AP Human Geography: Cultural Patterns and Processes Notes

Key Takeaways: Cultural Patterns and Processes

  1. Folk culture is practiced by relatively small, homogeneous populations in particular areas, often communicated through oral tradition. Popular culture is rapidly diffused around the world among heterogeneous societies, often through mass communication.
  2. Cultural landscapes can be read and interpreted based on cultural features such as public spaces, language of signs, architecture, and even food preferences.
  3. Language is the means of mutually comprehensible communication among people. Dialects are forms of a language that differ based on vocabulary, syntax, and speed. There are thousands of languages around the world, but many are dying out.
  4. The largest language family is the Indo-European family of which there are many branches, including the Romance and the Germanic languages. The second-largest language family is the Sino-Tibetan family, which includes the most commonly spoken language in the world, Mandarin Chinese.
  5. Religions are defined as monotheistic or polytheistic (whether people worship one god or multiple gods) and ethnic or universalizing (whether the religion is contained to a particular ethnicity or people can convert to the religion).
  6. There are five primary religions in the world today: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism (the Western religions) and Hinduism and Buddhism (the Eastern religions). Christianity is the largest religion in the world, and Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world.
  7. There are architectural differences in religious structures around the world. Christians use churches, Jews use synagogues, Muslims use mosques, Hindus use temples, and Buddhists use pagodas.

Cultural Patterns and Processes Key Terms

The Meaning of Culture

  • Material culture: Anything that can physically be seen on the landscape.
  • Built environment: Produced by the physical material culture, the built environment is the tangible human creation on the landscape.
  • Nonmaterial culture: Anything on the landscape that comprises culture that cannot be physically touched (e.g., language and religion).
  • Folk culture: The practice of particular customs of a relatively small group of people that increases that group’s uniqueness.
  • Folklore: Traditional customs, beliefs, and stories of a community, passed from generation to generation by word of mouth.
  • Popular culture: Culture that is not tied to a specific location but rather a general location based on widespread diffusion.

The Cultural Landscape

  • Cultural landscape: Cultural attributes of an area often used to describe a place (e.g., buildings, theaters, places of worship).
  • Natural landscape: The physical landscape that exists before it is acted upon by human culture.
  • Adaptive strategy: The way humans adapt to the physical and cultural landscape they are living in.

Music and Culture

  • Folk songs: Composed anonymously and passed down orally from generation to generation; lyrics are derived from events in the daily life of a particular group of people.

Food and Culture

  • Folk food: Traditionally made by particular people in a region; forms part of their culture.

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