Acculturation vs Assimilation — a detailed view and all the explanation

Firstly, acculturation vs assimilation is a very good topic.Acculturation means the transfer of power and customs.It transfers from one group to another.However, we all call the cultural integration of a minority group into the main cultural body assimilation.Assimilation and acculturation are two important theories of sociology.They deal with human change.

Assimilation is a process. This happens when a person’s or a group’s language and/or culture become similar. It becomes the same as that of another culture or language.Acculturation is the exchange of cultural features. It occurs when different groups are in constant contact with each other.This article will explain the two concepts separately before moving on to the difference between Assimilation and Acculturation.We use both assimilation and acculturation terms to describe what happens when two cultures interact for an extended period of time.

This lesson explains the distinction between these closely related terms and provides examples.

Acculturation vs Assimilation

acculturation vs assimilation vs syncretism

What is assimilation

Acculturation vs assimilation is a very good topic.When two cultures come into more than casual contact, they must both be changed.Of course, there are a number of things to look into.Which culture will change the most?How much time will it take?Which cultural markers will change and how will they change?Let us look at how these things work in more detail.

When two cultures compete, the most common cultural change is the taking in of the minority culture.It happens in the majority culture.The minority culture gradually loses all of the features that stood out as a distinct culture in the first place.Languages, food, and customs are all incorporated into the markers.Minority culture eventually becomes almost not recognizable from the majority culture.However, this scene ignores the fact that assimilation is typically a two way street.

Read Also: Crime Control Model: Definition & Examples

Yes, the youth culture changes a lot and loses its cultural feature.But the strong culture also changes during this period.It is similar to cooking. When you add salt, it quickly disappears. But we alter the final meal.However, the appearance of the meal may not change a lot as a result of the addition.It is different after assimilation in recognizable and significant ways.

What is acculturation

Suppose, we preserve enough of the minority culture’s cultural markers such as language. Also, tradition, and food for members to recognise themselves as a distinct culture. Then, we say it to have undergone acculturation rather than assimilation.

This type of change is much more likely to occur during voluntary migrations.

Or, peaceful beings than during defeat or forced relations, which are similar to assimilation.

Of course, acculturation is a two way street. It is because both cultures will change and one will influence the other.

Let us return to the cooking example.

Acculturation would be same as adding a thing to a dish.

That is still found in the final dish, such as basil leaves into an omelette.

We can still find this ingredient in the finished dish.

But both the ingredients and the product are different from before acculturation.

Thus, acculturation vs assimilation is a very good topic.

What is syncretism

Syncretism is the combination of different beliefs and schools of thought.

It is the merging or coming together of several previously seen religious traditions.

We see it, particularly in theory and mythology.

It is in order to state an underlying unity.

Also, to allow for a together approach to each other’s faiths.

Syncretism is also common in art and cultural expressions. It is also called eclecticism. Again, it is common in politics as well. Here, it is called syncretic politics.

Types of assimilation

There are many types of assimilation. Students study it to make the concept of assimilation clear.

The types of assimilation are:

  1. Colour
  2. Cultural
  3. Religious
  4. Linguistic
  5. Psychological
  6. Statistics

Outcomes of acculturation

There are different forms of acculturation. It has different outcomes. There are five different strategies. They are:

  1. Assimilation
  2. Separation
  3. Integration
  4. Marginalization
  5. Transmutation

Acculturation vs Assimilation

Assimilation vs acculturation

Most importantly, acculturation vs assimilation is a very good topic.

When two cultures interact, various things can occur.

And, the minority will usually adopt the majority’s culture.

Acculturation and assimilation are the results of this change.

A culture’s main components are its customs, food, and language.

Acculturation and assimilation are terms we use to describe the cross cultural effects on minorities living in a society with different cultures.

Acculturation occurs when members of a smaller community accept the larger community’s customs.

Additionally, changing some of their own customs and traditions.

Assimilation has a broader meaning.

It refers to how the people of the smaller community process new information about the larger group.

Both assimilation and acculturation affect the majority culture.

Acculturation vs assimilation ap human geography

Assimilation is the adaptation to a common culture.

Such as how Mexican immigrants follow the societal and economic rules in the United States of America.

Acculturation is the process of changing or erasing another culture.

Such as pilgrims or Spanish kings arriving in the new world and driving out or killing the natives.

The term “acculturation” refers to the adoption of certain cultural and social features of one society by another.

It usually occurs when one society controls the other society.

Maybe, either politically, economically, socially, or all of these.

And in order to survive in this new social climate, we force people to adapt their cultural experiences.

Thus, acculturation vs assimilation is a very important topic.

Assimilation and acculturation in Malaysian society

There have been several studies about acculturation vs assimilation of the Malays and Indians in the Malaysian society.

There are many cultural elements. Like, language and literature. Also, the roles and status of kings. Again, women, poets. Additionally the Brahmins. Next, the beliefs and ideals. After that, the traditions and customs.

Munsyi Abdullah is the father of Malay Modern Literature in Malaysia. So, we have chosen of this scholar to figure out some changes. Such as, the cultural practices of the Malays.

He has filled his books with facts from history.

We also chose the texts from Tamil classical literature.

We have done this to identify and list the cultural habits of Indians.

The Tamil classical texts were compiled around 2500 years ago in India. And it tells us how the Tamils showed cultural practices in their daily lives.

The majority of Malays in Malaysia use the Malay language to call themselves as Malay progeny.

Indian traders and merchants had been visiting Malaya for over 2000 years.

But they did not settle here as settlers until the nineteenth century.

Malaysia was formed under British colonisation. So, it encourages good relations between Malays and Indians.

Thus, acculturation vs assimilation is a very important topic.

And, thus, there was a chance for them to adapt and take in each other’s cultural elements.

Theories of acculturation

Acculturation theory can be divided into several topics.

This includes learning a new language, involvement, assimilation, and integration.

Let us take a closer look at each of these terms.

Language and immersion can be crucial components of the acculturation process.

Indeed, social theorist John Schumann said that language is the most important factor in acculturation success.

For example, suppose, you are a Hispanic or South American native and move to the United States. So, you will need to learn English to fully understand and even feel comfortable living and communicating in American culture.

As you might expect, adjusting to a new culture often means learning a new language.

However, you can learn a new language by listening to audio CDs or taking lessons from an instructor.

But immersion, or immersing yourself completely in a new culture, is one of the most effective ways to learn a new language.

Moving from your native country to a new country and living with and learning directly from the natives is an excellent way to acculturate. When you immerse yourself, you get a firsthand understanding of what that new culture is all about.

Immersion means not only directly practising the language with native speakers.

But also learning about customs, traditions, acceptable behaviours, and so on.

The immersion phase of acculturation can be extremely difficult and stressful.


As you might expect, growing up and living in your own culture is simple.

You don’t know anything other than what you have learned your entire life!

However, being open and willing to set aside your own cultural background and beliefs in order to learn a new language can be difficult, confusing, and time-consuming.

Thus, acculturation vs assimilation is a very important topic.


Sometimes the process of acculturation does not involve learning a new language at all.

But rather learning the meaning of certain words or adjusting to the local dialect.

For example, if you were an American native moving to British Columbia, Canada, you could continue to speak English while also learning the different meanings of words.

The term ‘bathroom’ is used in the United States as opposed to the term ‘washroom’ in British Columbia.

The vernacular refers to the language and word choices used by the native people.

Despite the fact that Canadians speak English, some of the words they use must be learned by a non-native as part of the acculturation process.

In the United Kingdom, the bathroom is referred to as the loo.

A friend or acquaintance is referred to as a mate in Australia.

As you can see, acculturation includes not only learning a new language or immersing yourself in a culture, but also learning the meanings and associations of new words and phrases.

Assimilation is the gathering of information about a new culture.

It results in adaptations to the new culture. Learning how to prepare food, understanding the types of acceptable clothing worn in the new culture, or developing new habits are all examples of acquiring new cultural knowledge.

A person who has fully assimilated has adopted all of the habits and features of their non-native culture.

Cultural assimilation

In this part, we will look at two main outcomes of long term cultural interactions.

Cultural assimilation and cultural extinction.

Suppose, you have started a new school or job. So, you know how important it is to ‘fit in’ and satisfy your personal need to belong to something. People at your new school or job may have said or done things that you were not used to hearing or seeing.

People may want to pick up on and/or follow local fashion trends and musical taste. Also, cultural norms and attitudes, and/or body language habits and everyday slang in order to fit in.

Cultural assimilation refers to the process of adopting the features of another culture by giving up one’s own.

However, it is important to note this one point.

For the most part, the process of assimilation is voluntary.

One of the most important examples of assimilation in the history of the United States. They accepted immigrants from various countries.

Many immigrants from European and Asian countries arrived in the United States between 1890 and 1920.

The want to visit the United States was mainly economic in nature.

Nonetheless, the longer those immigrants stayed in the United States, the more likely it was that they would assimilate into their culture.

In the early twentieth century, for example, many Irish immigrants started following the American way of life.

It included its fashion trends, cultural norms, and everyday slang. Also, it maintained many of their own traditions.

Sociologists sometimes divide the immigrants’ assimilation into a new culture in terms of four areas of interaction:

  • Socioeconomic standing
  • Concentration in space
  • Assimilation of languages
  • Intermarriage

Socio economic status

The socio economic status of an immigrant is the level at which they can move up the social ladder and earn a decent living.

Unfortunately, non-white or non-European immigrants often face racial and ethnic discrimination.

Thus, this makes it more difficult for them to achieve a healthy socioeconomic status.

Spatial concentration

Spatial concentration is the degree to which similar cultures begin to spread out and stop living in such close spaces.

Major U.S. cities are often places where different ethnic groups live in close contact to one another.

For example, a city may have a Latino immigrant pocket in one neighbourhood. And, an Asian immigrant pocket in another.

This is often useful for immigrants because it allows them to assimilate more slowly.

It gives them more time to learn about the larger culture and language.

It also enables them to retain some of their own cultures.

Language assimilation

Language assimilation means learning the local language or accent. It means communicating in it on a daily basis.

It can be one of the most difficult obstacles for foreigners or minority cultures to overcome.

This is because learning a new language can be difficult. And, failing to do so can limit employment and education opportunities,

So this may affect socioeconomic status.

Acculturation vs Assimilation

What is the difference between acculturation vs assimilation

Meetings of cultures always result in changes in both cultures. So, acculturation and assimilation are two important and distinct changes in these cultures.

  • Assimilation is the process by which we absorb some of the majority community’s cultural features. It is absorbed to the point where the home cultural aspects are not found or lost.
  • Acculturation is the process by which we adapt the cultural aspects of the majority community. While, the minority community’s traditions and customs are preserved.
  • In the case of assimilation, minority culture changes. Whereas in the case of acculturation, it remains the same.

acculturation vs assimilation examples

  • At school, he is learning a second language, but he still speaks his native language at home.
  • Sushi is gaining popularity in the United States.
  • Immigrants go through the naturalisation process.
  • Immigrant parents select “American” names for their children.
  • Native Americans were forced to attend boarding schools and were forbidden to speak their native language.

Acculturation is the change of values and rituals from one group to another.

Assimilation is the cultural sucking up of a minority group into a strong cultural body.

Cultural Loss

Acculturation: Acculturation is the process by which people kep their original cultural features while adapting to a new culture.

Assimilation: Assimilation occurs when people adopt a new culture and lose their original features.

The Two-Way Process

Acculturation: The process of acculturation is a two way street.

Assimilation: We only take the minority group into the majority group.

Acculturation vs assimilation FAQs

1.   What Is a Case of Acculturation?

We define acculturation as the transfer of values and customs from one group to another.

Acculturation is explained by the Japanese people dressed in western clothing.

2.   What Is an Assimilation Example?

Assimilation is defined as becoming like others or helping another person in adapting to a new environment.

It is explained by the changes in dress and behaviour that an immigrant may experience while living in a new country.

It is defined as learning and understanding.

3.   What Factors Influence Acculturation?

Acculturation occurs when groups of people from different cultures come into constant first-hand contact.

It results in changes in the original cultural patterns of one or both groups.

Tensions may arise between the individual and their immediate family, social group, and society as a result of this.

4.   What Is Assimilation’s Purpose?

The Assimilation Policy was a policy that we aimed at assimilating native people into white society by removing children from their families.

The ultimate goal of this policy was to destroy native society.

5.   What Influences Assimilation?

Tolerance, intimacy, cultural similarity, equal economic opportunity, and association are all factors that contribute to or help in assimilation.

6.   Is Acculturation An Easy Process?

Acculturation can happen at any time in one’s life.

It means the relearning of rules, values, nature and pattern of behavior whenever it occurs.

Changes in these areas means re-socialization. In this case, the change to a new life is relatively smooth and trouble free.

7.   What Effect Does Acculturation Have on Health?

We have found acculturation to increase the risk of obesity. Also, it is related to non communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension. They are a result of weight gain and environmental and psychological stressors.

8.   What Effect Does Assimilation Have on Culture?

There is a theory of assimilation. Here, immigrant communities gradually change their culture. It is generally situated in their homeland’s language. Also, values, rituals, laws, and possibly even religion.

So that there is no distinct cultural difference between them. Also, in between other members of the host society.

9.   What is the main difference between assimilation vs acculturation?

  • Acculturation affects an individual or a minority group. Whereas assimilation affects a minority group or culture.
  • Acculturation may or may not preserve the original culture. Whereas assimilation does.
  • The strong power structure influences acculturation. Whereas no strong power structure influences assimilation.
  • Acculturation can be voluntary or forced and is bidirectional. Whereas assimilation is gradual and natural. Also, it is unidirectional.
  • Acculturation does not imply outgroup acceptance. Whereas assimilation means outgroup acceptance.

You May Also Like

About the Author: mike