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Describe the three components of culture and give examples from your culture for each.

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Depending on the text you study, there are a varying number of components of culture as identified by sociologists. In addition, there are subcultures within larger cultures, and there is so much (incredible) variety to explore when examining how and why people interact in societies in the ways that they do. To give you an overview, here are three ideas for you to consider: language, norms, and beliefs or values.


The ability to communicate effectively is crucial to any culture, and language production varies even within a nation of people who are fluent in the same language. Imagine traveling to Finland (assuming you are not Finnish) and trying to communicate without technology, your iPhone, or any other means of translating. As you stand in the middle of Helsinki, you would certainly feel on the outside of their culture—unable to participate.

I remember in my undergrad work, one of my professors asked us to name a variety of objects. One of the examples was a small, flowing body of water that would maybe be found behind one's house. I went to a pretty large and diverse college, and the variety in language was incredible: stream, creek, branch, crick, and brook. Depending on their heritage or where they were born, different Americans have various ways of expressing this one concept. Therefore, knowing the nuances of language in any given culture is crucial. (For the record, I call it a creek.)


How people are expected to act in social situations also varies widely...

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