October 23, 2021

Language is a kind of compound communication system, which mainly includes its formation, acquisition, maintenance and application, especially the corresponding human ability. A certain language is a specific example of this type of system. In addition to communication, language is also a major component of a person’s identity and one of the major components of a culture. Linguistics is the scientific study of language. Debates related to the philosophy of language, such as whether vocabulary can express experience, can be traced back at least to Gorgia and Plato in ancient Greece. Some thinkers represented by Rousseau believed that language originated from emotion, while Kant believed that it originated from rational and logical speculation. The 20th century philosophers such as Wittgenstein argued that philosophy is essentially the study of language. Famous linguists include Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky. It is estimated that there are about 5000 to 7000 kinds of human languages. Because the difference between language and dialect is difficult to define, it is difficult to have accurate statistics. Natural language is often expressed in oral or sign language, but any language can be expressed by sound (such as whistle), visual (such as sign language), or tactile stimulation (such as braille). Semiotics describes this phenomenon as modality-independent. According to the definition of language and meaning in language philosophy, in a broad sense, "language" can refer to the cognitive ability to learn and use the complex communication system, it can also describe the set of rules that constitute this system, and it can also refer to the generation of language rules ( produce) a collection of words and sentences. All languages ​​rely on symbolic processes to link specific signs and meanings. Spoken language, sign language, and tactile languages ​​all have phonological systems to combine signs into words or morphemes, and there are grammatical systems to combine words and morphemes into phrases and utterances. Human language is creative and shifting, and it is entirely dependent on social customs and learning. The complex structure of language makes its expressible range wider than any known animal communication system. According to psychology, language originated from the ability of human race to form a theory of mind and the intention to share, and then gradually evolved from its original communication system. This period of development is roughly the same as the period of human brain expansion. Many linguists believe that the structure of language has evolved due to certain communication and social functions. There are many parts of the human brain that process language, but mainly in Broca's area and Wernicke's area. Human language acquisition is learned through social interaction in early childhood, and children can speak fluently at about three years old. The use of language has been deeply rooted in human culture. Therefore, in addition to communication, language also has many social and cultural purposes, such as strengthening group identity and social class, as well as social sorting and entertainment. Language will evolve and divide over time. Its evolutionary history can be constructed by comparison with modern languages: determine which characteristics of the ancestral language exist from the modern language, and thus survive in the subsequent development stage of the language. A group of languages ​​with a common ancestor is called language family. Indo-European languages ​​are the most spoken languages ​​today, and its main members are English, Russian and Hindi. The Sino-Tibetan language family includes Chinese dialects, Tibetan, Bodo, etc. The Asian and African languages ​​include Arabic, Somali and Hebrew. There are Swahili, Zulu and hundreds of other African languages ​​in the Bantu branch. The Malay-Polynesian language family includes Indonesian, Malay, Tagalog and hundreds of languages ​​throughout the Pacific. The Dravidian language family is mainly distributed in southern India, including Tamil and Telugu. Academia believes that 50% to 90% of the existing spoken language will be extinct by 2100.


The word "language" today is a translation of "language" in English or "langage" in French. It may be derived from the original Indo-European *dn̥ǵʰwéh₂s (tongue, speaking, language), Latin "lingua" (tongue, language) or "Language" in Old French. Sometimes "language" also refers to codes, passwords, or other artificially created communication systems, such as programming languages ​​or artificial languages. In this sense, the formal language is different from the innate human language. It is a notation system for encoding and decoding information. This entry mainly focuses on natural languages ​​studied in linguistics. In Chinese, one person speaks by himself, while the two respond by speaking.

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