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Language is a system of gestures, grammar, signs, sounds, symbols, or words which is used to represent and communicate concepts, ideas, meanings, and thoughts. It can be thought of as a ‘semantic code’. The study of language as such a code is called linguistics, an academic discipline introduced by Ferdinand de Saussure. Those who speak or otherwise use a language are deemed (by the self-appointed linguists) to be part of that language’s theoretical linguistic community.

1 Human languages

2 Non-human animal language

3 Formal languages

4 Information about language on wikipedia

5 See also

6 External links

Table of contents

Human languages

Making a principled distinction between one language and another is usually impossible. For example, the boundaries between named language groups are in effect arbitrary due to blending between populations (the dialect continuum). For instance, there are dialects of German very similar to Dutch which are not mutually intelligible with other dialects of (what Germans call) German.

Some like to make parallels to biology, where it is not always possible to make a well-defined distinction between one species and the next. In either case, the ultimate difficulty may stem from the interactions between languages and populations, with modification. (See dialect or August Schleicher for a longer discussion.)

The concepts of Ausbausprache, Abstandsprache, and Dachsprache are used to make finer distinctions about the degree of difference between languages or dialects.


Main article: Linguistics

Linguistics examines different theoretical perspectives on human language in detail. The Linguistics article is a useful introductory article about language.

Language taxonomy

Main article: Language families and languages

The world languages have been be grouped into families of languages which have similarities. Major groupings are the Indo-European languages, the Afro-Asiatic languages, and the Sino-Tibetan languages

Constructed languages

Main article: Constructed language

One prominent artificial language, called Esperanto, was created by L. L. Zamenhof. It was a compilation of various elements of different languages, which was intended to be an easy-to-learn language.

Other writers, such as J. R. R. Tolkien, have created fantasy languages, for literary, linguistic, or personal reasons. One of Tolkien’s languages is called Quenya, which is a form of Elvish. It includes its own alphabet and pronunciations aligned with those of Germanic-heritage humans.

Non-human animal language

Main article: Non-Human Animal Language

While the term ‘Non-Human Animal Languagess’ is widely used, most researchers agree that they are not as complex or expressive as the human language. Some researchers also argue that there are significant differences separating human language from the communication of other animals, and that the underlying principles are not related.

Other researchers argue that a continuum exists between the communication methods of all animals. Almost all researchers agree that human language is more complex than communication between other animals. For more on communication among non-human animals, see The Animal Communication Project.

Formal languages

Main article: Formal languages

Mathematics and computer science use artificial entities called formal languages (including programming languages and markup languages). These often take the form of character strings, produced by some combination of formal grammar and semantics of arbitrary complexity.

Information about language on wikipedia

See also

External links