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Meaning of language

lan•guage

Pronunciation: (lang'gwij), [key]
— n.
  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. 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. faculty or power of speech.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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