A conversation in American Sign Language
William Jones discovered the family relation between Latin and Sanskrit, laying the ground for the discipline of historical linguistics.
Ferdinand de Saussure developed the structuralist approach to studying language.
Noam Chomsky is one of the most important linguistic theorists of the 20th century.
Language Areas of the brain. The Angular Gyrus is represented in orange, Supramarginal Gyrus is represented in yellow, Broca's area is represented in blue, Wernicke's area is represented in green, and the Primary Auditory Cortex is represented in pink.
Ancient Tamil inscription at Thanjavur
In addition to word classes, a sentence can be analyzed in terms of grammatical functions: "The cat" is the subject of the phrase, "on the mat" is a locative phrase, and "sat" is the core of the predicate.
Wall of Love on Montmartre in Paris: "I love you" in 250 languages, by calligraphist Fédéric Baron and artist Claire Kito (2000)
A lesson at Kituwah Academy, a school where English and the Cherokee language are mediums of instruction
Arnold Lakhovsky, The Conversation (c. 1935)
An inscription of Swampy Cree using Canadian Aboriginal syllabics, an abugida developed by Christian missionaries for Indigenous Canadian languages
The first page of the poem Beowulf, written in Old English in the early medieval period (800–1100 AD). Although Old English is the direct ancestor of modern English, it is unintelligible to contemporary English speakers.
Multi-lingual sign outside the mayor's office in Novi Sad, written in the four official languages of the city: Serbian, Hungarian, Slovak, and Pannonian Rusyn
Principal language families of the world (and in some cases geographic groups of families). For greater detail, see Distribution of languages in the world.
Together, the eight countries in red contain more than 50% of the world's languages. The areas in blue are the most linguistically diverse in the world, and the locations of most of the world's endangered languages.

Structured system of communication.

- Language

500 related topics


Philosophy of language

Example of a syntactic tree

In analytic philosophy, philosophy of language investigates the nature of language and the relations between language, language users, and the world.


Apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and outer world."

Shannon and Weaver Model of Communication
Communication major dimensions scheme
Interactional Model of Communication
Berlo's Sender-Message-Channel-Receiver Model of Communication
Transactional model of communication
Communication code scheme
Linear Communication Model

Human communication is unique for its extensive use of abstract language.

Productivity (linguistics)

The monument for the mother tongue ("Ana dili") in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan

In linguistics, productivity is the degree to which native speakers of a language use a particular grammatical process, especially in word formation.


The term dialect (from Latin, , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of linguistic phenomena:

Local varieties in the West Germanic dialect continuum are oriented towards either Standard Dutch or Standard German depending on which side of the border they are spoken.
Map of the Arabic Dialects located in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula
The Books of Genesis of the Ukrainian Nation by Mykola Kostomarov
Map of the Arabic Dialects located in Africa and the Arabian Peninsula

One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. Under this definition, the dialects or varieties of a particular language are closely related and, despite their differences, are most often largely mutually intelligible, especially if close to one another on the dialect continuum. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors, such as social class or ethnicity. A dialect that is associated with a particular social class can be termed a sociolect, a dialect that is associated with a particular ethnic group can be termed an ethnolect, and a geographical/regional dialect may be termed a regiolect (alternative terms include 'regionalect', 'geolect', and 'topolect' ). According to this definition, any variety of a given language can be classified as a "dialect", including any standardized varieties. In this case, the distinction between the "standard language" (i.e. the "standard" dialect of a particular language) and the "nonstandard" (vernacular) dialects of the same language is often arbitrary and based on social, political, cultural, or historical considerations or prevalence and prominence. In a similar way, the definitions of the terms "language" and "dialect" may overlap and are often subject to debate, with the differentiation between the two classifications often grounded in arbitrary or sociopolitical motives. The term "dialect" is however sometimes restricted to mean "non-standard variety", particularly in non-specialist settings and non-English linguistic traditions.


Codex claromontanus latin (The S.S. Teacher's Edition-The Holy Bible - Plate XXVIII)

A vocabulary is a set of familiar words within a person's language.


Chronology of the universe as deduced by the prevailing Big Bang theory, a result from science and obtained knowledge

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language.

Language acquisition

Victor of Aveyron
The phases of language acquisition in children

Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language (in other words, gain the ability to be aware of language and to understand it), as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate.

Spoken language

A conversation in American Sign Language

A spoken language is a language produced by articulate sounds, as opposed to a written language.

Sign language

Two men and a woman signing American Sign Language (2008)
Juan Pablo Bonet, Reducción de las letras y arte para enseñar a hablar a los mudos ("Reduction of letters and art for teaching mute people to speak") (Madrid, 1620)
Chirogram from Chirologia, 1644
Sign language relief sculpture on a stone wall: "Life is beautiful, be happy and love each other", by Czech sculptor Zuzana Čížková on Holečkova Street in Prague-Smíchov, by a school for the deaf
Young students learn some words of Lao sign language from Suliphone, a deaf artist. This was one of several activities at a school book party sponsored by Big Brother Mouse, a literacy project in Laos where Suliphone works.
A Polish Sign Language interpreter at the Przystanek Woodstock in 2017
A deaf person using a remote VRS interpreter to communicate with a hearing person
Video interpreter sign used at VRS/VRI service locations

Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning.

Language change

A conversation in American Sign Language

Language change is variation over time in a language's features.