Welcome to the Language Portal


A mural in Teotihuacan, Mexico (c. 2nd century) depicting a person emitting a speech scroll from his mouth, symbolizing speech
A mural in Teotihuacan, Mexico (c. 2nd century) depicting a person emitting a speech scroll from his mouth, symbolizing speech
Braille writing, a tactile variant of a writing system
Braille writing, a tactile variant of a writing system
Cuneiform is the first known form of written language, but spoken language predates writing by at least tens of thousands of years.
Cuneiform is the first known form of written language, but spoken language predates writing by at least tens of thousands of years.
Two girls learning American Sign Language
Two girls learning American Sign Language

A language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means of communication of humans, and can be conveyed through speech (spoken language), sign, or writing. Many languages, including the most widely-spoken ones, have writing systems that enable sounds or signs to be recorded for later reactivation. Human language is unique among the known systems of animal communication in that it is not dependent on a single mode of transmission (sight, sound, etc.), is highly variable between cultures and across time, and affords a much wider range of expression than other systems.

Human languages have the properties of productivity and displacement, and rely on social convention and learning.

Estimates of the number of human languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. Precise estimates depend on an arbitrary distinction (dichotomy) being established between languages and dialects. Natural languages are spoken, signed, or both; however, any language can be encoded into secondary media using auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli – for example, writing, whistling, signing, or braille. In other words, human language is modality-independent, but written or signed language is the way to inscribe or encode the natural human speech or gestures.

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. (Full article...)

Outline of linguistics • Index of language articles
Refresh with new selections below (purge)

Selected language - show another

Legal status of German in the world.svg

German is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Italian province of South Tyrol. It is also a co-official language of Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as a national language in Namibia. German is most similar to other languages within the West Germanic language branch, including Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German, Luxembourgish, Scots, and Yiddish. It also contains close similarities in vocabulary to some languages in the North Germanic group, such as Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language after English which is also a West Germanic language.

German is one of the major languages of the world. It is the most spoken native language within the European Union. German is also widely taught as a foreign language, especially in continental Europe, where it is the third most taught foreign language (after English and French), and the United States. The language has been influential in the fields of philosophy, theology, science, and technology. It is the second most commonly used scientific language and among the most widely used languages on websites. 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 German. (Full article...)

Did you know (auto-generated)

Nuvola apps filetypes.svg

More did you know - show different entries


Linguistics: Computational linguisticsGrammarHistorical linguisticsMorphologyPhoneticsPhonologyPragmaticsReadingSemanticsSociolinguisticsSyntaxWriting

Languages: Language familiesPidgins and creolesSign languages

Linguists: By nationalityHistorical linguistsMorphologistsPhoneticiansPhonologistsSociolinguistsSyntacticiansTranslators

Stubs: Constructed languagesLanguagesLinguistsPidgins and creolesTypographyVocabulary and usageWriting systems

Full Language category tree
Select [►] to view subcategories

Related portals

Selected topic - show another

Berber-speaking populations are dominant in the coloured areas of modern-day North Africa. The other areas of North Africa contain minority Berber-speaking populations.   
The Berber languages, also known as the Amazigh languages (/ˌæməˈziːk/ AM-ə-ZEEK; Berber name: Tamaziɣt, Tamazight, Thamazight; Neo-Tifinagh: ⵜⴰⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵜ, Tuareg Tifinagh: ⵜⵎⵣⵗⵜ, pronounced [tæmæˈzɪɣt, θæmæˈzɪɣθ]), are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related languages spoken by the Berbers, who are indigenous to North Africa. The languages were traditionally written with the ancient Libyco-Berber script, which now exists in the form of Tifinagh.

Berber is spoken by large populations of Morocco, Algeria and Libya, by smaller populations of Tunisia, northern Mali, western and northern Niger, northern Burkina Faso and Mauritania and in the Siwa Oasis of Egypt. Large Berber-speaking migrant communities, today numbering about 4 million, have been living in Western Europe, spanning over three generations, since the 1950s. The number of Berber people is higher than the number of Berber speakers. (Full article...)

List of selected topics

StutteringHindustani grammarAramaicCentral Atlas TamazightOttawa dialectProto-Indo-European rootRussian language in IsraelMayan languagesChinese classifierBengali language movementIrish phonologyLatin tensesEsperanto phonologyOld Chinese phonologyWestern ArmenianSwedish phonologyMesoamerican language areaConstructed languageArabic language influence on the Spanish languageYue ChineseOrganisation internationale de la FrancophonieSanskrit grammarCentum and satem languagesOtomi languageKagoshima dialectEnglish pluralsLanguages of ArmeniaLanguages of BelgiumLanguages of CataloniaLanguages of FranceLanguages of SingaporeLanguages of SomaliaProto-Germanic languageRussian phonologyOfficial bilingualism in CanadaGeneral American EnglishGlobal Language MonitorLatin obscenityLanguage policy in Latvia

edit Selected picture - show another

Credit: Luca

The Phoenician alphabet was a non-pictographic consonantal alphabet, or abjad. It became one of the most widely used writing systems, spread by  Phoenician merchants across the Mediterranean world, where it evolved and was assimilated by many other cultures.
The Aramaic alphabet, a modified form of Phoenician, was the ancestor of modern Arabic script, while Hebrew script is a stylistic variant of the Aramaic script. The Greek alphabet (and by extension its descendants such as the Latin, the Cyrillic and the Coptic), was a direct successor of Phoenician, though certain letter values were changed to represent vowels.

More selected pictures



edit Language News
13 June 2022 – Censorship of Wikipedia
The Wikimedia Foundation files an appeal against a Russian court order demanding the removal of certain Russo-Ukrainian War-related information from the Russian-language Wikipedia, which is one of the few remaining fact-checked sources still available to the general Russian public. (Reuters) (DW)
2 June 2022 – Internet censorship in Russia
Russia blocks access to the Finnish, Russian and English websites of Finnish state broadcaster Yle, on orders of the Prosecutor-General of Russia. (Yle)
16 February 2022 –
Cristina Calderón, the last full-blooded Yahgan and last native speaker of the Yahgan language, dies in Chile. (France 24)
2 February 2022 – Human rights in Chechnya, Corruption in Russia
Mass government-organized protests against the Yangulbayev family occur in the Russian city of Grozny, Chechnya. The Chechen government claimed that protests were spontaneous and gathered 400,000 men, "not counting women,"  though the total population of Grozny is 325,000 people. [1] Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, Rospotrebnadzor did nothing because they "couldn't find protest organizers."[2] Earlier a member of the Russian State Duma, Adam Delimkhanov, stated that he will rip the heads off of Yangulbayevs and those who translate his speech from the Chechen language to Russian.[3][4]
1 February 2022 – Russo-Ukrainian War
The Luhansk People's Republic accuses Ukraine of deploying a 9K33 Osa anti-aircraft missile system in a residential area of Popasna, a majority Russian-speaking city near the frontline. (TASS)
Language news from Wikinews...

edit Topics
Languages of the world

Languages of Africa: Arabic, Chadic, Cushitic, Kanuri, Maasai, Setswana, Swahili, Turkana, Xhosa, Yoruba, Zulu, more...
Languages of the Americas: Aleut, Carib, Cherokee, Inuktitut, Iroquois, Kootenai, Mayan, Nahuatl, Navajo, Quechuan, Salish, American Sign Language, more...
Languages of Asia: Arabic, Assamese, Balochi, Bengali, Chinese, Japanese, Hajong, Hebrew, Hindustani, Kannada, Kokborok, Marathi, Khasi, Korean, Kurdish, Malayalam, Manipuri, Meithei, Mongolian, Persian, Rajasthani, Sindhi, Sanskrit, Sylheti,  Tamil,  Tanchangya, Tulu,  Telugu, Tibetan, Thai, Turkish, Vietnamese, Khowar, more...
Languages of Austronesia: Austric, Fijian, Hawaiian, Javanese, Malagasy, Malay, Maori, Marshallese, Samoan, Tahitian, Tagalog, Tongan, Auslan, more... 
Languages of Europe: Basque, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (book), French, German, Greek, Italian, Latin, Leonese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak, Spanish,  Ukrainian more...
Constructed languages: Esperanto, Ido, Volapük, more...

Language types
Agglutinative language, Analytic language, Constructed language, Creole, Context-free language, Extinct language, Dialect, Fusional language, Inflectional language, International language, Isolating language, Language isolate, National language, Natural language, Pidgin, Pluricentric language, Polysynthetic language, Proto-language, Sign language, Spoken language, Synthetic language, Variety (linguistics)

Linguistics (Outline, Portal, Book)

 Applied linguistics, Cognitive linguistics, Accent (dialect), Computational linguistics, Descriptive linguistics, Eurolinguistics, Generative linguistics, Historical linguistics, Lexicology, Lexical semantics, Morphology, Onomasiology, Phonetics, Phonology, Pragmatics, Prescription, Prototype semantics, Psycholinguistics, Semantics, Stylistics, Sociolinguistics, Syntax
See also: List of linguists

Writing systems

Alphabets: Arabic alphabet, Bengali alphabet, Cyrillic alphabet, Hebrew alphabet, Latin alphabet, more...
Other writing systems: Abjad, Abugida, Braille, Hieroglyphics, Logogram, Syllabary, SignWriting, more..
See also: History of the alphabet, Script

Associated Wikimedia
.mw-parser-output #sister-projects-list{display:flex;flex-wrap:wrap}.mw-parser-output #sister-projects-list li{display:inline-block}.mw-parser-output #sister-projects-list li span{font-weight:bold}.mw-parser-output #sister-projects-list li>div{display:inline-block;vertical-align:middle;padding:6px 4px}.mw-parser-output #sister-projects-list li>div:first-child{text-align:center}@media(min-width:360px){.mw-parser-output #sister-projects-list li{width:33%;min-width:20em;white-space:nowrap;flex:1 0 25%}.mw-parser-output #sister-projects-list li>div:first-child{min-width:50px))
The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:

CommonsFree media repository

WikibooksFree textbooks and manuals

WikidataFree knowledge base

WikinewsFree-content news

WikiquoteCollection of quotations

WikisourceFree-content library

WikiversityFree learning tools

WiktionaryDictionary and thesaurus

edit Find a language

Enter an ISO 639 code to find the corresponding language article



Discover Wikipedia using portals

List of all portals

The arts portal

Biography portal

Current events portal

Geography portal

History portal

Mathematics portal

Science portal

Society portal

Technology portal

Random portal

WikiProject Portals

Purge server cache
Berber-speaking populations are dominant in the coloured areas of modern-day North Africa. The other areas of North Africa contain minority Berber-speaking populations.