Language

  • a mural in teotihuacan, mexico (c. 2nd century) depicting a person emitting a speech scroll from his mouth, symbolizing speech
    cuneiform is the first known form of written language, but spoken language predates writing by at least tens of thousands of years.
    two girls learning american sign language
    braille writing, a tactile variant of a writing system

    a language is a structured system of communication. language, in a broader sense, is the method of communication that involves the use of – particularly human – languages.[1][2][3]

    the scientific study of language is called linguistics. questions concerning the philosophy of language, such as whether words can represent experience, have been debated at least since gorgias and plato in ancient greece. thinkers such as rousseau have argued that language originated from emotions while others like kant have held that it originated from rational and logical thought. 20th-century philosophers such as wittgenstein argued that philosophy is really the study of language. major figures in linguistics include ferdinand de saussure and noam chomsky.

    estimates of the number of human languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. however, any precise estimate depends on the arbitrary distinction (dichotomy) between languages and dialect.[4] natural languages are spoken or signed, but any language can be encoded into secondary media using auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli – for example, in writing, whistling, signing, or braille. this is because human language is modality-independent. depending on philosophical perspectives regarding the definition of language and meaning, when used as a general concept, "language" may refer to the cognitive ability to learn and use systems of complex communication, or to describe the set of rules that makes up these systems, or the set of utterances that can be produced from those rules. all languages rely on the process of semiosis to relate signs to particular meanings. oral, manual and tactile languages contain a phonological system that governs how symbols are used to form sequences known as words or morphemes, and a syntactic system that governs how words and morphemes are combined to form phrases and utterances.

    human language has the properties of productivity and displacement, and relies entirely on social convention and learning. its complex structure affords a much wider range of expressions than any known system of animal communication. language is thought to have originated when early hominins started gradually changing their primate communication systems, acquiring the ability to form a theory of other minds and a shared intentionality.[5][6] this development is sometimes thought to have coincided with an increase in brain volume, and many linguists see the structures of language as having evolved to serve specific communicative and social functions. language is processed in many different locations in the human brain, but especially in broca's and wernicke's areas. humans acquire language through social interaction in early childhood, and children generally speak fluently by approximately three years old. the use of language is deeply entrenched in human culture. therefore, in addition to its strictly communicative uses, language also has many social and cultural uses, such as signifying group identity, social stratification, as well as social grooming and entertainment.

    languages evolve and diversify over time, and the history of their evolution can be reconstructed by comparing modern languages to determine which traits their ancestral languages must have had in order for the later developmental stages to occur. a group of languages that descend from a common ancestor is known as a language family. the indo-european family is the most widely spoken and includes languages as diverse as english, russian and hindi; the sino-tibetan family includes mandarin and the other chinese languages, bodo and tibetan; the afro-asiatic family includes arabic, somali, and hebrew; the bantu languages include swahili, and zulu, and hundreds of other languages spoken throughout africa; and the malayo-polynesian languages include indonesian, malay, tagalog, and hundreds of other languages spoken throughout the pacific. the languages of the dravidian family, spoken mostly in southern india, include tamil, telugu and kannada. academic consensus holds that between 50% and 90% of languages spoken at the beginning of the 21st century will probably have become extinct by the year 2100.

  • definitions
  • origin
  • study
  • physiological and neural architecture of language and speech
  • structure
  • social contexts of use and transmission
  • linguistic diversity
  • see also
  • notes
  • works cited
  • external links

A mural in Teotihuacan, Mexico (c. 2nd century) depicting a person emitting a speech scroll from his mouth, symbolizing speech
Cuneiform is the first known form of written language, but spoken language predates writing by at least tens of thousands of years.
Two girls learning American Sign Language
Braille writing, a tactile variant of a writing system

A language is a structured system of communication. Language, in a broader sense, is the method of communication that involves the use of – particularly human – languages.[1][2][3]

The scientific study of language is called linguistics. Questions concerning the philosophy of language, such as whether words can represent experience, have been debated at least since Gorgias and Plato in ancient Greece. Thinkers such as Rousseau have argued that language originated from emotions while others like Kant have held that it originated from rational and logical thought. 20th-century philosophers such as Wittgenstein argued that philosophy is really the study of language. Major figures in linguistics include Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky.

Estimates of the number of human languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. However, any precise estimate depends on the arbitrary distinction (dichotomy) between languages and dialect.[4] Natural languages are spoken or signed, but any language can be encoded into secondary media using auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli – for example, in writing, whistling, signing, or braille. This is because human language is modality-independent. Depending on philosophical perspectives regarding the definition of language and meaning, when used as a general concept, "language" may refer to the cognitive ability to learn and use systems of complex communication, or to describe the set of rules that makes up these systems, or the set of utterances that can be produced from those rules. All languages rely on the process of semiosis to relate signs to particular meanings. Oral, manual and tactile languages contain a phonological system that governs how symbols are used to form sequences known as words or morphemes, and a syntactic system that governs how words and morphemes are combined to form phrases and utterances.

Human language has the properties of productivity and displacement, and relies entirely on social convention and learning. Its complex structure affords a much wider range of expressions than any known system of animal communication. Language is thought to have originated when early hominins started gradually changing their primate communication systems, acquiring the ability to form a theory of other minds and a shared intentionality.[5][6] This development is sometimes thought to have coincided with an increase in brain volume, and many linguists see the structures of language as having evolved to serve specific communicative and social functions. Language is processed in many different locations in the human brain, but especially in Broca's and Wernicke's areas. Humans acquire language through social interaction in early childhood, and children generally speak fluently by approximately three years old. The use of language is deeply entrenched in human culture. Therefore, in addition to its strictly communicative uses, language also has many social and cultural uses, such as signifying group identity, social stratification, as well as social grooming and entertainment.

Languages evolve and diversify over time, and the history of their evolution can be reconstructed by comparing modern languages to determine which traits their ancestral languages must have had in order for the later developmental stages to occur. A group of languages that descend from a common ancestor is known as a language family. The Indo-European family is the most widely spoken and includes languages as diverse as English, Russian and Hindi; the Sino-Tibetan family includes Mandarin and the other Chinese languages, Bodo and Tibetan; the Afro-Asiatic family includes Arabic, Somali, and Hebrew; the Bantu languages include Swahili, and Zulu, and hundreds of other languages spoken throughout Africa; and the Malayo-Polynesian languages include Indonesian, Malay, Tagalog, and hundreds of other languages spoken throughout the Pacific. The languages of the Dravidian family, spoken mostly in Southern India, include Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. Academic consensus holds that between 50% and 90% of languages spoken at the beginning of the 21st century will probably have become extinct by the year 2100.

Other Languages
Acèh: Bahsa
Afrikaans: Taal
Alemannisch: Sprache
አማርኛ: ቋንቋ
Ænglisc: Sprǣc
العربية: لغة
aragonés: Luengache
armãneashti: Limbâ
arpetan: Lengoua
অসমীয়া: ভাষা
asturianu: Llinguaxe
Avañe'ẽ: Ñe'ẽ
Aymar aru: Aru
azərbaycanca: Dil
تۆرکجه: دیل
bamanankan: Kan
বাংলা: ভাষা
Bân-lâm-gú: Giân-gú
Basa Banyumasan: Basa
беларуская: Мова
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Мова
भोजपुरी: भाषा
Bikol Central: Tataramon
Boarisch: Sproch
བོད་ཡིག: སྐད་རིགས།
bosanski: Jezik
brezhoneg: Yezh
буряад: Хэлэн
català: Llenguatge
Чӑвашла: Чĕлхе
Cebuano: Pinulongan
Chamoru: Lengguahe
Chavacano de Zamboanga: Lenguaje
chiShona: Mutauro
Cymraeg: Iaith
dansk: Sprog
davvisámegiella: Giella
Deitsch: Schprooch
Deutsch: Sprache
ދިވެހިބަސް: ބަސް
डोटेली: भाषा
eesti: Keel
Ελληνικά: Γλώσσα
emiliàn e rumagnòl: Langua
español: Lenguaje
Esperanto: Lingvo
estremeñu: Lenguagi
euskara: Hizkuntza
فارسی: زبان
Fiji Hindi: Bhasa
føroyskt: Mál
français: Langage
Frysk: Taal
furlan: Lengaç
Gàidhlig: Cànan
galego: Linguaxe
ГӀалгӀай: Мотт
贛語: 語言
گیلکی: زوان
ગુજરાતી: ભાષા
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: भास आनी भासविज्ञान
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Ngî-ngièn
한국어: 언어
հայերեն: Լեզու
हिन्दी: भाषा
hrvatski: Jezik
Bahasa Hulontalo: Bahasa
Ido: Linguo
Ilokano: Pagsasao
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa
interlingua: Linguage
Interlingue: Lingue
Iñupiak: Uqautchit
Ирон: Æвзаг
isiXhosa: Ulwimi
íslenska: Tungumál
italiano: Linguaggio
עברית: שפה
Jawa: Basa
kalaallisut: Oqaatsit
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಭಾಷೆ
къарачай-малкъар: Тил
ქართული: ენა
kernowek: Yeth
Kiswahili: Lugha
коми: Кыв
Kongo: Ndînga
Kreyòl ayisyen: Lang (pawòl)
kriyòl gwiyannen: Lanng
kurdî: Ziman
Кыргызча: Тил
ລາວ: ພາສາ
latgaļu: Volūda
Latina: Lingua
latviešu: Valoda
Lëtzebuergesch: Sprooch
лезги: ЧIал
lietuvių: Kalba
Limburgs: Taol
lingála: Lokótá
Lingua Franca Nova: Lingua
la .lojban.: bangu
lumbaart: Idioma
magyar: Nyelv
मैथिली: भाषा
македонски: Јазик
മലയാളം: ഭാഷ
मराठी: भाषा
მარგალური: ნინა
مصرى: لغه
مازِرونی: زوون
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa
Minangkabau: Bahaso
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Ngṳ̄-ngiòng
монгол: Хэл
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဘာသာစကား
Na Vosa Vakaviti: Vosa
Nederlands: Taal
Nedersaksies: Taol
नेपाली: भाषा
नेपाल भाषा: भाषा
日本語: 言語
Napulitano: Lengua
ߒߞߏ: ߞߊ߲
Nordfriisk: Spräke (iinjtål)
Norfuk / Pitkern: Laenghwij
norsk: Språk
norsk nynorsk: Språk
Nouormand: Laungue
Novial: Lingues
occitan: Lengatge
олык марий: Йылме
ଓଡ଼ିଆ: ଭାଷା
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Til
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਭਾਸ਼ਾ
पालि: भाषा
پنجابی: بولی
Papiamentu: Idioma
پښتو: ژبه
Patois: Languij
Перем Коми: Кыв
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ភាសា
Picard: Langache
Piemontèis: Langagi
Tok Pisin: Tokples
Plattdüütsch: Spraak
português: Linguagem
Ripoarisch: Sprooch
romani čhib: Chhib
rumantsch: Lingua
Runa Simi: Rimay
русиньскый: Язык
русский: Язык
саха тыла: Тыл (саҥарар)
Sakizaya: kamu
Gagana Samoa: Gagana
संस्कृतम्: भाषा
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱯᱟᱹᱨᱥᱤ
sardu: Limbas
Scots: Leid
Seeltersk: Sproake
Sesotho: Dipuo
සිංහල: භාෂාව
Simple English: Language
سنڌي: ٻولي
slovenčina: Jazyk (jazykoveda)
словѣньскъ / ⰔⰎⰑⰂⰡⰐⰠⰔⰍⰟ: Ѩꙁꙑкъ
ślůnski: Godka
Soomaaliga: Luuqad
کوردی: زمان
Sranantongo: Tongo
српски / srpski: Језик
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Jezik
Sunda: Basa
suomi: Kieli
svenska: Språk
Tagalog: Wika
தமிழ்: மொழி
Taqbaylit: Tutlayt
татарча/tatarça: Тел
తెలుగు: భాష
ไทย: ภาษา
тоҷикӣ: Забон
ತುಳು: ಭಾಷೆ
Türkçe: Dil
Türkmençe: Dil
українська: Мова
اردو: زبان
Vahcuengh: Vah
vèneto: Lenguajo
vepsän kel’: Kel'
Tiếng Việt: Ngôn ngữ
Volapük: Pük
walon: Lingaedje
文言: 語言
Winaray: Yinaknan
Wolof: Kàllaama
吴语: 語言
Xitsonga: Ririmi
ייִדיש: שפראך
Yorùbá: Èdè
粵語: 語言
Zeêuws: Taele
žemaitėška: Kalba
中文: 語言