Examine the topic of language, which is defined as communication using a set of symbols in a structured and conventional way. Language refers both to the uniquely human way of communicating as well as the manifestations of that ability (e.g., English, Russian, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Swahili, Spanish, French, Korean, German). Languages that are still commonly spoken by people today are known as the modern languages, while languages that exist principally only in written form (such as ancient Latin or Greek) are known as the classical languages. While all living creatures communicate with each other, language is specific to human beings in its seemingly infinite capacity to express thought and feeling; animals, by contrast, are tightly circumscribed in how they communicate and what they communicate about.
Language can be expressed through speech, writing, gestures (as with sign language), and code (as with computer languages). The science of language is known as linguistics, with its major divisions of phonetics (the study of the anatomy, physiology, neurology, and acoustics of speaking), grammar (concerned with the relations between words in sentences), semantics (the study of meaning), and pragmatics (the study of language in use and the contexts in which it is used). The study of language in relation to social factors, including differences of regional, class, and occupational dialect; gender differences; and bilingualism, is known as sociolinguistics. Applied linguistics focuses on finding solutions to language-related problems in real life, taking an interdisciplinary approach that can encompass the fields of education, psychology, communication research, anthropology, and sociology.
A language can have multiple dialects, which are variations of a language that are distinct from each other but still mutually intelligible. Language that relies on specialized vocabulary specific to a profession or group is known as jargon. Sometimes languages, known as pidgins, are created to facilitate communication between speakers of different languages, taking vocabulary from each language while scrapping grammatical rules; this occurs most frequently in matters of trade. Creoles are pidgin languages that have supplanted the original languages. Languages can also have informal words and phrases known as slang that aren’t part of the formal lexicon; these are more common to the spoken rather than written form and tend to be restricted to a particular context or group of people.