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This world map shows the locations amongst the locals of the French language. Credit: Jonatan argento.

There are "approximately 3,000–6,000 languages that are spoken by humans today".[1]


This script was found on the temple walls of Tanjore Bragadeeshwara. It is very different from the present Tamil script. Credit: Symphoney Symphoney.

Linguistics is the scientific study of human language.[2][3][4][5] Linguistics can be broadly broken into three categories or subfields of study: language form, language meaning, and language in context.[6]

"Although linguistics is the scientific study of language, a number of other intellectual disciplines are relevant to language and intersect with it. Semiotics, for example, is the general study of signs and symbols both within language and without. Literary theorists study the use of language in literature. Linguistics additionally draws on and informs work from such diverse fields as acoustics, anthropology, biology, computer science, human anatomy, informatics, neuroscience, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and speech-language pathology."[6]

Theoretical languages[edit]

Def. "[a] form of communication using words either spoken or gestured with the hands and structured with grammar, often with a writing system"[7] is called a language.

"Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication."[1]

If there is at least one human or hominin language, why are there more than one?

Dominant languages[edit]

The Wikipedia dominant language by country is indicated by different colors. Credit: Leonst & Sehrg.

Def. a "[l]anguage spoken by the dominant social group, or language that is seen as the main language of a country"[8] is called a dominant language.

Language families[edit]

Def. "[a] set of languages which have evolved from a common ancestor"[9] is called a language family.


  1. Each of today's languages contains a synonym for dominant group.
  2. Ultimately, there is only one hominin language.

See also[edit]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Language, In: Wikipedia". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. June 20, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  2. Adrian Akmajian, ‎Richard A. Demers, ‎Ann K. Farmer (2010). Linguistics: An Introduction to Language and Communication. ISBN 0-262-51370-6.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. André Martinet, Tr. Elisabeth Palmer (Studies in General Linguistics, vol. i.) (1960). Elements of General Linguistics. London: Faber. p. 15.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. Michael A. K. Halliday, Jonathan Webster (2006). On Language and Linguistics. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. vii. ISBN 0-8264-8824-2.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. Joseph Greenberg (1948). "Linguistics and ethnology". Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 4: 140–7. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Linguistics". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. June 18, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-19.
  7. "language, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. June 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  8. Sheldon Shaeffer (2007). "Advocacy Kit for Promoting Multilingual Education: Including the Excluded" (PDF). 920 Sukhumvit Road, Prakanong, Bangkok 10110. Thailand: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education. ISBN 92-9223-110-3. Retrieved 2012-08-29.
  9. "language family, In: Wiktionary". San Francisco, California: Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. June 6, 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-11.

External links[edit]

{{Dominant group}}{{Humanities resources}}{{Linguistics resources}}{{Semantics resources}}{{Terminology resources}}