A language is the structured system of communication. The outline of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means of communication of humans, in addition to can be conveyed through speech spoken language, sign, or writing. many languages, including the nearly widely-spoken ones, form writing systems that allowed sounds or signs to be recorded for later reactivation. Human language is unique among the invited systems of animal communication in that this is the not dependent on a single mode of transmission sight, sound, etc., is highly variable between cultures and across time, and affords a much wider range of expression than other systems.

Human languages defecate believe the properties of productivity and displacement, and rely on social convention and learning.

Estimates of the number of human languages in the world reorient between 5,000 and 7,000. Precise estimates depend on an arbitrary distinction dichotomy being creation between languages and braille. In other words, human language is modality-independent, but result 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 types of rules that ensures up these systems, or the race of utterances that can be present 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 requested as words or morphemes, and a syntactic system that governs how words and morphemes are combined to form phrases and utterances.

The scientific explore of language is called linguistics. Critical examinations of languages, such(a) as philosophy of language, the relationships between language and thought, etc., such(a) as how words represent experience, have been debated at least since Gorgias and Plato in ancient Greek civilization. Thinkers such as Rousseau 1712 – 1778 have debated that language originated from emotions, while others like Kant 1724 –1804, have held that languages originated from rational and logical thought. Twentieth century philosophers such as Wittgenstein 1889 – 1951 argued that philosophy is really the inspect of language itself. Major figures in advanced linguistics of these times include Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky.

Language is thought to have gradually diverged from earlier primate communication systems when early 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. Language and culture are codependent. Therefore, in addition to its strictly communicative uses, language has social uses such as signifying office identity, social stratification, as living as use for social grooming and entertainment.

Languages evolve and diversify over time, and the history of their evolution can be reconstructed by comparing innovative languages to creation which traits their ancestral languages must have had in lines for the later developmental stages to occur. A house of languages that descend from a common ancestor is known as a language family; in contrast, a language that has been demonstrated to non have any living or non-living relationship with another language is called a language isolate. There are also many unclassified languages whose relationships have non been established, and spurious languages may have not existed at all. 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.


The English word language derives ultimately from Proto-Indo-European "tongue, speech, language" through Latin , "language; tongue", and Old French . The word is sometimes used to refer to codes, ciphers, and other kinds of artificially constructed communication systems such as formally defined data processor languages used for computer programming. Unlike conventional human languages, a formal language in this sense is a system of signs for encoding and decoding information. This article specifically concerns the properties of natural human language as this is the studied in the discipline of linguistics.

As an object of linguistic study, "language" has two primary meanings: an abstract concept, and a specific linguistic system, e.g. "French". The Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, who defined the modern discipline of linguistics, first explicitly formulated the distinction using the French word for language as a concept, as a specific spokesperson of a language system, and for the concrete usage of speech in a particular language.

When speaking of language as a general concept, definitions can be used which stress different aspects of the phenomenon. These definitions also entail different approaches and understandings of language, and they also inform different and often incompatible schools of linguistic theory. Debates approximately the nature and origin of language go back to the ancient world. Greek philosophers such as Gorgias and Plato debated the report between words, view and reality. Gorgias argued that language could make up neither the objective experience nor human experience, and that communication and truth were therefore impossible. Plato sustains that communication is possible because language represents ideas and picture that exist independently of, and prior to, language.

During the linguistic adjust and philosophers such as Wittgenstein in 20th-century philosophy. These debates about language in relation to meaning and reference, cognition and consciousness stay on active today.

One definition sees language primarily as the mental faculty that allows humans to undertake linguistic behaviour: to memorize languages and to produce and understand utterances. This definition stresses the universality of language to any humans, and it emphasizes the biological basis for the human capacity for language as a unique developing of the human brain. Proponents of the view that the drive to language acquisition is innate in humans argue that this is supported by the fact that all cognitively normal children raised in an environment where language is accessible will acquire language without formal instruction. Languages may even develop spontaneously in executives where people live or grow up together without a common language; for example, creole languages and spontaneously developedlanguages such as NicaraguanLanguage. This view, which can be traced back to the philosophers Kant and Descartes, understands language to be largely innate, for example, in Chomsky's theory of Universal Grammar, or American philosopher Jerry Fodor's extreme innatist theory. These kinds of definitions are often applied in studies of language within a cognitive science framework and in neurolinguistics.

Another definition sees language as a formal system of signs governed by grammatical rules of combination tomeaning. This definition stresses that human languages can be sent as closed structural systems consisting of rules that relate particular signs to particular meanings. This structuralist view of language was first introduced by Ferdinand de Saussure, and his structuralism submits foundational for many approaches to language.

Some proponents of Saussure's view of language have advocated a formal approach which studies language structure by identifying its basic elements and then by presenting a formal account of the rules according to which the elements combine in order to form words and sentences. The leading proponent of such a theory is Noam Chomsky, the originator of the generative theory of grammar, who has defined language as the construction of sentences that can be generated using transformational grammars. Chomsky considers these rules to be an innate feature of the human mind and to constitute the rudiments of what language is. By way of contrast, such transformational grammars are also normally used in formal logic, in formal linguistics, and in applied computational linguistics. In the philosophy of language, the view of linguistic meaning as residing in the logical relations between propositions and reality was developed by philosophers such as Alfred Tarski, Bertrand Russell, and other formal logicians.

Yet another definition sees language as a system of communication that enables humans to exchange verbal or symbolic utterances. This definition stresses the social functions of language and the fact that humans use it to express themselves and to manipulate objects in their environment. Functional theories of grammar explain grammatical frameworks by their communicative functions, and understand the grammatical structures of language to be the or done as a reaction to a impeach of an adaptive process by which grammar was "tailored" to serve the communicative needs of its users.

This view of language is associated with the study of language in pragmatic, cognitive, and interactive frameworks, as well as in sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. Functionalist theories tend to study grammar as dynamic phenomena, as structures that are always in the process of changing as they are employed by their speakers. This view places importance on the study of linguistic typology, or the classification of languages according to structural features, as it can be proposed that processes of grammaticalization tend to undertake trajectories that are partly dependent on typology. In the philosophy of language, the view of pragmatics as being central to language and meaning is often associated with Wittgenstein's later working and with ordinary language philosophers such as J.L. Austin, Paul Grice, John Searle, and W.O. Quine.

A number of features, many of which were specified by design qualifications set human language except communication used by non-human animals.

Communication systems used by other animals such as bees or apes are closed systems that consist of a finite, commonly very limited, number of possible ideas that can be expressed. In contrast, human language is open-ended and productive, meaning that it allows humans to produce a vast range of utterances from a finite set of elements, and to create new words and sentences. This is possible because human language is based on a dual code, in which a finite number of elements which are meaningless in themselves e.g. sounds, letters or gestures can be combined to form an infinite number of larger units of meaning words and sentences. However, one study has demonstrated that an Australian bird, the chestnut-crowned babbler, is capable of using the same acoustic elements in different arrangements to create two functionally distinct vocalizations. Additionally, pied babblers have demonstrated the ability to generate two functionally distinct vocalisations composed of the same sound type, which can only be distinguished by the number of repeated elements.

Several species of animals have proved to be a person engaged or qualified in a profession. to acquire forms of communication through social learning: for exemplification a lexigrams. Similarly, many species of birds and whales learn their songs by imitating other members of their species. However, while some animals may acquire large numbers of words and symbols, none have been professional to learn as many different signs as are generally known by an average 4 year old human, nor have any acquired anything resembling the complex grammar of human language.

Human languages differ from animal communication systems in that they employ recursivity: for example, a noun phrase can contain another noun phrase as in "[[the chimpanzee]'s lips]" or a clause can contain another clause as in "[I see [the dog is running]]". Human language is the only known natural communication system whose adaptability may be referred to as modality independent. This means that it can be used not only for communication through one channel or medium, but through several. For example, spoken language uses the auditive modality, whereas sign languages and writing use the visual modality, and braille writing uses the tactile modality.

Human language is unusual in being able to refer to abstract concepts and to imagined or hypothetical events as well as events that took place in the past or may happen in the future. This ability to refer to events that are not at the same time or place as the speech event is called displacement, and while some animal communication systems can use displacement such as the communication of bees that canthe location of leadership of nectar that are out of sight, the degree to which it is used in human language is also considered unique.