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In
neuropsychology Neuropsychology is a branch of psychology. It is concerned with how a person's cognition and behavior are related to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Professionals in this branch of psychology often focus on how injuries or illnesse ...
,
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...

linguistics
, and the
philosophy of language In analytic philosophy Analytic philosophy is a branch and tradition of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, E ...
, a natural language or ordinary language is any
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and ...

language
that has
evolved Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproduction, ...
naturally in
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes ...

human
s through use and repetition without conscious planning or premeditation. Natural languages can take different forms, such as
speech Speech is human vocal communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between self and other, private and public, and inner thought and ...
or
signing
signing
. They are distinguished from constructed and
formal language In logic, mathematics, computer science, and linguistics, a formal language consists of string (computer science), words whose symbol (formal), letters are taken from an alphabet (computer science), alphabet and are well-formedness, well-formed a ...
s such as
those used to program computers
those used to program computers
or to study
logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the capacity of consciously making sense of things, applying logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit ...

logic
.


Defining natural language

Natural language can be broadly defined as different from * artificial or
constructed language A constructed language (sometimes called a conlang) is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or often Written language, writing. T ...
s, e.g.
computer programming languages
computer programming languages
*
international auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a meant for communication between people from different nations who do not share a common . An auxiliary language is primarily a . It usually takes words from widely ...
s * non-human communication systems in nature such as whale and other marine mammal vocalizations or
Honey bee A honey bee (also spelled honeybee) is a eusocial Eusociality (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in So ...

Honey bee
s'
waggle dance Waggle dance is a term used in beekeeping and ethology for a particular figure-eight dance of the honey bee. By performing this dance, successful foragers can share information about the direction and distance to patches of flowers yielding necta ...

waggle dance
. All
varieties Variety may refer to: Science and technology Mathematics * Algebraic variety, the set of solutions of a system of polynomial equations * Variety (universal algebra), classes of algebraic structures defined by equations in universal algebra Hort ...
of
world language In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology), norms, expectations, and context, on the way language is used, and society's effect on language. I ...
s are natural languages, including those that are associated with
linguistic prescriptivism Linguistic prescription, or prescriptive grammar, is the attempt to establish rules defining preferred or correct usage The usage of a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken lang ...
or language regulation. (
Nonstandard dialect A nonstandard dialect or vernacular dialect is a dialect The term dialect (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...
s can be viewed as a
wild type Unlike culinary bananas, wild-type bananas have numerous large, hard seeds. The wild type (WT) is the phenotype right , Here the relation between genotype and phenotype is illustrated, using a Punnett square, for the character of petal col ...
in comparison with
standard language A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety In sociolinguistics, a variety, also called an isolect or lect, is a specific form of a language or language cluster. This may include language ...
s.) An
official language An official language is a language given a special status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically the term "official language" does not refer to the language used by a people or country, but by its government (e.g. judiciar ...

official language
with a regulating academy such as
Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard variety of the French language ...
, overseen by the
Académie Française An academy (Attic Greek: Ἀκαδήμεια; Koine Greek Ἀκαδημία) is an institution of secondary education, secondary or tertiary education, tertiary higher education, higher learning, research, or honorary membership. Academia is the w ...
, is classified as a natural language (e.g. in the field of
natural language processing Natural language processing (NLP) is a subfield of , , and concerned with the interactions between computers and human language, in particular how to program computers to process and analyze large amounts of data. The goal is a computer capab ...
), as its prescriptive aspects do not make it constructed enough to be a
constructed language A constructed language (sometimes called a conlang) is a language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or often Written language, writing. T ...
or controlled enough to be a
controlled natural language Controlled natural languages (CNLs) are subsets of natural languages that are obtained by restricting the grammar and vocabulary in order to reduce or eliminate ambiguity and complexity. Traditionally, controlled languages fall into two major types: ...
.


Controlled languages

Controlled natural languages are subsets of natural languages whose grammars and dictionaries have been restricted in order to reduce
ambiguity Ambiguity is a type of meaning Meaning most commonly refers to: * Meaning (linguistics), meaning which is communicated through the use of language * Meaning (philosophy), definition, elements, and types of meaning discussed in philosophy * ...
and complexity. This may be accomplished by decreasing usage of superlative or adverbial forms, or
irregular verbs A regular verb is any verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''bec ...
. Typical purposes for developing and implementing a controlled natural language are to aid understanding by non-native speakers or to ease computer processing. An example of a widely-used controlled natural language is
Simplified Technical English ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English (STE) is a controlled language developed in the early 1980s (as AECMA Simplified English) to help second-language speakers of English to unambiguously understand technical manuals written in English. It wa ...
, which was originally developed for
aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα ''(sphaira)'', meaning 'ball' or 'sphere') is a layer or a set of layers of g ...

aerospace
and
avionics Avionics are the Electronics, electronic systems used on aircraft, artificial satellites, and spacecraft. Avionic systems include communications, navigation, the display and management of multiple systems, and the hundreds of systems that are f ...

avionics
industry manuals.


International auxiliary languages

International auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes abbreviated as IAL or auxlang) is a meant for communication between people from different nations who do not share a common . An auxiliary language is primarily a . It usually takes words from widely ...
s such as
Esperanto Esperanto ( or ) is the world's most widely spoken Constructed language, constructed international auxiliary language. Created by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof in 1887, it was intended to be a universal second language for internationa ...
and
Interlingua Interlingua (; ISO 639 ISO 639 is a set of standards by the International Organization for Standardization The International Organization for Standardization (ISO ) is an international standard An international standard is a technica ...
are not considered natural languages, with the possible exception of true native speakers of such languagesGopsill, F. P., "A historical overview of international languages". In ''International languages: A matter for Interlingua''. Sheffield, England: British Interlingua Society, 1990. such as
George Soros George Soros, (born György Schwartz, August 12, 1930) is a Hungarian-born American billionaire investor and philanthropist. , he had a net worth Net worth is the value of all the non-financial and financial asset In financial accountan ...
. Natural languages evolve, through fluctuations in vocabulary and syntax, to incrementally improve human communication. In contrast, Esperanto was created by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof in the late 19th century. Some natural languages have become organically "standardized" through the synthesis of two or more pre-existing natural languages over a relatively short period of time through the development of a
pidgin A pidgin , or pidgin language, is a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common: typically, its vocabulary and grammar are limited and often drawn from several lan ...

pidgin
, which is not considered a language, into a stable
creole language A creole language, or simply creole, is a stable that develops from the simplifying and mixing of different languages into a new one within a fairly brief period of time: often, a evolved into a full-fledged language. While the concept is sim ...
. A creole such as
Haitian Creole Haitian Creole (; ht, kreyòl ayisyen, links=no; french: créole haïtien), commonly referred to as simply ''Creole'', or ''Kreyòl'' in the Creole language, is a French-based creole language A French creole, or French-based creole language, ...
has its own grammar, vocabulary and literature. It is spoken by over 10 million people around the world and is one of the two official languages of the
Republic of Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and Ja ...
. As of 1996, there were 350 attested families with one or more native speakers of Esperanto. Latino sine flexione, another international auxiliary language, is no longer widely spoken.


See also

*
Language acquisition Language acquisition is the process by which humans acquire the capacity to perceive and comprehend language (in other words, gain the ability to be aware of language and to understand it), as well as to produce and use words and sentence (lingu ...
*
Origin of language The origin of language (spoken and signed, as well as language-related technological systems such as writing), its relationship with human evolution, and its consequences have been subjects of study for centuries. Scholars wishing to study the ...
* Formal semantics of natural languages *
Jargon Jargon is the specialized terminology associated with a particular field or area of activity. Jargon is normally employed in a particular Context (language use), communicative context and may not be well understood outside that context. The conte ...
*
Zipf's law Zipf's law (, not as in German) is an empirical law formulated using mathematical statistics 300px, Illustration of linear regression on a data set. Regression analysis is an important part of mathematical statistics. Mathematical statistics i ...


Notes


References

* ter Meulen, Alice, 2001, "Logic and Natural Language," in Goble, Lou, ed., ''The Blackwell Guide to Philosophical Logic''. Blackwell. {{refend Natural language processing Neuropsychological assessment Language Philosophical logic
Philosophy of languagePhilosophy of language In analytic philosophy, philosophy of language investigates the nature of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sig ...
Linguistics terminology