Language is the human capacity for communication. Any estimate of the number of languages in the world varies between around 6,000 and 7,000. Natural languages are spoken or signed.
Human language is unique because it relies entirely on social convention and learning. Language is thought to have originated when early hominines 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 the structures of language having evolved to serve specific communicative and social functions.
Humans acquire language through social interaction in early childhood, and generally speak fluently when they are around 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 for social grooming and entertainment.
Languages evolve and diversify over time. The history of their evolution can be reconstructed by comparing modern languages to determine which traits their ancestral language. A group of languages that descend from a common ancestor is known as a language family. The languages that are most spoken in the world today belong to the Indo-European family, which includes languages such as English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian and Hindi; the Sino-Tibetan languages, which include Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese and many others; Semitic languages, which include Arabic, Amharic and Hebrew; and the Bantu languages, which include Swahili, Zulu, and hundreds of other languages spoken throughout Africa.
The general consensus is that between 50 to 90% of languages spoken today will probably become extinct.
Listening to the news in the morning as reporters translate languages from all over the world with different dialects and tongues, one wonders if it is true or transposed in message.
Then again, so many other countries understand and communicate in English.
So as we grow global, why don’t we all speak the same language?