What is Language?
Salut! a va?
Language according to Webster’s
dictionary is a system or means of
communication. Communication is the way
in which humans exchange or transfer of
information, ideas or emotions. It is humans
ability to communicate with each other that
separates us from animals.
There are 2 main types
of language.
SPOKE
N
WRITTE
N
Written language can be either
composed of pictographs or alphabets.
A pictograph is a symbol or
drawing that represents a
specific object.
Many languages like English
use letters of an alphabet for
their written language. An
alphabet is a series of
symbols.
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QuickTime™ and a
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Other types of communication
Gestures
Sounds
Symbols
Every person in the world has a
language but the language that they
use may be different.
No one knows exactly how or when
humans first began to use language.
Linguists (scientists who study languages)
have been able to study almost all of the
world’s languages.
All languages in the world belong to a family or a group.
English belongs to the Indo-European family. This
family includes the languages spoken by more than 1/2
of the world’s population.
The Indo- European language family is divided into sub-groups. These
are some examples of the larger sub-groups.
Germanic
Romance
Slavic
German
Latin
Russian
Dutch
Italian
Swedish
Spanish
Danish
Portuguese
Polish
Norwegian
French
Czech
Icelandic
Rumanian
English
Ukranian
Slovak
Serbo-Croatian
Bulgarian
All languages are made up of words. A word is a
thing that conveys a meaning. In other words, a
word stands for something.
Das Buch
(German)
BOO
K
Liber (Latin)
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El libro (Spanish)
Kitabu (Swahili)
Hon
(Japanese)
Shu (Chinese)
Languages often borrow, adapt and create new words
either from within their own language . .
German
English
Geburt
Birth
Tag
Day
Geburtstag
Birthday
Geschenk
Present
Geburtstagsgeschenk
Birthday present
Stadt
Town, city
Haupt
Principal
Hauptstadt
Capital (principal city)
. .or from a different language. Words that are
borrowed from other languages are called cognates.
Here are some examples of English words borrowed
from other languages.
Adobe
(Spanish)
Rodeo
(Spanish)
Prima donna
(Italian)
Stucco
(Italian)
Á la carte
(French)
Resume
(French)
Dachshund
(German)
Kindergarten
(German)
Tundra
(Russian)
Besides words, all languages also have structure. The
structure of a language is also called grammar. Grammar is the
way in which words are put together to form phrases or
sentences. Grammar or structure can vary greatly from one
language to another but languages that belong to the same
family usually have some similarities.
English
French
John’s book
Le livre de Jean
Spanish
German
Japanese
Italian
El libro de Juan
Das Buch von Johann
Hanada-san no hon
Il libro di Giovanni
Latin
Liber Ioanni
Spanish, like English, has nouns, verbs and
adjectives.
A person, place or thing
An action word
A word that describes a noun
The tall girl ran to class.
Girl is the noun.
Ran is the verb.
Tall is the adjective.
La muchacha alta corr Ió a la clase.
La muchacha is the noun.
Corrió is the verb.
Alta is the adjective.
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What is Language?