A Case Study on American TV Serials from the Perspective of Cognition
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  Abstract:This paper tries to analyze the linguistic schema in the case study of American TV Serials, and it will focus on the vocabulary schema to provide learners an easier way to learn words because there are so many dailyspoken words and special words in this TV serial which turns on the things that happen between four scientists and a beauty. Meanwhile, it also analyzes the situation and reaction of Raj and Howard, which provides some ideas for people to understand their national cultural identity. It is found out that there is some pragmatic meaning implied in their words. And the linguistic analysis of Raj and Howard shows that one should not forget the root of his national culture to get national cultural identity.
  Key words:Linguistic schema; vocabulary; national cultural identity
  1. Literature Review
  1.1 Linguistic schema
  A detailed definition was provided by Taylor and Crocker(1981): A schema is a cognitive structure that consists in part of the representation of some defined stimulus domain (quoted in Li Qun, 2011: 5). According to the schema theory, there are three kinds of schema: linguistic schema, content schema and formal schema. Linguistic schema are the knowledge of language about phonetics, grammar and vocabularies as traditionally recognized, as well as the cohesive devices, such as conjunction, substitution, ellipses, lexical cohesion and their function across sentences and paragraphs(Li Qun, 2011: 5). This paper focuses on the pragmatic part of the linguistic schema(part of cognition).
  1.2 National cultural identity
  Cultural identity is an individual’s sense of self derived from formal or informal membership in groups that transmit and include knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, traditions, and ways of life (Wu Yan, 2009: 39-40).Wang Yuechuan (2006: 88) viewed that cultural identities manifest itself in “gender, race, class, age, language, circle (group), community,” Cultural identity often involves three stages: unexamined cultural identity, cultural identity search, and cultural achievement (Wu Yan, 2009: 40).
  3. Detailed Analysis of National Cultural Identity from the Linguistic Schema
  In The big bang theory, as Howard is a Jewish and Rajesh is an Indian. As for their different races, their friends play a lot of jokes on it. And their spoken English demonstrate their altitude towards Howard’s and Raj’s races, and how H and R reply shows their own inner feeling on their races. This paper will present some representative dialogues for a better analysis.   Example 1
  R: None of our gods have abs like that.
  H: Yep, that's the last Jew who did sit-ups.
  And look where it got him.
  This dialogue happens when they take Sheldon’s mother to visit a church. When they see Christ on the Cross, they both play jokes on it, while unlike Mrs. Cooper’s respects. This is because this is not their god and they both know their religion.
  R: Did you forget what Penny did to you?
  It took you two years and defiling my sister to turn that frowns upside down.
  L: I didn't defile your sister, we had a relationship.
  R: I heard you call her Brown Sugar. In my book, that's defilement.
  When Lenoard breaks up with Raj’s sister and wants to back with Penny again, Raj says waht he thinks of it, and he thinks Lenoard’s calling of his sister; “Brown Sugar” is defilement in his book. What he thinks defilement is “Brown”, he thinks Lenoard is laughing at his sister’s skin. He is so sensitive about his identity.
  In conclusion, Howard and Raj both know clearly their national cultural identities, and either do their friends. That makes them so sensitive to whatever links to their culture, and to defense for their national cultural identity easier. At the same time, they also make some adjustment to the American culture, like Howard’s eating lox. As for their friends, they identify Howard’s and Raj’s national cultural identities, but they still have some prejudice on their identities. However, when they say something bad about Jewish or Indian, Howard and Raj would correct them or remind them of its racist which is forbidden by law. In this way, their got their national cultural identities accepted by their friends.
  4. Conclusion
  Through the analysis of conversations form The Big Bang Theory, the schema of words can be seen clearly. The schema theory provides a new way to teach and learn words. This way, teachers can help students form a linguistic schema to make students learn words better, not only the linguistic schema, but also the content schema, which links the words to the content, and the formal schema, which links the words by the forms.
  At the same time, some principles can be applied to national cultural identity. First, the national cultural identity is deeply rooted in one’s language. Some adjustments are allowed to make, but the basic cultural root cannot be dropped or forgotten. Then, to respect the national cultural identity is to make others understand their liguistic schema. Just like Raj, whenever other people say something bad about Indian culture, he would defense or at least remind others of their racist words.   Acknowledgements: Here, the author wants to express her sincere thanks to her student Duan Yingying. Duan Yingying did a lot in collecting the data and material for the study of the paper, which makes it much easier. More than that, she did a basic analysis on the topic concerned in the writing for so many times. Thanks!
  [1]Alba, J. W. & Hasher, L. Is memory schematic [J]. Psychological Bulletin, 1983.
  [2]Taylor, S.E. & Crocker, J. Schematic bases of social information processing [M]. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1981.
  [3]Li Qun. Schema Thoery and College English News Teaching [J]. Ji Nan:Shangdong University,2011.
  [4]Wu Yan. Modern Chinese American’s Cultural Adaptation and Search for Cultural Identity [J]. Beijing:Hua Bei Electricity University, 2009.
  [5]Wang Yuechuan. Chinese Culutural Identity in the Era of Space [J]. Shanghai: Academic Monthly Magazine, 7th,2006, 88-89.
  Zhang Li Zhou, (born in 1982. 4. 30) a lecturer in the Foreign Language Department of Jiu Jiang University, interested in linguistic study and cultural study.

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