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Cultural Basics Language Religion Ethnicity Popular Culture Folk Culture If you find something wrong with a term or definition, please tell me.


Traditions that borrow from both the past and present


System of belief that seeks to explain ultimate realities for all people -- such as the nature of suffering and the path toward self-realization

Ethnic neighborhood

An area within a city containing members of the same ethnic background


Place names given to certain features on the land such as settlements, terrain features, and streams

Cultural Complex

The group of traits that defines a particular culture

Language Extinction

This occurs when a language is no longer in use by any living people

Cultural Geography

The subfield of human geography that looks at how cultures vary over space


The adoption of cultural traits, such as language, by one group under the influence of another

Cultural Imperialism

The dominance of one culture over another

Cultural Trait

The specific customs that are part of the everyday life of a particular culture


A total way of life held in common by a group of people, including learned features such as language, ideology, behavior, technology, and government


Practices followed by the people of a particular cultural group

Ethnic Cleansing

The systematic attempt to remove all people of a particular ethnicity from a country or region by either forced migration or genocide


A particular religious group, usually associated with differing Protestant beliefs


The worship of only one god


People who come from a common ethnic background but who live in different regions outside of the home of their ethnicity


The proportion of the earth inhabited by humans

Universalizing Religion

Religion that seeks to untie people from all over the globe


Most prevalent in Africa and the Americas, doctrine in which the world is seen as being infused with spiritual and even supernatural powers

Ethnic religion

Religion that is identified with a particular ethnic or tribal group and that does not seek new converts

Language Family

A collection of many languages, all of which cam from the same original tongue long ago, that have since evolved different characteristics


Refers to a group of people who share a common identity


A group of human beings distinguished by physical traits, blood types, genetic code patterns or genetically inherited characteristics


The world's most widespread religion. A monotheistic, universal religion that uses missionaries to expand its members worldwide

Folk Culture

Refers to a constellation of cultural practices that form the sights, smells, sounds, and rituals of everyday existence in the traditional societies in which they developed


The ability to read and write


A segregated ethnic area within a city


A racial or ethnic group smaller than and differing from the majority race or ethnicity in a particular area or region

Environmental Determinism

A Doctrine that claims that cultural traits are formed and controlled by environmental conditions


A cohesive and unique society, most prevalent in India that integrates spiritual beliefs with daily practices and official institutions such as the caste system

Indo-European Family

Language family including the Germanic and Romance languages that is spoken by about 50% of the world's people

Caste System

System in India that gives every Indian a particular place in the social hierarchy from birth


A monotheistic religion based on the belief that there is one god, Allah, and that Muhammad was Allah's prophet. Based in the ancient city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia


A pidgin language that evolves to the point at which it becomes the primary language of the people who speak it


The worship of more than one god

Cultural Hearth

Locations on earth's surface where specific cultures first arose

Language Group

A set of languages with relatively recent common origin and many similar characteristics

Lingua Franca

An extremely simple language that combines aspects of two or more other more-complex languages usually used for quick and efficient communication

Local religion

Religions that are spiritually bound to particular regions

Global Religion

Religion in which members are numerous and widespread and their doctrines might appeal to different people from any region of the globe


A person of a particular faith that travels in order to recruit new members into the faith represented


A constructed international language incorporating aspects of numerous linguistic traditions to create a universal means of communication


A premeditated effort to kill everyone form a particular ethnic group


Having to do with many cultures

Official Language

Language in which all government business occurs in a country


Language that may develop when two groups of people with different languages meet


A journey to a place of religious importance


A multilingual state

Pop Culture

Dynamic culture based in large, heterogeneous societies permitting considerable individualism, innovation, and change


The strict adhere to a particular doctrine

Romance Languages

Any of the languages derived from Latin including Italian, Spanish, French, and Romanian

Evangelical Religion

Religion in which an effort is made to spread a particular belief system


The single person who takes on the roles of priest, counselor, and physician, and acts as a conduit to the supernatural world in a shamanist culture

Sino-Tibetan Family

Language area that spreads through most of Southeast Asia and China and is compromised of Chinese, Burmese, Tibetan, Japanese, and Korean


Geographically distinct versions of a single language that very somewhat from the parent form


A cohesive collection of customs within a cultural group


Any item that represents a material aspect of culture


Geographical boundary lines where different linguistic features meet

Cultural Extinction

Obliteration of an entire culture by war, disease, acculturation, or a combination of these


The expansion of cultural traits through diffusion, adoption, and other related processes

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