of these articles concerns itself with the natural human language. For the use of the term language in mathematics and computer science, see formal language and programming language

language has two closely with each other related uses, the language (withoutPlural) or a language/languages. „The language is one of the most important elements of our emotional and social communication. The better this by small on trained is the differentiate, more select and more kommunikativer, can humans communicate itself. “

The language designates the most importantCommunication form of humans. It becomes acoustically visual spatial by acoustic waves (sound chains) or by bearing (see. Bearing language) or writing (see. Writing language) realizes. The science of language as system is called general linguistics. Language has a vocabulary, whichand a grammar, which sets the words too each other in relationship, contains semantic information. One finds systems without grammar under the Pidgins, with animal languages and in the theoretical Protosprachen as well as with some A-priori plan languages.
Those is exemplary Definition of Edward Sapir (1921) quotes:

Language is exclusively humans own, not method which is rooted in the instinct for the transmission of thoughts, feelings and desires by means of a system of freely created symbols.“(quotes afterJohn Lyons, 4. Edition, 1992, S. 13)

Ferdinand de Saussure conceived - a tradition following - language as plotting system and seized the language character as connection of sound picture and conception, thus as something mental. Karl Bühler sees language as “formedEquipment ", as medium of the communication action with the basic functions of the representation (purchase to the reality), the expression (presentness of the speaker) and the appeal (influence of the listener). Thus becomes questionable the view of language as plotting system, because only symbolic expressions leave themselvesunderstand as indications in the actual sense (“somewhat stands for somewhat”). For what does the article stand for that, the toning particles stop, the showing word there, the Interjektion TC? For the pragmatics language is an purpose-oriented action system, which is mentally embodied.For some linguists language is a human being-typical biological organ (Noam Chomsky), for others the medium of the thought formation absolutely (W.v. Humboldt).

A language is each individual communication system, which serves the communication, thus human single languages (for example German), technical languages (for example Mathematics and legal terminology), computer languages (for example pro log) etc. (see following Unterkapitel). The sciences of individual languages are for example the philologies (Anglistik, Germanistik). Linguistics against it concerns itself with individual languages only as “voucher” for theories about thoseLanguage generally, the universal characteristics of human language and the dominant modes of the languages of the world (language typology).

Table of contents


linguistics examines the human language. The comparative linguistics and the language typology are concerned with the genetic relationship of languages, which can be arranged into language families. MostLinguists treat single languages or language families. Thus for example the Indogermanistik is concerned with the indogermanischen language family. Acceptance over one (original language) mankind are predominantly speculatively, hereby are concerned the Paläolinguistik. The structure and use of languages becomein grammars, which vocabulary and word use in dictionaries described. The Etymologie is a research direction, which is concerned with the origin and the history of the words and names. Formal languages are recordable with means of logic and set theory (enumerable quantitythe basis expressions, rules of the composition, probably-formed expressions). The description principles of the formal logic are applied also to the natural speech; Pioneer work carried in addition the American logician smelling pool of broadcasting corporations out Montague. A complete reconstruction is not possible however. Because also the logic is derived from the natural speech. In the long run we must deliver everything in the natural speech (joke gene stone). To the disciplines, which argue particularly intensively with language, belong also the Rhetorik, the literature science, language philosophy and the Ethnologie.

single language

in the special sense designates language a certain single language such as German or Japanese. The spoken languages of mankind are divided in language families; on the basis the LANGUAGE codes (according to ISO 639 -1 and/or 639-2) know languages internationallyclearly to be identified. From today about 6500 languages spoken in the world more than half of becoming extinct are threatened that, since they are passed on hardly still or no more to children. From some languages it gives onlya small group often old native speaker. This will lead most likely to the fact that in the next 100 years thousands of languages will disappear. The society for threatened languages supports the occupation along and the documentation of such languages, those to the inheritancemankind count and partially by completely special characteristics are characterised, which are to be studied only at them.

A language is something alive, which develops, continuously changed and again passes - however not in the biological, but in the transferred sense; Aliveness stands here for variety of functions. No more used, also dead languages mentioned, often do not leaveTraces in follow-up languages; for example latin in the Roman languages (Italian, French etc.), in addition, in the English and German language as well as the other Germanic languages.

In accordance with their emergence ethnical languages and plan languages are differentiated.

Would NIC-htm-creep languages

in the first Lebensjahren with the human baby of the Kelhkopf (Larynx) one lowers. Only few animals can lower the larynx, only few can the voice copy (parrot, seal, Delfin). Languages with animals, for example the bee language, in addition,the Lautsprachen with birds, Delfinen or Primaten differs in principle from those of humans. While in the signal systems of the animals each sound has a firm meaning, the language of humans is doubly (and/or three-way) arranged. That is, humans can from meaning meanings, even nothing meaning-meaning units (morphemes, word forms) form for important sounds (first arrangement level) (second arrangement level). From word forms Wortgruppen know (cliches) and sentences to be developed (third level). If an animal can form twenty sounds, then it can express twenty signals. Inthe language of humans there are so already against it unlimited combination options with limited means, William of Humboldt. Humans can understand or express, what he before never heard.

formal one languages

also in computer science of languages one speaks. These languages, formal one languages mentioned, are mathematical models of languages, which particularly find in theoretical computer science, in particular with predictability theory and the building of compilers application. Material programming languages such as ALGOL, FORTRAN, COBOL, basic, C, Ada, Lisp, pro logs, Java, Perl and many further are based on both theoretical and pragmatic considerations.

Efforts a clear and methodically correct language to construct, led to the project of the Orthosprache.

language asMedium

many medium theories - above all the technical - understand language not as medium, but as communication instrument, i.e. as neutral making possible condition for the actual media. Language serves such views after only the representation or also transmission mentally Entitäten (concepts, terms), whereby the latters are thought as independent of the language. One speaks therefore of representation means. The most radical form of these „language oblivion of the medium theory “, how Ludwig formulates hunters (2000), is in the discourse so mentioned over „to post office symbolism communication“, which assumes human cognition and communication are no more dependent on language characters in the future, because these are generic term-oiled due to the technical developments within the field of the research to artificial intelligence. Hunters (2000) according to remain debates over thoseEffect power of „new media “, as for instance computers and Internet, however empty, if language not when crucial framework medium is recognized. It pleads therefore for it to include medium term more strongly into the discourse over technical media the non-technical (anthropologischen) and soto up-soft the simple dichotomy between „new media “and „language “. Hunter (2000/2002) formulates an epistemological view of medium, whose core statement reads that mentality is only made possible by the Medialität. That is called the human mentality becomes to their current extent only by indication action processes, thoseboth a world and I consciousness constitute, made possible. The language takes here a konstitutive role. If language is thus understood as medium, already the human mentality is medial coined/shaped. It is to be always judged therefore from the language, hownew media humans to affect can (see. Hunter 2000/2002). This conception can be underlined by the considerations Sibylle of shopkeeper (2000). Shopkeeper means that a message, which is obtained in a medium retains the trace of its formal constitution -in this case the mentality of humans possesses the trace of his semiologischen Performanzen. I.e.: If an expression is transacted, no pure switching of mental concepts takes place, since these are coined/shaped by the respective single language. Shopkeeper (1998) continues to place media as apparatusesto the artificial production of new worlds (i.e.: new forms of the experience, conceptions), which it would not give without the appropriate medium. The language does not make homo sapiens sapiens in such a way seen anything inferior as the more complex experiencing bar making for the actual world possible inus today the common way.

language in the broader sense

some people designate the music than universal language, since she is understood about humans of most different origin. Here the language serves particularly as means of communication for feelings. Somost films with music are under-painted, because thereby under-smolder-lie the feeling situation of the situation and/or. the figures one communicates. In Indian films that can be done even so far that the action remains standing and the feelings in songs is expressed, what onewith us only from the musical - category knows.

Here one encounters a further level of the language: Films, plays, Operetten etc. avail themselves of a certain language likewise. One finds the linguistic means used here in the transferred sense also inthe according to and writing languages again.

Also within other ranges the term language in the transferred sense is used. Thus for instance in the forming art or architecture the term stylistic idiom is used, around the formative means and their cooperating for the achievementto describe a certain effect.

Language examples

see also

spacer language, Allolalie, office language, analytic philosophy, development language, baby language, threatened language, roof language, dialect, Poet language, Ethnosprache, Etymologie, European year of the languages, technical language, wrong friends, foreign language, secret language, group language, Halsbandsittich in many languages, high-level language, inclusive language, jargon, designed language, Kreolsprache, Lautsprache, List of languages, literature language, Liturgiesprache, medium theory, native language, new speech, Ökolinguistik, Orthosprache, plan language, programming language, sailor language, semiotic, signal languages, Soziolekt, mirror neurons, language formation, language journeys, Standardsprache, terminology, Colloquial language, universal grammar, traffic language, world language, indication, tongue crusher


  • Ludwig founts, “remarks over language and style. ”, 1826, all writings, Bd. II, Duesseldorf 1964.
  • Karl Bühler (1934), language theory, Stuttgart: G. Fischer
  • Geoffrey Sampson: “Schools OF Linguistics.” Hutchinson, London (1980), ISBN 0804710848
  • David Crystal: "Die Cambridge Enzyklopädie der Sprache." Campus Verlag, Frankfurt/Main (1995), ISBN 3880599548
  • Haarmann, Harald: “Small encyclopedia of the languages. From Albanian to Zulu.“Publishing house C. H. Beck, ISBN 3406475582
  • William of Humboldt: “Fundamentals of the general language type”, 2004, Berlin: Philo, ISBN 3-8257-0068-2
  • John Lyons: “The language.” C.H. Beck, Munich (1992; 4. Edition) ISBN 3406094007
  • Steven Pinker: “Words and Rules: The Ingredients OF LANGUAGE. “(1999)(dt. Words and rules: The nature of the language.), ISBN 3827402972)
  • Ludger Hoffmann (Hg.) (2000/2) linguistics. A reader. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter.
  • Hunter, Ludwig (2000), „the language oblivion of the medium theory. A final speech for the medium of the language. “In: Kallmeyer, Werner (Hg.):Language and new media. Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 9-30
  • hunters, Ludwig (2002): Medialität and mentality. The language as medium of the spirit. In: Shopkeeper, Sybille, king, corner hard (Hgg.): Is there a language behind speaking? Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 45-76
  • Shopkeeper, Sybille (² 2000): „The medium as trace and as apparatus. “ In: this. (Hg.): Media, computer, reality. Reality conceptions and new media. Frankfurt A. M.: Suhrkamp, 9-26

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