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In neuropsychology,
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedalism and exceptional cognitive skills due to a large and complex brain. This ...
, and philosophy of language, a natural language or ordinary language is any
language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means by which human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant ...
that has evolved naturally in
human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species of primate, characterized by bipedalism and exceptional cognitive skills due to a large and complex brain. This has enabled the development of advanced tools, cult ...
s through use and repetition without conscious planning or premeditation. Natural languages can take different forms, such as speech or signing. They are distinguished from constructed and formal languages such as those used to program computers or to study
logic Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science investigating how conclusions follow from prem ...
.


Defining natural language

Natural language can be broadly defined as different from * artificial and
constructed language A constructed language (sometimes called a conlang) is a language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary means ...
s, e.g. computer programming languages * constructed
international auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes acronymized as IAL or contracted as auxlang) is a language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabul ...
s * non-human communication systems in nature such as whale and other marine mammal vocalizations or honey bees' waggle dance. All varieties of world languages are natural languages, including those that are associated with linguistic prescriptivism or language regulation. ( Nonstandard dialects can be viewed as a wild type in comparison with
standard language A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety that has undergone substantial codification of grammar and usage, although occasionally the term refers to the entirety of a language that includ ...
s.) An official language with a regulating academy such as Standard French, overseen by the Académie Française, is classified as a natural language (e.g. in the field of natural language processing), as its prescriptive aspects do not make it constructed enough to be a constructed language or controlled enough to be a controlled natural language.


Controlled languages

Controlled natural languages are subsets of natural languages whose grammars and dictionaries have been restricted in order to reduce ambiguity and complexity. This may be accomplished by decreasing usage of
superlative Comparison is a feature in the morphology or syntax of some language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabulary. Languages are the primary me ...
or adverbial forms, or irregular verbs. 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, which was originally developed for
aerospace Aerospace is a term used to collectively refer to the atmosphere and outer space Outer space, commonly shortened to space, is the expanse that exists beyond Earth and its atmosphere and between celestial bodies. Outer space is not comp ...
and avionics industry manuals.


International constructed languages

Although constructed,
International auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes acronymized as IAL or contracted as auxlang) is a language Language is a structured system of communication. The structure of a language is its grammar and the free components are its vocabul ...
s such as
Esperanto Esperanto ( or ) is the world's most widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes acronymized as IAL or contracted as auxlang) is a language Language is a structured system ...
and
Interlingua Interlingua (; ISO 639 language codes ia, ina) is an international auxiliary language An international auxiliary language (sometimes acronymized as IAL or contracted as auxlang) is a language Language is a structured system of commun ...
are not considered natural languages, with the possible exception of true native speakers of such languages.Gopsill, F. P., "A historical overview of international languages". In ''International languages: A matter for Interlingua''. Sheffield, England: British Interlingua Society, 1990. 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, which is not considered a language, into a stable creole language. A creole such as Haitian Creole has its own grammar, vocabulary and literature. It is spoken by over 10 million people worldwide and is one of the two official languages of the Republic of Haiti. 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

* * * * *


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 language Linguistics terminology