AP Human Geography: Culture


the behaviors and belied characteristics of a particular group

Cultural Landscape

a geographic area the includes cultural resources and natural resources associated with the interactions between nature and human behavior


notion that successful societies leave their cultural imprints on a place each contributing to the cumulative cultural landscape

Carl Sauer

Argued that cultural landscapes should be the focus of human geography

Derwent Whittlesey

Coined sequent-occupance


a region that is related ethically/historically to one country, but is ruled by another


policy of cultural extension and potential political expansion aimed at a national group living in a neighboring country


means of communicating by sounds and/or symbols


terms or expressions borrowed from the English language, A term used by the French for English words that have entered the French language.

Culture Hearth

place of origin of a major culture


a society in an advanced stage of development

Cold War (1945-1991)

period of time after WWII where nuclear threats and confrontation were high between the USA and USSR, rather than actual warfare


the language/vocabulary of a specific group of people


attempt by one country (usually hegemonic power) to establish settlements and to impose its economic and cultural principles in another country

Hegemonic Power

one main power controlling everything else


policy of extending rule over other countries


process of division of a region/state into smaller regions/states that are often hostile with each other


a character that indicates the meaning of a thing without indicating the sounds to say it (e.g. - Chinese, Korean, Russian)


site of several ancient civilizations in present day Iraq


site of several ancient civilizations in present day Mexico and Central America

Ottoman Empire

Muslim empire that controlled southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and most of North Africa between the 16th - 18th centuries


method of decision making in multi-national political communities

Carrying Capacity

population size an environment can sustain/take care of

Cultural (Spatial) Diffusion

the spread of ideas, knowledge or innovation from its origin to other cultures and areas where they are adopted


an idea or innovation developed in a source area, remain strong there, and also spreading (a type of diffusion)


nearly all adjacent individuals are affected (a type of diffusion)


main channel of diffusion is some segment of those who are susceptible to or adopting what is being diffused (a type of diffusion)


an idea of innovation is not immediately adopted, yet does have an impact (a type of diffusion)

Relocation Diffusion

requires the actual movement of individuals who have already adopted the idea or innovation and carry it to a new location where they disseminate it (a type of diffusion)


the idea or innovation loses its strength/population at the site of the origin (a type of diffusion)


process in which one culture substantially changes through interaction with another (one-way transfer)


two-way exchange of culture traits between societies in close contact


two cultures come together and create a brand new culture

Time-Distance Decay

the further from it's source/longer it takes, the less likely the innovation is to be adopted

Culture Barriers

prevailing attitudes and/or taboos

Culture v. Ethnicity

culture is learned, ethnicity is cultural history & lifestyles


process where regions in a state demand and gain political strength and growing autonomy at the expense of a central government

Lingua Franca

common language used by speakers of different languages


preceding in time or order


following in time or order


on or above something else (layers)


surviving remnants of something when most all of it is gone


a line determining the limits of something


burst through (a type of boundary)


stretched in length (a type of boundary)


disconnected/broken (a type of boundary)


series of small holes (a type of boundary)


compressed (a type of boundary)


people with a shared identity and culture (a nation) who possess their own territory and state government (e.g. - Aboriginal nation-state government within a country) (a type of boundary)


grouping of people who share history, culture, language or ethnic origin, often possessing/seeking its own government. (a type of boundary)


territory occupied within a nation that has the authority to make rules/govern its people (a type of boundary)

Cultural Landscape

The distinct imprint of cultures on the land

Cultural Hearths

Several sources, crucibles, of cultural growth and achievement developed in Eurasia, Africa, and America.

Cultural Perception

Culture groups have varying ideas and attitudes about space, place, and territory.

Cultural Environments

This area deals with the role of culture in human understanding, use, and alteration of the environment.

Political Ecology

And area of inquiry fundamentally concerned with the environmental consequences of dominant political-economic arrangements and understandings.


The taking into or absorption of cultural traits

culture trait

A single attribute of culture

culture complex

A combination of traits not necessarily defined to a culture

culture system

Various culture complexes may have traits in common, making it possible to group them together

culture realm

Grouping together of cultural systems

Agricultural revolution

The time when human beings first domesticated plants, believed to have happened in the FERTILE CRESCENT, in a region close to the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers.


the gradual melting away of a glacier from the surface of a landmass

Fertile Crescent

Where the Agricultural revolution occurred, near Tigris and Euphrates.

Holocene epoch

The most recent 12,000 years of Earth history: the warm phase following the ice age.


sustained warming phase between glaciations during an ice age

Late Cenozoic Ice Age

The last great ice age that ended 10,000 years ago, lasting for the past 2 million years.


The earliest and longest stage of the Stone Age,

plant domestication

when people cultivate or "care for" crops for agriculture

social stratification

the condition of being arranged in social strata or classes within a group

Stone Age

The period where people used Stone tools


The tallest structure in Mesopotamia; a tower of the the great temple


the usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people


predecessor language of English and most of the European languages, LAAAAAAAARGEST family


A boundary that separates regions in which different language usages predominate

language family

A collection of languages related to each other through a common ancestor long before recorded history.

language group

A collection of languages within a branch that share a common origin in the relatively recent past and display relatively few differences in grammar and vocabulary.

language subfamily

a smaller group of related languages within a language family

linguistic diversification

variety of different languages being spoken

preliterate society

a society that can speak a language but cannot write it

standard language

The form of a language used for official government business, education, and mass communications.


the oldest, largest, and most widely distributed superfamily spread from the shores of Hudson Bay to the coast of Tierra del Fuego


the family of languages spoken in Australia and Formosa and Malaysia and Polynesia

conquest theory

the theory that early Proto-Indo-European speakers spread westward on horseback, overpowering earlier inhabitants and beginning the diffusion and differentiation of Indo-European tounges

deep reconstruction

process by which an extinct language is recreated


Family of languages spoken by those concentrated along arctic and near-Arctic shore.


a discrete Malayo-Polynesian offshoot spoken in Fiji


The forerunner of a large number of languages, a subfamily of Austronesian


Family diffused in NW Canada and Alaska, second oldest & largest family. Less widely diffused.


hypothesized ancestral language of Proto-Indo-European, as well as other ancestral language families.


the language of New Zealand's Maori people, also from the Austro-Tai family

sound shifts

The changing of a word over different languages


refers to the process in which a pidgin becomes the native language for a given group


A made-up Latin-based language, which its European proponents in the early twentieth century hoped would become a global language. (failed, pl0x. Less QQ, more piu piu)

lingua franca

a common language used among speakers of different languages for the purposes of trade and commerce, "language of the land

monolingual states

countries in which only one language is spoken

multilingual states

a state that uses many languages

official language

The language adopted for use by the government for the conduct of business and publication of documents.


a lingua franca that has been simplified and modified through contact with other languages


The study of place names

animal domestication

When animals are tamed and used for food and profit.

Ottoman empire

Centered in Constantinople, the Turkish imperial state that conquered large amounts of land in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans, and fell after World War I.


Tools and instruments used by a culture


The central, enduring elements, ideas and beliefs


links between individuals and groups that unite a culture, family structure and political, educational and religious institutions.


Central America

Andean America

Southwest coast of South America

West Africa

[North] Western most region of Africa

Nile Valley

Surrounding areas of the Nile River/Egypt

Indus Valley

Western border of India

Ganges Delta

South Asia/Western border of India/Bengal

Wie/Huang Rivers

Surrounding areas of the Wie and Huang Rivers/East China

Franz Boas and Alfred Kroeber

Coined environmental possibilism


Coined environmental determinism

Torsten Hagerstrand

another famous geographer that wrote about cultural diffusion

Agricultural Origins and Dispersals

Written by Sauer in 1952


The practice of judging another culture by the standards of one's own culture

cultural relativism

The practice of judging another culture by its own standards (putting aside his her cultural preferences)

universalizing religions

Religions that appeal to everyone, regardless of where they live

ethnic religions

Appeal primarily to one group living in one place


Large and basic division of a religion


Divisions of branches that unite local groups in a single administrative body


Relatively small groups that do not affiliate with the more mainstream denominations


An ethnic religion is which people follow their shaman, a religious leader and teacher believed to connect with the supernatural


The belief that inanimate objects have spirits

agriculture theory

the theory which states that with increased food supply and increased population, speakers from the hearth of Indo-European languages migrated into Europe

Renfrew/Anatolian model

a belief by Colin Renfrew that argues that the first speakers of Proto-Indian-European lived 2,000 years before the Kurgans, in eastern Anatolia, part of present-day Turkey