Portal:Language
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Portal:Language
Welcome to the Language Portal

Introduction

A mural in Teotihuacan, Mexico (c. 2nd century) depicting a person emitting a speech scroll from his mouth, symbolizing speech
Braille writing, a tactile variant of a writing system
Cuneiform is the first known form of written language, but spoken language predates writing by at least tens of thousands of years.
Two girls learning American Sign Language

Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means of communication of humans, and can be conveyed through spoken, sign, or written language. Many languages, including the most widely-spoken ones, have writing systems that enable sounds or signs to be recorded for later reactivation. Human language is not dependent on a single mode of transmission (sight, sound, etc.) and is highly variable between cultures and across time.

Human languages have the properties of productivity and displacement, and rely on social convention and 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) being 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. (Full article...)

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The Nicer Clutosi stele inscription.
Gallaecian, or Northwestern Hispano-Celtic, is an extinct Celtic language of a Hispano-Celtic group. It was spoken by the Gallaeci at the beginning of the 1st millennium in the northwest corner of the Iberian Peninsula that became the Roman province of Gallaecia and is now divided between the present day Spanish regions of Galicia, western Asturias, and the west of the Province of León and the Norte Region in northern Portugal. (Full article...)

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Categories

Linguistics: Computational linguistics o Grammar o Historical linguistics o Morphology o Phonetics o Phonology o Pragmatics o Reading o Semantics o Sociolinguistics o Syntax o Writing

Languages: Language families o Pidgins and creoles o Sign languages

Linguists: By nationality o Historical linguists o Morphologists o Phoneticians o Phonologists o Sociolinguists o Syntacticians o Translators

Stubs: Constructed languages o Languages o Linguists o Pidgins and creoles o Typography o Vocabulary and usage o Writing systems

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This article discusses the phonological system of standard Russian based on the Moscow dialect (unless otherwise noted). For an overview of dialects in the Russian language, see Russian dialects. Most descriptions of Russian describe it as having five vowel phonemes, though there is some dispute over whether a sixth vowel, , is separate from /i/. Russian has 34 consonants, which can be divided into two types:

  • hard (? ['tvrd?j]) or plain
  • soft ( ['m?æx?kj]) or palatalized
Russian also distinguishes hard consonants from soft (palatalized) consonants and from consonants followed by /j/, making four sets in total: /C C? Cj C?j/, although /Cj/ in native words appears only at morpheme boundaries. Russian also preserves palatalized consonants that are followed by another consonant more often than other Slavic languages do. Like Polish, it has both hard postalveolars (/? ?/) and soft ones (/t? ?:/ and marginally or dialectically /?:/). (Full article...)

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Phoenician alphabet.svg
Credit: Luca

The Phoenician alphabet was a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It became one of the most widely used writing systems, spread by Phoenician merchants across the Mediterranean world, where it evolved and was assimilated by many other cultures. The Aramaic alphabet, a modified form of Phoenician, was the ancestor of modern Arabic script, while Hebrew script is a stylistic variant of the Aramaic script. The Greek alphabet (and by extension its descendants such as the Latin, the Cyrillic and the Coptic), was a direct successor of Phoenician, though certain letter values were changed to represent vowels.

Language News

28 September 2022 - Anglophone crisis
Authorities in Cameroon ban "undeclared meetings and manifestations" in Bamenda, the capital of the Northwest Region, after separatists announced a manifestation to commemorate the declaration of independence of Ambazonia, a breakaway state consisting of the English-speaking regions of Cameroon. (Xinhua)
13 June 2022 - Censorship of Wikipedia
The Wikimedia Foundation files an appeal against a Russian court order demanding the removal of certain Russo-Ukrainian War-related information from the Russian-language Wikipedia, which is one of the few remaining fact-checked sources still available to the general Russian public. (Reuters) (DW)
2 June 2022 - Internet censorship in Russia
Russia blocks access to the Finnish, Russian and English websites of Finnish state broadcaster Yle, on orders of the Prosecutor-General of Russia. (Yle)
Language news from Wikinews...

Topics

Languages of the world
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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...

Languages of Asia: Arabic, Assamese, Balochi, Bengali, Chinese, Japanese, Hajong, Hebrew, Hindustani, Kannada, Kokborok, Marathi, Khasi, Korean, Kurdish, Malayalam, Manipuri, Meithei, Mongolian, Persian, Rajasthani, Sindhi, Sanskrit, Sylheti, Tamil, Tanchangya, Tulu, Telugu, Tibetan, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, Khowar, more...

Languages of Austronesia: Austric, Fijian, Hawaiian, Javanese, Malagasy, Malay, Maori, Marshallese, Samoan, Tahitian, Tagalog, Tongan, Auslan, more...

Languages of Europe: Basque, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (book), French, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, Leonese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish, Ukrainian more...

Constructed languages: Esperanto, Ido, Volapük, more...


Language types

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)


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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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Alphabets: Arabic alphabet, Bengali alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet, Hebrew alphabet, Latin alphabet, more...

Other writing systems: Abjad, Abugida, Braille, Hieroglyphics, Logogram, Syllabary, SignWriting, more..

See also: History of the alphabet, Script

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