Language is a means by which people can understand each other. There are many different languages in the world, some experts say: 3,000 to almost 7,000. But we also speak of language in general and mean that humans can speak - animals cannot, at least not like we can. US researchers taught monkeys the sign language of the deaf and were successful. They were able to teach chimpanzees and gorillas more than one hundred signs. The conversation then went something like with a two-year-old child.

A language needs a word for every thing. In Germany, for example, you hear "tree", in England you hear "tree". The German and the English think of a plant with a thick trunk and green leaves. So "Baum" or "tree" is the sign or symbol for the thing itself. But you don't necessarily need words for this. It can also be pictures or gestures.

Every language has its own structure: Syllables are put together from sounds, words from syllables, parts of sentences from words and sentences from parts of sentences. Finally, a whole story or a book is created from several sentences. The rules that govern the structure of a language are called grammar. How words and sentences are written down is determined by spelling.

The science that deals with language is called linguistics. It divides the languages of the world into groups, the language families. The German language belongs to the Indo-European language family. These languages come from Europe and India, but today they are also spoken in other parts of the world.

Even if people have the same language, they often pronounce it differently. In one city or area, people speak German differently than in the next. The way people do this is called dialects. The opposite of a dialect is the standard language taught at school. Luxembourgish is partly considered a dialect of German. But since Luxembourgish is taught in school, it is considered a language.

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