Jump to content

Spoken language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A spoken language is a language produced by articulate sounds or (depending on one's definition) manual gestures, as opposed to a written language. An oral language or vocal language is a language produced with the vocal tract in contrast with a sign language, which is produced with the body and hands.



The term "spoken language" is sometimes used to mean only oral languages, especially by linguists, excluding sign languages and making the terms 'spoken', 'oral', 'vocal language' synonymous. Others refer to sign language as "spoken", especially in contrast to written transcriptions of signs.[1][2][3]

Relation between spoken and written language


The relationship between spoken language and written language is complex. Within the fields of linguistics, the current consensus is that speech is an innate human capability, and written language is a cultural invention.[4] However, some linguists, such as those of the Prague school, argue that written and spoken language possess distinct qualities which would argue against written language being dependent on spoken language for its existence.[5]

Acquiring spoken language


Hearing children acquire as their first language the language that is used around them, whether vocal, cued (if they are sighted), or signed. Deaf children can do the same with Cued Speech or sign language if either visual communication system is used around them. Vocal language are traditionally taught to them in the same way that written language must be taught to hearing children. (See oralism.)[6][7] Teachers give particular emphasis on spoken language with children who speak a different primary language outside of the school. For the child it is considered important, socially and educationally, to have the opportunity to understand multiple languages.[8]

See also



  1. ^ Groce, Nora Ellen (1985). Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha's Vineyard. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674270411.
  2. ^ Hoemann, Harry W. (1986). Introduction to American sign language. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green Press. ISBN 0961462108.
  3. ^ Brooks, Patricia; Kempe, Vera (2012). Language Development. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley. ISBN 9781444331462.
  4. ^ Pinker, Steven; Bloom, Paul (December 1990). "Natural Language and Natural Selection". Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 13 (4): 707–727. doi:10.1017/S0140525X00081061. S2CID 6167614.
  5. ^ Aaron, P. G.; Joshi, R. Malatesha (September 2006). "Written Language Is as Natural as Spoken language: A Biolinguistic Perspective". Reading Psychology. 27 (4): 263–311. doi:10.1080/02702710600846803. S2CID 143184400.
  6. ^ Rickerson, E.M. "What's the difference between dialect and language?". The Five Minute Linguist. College of Charleston. Archived from the original on December 19, 2010. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  7. ^ "Languages Facts". Archived from the original on October 24, 2016. Retrieved October 23, 2016.
  8. ^ Clay, Marie M. (30 April 2015). Record of oral language: observing changes in the acquisition of language structures: a guide for teaching. Auckland, New Zealand: Global Education Systems. ISBN 978-0-325-07457-3. OCLC 989724897.