language

[lang-gwij]
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noun


Origin of language

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French, variant spelling of langage, derivative of langue tongue. See lingua, -age
Related formspre·lan·guage, adjective

Synonyms for language

2. See speech. 4, 9. tongue; terminology; lingo, lingua franca. Language, dialect, jargon, vernacular refer to linguistic configurations of vocabulary, syntax, phonology, and usage that are characteristic of communities of various sizes and types. Language is a broad term applied to the overall linguistic configurations that allow a particular people to communicate: the English language; the French 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; regional dialect; Southern dialect. A jargon is either an artificial linguistic configuration used by a particular (usually occupational) group within a community or a special configuration created for communication in a particular business or trade or for communication between members of groups that speak different languages: computer jargon; the Chinook jargon. A vernacular is the authentic natural pattern--the ordinary speech--of a given language, now usually on the informal level. It is at once congruent with and, in relatively small ways, distinguished from the standard language in syntax, vocabulary, usage, and pronunciation. It is used by persons indigenous to a certain community, large or small.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for pre-language

language

noun

a system for the expression of thoughts, feelings, etc, by the use of spoken sounds or conventional symbols
the faculty for the use of such systems, which is a distinguishing characteristic of man as compared with other animals
the language of a particular nation or peoplethe French language
any other systematic or nonsystematic means of communicating, such as gesture or animal soundsthe language of love
the specialized vocabulary used by a particular groupmedical language
a particular manner or style of verbal expressionyour language is disgusting
computing See programming language
speak the same language to communicate with understanding because of common background, values, etc

Word Origin for language

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

Word Origin and History for pre-language

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

pre-language in Science

language

[lănggwĭj]

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.
The set of patterns or structures produced by such a system.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.