A language is a set of words or signals (sounds, gestures, writing) and the rules to combine them which enable a group of individuals to communicate. The study of language is linguistics.

Over time, languages evolve. This is due to slow changes in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar that naturally occur over long periods of time. One language may split into two different languages (first splitting into dialects) when speakers are separated by physical or cultural barriers for extended periods. Related languages are grouped into families.

Selected list of languages

(dead languages are shown in italics, invented languages are shown in bold)