What is language?
If in a few words to answer the question of what language is, then we can say that language is a sign system in which the semantic content is related to typical spelling or sound. Suppose there are some objects (subjects and objects) described by the same words, and there are various actions and states characteristic of these objects, which are described in the language in other words. These interactions are expressed through language. For example: "The cat jumped into the box." There are two subjects: "cat" and "box" - and the connection between them - the action "jumped." The preposition "in" here specifies the action, that is, is the official word. Or take another example: "It's raining." It says about a certain atmospheric phenomenon - rain, which lasts in time, which is expressed with the help of the verb "goes." Thus, the language serves to express such relations, that is, it is a sign system, since a sign is something that stands instead of another. In the language, the role of signs is played by words and phrases that replace objects and phenomena, their properties and the relations between them.There are also linguistic and non-lingual signs. The first are sense-distinguishing sounds and the letters corresponding to them in the letter. Non-linguistic signs include all the others - in simple terms, these are signs that are not pronounced: various symbols, drawings, gestures, etc.
What are the languages?
Languages differ according to different criteria, but in modern linguistics there are two main ones: genetic and typological. The genetic (or genealogical) criterion is based on the kinship of certain languages depending on their origin. Thus, the Russian language is related in this regard to Belarusian and Ukrainian, since all three languages have one common, more ancient language, the foundation, which linguists call the Proto-Slavic language.
The typological criterion for distinguishing languages is based on differences in grammar. What is meant here? There are such languages (for example, Finno-Ugric - Finnish, Estonian, Slavic, Baltic), where the relations between objects are expressed using official parts of the word - prefixes, suffixes, endings, etc. Such languages (including Russian) call synthetic (because the connections of words here are often expressed without the help of various additional words).There is another type of language (Romance - French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German - English, partly German), where the same relationships are expressed with the help of auxiliary words. Such languages are called analytical type languages. Compare, for example, how the category of time is expressed in these languages. In English and French, even in the present tense, the verb-link is used. We do not say: "I am a student" - in Russian it will sound very clumsy. But in English (I am a student) or in French (Je suis etudiant), the use of the verb-bunch is simply obligatory. Thus, Russian is synthetic, and English is an analytical type language.
There is one more classification of languages that needs to be mentioned. This is a classification by distribution. From this point of view, languages are divided primarily into languages and adverbs proper. The distinction between them is very simple: any language has a written form, but an adverb does not. For example, in Switzerland they speak so-called Swiss-German (schweizer-deutch), but this language has no written form, and therefore is an adverb (written by the Swiss, for whom this adverb is native, in literary German).The same situation with the Arab countries. Almost every one of them has its own adverb (Saudi, Syriac, Lebanese), but only Arabic has a written form. It turns out that the Arabs say each in their own dialect, but they write in literary Arabic. Until recently, the Luxembourgish language was considered such an adverb, however, now the Luxembourgish script has received sufficient development, the Luxembourgish is spoken on the radio, they write in newspapers. Therefore, it may well be considered an independent language.
But languages do not stop at a purely linguistic status, they tend to further spread. The highest form in this regard is the language of international communication. Probably everyone knows which language is international. Today it is English. Stage below are the languages of international communication: French, German, Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Italian, Portuguese and some others. There are languages of regional communication and also such languages that are spoken by a very limited number of people. For example, in the same Switzerland there is a language spoken by only about 2,000 people - Romansh.But they have their own written language, newspapers are printed on it, and they even use it on the radio.
About the forms of language
There is another criterion by which a language differs from an adverb. This is the presence of a literary norm that distinguishes a cultural literary language from colloquial and colloquial. Thus, the highest form of the national language is the literary language in which any official communication takes place. In some cases, colloquial impregnations are allowed, but almost never colloquial. What is the difference between colloquial language and vernacular? The latter form contains a considerable amount of slang words - jargon and abusive language, which is unacceptable for a literary language. It is interesting that there exist in the world such languages where the literary form almost completely coincides with the spoken one. These include, for example, Icelandic. In fact, Icelanders say, as they say.