The term “language” comes from the Old French word “language,” which in turn derives from the Latin word “lingua,” meaning “tongue” or “speech.” The Latin “lingua” comes from the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) root “*dn̥ghwā,” meaning “tongue.”

1. Proto-Indo-European (PIE)

The PIE root “dn̥ghwā” or “dn̥gʷʰéh₂” means “tongue” or “speech.”

2. Latin

From the PIE root, the Latin word “lingua” developed, meaning “tongue” or “language.”

3. Old French (c. 9th to 14th century CE)

The Latin “lingua” evolved into Old French “language,” carrying the same meanings of “tongue” and “speech.”

4. Middle English (c. 11th to 15th century CE)

The Old French “language” was adopted into Middle English, retaining the meaning of “speech” or “a system of communication.”

5. Modern English (from 15th century CE to present)

The term “language” continued to evolve, now referring to the system of communication used by a particular community or country, encompassing spoken, written, and signed forms.

The word “language” reflects the human capacity for structured communication, integral to social interaction, cultural transmission, and knowledge dissemination.