Friday, May 4, 2012

National stereotypes (Great Britain)

Here are certain stereotypes of national character which are well known in Britain. For instance, the Irish are supposed to be great talkers, the Scots have a reputation for being careful with money, the Welsh are renowned for their singing abilities, and the English are considered to be reserved. These characteristics are, of course, only caricatures and are not reliable description of individual people from these countries.

British people give a relatively high value to the everyday personal contacts. Some writers on Britain have talked about the British desire ’to belong’, and it is certainly true that the pub, or the working man’s club, or the numerous other clubs devoted to various sports and pastimes play a very important part in many people’s lives. Many people make their social contacts through work and, partly as a result of this, the profession is also important aspect of their sense of identity. British people try to appear as if they belong to as high class as possible, though nobody wants to be thought of as ’snobbish’.

The British have few living traditions and are too individualistic to have the same everyday habits as each other. They are rather proud of being different. However, this does not mean that they like change. They don’t. They may not behave in traditional ways, but they like symbols of tradition and stability. The British are rather conservative and their conservatism can combine with their individualism. Why should they change just to be like everyone else? Indeed, as far as they are concerned, not being like everyone else is a good reason not to change. Their driving on the left-hand side of the road is a good example to this. Systems of measurement are another example. The British government has been trying for many years to get British people to use the same scales that are used nearly everywhere else in the world. But everybody in Britain still shops in pounds and ounces.

The modern British are not really chauvinistic. Open hostility to people from other countries is very rare. If there is any chauvinism at all, it expresses itself through ignorance. Most British people know remarkably little about Europe and who lives there. The popular image of Europe seems to be that it is something to do with the French.

It is probably true that the British, especially the English, are more reserved than the people of many other countries. They find it comparatively difficult to indicate friendship by open displays of affection. For example, it is not the convention to kiss when meeting a friend. Instead, friendship is symbolised by behaving as casually as possible.
The British are comparatively uninterested in clothes. They spend a lower proportion of their income on clothing than people in most European countries do. Many people buy second-hands clothes and are not at all embarrassed to admit this. Of course, when people are ’on duty’, they have to obey some quite rigid rules. A male bank employee, for example, is expected to wear a suit with a tie at work. But on Sundays the British like to «dress down». They can’t wait to take off their respectable working clothes and slip into something really scruffy. In fact, the British are probably more tolerant of strange’ clothing than people in most other countries.

The English people are great pet lovers. Practically every family has a dog or a cat, or both. They have special dog shops selling food, clothes and other things for dogs. There are dog hairdressing saloons and dog cemeteries. Millions of families have ’bird-tables’ in their gardens. Perhaps, this overall concern for animals is part of the British love for nature.
(Gerasimchik Angelina)

Cultural component of phraseology in Great Britain.

When traveling:

When you arrive at the airport, you may need an airport porter (skycap) to assist you. A trolley (baggage cart) is helpful for transporting your luggage. Instead of renting a car, you hire one.

If you need to take money out from an ATM, you want to look for a cashpoint.

If you need to pop into the chemist (drugstore) to buy a few things, you may need paracetamol for a headache (this is the same as Tylenol). If you are traveling with an infant, you may want to pick up some nappies (diapers).

While traveling the London Underground, also known as the Tube (subway), you will hear a voice reminding you to "Mind the Gap!" as you step on and off the subway car. This means you should be aware of the space between the platform and the car. This phrase is world famous, and appears on many London souvenirs.
In Conversation: I'm sure most of you have heard the phrase, "Bob's your uncle!", which means, "And there you have it!"
 I haven't heard anyone say "Cheerio!", although Americans seem to think this is a common British term. I still see it in various sources on British slang, but my British friends have obvious disdain for the expression. I've heard countless Americans say, "Pip Pip Cheerio!" when trying to sound British, but pip pip is outdated. Both pip pip and cheerio mean goodbye, which renders this expression redundant.
 Americans may say, "Holy Cow!", but Britain's comparable expression is "Stone the crows!. "Blimey!" is also used.
 Americans may talk up a storm, but Britons talk the hind legs off a donkey.
 Instead of using the bathroom or going potty, the British spend a penny, although it's a rather old fashioned expression. (I've heard the expression gone potty to indicate people going crazy; the word barmy is also used for that purpose).
 You may hear the word brilliant (shortened to brill) a lot, which means the same as cool.
 Of course, you'll hear bloody A LOT, such as "that was bloody awful" or countless other ways. Blooming is a gentler form of bloody.
 Cheeky, of course, is a well-known term, which means the same as being flippant or lippy.
 When you hear someone say "Ta!", they are giving an expression of thanks.
 If something is wonky (an expression I actually use frequently), it means it is unsteady or shaky.
 If someone tells you they are chuffed, it means they are pleased.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Around the world, people are raised not to stereotype others. Nevertheless, they often define their own cultural identity by stereotyping themselves. Not only do the stereotypes provide the behavioural model that individuals seek to emulate, they also provide a sense of commonality that makes people feel that they are part of a community.

In Australia, there are some individuals who can likewise appreciate the benefits of a cultural identity and who have subsequently created stereotypes to affirm that identity. One such Australian is Peter Cosgrove, ex-Chief of the Army. According to Cosgrove, 

"Without doubt the best quality we observe across the entire Australian community is a natural willingness to pitch in and have a go, to help others. We see it of course whenever there is an emergency or a worthy cause. We see it in every community volunteer organisation from the lifesavers to the bushfire brigades through to the thousands of youth and mature age sporting clubs and those great international service organisations like Rotary and many others. We see it in our professional bodies such as the police, fire and ambulance services and of course in the defence force. It is a generosity of spirit and a selflessness that is perhaps our most precious heritage to hand on to younger and newer Australians - a nation of people who care for and look out for each other."

It is impossible to ascertain the accuracy of Cosgrove's stereotype. Certainly not all Australians volunteer to fight fires, guard beaches, join the army, work in a Salvation Army store, or pick up rubbish. However, even though a stereotype may not be true in practice, it may be true in myth and for this reason, belief in the stereotype is a fact in itself. Furthermore, when evoked in certain circumstances, the stereotype can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Individuals who believe it may conform to the positive social identity that the stereotype promotes. A myth of behaviour can then become a fact of behaviour. In other words, the sterotype becomes a guide about how to act and conforms people in the process.
Social Identity Theory (Tajfel and Turner 1979) proposes that although individuals conform to stereotypes, it is usually only for a short time. Once the need for a social identity passes, the individuals exhibit their unique character traits once more. For example, an Australian may get pissed on ANZAC Day and value mateship on Australia Day because such behaviours are stereotypically associated with the days. On all other days, the Australian may refrain from celebrating mateship and may also avoid alcohol. Likewise, Australians may show great compassion for others after a bushfire because such behaviour is stereotyped Australian behaviour. On other days, the Australian becomes self-interested again. While Social Identity Theory helps explain why an Australian may exhibit individual personality traits in one setting and stereotyped Australian behaviours in another, it doesn't really explain why some Australians never adopt Australian stereotypes despite having a strong need for a social identity. Self-categorization Theory (Turner, Hogg, Oakes, Reicher, & Wetherell. 1987) provides a possible explanation. The theory basically proposes that an individual may have multiple social identities that are important to them at different times. For example, an Australian woman may see herself as an individual, a feminist, a Greens Party voter and an Australian. When she comes across a man talking about the courage needed to play football, she may act in accordance with the feminist stereotype by making derisive comments about male bravado. When the Greens Party speaks of the need to be carbon neutral, she may make critical comments of Liberal Party voters and then buy a low-emission car. When she comes across an Asian, she may criticise their hierarchical cultures and then define herself as egalitarian. In each case, the individual's behaviour changes according the social dynamics at work.
Self-categorisation Theory also proposes that stereotypes are defined in an intergroup context. As the group dynamic changes, so does the stereotypes. For example, if talking to Americans about the stereotype of his country, an Australian may say that Australians are laid back, down to earth and non-pretentious. However, if talking to Japanese about the same topic, the Australian may say that Australians are straight to the point and egalitarian. In both cases, the stereotype is defined as a point of comparison between groups. The comparative nature of stereotypes is especially important for political identities.
In Australia, the national stereotype has traditionally been weak. The shame associated with Australia’s Convict heritage may be one possible explanation for the weaknesses. Social stereotypes need to have a positive status before people will adopt them. A second reason is Australia’s geographic isolation. A national identity is really only needed when another nationality is encountered. Because Australians are geographically isolated, they have not encountered the different nationalities where a national identity is provoked as easily as citizens from other countries.
A national stereotype appears to have been particularly problematic for left-wing Australians. Not only have they rejected the need for a national identity, they have actively tried to portray the Australian stereotype in a negative way in the hope other Australians will likewise reject it. This strawman stereotypes can be seen in web sites that try to be funny, in movies exploring the Australian identity, in media campaigns by some academics and in advertising campaigns by some politicians.
Even though stereotypes are sometimes successfully manipulated, in the long run, negative stereotyping of a rival group is a counter-productive way for convincing others to come around to a political ideology. In order for people to identify with a social group, people need to find something positive with that social group. Although the left's strawman stereotyping has been quite effective in eroding the positive image the outback has held for urban Australians, this has not translated to massive support for the left-wing. If anything, the negative stereotyping has also created the stereotype that the left-wing is full of mean spirited people, which turns off many Australians as well.
Some stereotypes about Australians: party animals; nature lovers; surf all day – drink all night; have surfer chicks; heavy binge drinkers; neurotic; extroverted; sometimes shallow but honest; open-minded; free spirited; love to joke; “hail-fellow-well-met” or “chummy” attitude; men are useless dads; have barbie loving home cooking mums; uncultured; Crocodile Dundee outsider types; sports lovers; meat eaters; bush battling rednecks.
( Emirova F.)
Most countries are informally thought to have a national 'type'; this can be seen in positive or negative terms. Most have some basis in reality, but are often outdated and applicable to only a small section of society. They typically exclude women, although there may also be a national female type. A number of famous New Zealanders seem to fit the national stereotype. This is probably due to three factors: the stereotypically 'Kiwi' qualities of famous people being emphasised; people who seem to embody the type becoming famous due to this (for example Barry Crump), or famous people acting as people expect them to. It should not be assumed that a famous person who seems to fit the stereotype provides evidence of the widespread truth of that stereotype.
 The kiwi male 
The stereotypical New Zealand male is essentially a pioneer type: he is rural, unintellectual, strong, unemotional, democratic, has little time for high culture, good with animals (particularly horses) and machines, and is able to turn his hand to nearly anything. This type of man is often assumed to be a unique product of New Zealand's colonial period but he shares many similarities with the stereotypical American frontiersman and Australian bushman. New Zealand men are supposed to still have many of these qualities, even though most New Zealanders have lived in urban areas since the late nineteenth century. This has not prevented New Zealanders seeing themselves (and being seen) as essentially country people and good at the tasks which country life requires. The stereotypical Kiwi male is assumed to be a heterosexual of Anglo-Celtic origin, although Māori men are often seen as embodying many of the characteristics described above. The kiwi male is said to have unique qualities which have become national stereotypes in their own right:
Kiwi ingenuity: This is the idea that New Zealanders display a MacGyver-like ability to solve any problem, often using unconventional means or whatever happens to be lying around. This is also described as the Number 8 wire mentality, which holds that anything can be made or fixed with basic or everyday materials, such as number 8 fencing wire. New Zealanders seen as embodying this quality include Burt Munro (subject of The World's Fastest Indian) and Richard Pearse, who some believe achieved flight before the Wright Brothers. Kiwi ingenuity is also linked to the phrase "she'll be right, mate" (shared with Australia), which expresses the belief that the situation, repairs, or whatever has been done is adequate or sufficient for what is needed. It is seen less positively than Kiwi ingenuity, especially if something goes wrong. Kiwi ingenuity is not strictly a male preserve, although it is generally spoken of in relation to men.
 The hard man: New Zealand men have often been stereotyped as strong, unemotional and prone to violence. For many years this was seen as a good thing, and was best embodied by All Black Colin Meads. Voted 'New Zealand player of the century' by New Zealand Rugby Monthly magazine, Meads was the second All Black to be sent off the field, and once played a match with a broken arm.  In recent decades the macho attitude has been both criticised and reviled as dangerous both to men who embody it and those around them. It has been blamed for New Zealand's culture of heavy drinking and its high male suicide rate. However it still has its supporters, with some commentators claiming that the All Blacks do not have enough 'mongrel'.
Rugby, Racing and Beer: New Zealand male culture was traditionally said to centre on the 'three Rs': Rugby (union), (Horse) Racing and beer. Rugby union has long been popular as both a spectator and a participant sport, with the national rugby team (the All Blacks) considered national heroes. Horse racing has always been more popular as a focus of gambling than for any other reason. In addition, for many years horse racing was one of the few things which could be legally bet on. Beer is New Zealand's most popular alcoholic drink, although most New Zealand beers are actually lagers of varying colour. Few people consider the Three Rs to dominate New Zealand culture today, although rugby and beer are still very popular. Race betting has declined in popularity, partly due to the legalisation of other forms of sports betting in the 1990s, although cup races still attract considerable attention. National level rugby continues to be very popular as a spectator sport, although not to the same extent as in the mid twentieth century. Spectators at club and some regional levels have also dropped since that time, mostly due to television and the increasing number of international and semi-international (ie the Super Rugby) matches. There has been some concern in recent years that parents are reluctant to let their children play rugby for fear of injury, however it has been estimated that 14% of 5 to 17 year olds regularly play. Beer continues to be a popular drink, although it is losing ground to wine and 'RTDs' (ready to drink spirit and mixers).
 The kiwi female: There are few stereotypes surrounding New Zealand women, and these stereotypes are not as strong as those involving men. The two strongest stereotypes are:
 Independence: New Zealand women are sometimes thought to be more independent than women elsewhere. New Zealand being the first country in the world to give women the vote and the only one to have all its most important positions of state power simultaneously filled by women is seen as evidence of this.  
Lack of femininity: Women in New Zealand are supposedly unfeminine, for example wearing masculine clothing and spending little time on makeup and other forms of personal grooming. This can also be seen in a positive light; Kiwi women are portrayed as not being held back by ideas about being 'ladylike' and are therefore willing to take on 'masculine' tasks such as car maintenance and playing rugby. Former Prime Minister Helen Clark is often seen as an embodiment of this stereotype, for good and bad: critics point at her lack of children and her choice on one occasion to meet the Queen while wearing trousers; supporters like her passion for mountain climbing and ability to hold her own in parliamentary debates.
( Zentsova A.)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Cultural component of phraseology in the US

Value of regional studies of English phraseology.
In particular, schoolchildren, students, simple Philistine, mastering a foreign language, in this case English, receives highly efficient opportunity to join the national culture and history people of Britain. Phraseology, as an integral part and a kind Treasure every language the world can most strongly contribute to this encourage the involvement. Idiom and phraseological combinations reflect long history of the British people, the uniqueness of its culture, life, traditions. Therefore phraseologisms are highly informative units of English language.What is idiom ? Elucidation of this , as well as types and causes of the emergence and transformation of phraseology and dedicated work.Regional geographic value of phraseology formed three components.
First, idioms reflect national culture of dissection, the units of its composition .Some of these words have no equivalents.Secondly, the English phraseological units express national culture undivided, integrated, all its elements, taken together, that is their phraseological values.Finally, thirdly, idioms reflect national culture of their prototypes, since genetically free phrase describes certain customs, traditions, especially the life and culture, historical events, and much more.
In its most idiomatic expressions created by the people, so they are closely linked with the interests and daily classes of ordinary people. Many idioms associated with superstitions and myths. However, the majority of English phraseology appeared in the professional voice.
Sport has always played an important role in the lives of the inhabitants Misty Albion.
British are proud of the fact that many sports emerged in their country, and then spread around the world. British National games are football cricket, racing, billiards. Many phraseologisms associated with jumps, rooster fighting with boxing. They are characterized by humor, worldly wisdom, their content is our world, environment, and the atmosphere - a shrewd, hard, devoid of common sense of romance.
The focus is on success and money. Satisfaction afforded by wealth and success, is expressed in many phraseology.Thus, the English phraseological units can give us key to the national character of the people of Britain, its culture, history and political life.
Notion of phraseologism. Idioms are phraseological units, idioms, sustainable combination of words, which is characterized by constant lexical composition, grammatical structure and well-known speakers of the language of value (In most cases - portable-shaped ), Not deducible from the components of phraseological components.
This is reproduced in the speech in accordance with historically established norms of consumption.
Phraseologisms are differ from fully reinterpreted composition and unmotivated value - phraseological seam.
For example: Back the wrong horse to make a bad choice .
Bite the bullet bravely stand with a motivated value - phraseological unity
For example:
The bottom line outcome.
Break the ice to melt the ice.
Phraseology combination, including in its membership word or words with happy phraseology associated value, for example:
Deep silence profound silence.
Iron nerves nerves of steel.
Phraseology expression - a combination of reviewed words, but constant composition and value.
There are other classifications that originated as a basis distinguish types of phraseological nature of the restrictions in the choice of variables elements of their structure, material unit or variable composition of words — components, the degree of stability of the structure and its elements, and other.
Different set of values and character structure of phraseological forms of a language.
Phraseology - (Greek Phrases - expression + logos — teaching) - the science of a complex composition of linguistic units are sustainable: upside down, trapped a cat laugh.
Phraseology is also called the totality of these complex composition of stable combinations - phraseology. Idiom, in contrast to the lexical items have number of characteristics. Idiom always complicated in composition, they are formed connection of several components that are usually separate stress, but not at the same time preserving the value of independent words. For example:
Hold one's hand to abstain from something.
Honest to God! God knows!
Idiom semantically indivisible, they have usually undifferentiated value that can be in one word. For example:
Lose one's head bold face
Lose one's heart to fall in love.
Make a poor mouth poor mouth.
However, this feature is not peculiar to all phraseology. There are those who are equal to the whole descriptive words. For example:
Have a green thumb golden hands (on the gardener).
Have all one's goods in the shop window flaunt.
Have a lot on the ball to be very capable. Such phraseologisms arise as a result of figurative rethinking of free word combinations.
3. Idiom in contrast to free phrases characterizes the constancy of composition. One or another component of phraseologism no substitute for friends meaning of the word, at the time, as free phrase can easily tolerate such replacement. For example:
Instead of a ladies' man ladies' man, ladies' man.
Can not say a gentlemen 'women Instead.
Lady luck lady luck.
Can not say man luck.
This can be compared to free phrases:
To read a book
To read a novel
To read a story
However, some phraseological units have options, such as:
With all one's heart
With all one's soul
Nevertheless, the existence of options does not mean. What these phraseology can be arbitrarily update the composition. Idiom distinguishes reproducibility. In contrast to free phrases that built directly in the speech, phraseological units are used in the finished form, as they consolidated their position in the language, what they hold our memories.
Exception of phraseological units, which allow insert some clarifying words are:
To learn one's lesson to learn (To learn good lesson from something to learn from something structural feature of some phraseology is the presence of a truncated form, along with the full).
For example:
A friend in need chum (A friend in need is a friend indeed a friend is known in trouble Reduction phraseologisms in such cases explained by the desire for verbal economy, but sometimes leads to complete rethinking and change the values phraseologism).
6. Idiom inherent stability of the grammatical form of their components: each member of phraseological combinations reproduced certain grammatical form, which can not be arbitrarily changed.
That is not to replace the plural form only and vice versa, the comparative degree of adjectives and so more. Only in special cases, possible variations of grammatical forms of individual phraseology.
For example:
To gather up the thread (s) to renew any case.
To get into deep water get into hot position.
Most phraseologysms are strictly fixed word order.
At the same time phraseologisms global type, for example consisting of a verb and dependent on it the words, allow permutation components. Heterogeneity of the structure of a number of phraseological due to the fact that the phraseology unites rather colorful language material with the boundary of some phraseological units delineated enough definitely. Classification of phraseology Study phraseology of English suggests their classification on a variety of grounds.
Davis Thompson suggested one of the most famous and widespread in the linguistic science classifications, based on varying degrees of idiomatic (justification of) components in phraseologism. Identify three types of phraseological units:
1)Phraseology seam. Stable combinations of generalized integral value are not derived from the values of their components, that is not motivated them in terms of the current state of vocabulary.
We sometimes do not think about the meaning of obsolete words and phrases that do not understand the emergence of some obsolete grammatical forms, but the integrity of the significance of these phraseological understandable to everyone.
Thus, etymological analysis helps clarify the motivation for the semantics of modern idiomatic seam. But the roots phraseologism sometimes go in so distant past, that linguists have not come to a definite conclusion about their origin.
Phraseology seam may include in its membership obsolete words and grammatical forms, which also contributes to the semantic speed of irreducibility.
2)Phraseology Unity. Stable combinations of generalized integral value which is partly due to the semantics of their components, as used in the figurative sense.
For example: Swim against the current to swim against the current, do what is not characteristic of other, be in opposition to others Such phraseologisms may have "external homonyms, then is coincident with the composition of the phrase, as used in the direct value.
For example: It was very tiresome as I had to swim against the current. It was very tiring to swim against the tide.
Unlike phraseologic adhesions, lost in language of their figurative meaning, phraseological unity always perceived as metaphors or other paths.
Catch at a straw to fall on the hook . There phraseological unity, which represent a paraphrase, that is, descriptive figurative expressions, substituting one word .
For example: Broad shoulders oblique yards in the shoulders.
3)Phraseology combination
Sustained momentum, the value of which is motivated semantics of their components, one of which has phraseology associated value: droop gaze (head).
Verb - droop - in meaning - delete - has phraseology associated value, and with other words it does not blend. Phraseology associated value components such phraseology is realized only in a strictly defined lexical environment. We say: The Indian summer, but never say The Indian month, The Indian autumn, etc.
Phraseology combination often varies.
For example:
Be in one's blood = have something in one's blood to be hereditary
This classification phraseology often complementary, highlighting the so-called phraseological expressions, which are also stable, but are composed of words with the free values.
For example: To be or not to be or not to be. In this group of phraseology include cruise expressions, proverbs, sayings.
In addition, many phraseological expressions have crucial syntactic distinction: are not phrases and whole sentences.
Clarifying the concept, sometimes to a combination of this type offer applies not all proverbs and sayings, but only those acquired generalized metaphorical meaning and perceived as units close to the actual phraseology.
For example: Starry hour finest hour.
Thus, the allocation of the fourth, the last of examined, a group phraseology scientists have achieved the unity and certainty. Difference is due to the diversity and heterogeneity themselves linguistic units, which traditionally enroll in the phraseology. Typology phraseologisms are based on the grammatical similarity component of phraseology. Their types are the following:
a) a combination of an adjective with a noun:
Vicious circle - vicious circle
The Indian summer - Indian summer
b) in the translation of a combination noun in the nominative case with the noun in the genitive case:
Apple of discord apple of discord
c) a combination of prepositional-case forms of nouns with an adjective.
Be on a good footing to be on familiar terms with someone combination of a verb with the noun (with a preposition and without a preposition)
Come to one's senses to take on the mind. Cock one's nose nose up.
e) a combination of a verb with an adverb:
To see through (somebody see through)
Fly high (to be very ambitious)
Get down to earth come down to earth - combination of communion with the noun
One's heart is bleeding heart bleeds typology, based on line syntax functions of phraseological units and parts of speech, they can be replaced.
Stand out these types of phraseological units:
a) nominal phraseologisms:
Swan-song - swan song
In the sentence, they serve as the subject, predicate, complement, by the nature of relationships with other words in combination may control of any member and to be governed;
b) verbal phraseologisms:
Hold one's ground to stay very firmly not to surrender their positions . The proposal act as a predicate, in conjunction with in other words, may agree to manage and be managed;
c) adjectival phraseologisms:
In blooming health blood with milk
They are important quality characteristics and like an adjective, serve sentence in the function definition or Author of the predicate;
d) adverbial or adverbial phraseologisms
Up one's sleeves carelessly
They, like adverbs, characterize the quality of and fulfill the role of circumstances in the sentence;
e) interjections phraseologisms
Good luck! Good luck! Like interjections such as phraseological units express expression of will, feeling, speaking as an individual, undivided proposals.
(Ostistaya Lilia)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

National worldviews in the US

The modern concept of worldview goes back to Kant in 1790. Later the concept was elaborated by other thinkers such as Fichte, Schleiermacher, Hegel, and Dilthey, in terms of weltanschaung–a global outlook on life and the world that characterizes a people or a culture.
Langdon Gilkey, a U.S. theologian, connects the concept of worldview with "a shared system of meanings."James Olthuis, in a perceptive article, describes worldview as "a framework or set of fundamental beliefs through which we view the world and our calling and future in it." He adds: "It is the integrative and interpretive framework by which order and disorder are judged, the standard by which reality is managed and pursued."
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)–a noted Dutch Reformed theologian, statesman and journalist–was one of the first to apply the concept of worldview to a Christian analysis of culture. Carl Henry and Frances Schaeffer, American evangelical writers of our time, followed Kuyper's lead in critiquing cultural trends from a worldview perspective.
As Brian Walsh and Richard Middleton suggest in their book The Transforming Vision, a worldview answers four fundamental questions:
• Who am I? The nature, meaning and purpose of human beings. What am I here for?
How do I compare with and relate to other human beings, objects, God?
•Where am I? The nature of the universe in which we live. What is the reality that I perceive? How much does it encompass?
•What is wrong? The obstacles that prevent me from attaining fulfillment. How do I understand the disorder, pain, and evil that I observe and experience? How can I explain it?
•What is the solution? Ways of overcoming the obstacles to fulfillment. How do I solve the enigma of evil and find personal satisfaction? The question suggests that, ultimately, a worldview implies a soteriology and an eschatology.
A worldview has certain characteristics:
1. It is pre-philosophical. Men and women, regardless of their educational attainments or their ability for abstract thought, have basic assumptions, convictions, and commitments with respect to the nature of human beings, reality, evil, and the good life. Nicholas Wolterstorff calls these convictions "control beliefs." A worldview, then, is a pre-philosophical and pre-scientific perspective that comes suggestively close to the concept of faith.
2. It may be expressed through a story. A worldview is usually presented as a narrative that ties together concepts of origin, meaning, purpose and destiny for individuals, social groups, and entire cultures. On the basis of this metanarrative we understand the role we play in human history and in the conflict between the forces of good and evil. As examples of this, we can cite the Great Controversy theme elaborated by Ellen White and–from an opposite perspective–the evolutionary narrative proposed by Charles Darwin and his followers. As we enter the 21st century, many observers believe that the secular worldview that has shaped Western culture since the Enlightenment is in crisis. The idea of permanent material progress and the boundless human improvement through secular scientific means now seem a chimera. Hence the increasing spiritualization of contemporary Western culture.
3. It is normative. As Walsh and Middleton note, a worldview is not only a perspective of life, but also a vision for life. While it describes reality from a specific point of view, it also proposes norms for the conduct of individuals and social groups. It distinguishes between the real and the ideal, between what is and what ought to be. It proposes ethical priorities and patterns for education. The worldview we embrace determines our attitude toward work, life in the community, politics, economy, science and technology, etc.
What we have discussed to this point may be summarized in the following chart:
The decisive battles that God's followers have fought through the centuries have always been, in essence, battles for the mind and will of men and women. Jesus was aware of the dynamic power beliefs and ideas to transform and inspire: "You will know the truth, and truth will set you free". And in two strong passages, the apostle Paul warned Christians: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" .
Thus it is our duty, as thoughtful Christians and educators, to be critically aware of the underlying assumptions that inform contemporary thought and educational philosophies. These will shape the mind of the students that attend our institutions of learning, influence their choices, and determine a considerable degree, their eternal destiny.
Three major worldviews compete for allegiance in our culture:
1. Theism posits the existence of a personal God who is Creator, Sustainer, and Sovereign of the universe, and who is the source of justice and love. Theism has been nurtured by Judaism, Christianity and Islam.. Christianity, in turn, has played an important role in shaping the philosophy, art, science, and social institutions of the modern world.
2. Pantheism identifies the Deity with the forces and workings of nature. From this perspective, everything that exists partakes of the divine essence. Pantheism blurs the distinction between Creator and creation, between good and evil, and between the various world religions. It emphasizes the divine in all of us and the sacredness of all things. Pantheism in the West has been nurtured by Neo-Platonic influences and lately by Eastern religions.
3. Naturalism explains everything that exists in terms of physical elements, forces, and processes. This worldview was already known at the time of the Greek philosophers. It re-emerged during Enlightenment and gained momentum in the context of the Scientific Revolution. Naturalism received new impetus during the last 150 years with the emergence of our scientific and technological culture. Several ideological currents derive from it: Materialism, Empiricism, Positivism, Atheism, and Marxism. A secular view of life has pervaded modern Western culture through science, education, the arts, and the media.
(Khatidzhe Baitullaieva)

Main cultural concepts depicted in Australian and New Zealand national worldviews.

These competing world views actually represent something of a schism that is new to the Australian psyche, and that will define much of the social and business agenda in Australia in the coming decade. On the one hand Australians see themselves as outward-looking, positive people happy to engage with, and be engaged by, the rest of the world. In this outward view Australia and Australians are confident of their place in, and of  their value to, the global community. This positive engagement with the rest of the world is evidenced in their largely export-oriented economy as well as their propensity to travel, and to work abroad. For the first time in the history, more Australians travel theirseas than foreigners visit Australia. New words have entered their vocabulary: the gap year was largely invented by that most-travelled of generations, Gen Y, to describe a period at the end of the teenage years when broader horizons are confidently explored. New Zealanders call this their OE, or overseas experience, year. In a little more than a decade, Australia has asserted its interests in areas of international conflict in Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. There are now closer ties with the US, most likely as a consequence of their alignment with US foreign policy. At the same time the rising business of trading gas, iron ore and coal strengthens their  links with China. There is also a closer, albeit at times strained, relationship with India as a consequence of their entering the business of delivering international education services.

All of this is on top of the fact that Australia is now attracting record numbers of migrants: 297,000 net migration in the year to June last year, compared with say 97,000 10 years earlier. It would seem the views espoused by New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman in his 2005 book The World is Flat were correct. In that world, where resources and labour flow almost seamlessly between markets, Australia is a winner. How could their world view not be shaped by this internationalisation of Australian interests over the past decade? But just as Australia embraced a fuller engagement with the rest of the world, another competing world view emerged.  Australia concerned about external forces over which they have little or nor control. As a consequence it is considered important that  Australians close ranks and protect what they have. This is an inward world view.

The climate change issue gathered popular momentum in Australia from 2006 with the release of Al Gore's movie and the IPCC report (2007), both of which seemed to coincide with devastating weather events such as droughts, floods, cyclones and even bushfires. The concept of a threat from beyond has very much been part of the Australian narrative over the past decade -- to such an extent that there is now a backlash against what they see as external threats.Sydney's Cronulla riots (2005) and Melbourne's violence against Indians perhaps reflect an ascendant world view that there are external threats to the Australian way of life. Climate, foreign students, immigrants are all part of the same external threat that must be resisted by imposing taxes and barriers.Even the mining community has been drawn into the angst: there are people in cahoots with foreigners selling non-renewable Australian resources without paying a fair commission. It's a line that feeds well into a world view held by some Australians.
( Emirova F.)

The world view of Māori changed immediately after they arrived in New Zealand. Encounter with European settlers brought further change. It is not possible to say that there is a single viewpoint in Māori culture today. The ideas set out here are only an attempt to understand the world view of Māori before Europeans arrived. In traditional Māori knowledge, as in many cultures, everything in the world is believed to be related. People, birds, fish, trees, weather patterns – they are all members of a cosmic family. This linking was explained in tātai (genealogies) and kōrero (stories), collectively termed whakapapa (meaning to make a foundation, to place in layers). Experts recited the whakapapa of people, birds, fish, trees and the weather to explain the relationships between all things and thus to place themselves within the world. This helped people to understand the world, and how to act within these relationships.

Gods and their families
The entire world was seen as a vast and complex whānau (family). In the Māori story of creation, the earth and sky came together and gave birth to some 70 children, who eventually thrust apart their parents and populated the world. Each of the children became the god of a particular domain of the natural world. Their children and grandchildren then became ancestors in that domain. For example, Tangaroa, god of the sea, had a son called Punga. Punga then had two children: Ikatere, who became the ancestor of the fish of the sea, and Tūtewehiwehi, who became the ancestor of the fish and amphibious lizards of inland waterways.

The value of oral traditions 

Although many of the stories are myths, they also have a practical function. They can pass on knowledge about the natural world, such as where to find wood pigeons and how to harvest them. Although science is another way of understanding the natural world, the traditional principle of interconnectedness is still important and meaningful to Māori. For example, the genealogy of fish and sea animals makes clear the kinship of people and other creatures. It also points out values that guide people’s interaction with other species, teaching respect and correct conduct. As the sun rises each morning and sets each evening, the world follows a daily cycle of light (Te Ao) and darkness (Te Pō). Māori creation stories emphasise this movement from nothingness and darkness to the world of light – Te Ao Mārama. It is said that the world itself is created each morning with the rise of the sun.

Ideas about origins

Until the arrival of Europeans in the late 1700s, Māori held a world view that originated in their Polynesian homeland. This grew and changed according to life in the new land. The Polynesian influence is still widely evident, although it is challenged by some. Some iwi (tribes) hold that their ancestors did not come from over the sea, but sprang from the New Zealand landscape. Some Whanganui traditions speak of the inland mountains as their place of birth.
The concepts of mana, tapu and mauri relate both to people and to the natural world.


Mana refers to an extraordinary power, essence or presence. This applies to the energies and presences of the natural world. There are degrees of mana and our experiences of it, and life seems to reach its fullness when mana comes into the world. The most important mana comes from Te Kore – the realm beyond the world we can see, and sometimes thought to be the ‘ultimate reality’.


Certain restrictions, disciplines and commitments have to take place if mana is to be expressed in physical form, such as in a person or object. The concepts of sacredness, restriction and disciplines fall under the term tapu. For example, mountains that were important to particular tribal groups were often tapu, and the activities that took place on these mountains were restricted.


Mauri is an energy which binds and animates all things in the physical world. Without mauri, mana cannot flow into a person or object.
(Alla Zentsova)