First language

A first language, native language or mother/father/parent tongue (also known as arterial language or L1), is a language that a person has been exposed to from birth[1] or within the critical period. In some countries, the term native language or mother tongue refers to the language of one's ethnic group rather than one's first language.[2] Children brought up speaking more than one language can have more than one native language, and be bilingual or multilingual. By contrast, a second language is any language that one speaks other than one's first language.

Ana Dili
The monument for the mother tongue ("Ana dili") in Nakhchivan, Azerbaijan

Terminology

Kituwah Academy
A lesson at Kituwah Academy on the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina. The language immersion school, operated by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, teaches the same curriculum as other American primary schools, but Cherokee is the medium of instruction from preschool onward, and students learn it as a first language. Such schools have proven instrumental in the preservation and perpetuation of Cherokee.

One of the more widely accepted definitions of native speakers is that they were born in a particular country raised to speak the language of that country during the critical period of their development.[3] The person qualifies as a "native speaker" of a language by being born and immersed in the language during youth, in a family in which the adults shared a similar language experience as the child.[4] Native speakers are considered to be an authority on their given language because of their natural acquisition process regarding the language, as opposed to having learned the language later in life. That is achieved by personal interaction with the language and speakers of the language. Native speakers will not necessarily be knowledgeable about every grammatical rule of the language, but they will have good "intuition" of the rules through their experience with the language.[4]

Sometimes, the term "mother tongue" or "mother language" is used for the language that a person learned as a child at home (usually from their parents). Children growing up in bilingual homes can, according to this definition, have more than one mother tongue or native language.

In the context of population censuses conducted on the Canadian population, Statistics Canada defines mother tongue as "the first language learned at home in childhood and still understood by the individual at the time of the census."[5] It is quite possible that the first language learned is no longer a speaker's dominant language. That includes young immigrant children whose families have moved to a new linguistic environment as well as people who learned their mother tongue as a young child at home (rather than the language of the majority of the community), who may have lost, in part or in totality, the language they first acquired (see language attrition).

Mother tongue

Int-mother-lang-day-monument
International Mother Language Day Monument in Sydney, Australia, unveiling ceremony, 19 February 2006

According to Ivan Illich, the term "mother tongue" was first used by Catholic monks to designate a particular language they used, instead of Latin, when they are "speaking from the pulpit". That is, the "holy mother the Church" introduced this term and colonies inherited it from Christianity as a part of colonialism.[6][7]

In some countries, such as Kenya, India, and various East Asian countries, "mother language" or "native language" is used to indicate the language of one's ethnic group in both common and journalistic parlance ("I have no apologies for not learning my mother tongue"), rather than one's first language. Also, in Singapore, "mother tongue" refers to the language of one's ethnic group regardless of actual proficiency, and the "first language" refers to English, which was established on the island under the British Empire, which is the lingua franca for most post-independence Singaporeans because of its use as the language of instruction in government schools and as a working language.

J. R. R. Tolkien, in his 1955 lecture "English and Welsh," distinguishes the "native tongue" from the "cradle tongue." The latter is the language one happens to learn during early childhood, and one's true "native tongue" may be different, possibly determined by an inherited linguistic taste and may later in life be discovered by a strong emotional affinity to a specific dialect (Tolkien personally confessed to such an affinity to the Middle English of the West Midlands in particular).

On 17 November 1999, UNESCO designated 21 February as International Mother Language Day.

Significance

The first language of a child is part of the personal, social and cultural identity.[8] Another impact of the first language is that it brings about the reflection and learning of successful social patterns of acting and speaking.[9] It is basically responsible for differentiating the linguistic competence of acting. While some argue that there is no such thing as "native speaker" or a "mother tongue," it is important to understand the key terms as well as understand what it means to be a "non-native" speaker and the implications that can have on one's life. Research suggest that while a non-native speaker may develop fluency in a targeted language after about two years of immersion, it can actually take between five and seven years for that child to be on the same working level as their native speaking counterparts. That has implications on the education of non-native speakers.[10]

The topic of native speaker also gives way to discussion about what exactly bilingualism is. One definition is that a person is bilingual by being equally proficient in both languages. A person who grows up speaking English and begins learning Spanish for four years is not necessarily bilingual unless they speak the two languages with equal fluency. Pearl and Lambert were the first to test only “balanced” bilinguals—that is, a child who is completely fluent in two languages and feel that neither is their “native” language because they grasp the two so perfectly. This study found the following: balanced bilinguals perform significantly better in tasks that require flexibility (they constantly shift between the two known languages depending on the situation/requires constant juggling), more aware of arbitrary nature of language and also that balanced bilinguals choose word associations based on logical rather than phonetic preferences.[11][12]

Multilingualism

One can have two or more native languages, thus being a native bilingual or indeed multilingual. The order in which these languages are learned is not necessarily the order of proficiency. For instance, if a French-speaking couple have a child who learned French first but then the child grew up in an English-speaking country, the child would likely be most proficient in English. Other examples are in India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Kenya, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Africa, where most people speak more than one language.

The designation "native language," in its general usage, is thought to be imprecise and subject to various interpretations that are biased linguistically, especially with respect to bilingual children from ethnic minority groups. Many scholars have given definitions of 'native language' based on common usage, the emotional relation of the speaker towards the language, and even its dominance in relation to the environment. However, all of three criteria lack precision. For many children whose home language differs from the language of the environment (the 'official' language), it is debatable which language is one's 'native language'.

Defining "native language"

  • Based on origin: the language(s) one learned first (the language(s) in which one has established the first long-lasting verbal contacts).
  • Based on internal identification: the language(s) one identifies with/as a speaker of;
  • Based on external identification: the language(s) one is identified with/as a speaker of, by others.
  • Based on competence: the language(s) one knows best.
  • Based on function: the language(s) one uses most.

Defining "native speaker"

The article titled “The Native Speaker: An Achievable Model?” published by the Asian EFL Journal[13] states that there are six general principles that relate to the definition of "native speaker". The principles, according to the study, are typically accepted by language experts across the scientific field. A native speaker is defined according to the guidelines as this:

  1. The individual acquired the language in early childhood.
  2. The individual has intuitive knowledge of the language.
  3. The individual is able to produce fluent, spontaneous discourse.
  4. The individual is competent in communication.
  5. The individual identifies with or is identified by a language community.
  6. The individual has a dialect accent (including the official dialect).

See also

References

  1. ^ Bloomfield, Leonard. Language ISBN 81-208-1196-8
  2. ^ "K*The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality By Alan Davies ISBN 1-85359-622-1
  3. ^ "Who Is An Ideal Native Speaker?! Andisheh Saniei, English Language Department, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran" (PDF). ipedr.com. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 February 2018. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  4. ^ a b Love, Nigel, and Umberto Ansaldo. "The Native Speaker and the Mother Tongue." Language Sciences 32.6 (2010): 589-93. Print.
  5. ^ "mother tongue". 2001 census. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2008.
  6. ^ [Ivan Illich] in Patttanayak, 1981:24 cited in "(M)other Tongue Syndrome: From Breast to Bottle" Archived 30 August 2017 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Ivan Illich, "Vernacular Values" Archived 20 July 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Terri Hirst: The Importance of Maintaining a Childs First Language". bisnet.or.id. Archived from the original on 12 March 2016.
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ Second Language Acquisition Essential Information: Professor J. Cumminshttp://esl.fis.edu/teachers/support/cummin.htm
  11. ^ "Language Proficiency: Defining Levels Avoids Confusion". Alsintl.com. 26 August 2013. Archived from the original on 17 September 2013. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ Lee, Joseph. "The Native Speaker: An Achievable Model?". Asian EFL Journal. 7 (2).
Disability

A disability is an impairment that may be cognitive, developmental, intellectual, mental, physical, sensory, or some combination of these. It substantially affects a person's life activities and may be present from birth or occur during a person's lifetime.

Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in body function or structure; an activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action; while a participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations. Disability is thus not just a health problem. It is a complex phenomenon, reflecting the interaction between features of a person’s body and features of the society in which he or she lives.

Disability is a contested concept, with different meanings in different communities. It may be used to refer to physical or mental attributes that some institutions, particularly medicine, view as needing to be fixed (the medical model). It may refer to limitations imposed on people by the constraints of an ableist society (the social model). Or the term may serve to refer to the identity of disabled people. Physiological functional capacity (PFC) is a related term that describes an individual's performance level. It gauges one's ability to perform the physical tasks of daily life and the ease with which these tasks are performed. PFC declines with advancing age to result in frailty, cognitive disorders or physical disorders, all of which may lead to labeling individuals as disabled.The discussion over disability's definition arose out of disability activism in the United States and the United Kingdom in the 1970s, which challenged how the medical concept of disability dominated perception and discourse about disabilities. Debates about proper terminology and their implied politics continue in disability communities and the academic field of disability studies. In some countries, the law requires that disabilities are documented by a healthcare provider in order to assess qualifications for disability benefits.

Dutch language

Dutch (Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 23 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands (where it is the sole official language) and Belgium (as one of three official languages). It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

Outside the Low Countries, it is the native language of the majority of the population of Suriname where it also holds an official status, as it does in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, which are constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands located in the Caribbean. Historical linguistic minorities on the verge of extinction remain in parts of France and Germany, and in Indonesia, while up to half a million native speakers may reside in the United States, Canada and Australia combined. The Cape Dutch dialects of Southern Africa have evolved into Afrikaans, a mutually intelligible daughter language which is spoken to some degree by at least 16 million people, mainly in South Africa and Namibia.Dutch is one of the closest relatives of both German and English and is colloquially said to be "roughly in between" them. Dutch, like English, has not undergone the High German consonant shift, does not use Germanic umlaut as a grammatical marker, has largely abandoned the use of the subjunctive, and has levelled much of its morphology, including most of its case system. Features shared with German include the survival of two to three grammatical genders—albeit with few grammatical consequences—as well as the use of modal particles, final-obstruent devoicing, and a similar word order. Dutch vocabulary is mostly Germanic and incorporates slightly more Romance loans than German but far fewer than English. As with German, the vocabulary of Dutch also has strong similarities with the continental Scandinavian languages, but is not mutually intelligible in text or speech with any of the three.

English-speaking world

Approximately 330 to 360 million people speak English as their first language.

With 258 million native speakers, the United States comprises the majority of the global total. As pictured in the pie graph below, most native speakers of English are Americans.

Additionally, there are 60 million native English speakers in the United Kingdom, 19 million in Canada, 25.1 million in Australia, 4.7 million in Ireland, and 4.9 million in New Zealand. Other countries also use English as their primary and official languages.

In the European Union, English is one of 24 official languages and is widely used by institutions and majority of population as native (United Kingdom and Ireland) and as a second language in other member states.

English is the third largest language by number of native speakers, after Mandarin and Spanish.Estimates that include second language speakers vary greatly, from 470 million to more than 1 billion. David Crystal calculates that, as of 2003, non-native speakers outnumbered native speakers by a ratio of 3 to 1. When combining native and non-native speakers, English is the most widely spoken language worldwide.

Besides the major varieties of English, such as British English, American English, Canadian English, Australian English, Irish English, New Zealand English and their sub-varieties, countries such as South Africa, India, the Philippines, Jamaica and Nigeria also have millions of native speakers of dialect continua ranging from English-based creole languages to Standard English.

India now claims to be the world's second-largest English-speaking country. The most reliable estimate is around 10% of its population or 125 million people, second only to the US and expected to quadruple in the next decade.

French language

French (le français [lə fʁɑ̃sɛ] (listen) or la langue française [la lɑ̃ɡ fʁɑ̃sɛːz]) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

French is an official language in 29 countries across multiple different continents, most of which are members of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), the community of 84 countries which share the official use or teaching of French. It is spoken as a first language (in descending order of the number of speakers) in France, Canadian provinces of Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick as well as other Francophone regions, Belgium (Wallonia and the Brussels-Capital Region), western Switzerland (cantons of Bern, Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Vaud, Valais), Monaco, parts of the United States (Louisiana, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont), partly in Luxembourg and in northern Italy (region of Aosta Valley), and by various communities elsewhere. In 2015, approximately 40% of the francophone population (including L2 and partial speakers) lived in Europe, 35% in sub-Saharan Africa, 15% in North Africa and the Middle East, 8% in the Americas, and 1% in Asia and Oceania. French is the fourth most widely spoken mother tongue in the European Union, Of Europeans who speak other languages natively, approximately one-fifth are able to speak French as a second language. French is the second most taught foreign language in the EU. French is also the 18th most natively spoken language in the world, 6th most spoken language by total number of speakers and the second most studied language worldwide (with about 120 million current learners).As a result of French and Belgian colonialism from the 16th century onward, French was introduced to new territories in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Most second-language speakers reside in Francophone Africa, in particular Gabon, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritius, Senegal and Ivory Coast.French is estimated to have about 76 million native speakers and about 235 million daily, fluent speakers and another 77 to 110 million secondary speakers who speak it as a second language to varying degrees of proficiency, mainly in Africa. According to the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), approximately 300 million people worldwide are "able to speak the language", without specifying the criteria for this estimation or whom it encompasses. According to a demographic projection led by the Université Laval and the Réseau Démographie de l'Agence universitaire de la francophonie, the total number of French speakers will reach approximately 500 million in 2025 and 650 million by 2050. OIF estimates 700 million by 2050, 80% of whom will be in Africa.French has a long history as an international language of literature and scientific standards and is a primary or second language of many international organisations including the United Nations, the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the World Trade Organization, the International Olympic Committee, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. In 2011, Bloomberg Businessweek ranked French the third most useful language for business, after English and Standard Mandarin Chinese.

George III of the United Kingdom

George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover.His life and with it his reign, which were longer than those of any of his predecessors, were marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdoms, much of the rest of Europe, and places farther afield in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Early in his reign, Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War, becoming the dominant European power in North America and India. However, many of Britain's American colonies were soon lost in the American War of Independence. Further wars against revolutionary and Napoleonic France from 1793 concluded in the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

In the later part of his life, George III had recurrent, and eventually permanent, mental illness. Although it has since been suggested that he had bipolar disorder or the blood disease porphyria, the cause of his illness remains unknown. After a final relapse in 1810, a regency was established, and George III's eldest son, George, Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent. On George III's death, the Prince Regent succeeded his father as George IV.

Historical analysis of George III's life has gone through a "kaleidoscope of changing views" that have depended heavily on the prejudices of his biographers and the sources available to them. Until it was reassessed in the second half of the 20th century, his reputation in the United States was one of a tyrant; and in Britain he became "the scapegoat for the failure of imperialism".

German language

German (Deutsch [dɔʏtʃ] (listen)) is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

One of the major languages of the world, German is the first language of almost 100 million people worldwide and the most widely spoken native language in the European Union. Together with French, German is the second most commonly spoken foreign language in the EU after English, making it the second biggest language in the EU in terms of overall speakers. German is also the second most widely taught foreign language in the EU after English at primary school level (but third after English and French at lower secondary level), the fourth most widely taught non-English language in the US (after Spanish, French and American Sign Language), and the second most commonly used scientific language as well as the third most widely used language on websites after English and Russian. The German-speaking countries are ranked fifth in terms of annual publication of new books, with one tenth of all books (including e-books) in the world being published in the German language. In the United Kingdom, German and French are the most-sought after foreign languages for businesses (with 49% and 50% of businesses identifying these two languages as the most useful, respectively).German is an inflected language with four cases for nouns, pronouns and adjectives (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative), three genders (masculine, feminine, neuter), two numbers (singular, plural), and strong and weak verbs. German derives the majority of its vocabulary from the ancient Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family. A portion of German words are derived from Latin and Greek, and fewer are borrowed from French and Modern English. With slightly different standardized variants (German, Austrian and Swiss Standard German), German is a pluricentric language. It is also notable for its broad spectrum of dialects, with many unique varieties existing in Europe and also other parts of the world. Due to the limited intelligibility between certain varieties and Standard German, as well as the lack of an undisputed, scientific difference between a "dialect" and a "language", some German varieties or dialect groups (e.g. Low German or Plautdietsch) are alternatively referred to as "languages" or "dialects".

Hindi

Hindi (Devanagari: हिन्दी, IAST: Hindī), or Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: मानक हिन्दी, IAST: Mānak Hindī) is a standardised and Sanskritised register of the Hindustani language. Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, is one of the official languages of India, along with the English language. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the Republic of India. However, it is not the national language of India because no language was given such a status in the Indian constitution.Hindi is the lingua franca of the Hindi belt, and to a lesser extent other parts of India (usually in a simplified or pidginized variety such as Bazaar Hindustani or Haflong Hindi). Outside India, several other languages are recognized officially as "Hindi" but do not refer to the Standard Hindi language described here and instead descend from other dialects of Hindustani, such as Awadhi and Bhojpuri. Such languages include Fiji Hindi, which is official in Fiji, and Caribbean Hindustani, which is a recognized language in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Suriname. Apart from specialized vocabulary, spoken Hindi is mutually intelligible with Urdu, another recognized register of Hindustani.

As a linguistic variety, Hindi is the fourth most-spoken first language in the world, after Mandarin, Spanish and English. Alongside Urdu as Hindustani, it is the third most-spoken language in the world, after Mandarin and English.

Italian language

Italian (italiano [itaˈljaːno] (listen) or lingua italiana [ˈliŋɡwa itaˈljaːna]) is a Romance language. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland (where it is the first language in Canton Ticino and in the districts of Moesa and Bernina in Canton Graubünden), San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria (Croatia and Slovenia). It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece (Ionian Islands and Dodecanese), and is generally understood in Corsica (also due to the similarities with the Corsican language) and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina (along with 14 more languages) and Romania (together with 19 other languages). Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.Italian is a major European language, being one of the official languages of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and one of the working languages of the Council of Europe. It is the fourth most widely spoken first language in the European Union with 69 million native speakers (13% of the EU population) and it is spoken as a second language by 16 million EU citizens (3%). Including Italian speakers in non-EU European countries (such as Switzerland and Albania) and on other continents, the total number of speakers is around 90 million. Italian is the main working language of the Holy See, serving as the lingua franca (common language) in the Roman Catholic hierarchy as well as the official language of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Italian is known as the language of music because of its use in musical terminology and opera. Its influence is also widespread in the arts and in the luxury goods market. Italian has been reported as the fourth or fifth most frequently taught foreign language in the world.Italian was adopted by the state after the Unification of Italy, having previously been a literary language based on Tuscan as spoken mostly by the upper class of Florentine society. Its development was also influenced by other Italian languages and to some minor extent, by the Germanic languages of the post-Roman invaders. The incorporation into Italian of learned words from its own ancestor language, Latin, is another form of lexical borrowing through the influence of written language, scientific terminology and the liturgical language of the Church. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the early modern period, most literate Italians were also literate in Latin; and thus they easily adopted Latin words into their writing—and eventually speech—in Italian. Its vowels are the second-closest to Latin after Sardinian. As in most Romance languages, stress is distinctive but, unlike most other Romance languages, Italian retains Latin's contrast between short and long consonants. Almost all words and syllables finish with pure vowels, a factor that makes Italian words extremely easy to use in rhyming. Italian has a 7 vowel sound system ('e' and 'o' have mid-low and mid-high sounds); Classical Latin had 10, 5 with short and 5 with long sounds.

Language

Language is a system that consists of the development, acquisition, maintenance and use of complex systems of communication, particularly the human ability to do so; and a language is any specific example of such a system.

The scientific study of language is called linguistics. Questions concerning the philosophy of language, such as whether words can represent experience, have been debated at least since Gorgias and Plato in ancient Greece. Thinkers such as Rousseau have argued that language originated from emotions while others like Kant have held that it originated from rational and logical thought. 20th-century philosophers such as Wittgenstein argued that philosophy is really the study of language. Major figures in linguistics include Ferdinand de Saussure and Noam Chomsky.

Estimates of the number of human languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. However, any precise estimate depends on a partly arbitrary distinction between languages and dialects. Natural languages are spoken or signed, but any language can be encoded into secondary media using auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli – for example, in whistling, signed, or braille. This is because human language is modality-independent. 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.

Human language has the properties of productivity and displacement, and relies entirely on social convention and learning. Its complex structure affords a much wider range of expressions than any known system of animal communication. Language is thought to have originated when early hominins started gradually changing their primate communication systems, acquiring the ability to form a theory of other minds and a shared intentionality. This development is sometimes thought to have coincided with an increase in brain volume, and many linguists see the structures of language as having evolved to serve specific communicative and social functions. Language is processed in many different locations in the human brain, but especially in Broca's and Wernicke's areas. Humans acquire language through social interaction in early childhood, and children generally speak fluently by approximately three years old. The use of language is deeply entrenched in human culture. Therefore, in addition to its strictly communicative uses, language also has many social and cultural uses, such as signifying group identity, social stratification, as well as social grooming and entertainment.

Languages evolve and diversify over time, and the history of their evolution can be reconstructed by comparing modern languages to determine which traits their ancestral languages must have had in order for the later developmental stages to occur. A group of languages that descend from a common ancestor is known as a language family. The Indo-European family is the most widely spoken and includes languages as diverse as English, Russian and Hindi; the Sino-Tibetan family includes Mandarin, Bodo and the other Chinese languages, and Tibetan; the Afro-Asiatic family includes Arabic, Somali, and Hebrew; the Bantu languages include Swahili, and Zulu, and hundreds of other languages spoken throughout Africa; and the Malayo-Polynesian languages include Indonesian, Malay, Tagalog, and hundreds of other languages spoken throughout the Pacific. The languages of the Dravidian family, spoken mostly in Southern India, include Tamil Telugu and Kannada. Academic consensus holds that between 50% and 90% of languages spoken at the beginning of the 21st century will probably have become extinct by the year 2100.

Language acquisition

Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language, as well as to produce and use words and sentences to communicate. Language acquisition is one of the quintessential human traits, because non-humans do not communicate by using language. Language acquisition usually refers to first-language acquisition, which studies infants' acquisition of their native language, whether that be spoken language or signed language as a result of prelingual deafness. This is distinguished from second-language acquisition, which deals with the acquisition (in both children and adults) of additional languages. In addition to speech, reading and writing a language with an entirely different script compounds the complexities of true foreign language literacy.

Linguists who are interested in child language acquisition for many years question how language is acquired, Lidz et al. states "The question of how these structures are acquired, then, is more properly understood as the question of how a learner takes the surface forms in the input and converts them into abstract linguistic rules and representations." So we know language acquisition involves structures, rules and representation. The capacity to successfully use language requires one to acquire a range of tools including phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and an extensive vocabulary. Language can be vocalized as in speech, or manual as in sign. Human language capacity is represented in the brain. Even though human language capacity is finite, one can say and understand an infinite number of sentences, which is based on a syntactic principle called recursion. Evidence suggests that every individual has three recursive mechanisms that allow sentences to go indeterminately. These three mechanisms are: relativization, complementation and coordination. Furthermore, there are actually two main guiding principles in first-language acquisition, that is, speech perception always precedes speech production and the gradually evolving system by which a child learns a language is built up one step at a time, beginning with the distinction between individual phonemes.

List of contemporary ethnic groups

The following is a list of contemporary ethnic groups. There has been constant debate over the classification of ethnic groups. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be associated with shared cultural heritage, ancestry, history, homeland, language or dialect; where the term "culture" specifically includes aspects such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing (clothing) style, and other factors.

By the nature of the concept, ethnic groups tend to be divided into ethnic subgroups, which may themselves be or not be identified as independent ethnic groups depending on the source consulted.

List of languages by number of native speakers

This article ranks human languages by their number of native speakers.

However, all such rankings should be used with caution, because it is not possible to devise a coherent set of linguistic criteria for distinguishing languages in a dialect continuum.

For example, a language is often defined as a set of varieties that are mutually intelligible, but independent national standard languages may be considered to be separate languages even though they are largely mutually intelligible, as in the case of Danish and Norwegian.

Conversely, many commonly accepted languages, including German, Italian and even English, encompass varieties that are not mutually intelligible.

While Arabic is sometimes considered a single language centred on Modern Standard Arabic, other authors describe its mutually unintelligible varieties as separate languages.

Similarly, Chinese is sometimes viewed as a single language due to shared culture and a single written form.

It is also common to describe various Chinese dialect groups, such as Mandarin, Wu and Yue, as languages, even though each of these groups contains many mutually unintelligible varieties.There are also difficulties in obtaining reliable counts of speakers, which vary over time due to population change and language shift.

In some areas, there is no reliable census data, the data is not current, or the census may not record languages spoken, or record them ambiguously.

Sometimes speaker populations are exaggerated for political reasons, or speakers of minority languages may be under-reported in favour of a national language.

Multilingualism

Multilingualism is the use of more than one language, either by an individual speaker or by a community of speakers. It is believed that multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population. More than half of all Europeans claim to speak at least one language other than their mother tongue; but many read and write in one language. Always useful to traders, multilingualism is advantageous for people wanting to participate in globalization and cultural openness. Owing to the ease of access to information facilitated by the Internet, individuals' exposure to multiple languages is becoming increasingly possible. People who speak several languages are also called polyglots.Multilingual speakers have acquired and maintained at least one language during childhood, the so-called first language (L1). The first language (sometimes also referred to as the mother tongue) is acquired without formal education, by mechanisms about which scholars disagree. Children acquiring two languages from these early years are called simultaneous bilinguals. Even in the case of simultaneous bilinguals, one language is usually dominant.

People who know more than one language have been reported to be more adept at language learning compared to monolinguals.Multilingualism in computing can be considered part of a continuum between internationalization and localization. Due to the status of English in computing, software development nearly always uses it (but see also Non-English-based programming languages). Almost all commercial software is initially available in an English version, and multilingual versions, if any, may be produced as alternative options based on the English original.

Pidgin

A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several languages. It is most commonly employed in situations such as trade, or where both groups speak languages different from the language of the country in which they reside (but where there is no common language between the groups). Fundamentally, a pidgin is a simplified means of linguistic communication, as it is constructed impromptu, or by convention, between individuals or groups of people. A pidgin is not the native language of any speech community, but is instead learned as a second language.A pidgin may be built from words, sounds, or body language from a multitude of languages as well as onomatopoeia. As the lexicon of any pidgin will be limited to core vocabulary, words with only a specific meaning in lexifier language may acquire a completely new (or additional) meaning in the pidgin.

Pidgins have historically been considered a form of patois, unsophisticated simplified versions of their lexifiers, and as such usually have low prestige with respect to other languages. However, not all simplified or "unsophisticated" forms of a language are pidgins. Each pidgin has its own norms of usage which must be learned for proficiency in the pidgin.A pidgin differs from a creole, which is the first language of a speech community of native speakers that at one point arose from a pidgin. Unlike pidgins, creoles have fully developed vocabulary and patterned grammar. Most linguists believe that a creole develops through a process of nativization of a pidgin when children of acquired pidgin-speakers learn and use it as their native language.

Second language

A person’s second language or L2, is a language that is not the native language (first language or L1) of the speaker, but is learned later (usually as a foreign language, but it can be another language used in the speaker's home country). For example, there are two official languages of Canada (English and French) and some people use both.

A speaker's dominant language, which is the language a speaker uses most or is most comfortable with, is not necessarily the speaker's first language. The second language can also be the dominant one. For example, the Canadian census defines first language for its purposes as "the first language learned in childhood and still spoken", recognizing that for some, the earliest language may be lost, a process known as language attrition. This can happen when young children move to a new language environment.

Sheikhupura District

Sheikhupura (Urdu: ضِلع شيخُوپُورہ‬‎) (Punjabi: ضِلع شيخُوپُور‬), is a district of Punjab province, Pakistan. Sheikhupura is the headquarters of Sheikhupura district. According to the 1998 census of Pakistan, the district had a population of 3,321,029 of which 25.45% were urban. In 2005 one of its subdivisions was split off to form the new Nankana Sahib District.The predominant language of the district is Punjabi, which according to the 1998 census results for the tehsils of Sheikhupura, Ferozewala and Safdarabad, is the first language of 98% of the population, while Urdu is the first language of 1.1%.

South Africa

South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe; and to the east and northeast by Mozambique and Eswatini (Swaziland); and it surrounds the enclaved country of Lesotho. South Africa is the largest country in Southern Africa and the 25th-largest country in the world by land area and, with over 57 million people, is the world's 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different African languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa's largest communities of European (White), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (Coloured) ancestry.

South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution's recognition of 11 official languages, which is the fourth highest number in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most coloured and white South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d'état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country's recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress (ANC) and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, the repeal of discriminatory laws began in 1990.

Since 1994, all ethnic and linguistic groups have held political representation in the country's liberal democracy, which comprises a parliamentary republic and nine provinces. South Africa is often referred to as the "rainbow nation" to describe the country's multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid. The World Bank classifies South Africa as an upper-middle-income economy, and a newly industrialised country. Its economy is the second-largest in Africa, and the 34th-largest in the world. In terms of purchasing power parity, South Africa has the seventh-highest per capita income in Africa. However, poverty and inequality remain widespread, with about a quarter of the population unemployed and living on less than US$1.25 a day. Nevertheless, South Africa has been identified as a middle power in international affairs, and maintains significant regional influence.

Tanzania

Tanzania (), officially the United Republic of Tanzania (Swahili: Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in eastern Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It borders Uganda to the north; Kenya to the northeast; Comoro Islands at the Indian Ocean to the east; Mozambique and Malawi to the south; Zambia to the southwest; and Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the west. Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, is in north-eastern Tanzania.

Some prehistoric population migrations into Tanzania include Southern Cushitic speakers who moved south from Ethiopia; Eastern Cushitic people who moved into Tanzania from north of Lake Turkana about 2,000 and 4,000 years ago; and the Southern Nilotes, including the Datoog, who originated from the present-day South Sudan–Ethiopia border region between 2,900 and 2,400 years ago. These movements took place at about the same time as the settlement of the Mashariki Bantu from West Africa in the Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika areas. They subsequently migrated across the rest of Tanzania between 2,300 and 1,700 years ago.European colonialism began in mainland Tanzania during the late 19th century when Germany formed German East Africa, which gave way to British rule following World War I. The mainland was governed as Tanganyika, with the Zanzibar Archipelago remaining a separate colonial jurisdiction. Following their respective independence in 1961 and 1963, the two entities merged in April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanzania.The United Nations estimated Tanzania's 2016 population at 55.57 million. The population is composed of several ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups. The sovereign state of Tanzania is a presidential constitutional republic and since 1996 its official capital city has been Dodoma where the president's office, the National Assembly, and some government ministries are located. Dar es Salaam, the former capital, retains most government offices and is the country's largest city, principal port, and leading commercial centre. Tanzania is a de facto one-party state with the democratic socialist Chama Cha Mapinduzi party in power.

Tanzania is mountainous and densely forested in the north-east, where Mount Kilimanjaro is located. Three of Africa's Great Lakes are partly within Tanzania. To the north and west lie Lake Victoria, Africa's largest lake, and Lake Tanganyika, the continent's deepest lake, known for its unique species of fish. The eastern shore is hot and humid, with the Zanzibar Archipelago just offshore. The Kalambo Falls, located on the Kalambo River at the Zambian border, is the second highest uninterrupted waterfall in Africa. The Menai Bay Conservation Area is Zanzibar's largest marine protected area.

Over 100 different languages are spoken in Tanzania, making it the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa. The country does not have a de jure official language, although the national language is Swahili. Swahili is used in parliamentary debate, in the lower courts, and as a medium of instruction in primary school. English is used in foreign trade, in diplomacy, in higher courts, and as a medium of instruction in secondary and higher education, although the Tanzanian government is planning to discontinue English as a language of instruction altogether. Approximately 10 percent of Tanzanians speak Swahili as a first language, and up to 90 percent speak it as a second language.

Urdu

Urdu (; Urdu: اُردُو‬‎ ALA-LC: Urdū [ˈʊrduː] (listen)) (also known as Lashkari, locally written لشکری)—or, more precisely, Modern Standard Urdu—is a Persianised standard register of the Hindustani language. It is the official national language and lingua franca of Pakistan. In India, it is one of the 22 official languages recognized in the Constitution of India, having official status in the six states of Jammu and Kashmir, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, as well as the national capital territory of Delhi. It is a registered regional language of Nepal.

Apart from specialized vocabulary, spoken Urdu is mutually intelligible with Standard Hindi, another recognized register of Hindustani. The Urdu variant of Hindustani received recognition and patronage under British rule when the British replaced the local official languages with English and Hindustani written in Nastaʿlīq script, as the official language in North and Northwestern India. Religious, social, and political factors pushed for a distinction between Urdu and Hindi in India, leading to the Hindi–Urdu controversy.According to Nationalencyklopedin's 2010 estimates, Urdu is the 21st most spoken first language in the world, with approximately 66 million speakers. According to Ethnologue's 2017 estimates, Urdu, along with standard Hindi and the languages of the Hindi belt (as Hindustani), is the 3rd most spoken language in the world, with approximately 329.1 million native speakers, and 697.4 million total speakers.

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