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A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (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 ...

language
by means of a
writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communic ...
. Written language is an
invention An invention is a unique or novel A novel is a relatively long work of narrative fiction, typically written in prose and published as a book. The present English word for a long work of prose fiction derives from the for "new", "news", or ...

invention
in that it must be taught to children, who will pick up
spoken language A spoken language is a 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 an ...
or
sign language Sign languages (also known as signed languages) are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulations in combination with non-manual elements. Sign languages are full-fled ...

sign language
by exposure even if they are not formally instructed. A written language exists only as a complement to a specific spoken language, and no
natural language 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 ...
is purely written.


Compared to spoken language

Written languages change more slowly than corresponding spoken languages. When at least one
register A register is an authoritative list of one kind of information. Register or registration may refer to: Arts entertainment, and media Music * Register (music), the relative "height" or range of a note, melody, part, instrument, etc. * ''Regis ...
of a language is strongly divergent from spoken language, the resulting situation is called
diglossia In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis includ ...
. However, that is still often considered one language between
literary language A literary language is the form of a 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 system c ...
and other registers, especially if the
writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communic ...
reflects its
pronunciation Pronunciation is the way in which a word or a 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 d ...
. Native readers and writers of
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
are often unaware that the complexities of
English spelling English orthography is the system of writing conventions used to represent spoken English in written form that allows readers to connect spelling to sound to meaning. Like the orthography of most world languages, English orthography has a broad ...
make written English a somewhat artificial construct. The traditional spelling of English, at least for inherited words, preserves a late
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
phonology Phonology is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of lan ...

phonology
that is never used as a speech dialect. The artificial preservation of that form of the language, in writing, might make much of what is now written intelligible to
Geoffrey Chaucer Geoffrey Chaucer (; – 25 October 1400) was an English poet and author. Widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the 5th ...

Geoffrey Chaucer
(1343–1400) even if the medieval writer's speech could no longer be understood.


See also

*
Graphocentrism Graphocentrism or scriptism is a typically unconscious interpretative bias in which writing is privileged over speech. Biases in favor of the written or printed word are closely associated with the ranking of sight above sound, the eye above the e ...
* Foreign language writing aid *
History of writing The history of writing traces the development of expressing language by letters or other markings and also the studies and descriptions of these developments. In the history of how writing systems have evolved in different human civilizations, ...
*
History of writing ancient numbers Numeral systems have progressed from the use of tally marks, more than 40,000 years ago, through to the use of sets of glyphs to efficiently represent any conceivable number. Pre-history The first method of counting has been argued to be countin ...
*
List of languages by first written accounts This is a list 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 system composed of glyphs ...
*
List of language disorders Bibliography * {{DEFAULTSORT:Language disorders Lists of diseases Communication-related lists Psychology lists ...
*
List of writing systems This is a list of writing systems (or writing system, scripts), classified according to some common distinguishing features. The usual name of the script is given first; the name of the language(s) in which the script is written follows (in brack ...
*
Literary language A literary language is the form (register) of a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...
*
Standard language A standard language (also standard variety, standard dialect, and standard) is a language variety In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology ...
*
Text linguistics Text linguistics is a branch of linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of l ...
*
Writing Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (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 area arou ...

Writing


References


Further reading

* {{Authority control Writing Language varieties and styles