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Unit 3 Vocab

Culture:  The body of customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits that together constitute a group of people’s distinct tradition.   

Cultural Identity:  Ones belief in belonging to a group or certain cultural aspect.  You can “identify with” a group or “identify against” a group (what you are, or what you are not).

Cultural linkage: migrants who have moved away but renew or maintain their connections with their homeland (facilitated by modern technology – newspapers, newsletters, blogs,…).

Cultural revival: process that works against globalization, revitalizing cultural ties and promoting distinction.

Cultural Landscape:  The visible imprint of human activity on the landscape.


Language: a set of sounds, combination of sounds, and symbols used for communication.

-language diffusion (and hearths): movement of languages through migration (for hearths see the original locations of the major language families).

-language family: group of languages with a shared but fairly distant origin (e.g., Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan,…)

-language subfamily: group of languages with more commonality than a language family (indicates they have branched off more recently in history)

-language group: set of languages with a relatively recent common origin and many similar characteristics (e.g., Germanic, Romance, Slavic, …)

Language divergence: when a language breaks into dialects due to a lack of spatial interaction among speakers of a language, and continued isolation causes new languages to be formed.

Language convergence: collapsing of two languages into one resulting from the consistent spatial interaction of peoples with different languages.

Language replacement (extinction): obliteration of an entire culture through war, disease, assimilation, or any combination of the three.

Preliterate societies: cultures without any written language (most of the more than 6,000 world language are unwritten).
Standard language:
variant of a language that a country’s intellectual or politically elite seek to promote as the norm (e.g., King’s English)
local or regional characteristics of a language.  More than just a different accent, dialects have distinctive grammar and vocabulary (e.g., Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese).
geographical boundary within which a particular linguistic feature occurs.
Sound shift:
slight change in a word across related languages from the present backward toward its origin.
Deep reconstruction:
technique using the vocabulary of an extinct language to re-create the language that preceded it.
hypothesized ancestral Indo-European language that is the hearth of the ancient Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit languages.

Nostratic: hypothesized ancestral language of Proto-Indo-European, as well as other ancestral language families.
Conquest theory:
theory of the diffusion of the Proto-Indo-European language into Europe through the speakers’ overpowering of earlier inhabitants through warfare and technology (e.g., fighting on horseback).  Its hearth is around modern day Ukraine (Kurgan Hypothesis - Marija Gimbutas).

Agriculture theory: theory of the diffusion of the Proto-Indo-European language into Europe through the innovation of agriculture (being more efficient than hunting and gathering).  Its hearth is around modern day Anatolia (in Turkey; Renfrew Hypothesis - Colin Renfrew).
Modern linguistic mosaic - literacy, technology, political organization:
three areas of innovation have shaped the location and nature of language in the modern world … literacy, technology (e.g., Gutenberg’s printing press), and political organization (e.g., nation-states that set up linguistic laws).
process whereby the number of Hispanics is increasing in the U.S.; currently the largest minority group in the U.S.
a constructed international language developed in the late 1880s and promoted after World War I to be a universal second language (lingua franca) to foster peace.  Although thousands still speak this language, it is not widespread (mostly resembles an Indo-European language, and therefore, not a global tongue).
Lingua franca:
a common language used among speakers of different languages for the purposes of trade and commerce; originally referring to the “Frankish language” spoken around the Mediterranean before the Age of Exploration.
when parts of two or more languages are combined in simplified structure and vocabulary.
Creole (and creolization):
a language that began as a pidgin language but was later adopted as the mother tongue of a region and/or people.
Monolingual state:
country in which only one language is primarily spoken (e.g., Portugal, Japan, Venezuela, Poland, …).

Multilingual state: country in which two or more languages are spoken.
Official language:
in multilingual states the language selected, often by the elite, to promote internal cohesion.
the study of place names. (e.g., San Diego or San Francisco indicate they were established by Spain due to their Spanish and Catholic connotations).
Language case studies (Quebec, Belgium, Nigeria,...)
(see the language reading guide)


Religion-the faithfulness to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual nature.  This is important to HG because man wars have been fought over it.

Universalizing religions: (global, proselytic)  a religion in which the followers attempt to appeal to all people, and actively seek concerts wherever they may live in the world, not just to those of one culture or location.   There are three religions that practice this - they are Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism. To proselytize is to try to convert another person to your religion. . 

-Christianity- is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament of the Bible.  It is the most popular religion in the world (>1.3 billion); three denominations (branches) - orthodox (oldest), catholic (largest with the richest bureaucracy of all religions), protestant (newest); the Protestant Reformation weakened the Vatican's control of Europe and gave rise to secularism in the West; landscape contains churches and cathedrals; use the most land for their dead (cemeteries).

-Islam- (means the submission to the will of god (Allah)). Its a monotheistic religion originating with the teachings of Muhammad in the Qu'ran, a key religious figure in the 6th c. CE. It is the second largest religion in the world (fastest growing due to birth rates), and has impacted the world greatly, especially boundaries (e.g., North Africa, “Middle East”). Half of the world’s 1.1 billion Muslims live in four countries outside the Middle East: Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. The two major branches are Sunni and Shiah (Shiites believe in the infallibility of imams; are concentrated mostly in Iran and eastern Iraq); Five Pillars of Islam - 1) shahada (creed), 2) frequent prayer (toward Mecca), 3) Ramadan, almsgiving, 5) hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca); Sharia law is the system of Islamic law (based on interpretation of the Qu'ran); hijab refers to the need for women to cover themselves (burkas cover women entirely except for the eyes); landscape contains mosques and minarets (for calling out prayers).

-Buddhism: The third of the world’s major universalizing religions.  It has over 360 million adherents especially in China and Southeast Asia.  Prince Siddartha (Buddha) had a vision while sitting under the Bodhi (awakening) tree, then founded Buddhism in the 6th c. BCE (in eastern India) against the caste system; branched off from Hinduism. Buddhists believe all life is dukkha (nothing permanent); seek to achieve nirvana (enlightenment); believe in no named deity, but do believe in god; cultural landscape contains statues of Buddha, pagodas & shrines (often bell-shaped to protect burial mounds).

Ethnic religion- A religion with a rather concentrated distribution whose principles are likely to be based on the physical characteristics of the particular location where its adherents are located; most religions start off as an ethnic religion. 

-Hinduism- Created in India, approximately 4,000 years ago with >750 million followers today.  Unlike other religions, no single founder or text; heaven isn’t always the ultimate goal in life. Third largest in world religion behind Christianity and Islam.  Religion is inseparable from life; god (Brahman, universal soul) may be in many forms (polytheistic); karma (what goes around comes around; transferability of the soul) and reincarnation are cornerstones; caste system locks people into class levels; cultural landscape has many temples and shrines (bestow merit on the builder, should be in a comfortable place for the gods (often by water)).

-Jainism- religion and philosophy originating in ancient India.  Stresses spiritual independence and equality throughout all life.

-Judaism- It is the religion of ancient Hebrews, said to be one of the first monotheistic faiths.  This is important to HG because many other religions have been based off it.

-Sikhism- is a religion that began in sixteenth century Northern India and locate primarily between India and Pakistan today.  The principal belief in Sikhism is faith in Vāhigurū.

-Mormonism: a term used to describe religious, ideological, and cultural aspects of the various denominations of the Latter Day Saint movement. It is practiced around the world, but is concentrated in Utah. 

-Shintoism- said to be the way of god.  It is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion, combining elements of Buddhism and local religions (a syncretic religion). It involves the worship of kami (a god).  It was very popular prior to WWII, but has lost much of its dominance and importance in Japanese culture.

-Animism: Belief that inanimate objects, such as plants and stones, or natural events, like thunderstorms and earthquakes, have a discrete spirit and life.  Common in many parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Native American religions are fundamentally animistic, and even Shintoism is highly animistic.

-Shamanism- This is the range of traditional beliefs and practices that claim the ability to cure, heal, and cause pain to people.

-Confucianism- Developed by earlier Chinese man Confucius, it’s a complex system of moral, social, political, and religious thought.  This is important to HG because it has affected Chinese Civilizations tremendously. 

-Taoism: religion founded by Lao-Tsu and based on his book titles “Book of the Way”; focused on proper political rule and on the oneness of humanity and nature.

Religious origins and diffusion routes (see the religion reading guide)

Feng Shui: literally means “wind water”; Chinese art and science of placement and orientation of tombs, dwellings, buildings, cities.  Structures and objects are positioned in a way (often in line with the compass lines) to channel flows of energy in favorable ways.  It is not an official religion.

Syncretic religion: separate religions that combine into a new religion; often borrow from the pat and the present.

Secularism- This is the belief that humans should be based on facts and not religious beliefs.  This is important to HG because this has caused conflicts in a lot of different places including politics. 

Monotheism/polytheism- Monotheism this is the belief in one god and polytheism is the belief in many gods.  This affects HG because many religions spread throughout the world fall under these two categories. 

Sacred space: place or space people infuse with religious meaning; Ex) Jerusalem - Christianity (Church of the Holy Sepulchre), Judaism (Western Wall), and Islam (Dome of the Rock); Catholicism - The Vatican; Islam - Mecca, Medina; Hinduism - Varanasi & The Ganges River; ...

Interfaith boundaries: the boundaries between the world's major faiths, such as Christianity, Muslim, and Buddhism.  For case studies ... Nigeria, Sudan, Kashmir, Armenia/Azerbaijan, and Yugoslavia ... (see the religion reading guide)

Intrafaith boundaries: describes the boundaries within a major religion (e.g., Belgium; Switzerland; Northern Ireland is mostly Protestant, whereas the rest of Ireland is mostly Catholic)

Fundamentalism (extremism): literal interpretation and strict adherence to a set of basic principles (usually religious; many can take these beliefs to an extreme and even violent level.
jihad means "struggle" and is a religious duty of Muslims; some can take their "jihad" to an extreme and violent level often against a perceived threat to their way of life or culture (e.g., 9/11 terrorists; the Mujajideen (a person involved in jihad) who fought against the USSR in Afghanistan from 1979-1989).

Folk culture: cultural traits such as dress modes, dwellings, customs, and institutions of usually small, traditional communities. 

Local culture: refers to people who see themselves as part of a community who work to preserve their traits and customs to be unique and distinguish themselves from others.

Popular culture: (mass culture) cultural traits such as dress, diet and music that identify and are part of today's changeable, urban-based, media-influenced western societies.
categorization of humans based on skin color and other physical characteristics; based on the idea that some characteristics are more important than others (e.g., skin color over height).  Skin pigmentation is caused by melanin, a chemical in the skin.

Ethnicity: affiliation or identity within a group of people bound by common ancestry and culture; many acts of hostility and wars (ethnic conflict) are fought over ethnonational claims to territory.
Ethnic island (enclave/neighborhood):
an area typically situated apart from a more homogenous region (e.g., metropolitan city) and comprised of a local culture that may practice their own culture.
Forced segregation:
situation in which ethnic or racial groups are separated into different classes; this is done against their will (e.g., US before the 1960 Civil Rights Act (Jim Crow Laws); South Africa before 1994 (Apartheid); also the Hindu caste system).

Affinity segregation: process by which people group and live with people more like themselves in terms of culture, ethnicity, or race; this is done by choice, free of outside intervention.

Ethnic cleansing:  the persecution through imprisonment, expulsion, or killing of members of an ethnic minority by a majority to achieve ethnic homogeneity (e.g., Nazi campaign from the 1930s through WWII; Yugoslavia from 1991-1999, Rwanda in 1994; Sudan (janjaweed in Darfur) from 2003 to the present, ...).

Xenophobia: a fear or dislike of foreigners or people significantly different from oneself.
Gender gap:
gender refers to social differences between men and women (as opposed to biological differences); women outlive men in the vast majority of countries (exceptions are some states in West and Southern Africa due to the AIDS epidemic, and parts of South Asia due to cultural beliefs of male dominance). Men are more likely to die younger due to comparably worse habits and higher levels of stress.
Longevity gap:
the difference in life expectancy between MDCs and LDCs
Quality of life:
even though women may outlive men in most societies, it does not necessarily reflect the quality of their life (e.g., nutrition, legal status, social treatment, work load ...)

Gendered space: areas or regions designed for men or women
practice of someone intentionally causing the death of an infant; occurs sometimes in peripheral and poor regions as a form of population control or as a sex-selective practice (e.g., the One-Child Policy of China has led to larger female infant mortality rates and abandonment due to the preference of male children).
Dowry deaths:
sometimes due to arranged marriages in India, disputes over the price to be paid by the family of the bride to the father of the groom (the dowry) have, in some extreme cases, led to the killing (or driving to suicide) of the bride by the groom or his family (numbers in India may vary between 2,000 to over 6,000 deaths a year (!) depending on the validity of reports).