languagelan‧guage /ˈlæŋɡwɪdʒ/ ●●●S1W1 noun1English/French/Arabic etc [countable, uncountable]LANGUAGE a system of communication by written or spoken words, which is used by the people of a particular country or areaHow many languages do you speak?one of the best-known poems in the English language2communication [uncountable]LANGUAGE the use of written or spoken words to communicatethe origins of language3style/type of wordsWORD, PHRASE, OR SENTENCE [uncountable] a particular style or type of wordslegal/medical/technical etc languageThe letter was written in complicated legal language.spoken/written languageThe expression is mainly used in written language.ordinary/everyday languageHe is able to explain complicated ideas in simple everyday language.literary/poetic languageThe plays are full of old-fashioned poetic language. language ofthe language of science4swearing [uncountable] informalSWEAR words that most people think are offensivemind/watch your language spoken (=stop swearing)bad/foul/abusive language5 →strong language6computers [countable, uncountable] technicalTD a system of instructions for operating a computera programming language for the Web7signs/actions/sounds [countable, uncountable]WAY/METHODsigns, movements, or sounds that express ideas or feelingslanguage ofthe language of beesthe language of dolphins →body language, sign language, → speak the same languageat speak(11)COLLOCATIONSverbsspeak a languageCan you speak a foreign language?use a languageThe children use their native language at home.learn a languageImmigrants are expected to learn the language of their new country.master a language (=succeed in learning a language well)She had had a long struggle to master the Russian language.know a languageHe had lived in Japan, but did not know the language.ADJECTIVES/NOUN + languagea foreign languageHe found learning a foreign language extremely difficult.the English/Japanese/Spanish etc languageShe had some knowledge of the Spanish language.somebody’s first/native language (=the language someone first learned as a child)His first language was Polish.a second language (=a language you speak that is not your first language)Most of the students learned English as their second language.modern languages (=languages that are spoken now)The school has a good modern languages department.a dead language (=a language that is no longer spoken)She didn’t see the point of learning a dead language.an official language (=the language used for official business in a country)Canada has two official languages: English and French.a common language (=a language that more than one person or group speaks, so that they can understand each other)Most of the countries of South America share a common language: Spanish.language + NOUNthe language barrier (=the problem of communicating with someone when you do not speak the same language)Because of the language barrier, it was hard for doctors to give good advice to patients.a language student/learnerLanguage learners often have problems with tenses.a language teachera book for language teacherslanguage teachingrecent developments in language teaching phrasessomebody’s command of a language (=someone’s ability to speak a language)Does he have a good command of the language?
THESAURUSdifferent kinds of languagedialect a form of a language that is spoken in one area of a country, with different words, grammar, or pronunciation from other areasCantonese is only one of many Chinese dialects.the local dialectaccent the way that someone pronounces words, because of where they were born or live, or their socialclassKaren has a strong New Jersey accent.an upper class accentslang very informal spoken language, used especially by people who belong to a particular group, for example young people or criminalsTeenage slang changes all the time.‘Dosh’ is slang for ‘money’.terminology formal the technical words or expressions that are used in a particular subjectmusical terminologyPatients are often unfamiliar with medical terminology. jargon especially disapproving words and phrases used in a particular profession or subject and which are difficult for other people to understandThe instructions were written in complicated technical jargon.‘Outsourcing’ is business jargon for sending work to people outside a company to do. The letter was full of legal jargon.techniques used in languagemetaphor a way of describing something by referring to it as something different and suggesting that it has similarqualities to that thingThe beehive is a metaphor for human society.simile an expression that describes something by comparing it with something else, using the words as or like, for example ‘as white as snow’The poet uses the simile ‘soft like clay’.irony the use of words that are the opposite of what you really mean, often in order to be amusing‘I’m so happy to hear that, ’ he said, with more than a trace of irony in his voice.bathos a sudden change from a subject that is beautiful, moral, or serious to something that is ordinary, silly, or not importantThe play is too sentimental and full of bathos.hyperbole a way of describing something by saying that it is much bigger, smaller, worse etc than it actually is – used especially to excite people’s feelingsIn his speeches, he used a lot of hyperbole.journalistic hyperbolealliteration the use of several words together that all begin with the same sound, in order to make a special effect, especially in poetrythe alliteration of the ‘s’ sound in ‘sweet birds sang softly’imagery the use of words to describe ideas or actions in a way that makes the readerconnect the ideas with pictures in their mindthe use of water imagery in Fitzgerald’s novel ‘The Great Gatsby’She uses the imagery of a bird’s song to represent eternal hope.rhetorical question a question that you ask as a way of making a statement, without expecting an answerWhen he said ‘how can these attitudes still exist in a civilized society?’, he was asking a rhetorical question.