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language

[lang-gwij] /ˈlæŋ gwɪdʒ/
noun
1.
a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition:
the two languages of Belgium; a Bantu language; the French language; the Yiddish language.
2.
communication by voice in the distinctively human manner, using arbitrary sounds in conventional ways with conventional meanings; speech.
3.
the system of linguistic signs or symbols considered in the abstract (opposed to speech).
4.
any set or system of such symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by a number of people, who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another.
5.
any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.:
the language of mathematics; sign language.
6.
the means of communication used by animals:
the language of birds.
7.
communication of meaning in any way; medium that is expressive, significant, etc.:
the language of flowers; the language of art.
8.
linguistics; the study of language.
9.
the speech or phraseology peculiar to a class, profession, etc.; lexis; jargon.
10.
a particular manner of verbal expression:
flowery language.
11.
choice of words or style of writing; diction:
the language of poetry.
12.
Computers. a set of characters and symbols and syntactic rules for their combination and use, by means of which a computer can be given directions:
The language of many commercial application programs is COBOL.
13.
a nation or people considered in terms of their speech.
14.
Archaic. faculty or power of speech.
Origin
1250-1300
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, variant spelling of langage, derivative of langue tongue. See lingua, -age
Related forms
prelanguage, adjective
Synonyms
2. See speech. 4, 9. tongue; terminology; lingo, lingua franca. Language, dialect, jargon, vernacular refer to patterns of vocabulary, syntax, and usage characteristic of communities of various sizes and types. Language is applied to the general pattern of a people or race: the English language. Dialect is applied to certain forms or varieties of a language, often those that provincial communities or special groups retain (or develop) even after a standard has been established: Scottish dialect. A jargon is either an artificial pattern used by a particular (usually occupational) group within a community or a special pattern created for communication in business or trade between members of the groups speaking different languages: the jargon of the theater; the Chinook jargon. A vernacular is the authentic natural pattern of speech, now usually on the informal level, used by persons indigenous to a certain community, large or small.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for language
  • language changes not from talking about words but from using them.
  • If you get tongue-tied when trying to learn a new language, your genes may be to blame, a new study suggests.
  • The morbidity is not of human feeling but of language.
  • The new language made programming, for the first time, more about the end than the means.
  • Create a unified mathematical language for everything the military sees or hears.
  • Fortran, bacterial protein sequences and an artificial language.
  • The program calculated the level of order present in each language.
  • The school offers a new course in the company's programming language.
  • Some perplexed monkeys are helping scientists better understand why humans became the only animals to evolve language.
  • Researchers develop software that compresses data, allowing real-time video to be used to convey sign language over mobiles.
British Dictionary definitions for language

language

/ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ/
noun
1.
a system for the expression of thoughts, feelings, etc, by the use of spoken sounds or conventional symbols
2.
the faculty for the use of such systems, which is a distinguishing characteristic of man as compared with other animals
3.
the language of a particular nation or people: the French language
4.
any other systematic or nonsystematic means of communicating, such as gesture or animal sounds: the language of love
5.
the specialized vocabulary used by a particular group: medical language
6.
a particular manner or style of verbal expression: your language is disgusting
7.
(computing) See programming language
8.
speak the same language, to communicate with understanding because of common background, values, etc
Word Origin
C13: from Old French langage, ultimately from Latin lingua tongue
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for language
n.

late 13c., langage "words, what is said, conversation, talk," from Old French langage (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *linguaticum, from Latin lingua "tongue," also "speech, language" (see lingual). The form with -u- developed in Anglo-French. Meaning "a language" is from c.1300, also used in Middle English of dialects:

Mercii, þat beeþ men of myddel Engelond[,] vnderstondeþ bettre þe side langages, norþerne and souþerne, þan norþerne and souþerne vnderstondeþ eiþer oþer. [John of Trevisa, translation of Bartholomew de Glanville's "De proprietatibus rerum," 1398]



In oþir inglis was it drawin, And turnid ic haue it til ur awin Language of the norþin lede, Þat can na noþir inglis rede. ["Cursor Mundi," early 14c.]
Language barrier attested from 1933.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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language in Science
language
  (lāng'gwĭj)   
  1. A system of objects or symbols, such as sounds or character sequences, that can be combined in various ways following a set of rules, especially to communicate thoughts, feelings, or instructions. See also machine language, programming language.

  2. The set of patterns or structures produced by such a system.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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language in Technology


1. programming language.
2. natural language.
(1998-09-07)

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
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