What is language?

Language

Language is the human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, and a language is any specific example of such a system. The scientific study of language is called linguistics. It is impossible to know precisely how many languages there are in the world, and the number depends on a partly arbitrary distinction between languages and dialects. However, estimates vary between around 6,000 and 7,000 languages in number. Natural languages are spoken or signed, but any language can be encoded into secondary media using auditory, visual or tactile stimuli, for example in graphic writing, braille, or whistling. This is because human language is modality-independent. 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.

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Some articles on language:

Semitic Languages - Present Situation
... Arabic is the native language of majorities from Mauritania to Oman, and from Iraq to the Sudan ... As the language of the Qur'an and as a lingua franca, it is studied widely in the non-Arabic-speaking Muslim world as well ... this almost universal use of Arabic script is the Maltese language, genetically a descendant of the extinct Sicilian Arabic dialect ...
Macedonian Language
... makedonski jazik, ) is a South Slavic language, spoken as a first language by approximately 2–3 million people principally in the region of Macedonia and the ... It is the official language of the Republic of Macedonia and an official minority language in parts of Albania, Romania and Serbia ... The name of the Macedonian language is a matter of political controversy in Greece as is its distinctiveness in Bulgaria ...
Macedonian Language - Vocabulary
... considerable amount of its lexicon with these languages ... Other languages which have been in positions of power, such as Ottoman Turkish and increasingly English also provide a significant proportion of the loan words ... Prestige languages, such as Old Church Slavonic, which occupies a relationship to modern Macedonian comparable to the relationship of medieval Latin to modern Romance languages, and Russian also provided a ...
Linguistic Diversity - Language Endangerment
... Language endangerment occurs when a language is at risk of falling out of use as its speakers die out or shift to speaking another language ... Language loss occurs when the language has no more native speakers, and becomes a dead language ... If eventually no one speaks the language at all, it becomes an extinct language ...
Film - Theory - Language
... Film is considered to have its own language ... said, " Tarkovsky for me is the greatest, the one who invented a new language, true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a dream ...

More definitions of "language":

  • (noun): The text of a popular song or musical-comedy number.
    Example: "The song uses colloquial language"
    Synonyms: lyric, words
  • (noun): A systematic means of communicating by the use of sounds or conventional symbols.
    Example: "The language introduced is standard throughout the text"; "the speed with which a program can be executed depends on the language in which it is written"
    Synonyms: linguistic communication
  • (noun): The cognitive processes involved in producing and understanding linguistic communication.
    Example: "He didn't have the language to express his feelings"
    Synonyms: linguistic process
  • (noun): The mental faculty or power of vocal communication.
    Example: "Language sets homo sapiens apart from all other animals"
    Synonyms: speech
  • (noun): A system of words used in a particular discipline.
    Example: "The language of sociology"
    Synonyms: terminology, nomenclature

Famous quotes containing the word language:

    Syntax and vocabulary are overwhelming constraints—the rules that run us. Language is using us to talk—we think we’re using the language, but language is doing the thinking, we’re its slavish agents.
    Harry Mathews (b. 1930)

    There is no such thing as a language, not if a language is anything like what many philosophers and linguists have supposed. There is therefore no such thing to be learned, mastered, or born with. We must give up the idea of a clearly defined shared structure which language-users acquire and then apply to cases.
    Donald Davidson (b. 1917)

    Neither Aristotelian nor Russellian rules give the exact logic of any expression of ordinary language; for ordinary language has no exact logic.
    Sir Peter Frederick Strawson (b. 1919)