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Exploring the use of 'stretchable' words in social media

An investigation of Twitter messages reveals new insights and tools for studying how people use stretched words, such as "duuuuude," "heyyyyy," or "noooooooo." Tyler Gray and colleagues at the University of Vermont in Burlington ...

Chinese to rise as a global language

With the continuing rise of China as a global economic and trading power, there is no barrier to prevent Chinese from becoming a global language like English, according to Flinders University academic Dr. Jeffrey Gil.

Study reveals rich genetic diversity of Vietnam

Vietnam features extensive ethnolinguistic diversity and occupies a key position in Mainland Southeast Asia (MSEA). Vietnam, with its borders to China, Laos and Cambodia, has a rich geographical diversity, and ample access ...

What protects minority languages from extinction?

Over 6,000 languages are currently spoken worldwide, but a substantial minority—well over 5%—are in danger of dying out. It is perhaps surprising that this fraction is no higher, as most models have so far predicted that ...

Bats can use 'vocal learning' to change their tune

Humans learn to speak by mimicking speech sounds. Are there other mammals who can learn sounds by imitation? In an experimental study, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in Nijmegen and the Ludwig ...

Ease up on e-learning expectations for kids

You may have seen the Israeli mom's video rant about the intensity of the workload of her four children during online learning: "If we don't die of Corona, we'll die of distance learning!"

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Language

A language is a system for encoding information. In its most common use, the term refers to so-called "natural languages" — the forms of communication considered peculiar to humankind. In linguistics the term is extended to refer to the human cognitive facility of creating and using language. Essential to both meanings is the systematic creation and usage of systems of symbols—each referring to linguistic concepts with semantic or logical or otherwise expressive meanings.

The most obvious manifestations are spoken languages such as English or Spoken Chinese. However, there are also written languages and other systems of visual symbols such as sign languages.

Although some other animals make use of quite sophisticated communicative systems, and these are sometimes casually referred to as animal language, none of these are known to make use of all of the properties that linguists use to define language in the strict sense.

When discussed more technically as a general phenomenon then, "language" always implies a particular type of human thought which can be present even when communication is not the result, and this way of thinking is also sometimes treated as indistinguishable from language itself.

In Western Philosophy for example, language has long been closely associated with reason, which is also a uniquely human way of using symbols. In Ancient Greek philosophical terminology, the same word, logos, was used as a term for both language or speech and reason, and the philosopher Thomas Hobbes used the English word "speech" so that it similarly could refer to reason, as will be discussed below.

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