At school I could communicate with my classmates because they could read and write Braille. We could share our thoughts out loud or on paper, depending on the circumstances. At home it was different; I just had to talk to my family. Hence reading and writing my language in Braille helped me communicate my thoughts to family and friends in a more conventional way.
Our dress portrays our culture and traditions we follow. At home I dress in more comfortable clothes such as t-shirt and pajamas. At school I usually wear jeans and self-effacing shirts, as our religion does not allow us to wear sleeveless shirts or knee length dresses. Being a part of the LDS church I love to dress modest, as I believe in saving myself for my husband Jason. When I was younger my parents taught me to dress in appropriate clothing like a decent lady as guided by my mother.
We dress modest at church on the Sabbath day on Sunday because we believe this it is the Lord's Day. The women dress in long dresses and skirts, as defined by our religion. This is a way of showing respect to our heavenly fathers.
On the other hand, when I went to my sister's church I had to turn off my Latter-day Saint code and put on the Baptist code. Over there they clap and sing loudly in the church to praise the Lord. In one song they go around and collect offerings in a basket, in order to collect fund for the poor or to renovate the Church as per requirements, or for any other cause.
Whereas, in my church we do not clap because we feel it shows that we are being reverent to the Lord, Similarly, we also do not clap after someone sings. We feel if we are in the Lord's house we should save the conversations for in between classes. Also for providing our offering we put it in an envelope and give it-for fast offering or for building temples.
My husband and I got married in the Mormon Church, which was different from my family and his. They could not go to our wedding ceremony, because they were not a member of our church, so we got married in the Temple, of which we were a member. Our families did not know the sacred ordinances that are performed there because they had not taken the classes, which we had. They were hurt, and distraught for not being able to attend our wedding. My husband and I believed that if we get married in the temple we can be together till eternity. At the end of the marriage we seal it with a kiss over the altar.
In contrast to this, when you get married in a Baptist Church in a civil way, your family can be there for it. The thing I did not like was that when taking our vows we say, “Till death do us part”. This was upsetting for me, to feel that I would not be with Jason or any of my family till eternity. I knew I would see them in heaven as it was our belief, but getting married in the Temple makes me feel more assured.
We did have a ring ceremony after our wedding, which our family could attend. So we did not exchange rings at the temple as we wanted to let our family feel a part of our special day. Jason and I decided to have the ring ceremony later on, that way we could exchange the rings and the kiss in front of them as well. We do have some things in common, such as; we have a wedding reception, but without the alcohol. Instead, we celebrated with sparkling cider.
The way I speak at home is different, as we use a more informal and slang language. We say things like, “I am so about to pop” when we have eaten too much, we also say Supper instead of dinner, which is more casual. These are sayings from my home state Kentucky. I have a southern draw to my voice when I talk to my family, but now I have to put on my Cali-voice because now I live in California with my husband.
In the end, we all have ways of turning different codes on and off depending on the situation. I think that language is an appropriate way of relating to different kinds of people living in different parts of our social world. Without language and culture, life would lack the variety and fun that is present now.