Language is a structured system of communication that consists of grammar and vocabulary. It is the primary means by which humans convey meaning, both in spoken and written forms, and may also be conveyed through sign languages. The vast majority of human languages have developed writing systems that allow for the recording and preservation of the sounds or signs of language. Human language is characterized by its cultural and historical diversity, with significant variations observed between cultures and across time. Human languages possess the properties of productivity and displacement, which enable the creation of an infinite number of sentences, and the ability to refer to objects, events, and ideas that are not immediately present in the discourse. The use of human language relies on social convention and is acquired through learning.
Estimates of the number of human languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. Precise estimates depend on an arbitrary distinction (dichotomy) established between languages and dialects. Natural languages are spoken, signed, or both; however, any language can be encoded into secondary media using auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli – for example, writing, whistling, signing, or braille. In other words, human language is modality-independent, but written or signed language is the way to inscribe or encode the natural human speech or gestures.
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.
The scientific study of language is called linguistics. Critical examinations of languages, such as philosophy of language, the relationships between language and thought, how words represent experience, etc., have been debated at least since Gorgias and Plato in ancient Greek civilization. Thinkers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712–1778) have argued that language originated from emotions, while others like Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) have argued that languages originated from rational and logical thought. Twentieth century philosophers such as Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) argued that philosophy is really the study of language itself. Major figures in contemporary linguistics of these times include Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky. (Full article...)
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Erromintxela (Basque pronunciation: [eromintʃela] (listen)) is the distinctive language of a group of Romani living in the Basque Country, who also go by the name Erromintxela. It is sometimes called Basque Caló or Errumantxela in English; caló vasco, romaní vasco, or errominchela in Spanish; and euskado-rromani or euskado-romani in French. Although detailed accounts of the language date to the end of the 19th century, linguistic research began only in the 1990s.The Erromintxela are the descendants of a 15th-century wave of Kalderash Roma, who entered the Basque Country via France. Both ethnically and linguistically, they are distinct from the Caló-speaking Romani people in Spain and the Cascarot Romani people of the Northern Basque Country. Erromintxela is a mixed language (referred to as Para-Romani in Romani linguistics), deriving most of its vocabulary from Kalderash Romani but using Basque grammar, similar to the way the Angloromani language of the Roma in England mixes Romani vocabulary and English grammar. The development of the mixed language was facilitated by the unusually deep integration of the Erromintxela people into Basque society and the resultant bilingualism in Basque. The language is in decline; most of the perhaps 1000 remaining speakers live on the coast of Labourd and in the mountainous regions of Soule, Navarre, Gipuzkoa and Biscay. (Full article...)
Did you know (auto-generated)
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Linguistics: Computational linguistics • Grammar • Historical linguistics • Morphology • Phonetics • Phonology • Pragmatics • Reading • Semantics • Sociolinguistics • Syntax • Writing
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The Kingdom of Belgium has three official languages: Dutch (Flemish), French, and German.A number of non-official, minority languages and dialects are spoken as well. (Full article...)
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Countries and regions where Portuguese has official status
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- The Moldovan parliament approves a law that formally declares the country's official language as Romanian. (Reuters)
- 14 March 2023 – Timeline of artificial intelligence
- OpenAI launches GPT-4, the next generation large language model for artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT. The new model can respond to images, and has the ability to process up to 25,000 words. (BBC News)
- 17 February 2023 – Russia–South Africa relations, China–South Africa relations
- The South African Navy hosts a ten-day joint military exercise in the Indian Ocean with Russia and China. The exercise is named "Mosi II" after the Tswana word for "smoke". (BBC News) (DW)
Languages of Africa: Arabic, Chadic, Cushitic, Kanuri, Maasai, Setswana, Swahili, Turkana, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zulu, more...
Languages of the Americas: Aleut, Carib, Cherokee, Inuktitut, Iroquois, Kootenai, Mayan, Nahuatl, Navajo, Quechuan, Salish, American Sign Language, more...
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Languages of Austronesia: Austric, Fijian, Hawaiian, Javanese, Malagasy, Malay, Maori, Marshallese, Samoan, Tahitian, Tagalog, Tongan, Auslan, more...
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Constructed languages: Esperanto, Ido, Volapük, more...
Agglutinative language, Analytic language, Constructed language, Creole, Context-free language, Extinct language, Dialect, Fusional language, Inflectional language, International language, Isolating language, Language isolate, National language, Natural language, Pidgin, Pluricentric language, Polysynthetic language, Proto-language, Sign language, Spoken language, Synthetic language, Variety (linguistics)
Applied linguistics, Cognitive linguistics, Accent (dialect), Computational linguistics, Descriptive linguistics, Eurolinguistics, Generative linguistics, Historical linguistics, Lexicology, Lexical semantics, Morphology, Onomasiology, Phonetics, Phonology, Pragmatics, Prescription, Prototype semantics, Psycholinguistics, Semantics, Stylistics, Sociolinguistics, Syntax
See also: List of linguists
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Other writing systems: Abjad, Abugida, Braille, Hieroglyphics, Logogram, Syllabary, SignWriting, more..
See also: History of the alphabet, Script
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