What is the Cultural Transmission of Language?

Cultural transmission is the process of a language being passed on from one generation to the next. It is known as cultural learning and socio-cultural transmission. Cultural transmission is regarded as one of the critical characteristics distinguishing human language from animal communication.

Linguist Tao Gong has identified thre emain forms of cultural transmission:

  1. Horizontal transmission, communications among individuals of the same generation;
  2. Vertical transmission, in which a member of one generation talks to a biologically-related member of a later age;
  3. Oblique transmission, where one member of one generation communicates to any non-biologically-related member of a later period.