Language is a structured system of communication that consists of grammar and vocabulary. It is the primary means by which humans convey meaning, both in spoken and written forms, and may also be conveyed through sign languages. The vast majority of human languages have developed writing systems that allow for the recording and preservation of the sounds or signs of language. Human language is characterized by its cultural and historical diversity, with significant variations observed between cultures and across time. Human languages possess the properties of productivity and displacement, which enable the creation of an infinite number of sentences, and the ability to refer to objects, events, and ideas that are not immediately present in the discourse. The use of human language relies on social convention and is acquired through 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) 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.
Pidgin Delaware (also Delaware Jargon or Trader's Jargon) was a pidgin language that developed between speakers of Unami Delaware and Dutch traders and settlers on the Delaware River in the 1620s. The fur trade in the Middle Atlantic region led Europeans to interact with local native groups, and hence provided an impetus for the development of Pidgin Delaware. The Dutch were active in the fur trade beginning early in the seventeenth century, establishing trading posts in New Netherland, the name for the Dutch territory of the Middle Atlantic and exchanging trade goods for furs.
Pidgin languages characteristically arise from interactions between speakers of two or more languages who are not bilingual in the other group's language. Pidgin languages typically have greatly simplified syntax, a limited vocabulary, and are not learned as a first language by its speakers. Words typically have very general meanings but do not carry more than one meaning concept, and do not have the type of structural complexity commonly found in many languages. (Full article...)
Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a speech disorder in which the flow of speech is disrupted by involuntary repetitions and prolongations of sounds, syllables, words, or phrases as well as involuntary silent pauses or blocks in which the person who stutters is unable to produce sounds. The term stuttering is most commonly associated with involuntary sound repetition, but it also encompasses the abnormal hesitation or pausing before speech, referred to by people who stutter as blocks, and the prolongation of certain sounds, usually vowels or semivowels. According to Watkins et al., stuttering is a disorder of "selection, initiation, and execution of motor sequences necessary for fluent speech production". For many people who stutter, repetition is the main concern. The term "stuttering" covers a wide range of severity, from barely perceptible impediments that are largely cosmetic to severe symptoms that effectively prevent oral communication. Almost 70 million people worldwide stutter, about 1% of the world's population.
The impact of discrimination against stuttering on a dysfluent person's functioning and emotional state can be severe. This may include fears of having to enunciate specific vowels or consonants, fears of being caught stuttering in social situations, self-imposed isolation, anxiety, stress, shame, low self-esteem, being a possible target of bullying (especially in children), having to use word substitution and rearrange words in a sentence to hide stuttering, or a feeling of "loss of control" during speech. Stuttering is sometimes popularly seen as a symptom of anxiety, but there is no direct correlation in that direction. (Full article...)