We can communicate using the English language because we have been taught the rules of the language.
Language is a system of human communication spoken and written and consisting of the use of words that are structured in a sign and conventional way.
Language consist of a set of sound(we can hear because of this sounds, they make meanings to us because we have agreed and have been taught of what they mean and how to use them. That is why it is easy for us to communicate )and written symbols which are used by the people of a particular country, region.
However, Language generally is used for communication.
In contemporary times, gestures have been structured into sign language (sign language is used to communicate with persons who have vocal-dumb and auditory-deaf challenges) since language is key to communication, we cannot communicate without language either conventional or sign language.
We have many languages, as many languages as there are ethnic groups across the world.
Now let's discuss the Functions of language
1. Communication; Human beings live and function within a society, so we need a means with which we can communicate with ourselves so communication is essential to any meaningful interaction.
2. Information exchange; for information to flow, we need language.
3. Differentiation; we use language to differentiate words from words, people from people, society from society.
4. Cultural identification; every nation has a language unique to it
5. Cultural preservation; helps preserve the culture and history of societies.
6. Comparison: we use language to compare, to differentiate a heavy object from the light object, long from short, wide from narrow.
Thus, All these are key functions of language in Nigeria, we have as many languages as there are ethnic groups even within ethnic groups we have variants
Because we have many languages in the world, linguistics (experts studying language or languages scientifically) categorized different languages of the world into linguistic families.
Linguistics families were developed to enable us to relate to the different languages of the world. Across the world/globally, there are 147 linguistic families (note, not 147 languages but 147 linguistic families).
A linguistic family is a group of languages that traces their origins to a common progenitor or ancestor or proto-language or the same place.
All linguistic families sharing the same ancestor or place are brought together to make 1 linguistic family, so across the world, we have 147 linguistic families.
The most probable origin area of each of the African languages is found in Ethiopia ( the Horn of Africa)
Africa has 5 major linguistic families which are;
Niger-congo linguistic family ( there are 1,436 languages under this)
Afro-Asiatic linguistic family ( there are 371 languages under this)
Nilo-Saharan linguistic family (there are 196 languages under this)
Khoisan or click linguistic family ( there are 35 languages )
Malagasy or Western Atlantic linguistic family this is the smallest linguistic family in Africa ( there are very few languages in this family they are like 30)
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