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language In the context of this glossary, a means of verbal communication used by a large community, including the words, their pronunciation and the methods of combin­ing them.
language, colloquial Form of language used in informal speech, differing noticeably from that used in formal speech and writing. See also dialect; diglossia.
language, donor See language, source.
language, indigenous Language native to a given region.
language, literary Written form of a language, regarded as the desirable standard for works of litera­ture. May also form the basis of formal speech. Example: Arabic Naw_ as against colloquial dialects. See also diglossia.
language, minority In a specific region, a language which is different from the offi­cial language of state administration and which is spoken by a national minori­ty. It may or may not have official status. Examples: Swedish in Finland, Breton in France, Frisian in the Netherlands.
language, national Language in widespread and current use throughout a specific country or in parts of its territory, and often representative of the identity of its speakers. It may or may not have the status of an official language. Example: Rhæto-Ro­mance (Rtoroma­nis­ch) in parts of Swit­zerland.
language, non-official or unofficial Language which, though relatively widely used, lacks officially sanctioned status in a particular legally constituted political entity. Example: French in Lebanon; English in Isræl.
language, official A language which has legal status in a particular legally constitut­ed political entity such as a state or part of a state, and which serves as a language of administration. Examples: Spanish in Chile; Italian and German in Alto Adige (Italy).
language, principal In a linguistic community where more than one language is in use, that language which has the most adherents. Example: German, not Italian, in Alto Adige (Italy); English, not Welsh, in Wales.
language, receiver See language, target.
language, source Language from which a name is transformed to, or adopted by, another language, the target language. Example: in conversion from Russian to Chinese, the former is the source language.
language, standard That form of speech and/or writing of a language which is specified as correct by an officially appointed or widely recognized authority, or, in the absence of such an authority, which is generally accepted as correct in a linguistic community. Exam­ples: Hochde­utsch in German; Algemeen Beschaafd Nederlands in the Nether­lands.
language, target Language in terms of which a toponym may be adopted or trans­formed from its source language. Example: in conversion from Arabic to French, the latter is the target language.
language, vehicular Language which serves communication between members of differ­ent linguistic communities. Example: English is the vehicular language of civil aviation through­out most of the world.
letter Graphic symbol serving as unit character in an alphabet.
letter, basic Fundamental form of a letter without diacritics. Examples: Polish l as against _; Icelandic D as against Š.
letter, consonant Letter of an alphabet representing a consonant. Examples: Roman b, d; Greek ā, ä; Thai # , # ; Arabic _ , _ ; Korean # , # .
letter, vowel Letter of an alphabet representing a vowel. Examples: Roman a, e, i, o, u; Greek į, å, ē, é, o, õ, ł; Russian _, _, _, _, _; Hebrew ; Thai # , Korean # , # .
lettering, map (a) Map script in an alphabetic writing system. In a wider sense, map script. (b) Activity of inserting (alphabetic) script in a map.
lettering, multilingual Map lettering in a multilingual map.
lettering, multiscriptual Map lettering in a multiscriptual map.
letters, cardinal Those letters of a script which are contained in most alpha­bets that use this script. Examples: the Roman alphabet excluding e.g. the letters K, Q, X; the traditional Arabic letters of the Persian (Farsi) alphabet. Complementary term: letters, special.
letters, special Those letters of the alphabet of a particular language which are character­istic of, or unique to, this language, being absent in all or most other alphabets using the same script. Examples: Danish ų; Icelandic ž, š; German ß; Persian # . Comple­men­tary term: let­ters, cardinal.
lexicon (a) A dictionary or glossary relating to a particular language or sphere of interest. (b) The vocabulary of an individual person, an occupational group or a professional field.
lexicon, logographic An ordered list of the characters of a logographic script; the counter­part of an alphabet in alphabetic script and of a syl­lab­ary in syllabic script.
ligature A graphic stylized combination of two letters, or a connecting line or stroke, indicating that successive sounds are to be pro­nounced as one. Examples: œ (derived from o + e); kh, pronounced as IPA /x/ or German ch in ach.
lingua franca linguistic area Auxiliary language used for communication between groups of people with different native languages. Examples: Swahili in East Africa, Quechwa in the Andean regions. See also pidgin. See linguistic region.
linguistic community A group of people who communicate with relative ease in a com­mon lan­guage or dialect.
linguistic region Region or area where a particular language constitutes the official or principal language. Example: the Flemish and Walloon re­gions in Belgium.
linguistics The scientific study of human language in all its aspects, including, phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax and seman­tics.
literary language See language, literary.
local name See name, local.
logogram Graphic symbol or combination of symbols which represents an entire free morpheme such as a word, without separately repre­sent­ing its constituent phonemes or syllables. Examples: Chi­nese # for zhong (mid­dle); Japa­nese Kanji # for san or yama (mountain).
logographic Consisting of or relating to logograms.
logographic lexicon See lexicon, logographic.
logographic script long form (of a name) See script, logographic. Complete form of a toponym (in particular the name of a country), including all components. Examples: Al-Mamlakah al-H_shim_yah al-Urdun_yah (The Hashe­mite Kingdom of Jordan); Zhonghua Renm­in Gongheg­uo (People's Republic of China). Comple­mentary term: short form; in the above examples ­ Al-Urdun (Jordan); Zhongguo (China).
lunar name See name, lunar.