Culture...is the incarnation of the religion of a people. If Christianity goes, then the whole of our culture goes. Then you must start painfully again, and you cannot put on a new culture ready-made. You must wait for the grass to grow to feed the sheep to give the wool out of which your new coat will be made. You must pass through many years of barbarism.(T.S.Eliot)
At the beginning of the 21st century, cross-cultural communication is becoming more and more important. However, the knowledge of the foreign language alone is not enough to effectively communicate with representatives of other cultures. As we know, one of the most significant functions of the language is the cumulative function, which means that the language is a link connecting generations; it is the storage and a means of transmitting the extra-linguistic collective experience, as the language not only reflects the contemporary culture, but preserves all its previous stages.
Linguo-cultural studies, as follows from the name, is a subject that, on the one hand, includes learning the language, and, on the other hand, gives certain knowledge about the country of the studied language. The main objective of linguo-cultural studies is to provide communicative competence for cross-cultural communication. The main task of the subject is to study those units of the language and extra-linguistic phenomena which most vividly reflect the national peculiarities of the foreign cultureive o thestudies e country of the studies ubject thart. That is, our main task is to obtain background knowledgenecessary for successful cross-cultural communication. Here belong:
-historical and cultural background, which includes not only knowledge of history, but also knowledge of culture of the language community in the process of its historical development;
-socio-cultural background – peculiarities of communication within the society, social behaviour, social values, conversation formulae, non-verbal communication;
-ethno-cultural background, which includes information about the way of life, traditions, holidays, etc;
-semiotic background, which contains information on symbols, connotations, realia and other language units bearing specific national colouring.
The culture of the United States is a Western culture originally influenced by European cultures. It has been developing since long before the United States became a country with its own unique social and cultural characteristics such as dialect, music, arts, social habits, cuisine, and folklore. Today, the United States of America is an ethnically and racially diverse country as a result of large-scale immigration from many different countries throughout its history.
Its chief early influences came from English, Scottish and Irish settlers of colonial America. British culture, due to colonial ties with Britain that spread the English language, legal system and other cultural inheritances, had a formative influence. Other important influences came from other parts of western Europe, especially Germany, France, and Italy.
Original elements also play a strong role, such as the invention of Jeffersonian Democracy. Thomas Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia was perhaps the first influential domestic cultural critique by an American and a reactionary piece to the prevailing European consensus that America's domestic originality was degenerate. Prevalent ideas and ideals which evolved domestically such as national holidays, uniquely American sports, military tradition, and innovations in the arts and entertainment give a strong sense of national pride among the population as a whole.
American culture includes both conservative and liberal elements, military and scientific competitiveness, political structures, risk taking and free expression, materialist and moral elements. Despite certain consistent ideological principles (e.g. individualism, egalitarianism, and faith in freedom and democracy), American culture has a variety of expressions due to its geographical scale and demographic diversity. The flexibility of U.S. culture and its highly symbolic nature lead some researchers to categorize American culture as a mythic identity; others see it as American exceptionalism.