Estimates of the number of human languages in the world vary between 5,000 and 7,000. However, any precise estimate depends on the arbitrary distinction (dichotomy) between languages and dialect. Natural languages are spoken or signed (or both), but any language can be encoded into secondary media using auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli– for example, in writing, whistling, signing, or braille. In other words, human language is modality-independent, but written or signed language is the way to inscribe or encode the natural human speech or gestures.
Depending on philosophical perspectives regarding the definition of language and meaning, when used as a general concept, "language" may refer to the cognitive ability to learn and use systems of complex communication, or to describe the set of rules that makes up these systems, or the set of utterances that can be produced from those rules. All languages rely on the process of semiosis to relate signs to particular meanings. Oral, manual and tactile languages contain a phonological system that governs how symbols are used to form sequences known as words or morphemes, and a syntactic system that governs how words and morphemes are combined to form phrases and utterances.
Speakers of the Lakota language make up one of the largest Native American language speech communities in the United States, with approximately 2,000 speakers, who live mostly in the northern plains states of North Dakota and South Dakota. There is a Lakota language program online available for children to use. There is also a Lakota Language Program with classes for children at Red Cloud Indian School. The Red Cloud Indian School teaches Lakota as a second language in the school with the help of the American Indian Research Institute at Indiana University. (Full article...)
General American English or General American (abbreviated GA or GenAm) is the umbrella accent of American English spoken by a majority of Americans and widely perceived, among Americans, as lacking any distinctly regional, ethnic, or socioeconomic characteristics. In reality, it encompasses a continuum of accents rather than a single unified accent. Americans with high education, or from the North Midland, Western New England, and Western regions of the country, are the most likely to be perceived as having General American accents. The precise definition and usefulness of the term General American continue to be debated, and the scholars who use it today admittedly do so as a convenient basis for comparison rather than for exactness. Other scholars prefer the term Standard American English.