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- 90 hour duration
Language sets people apart from all other creatures. Every known human society has had a language and though some nonhumans may be able to communicate with one another in fairly complex ways, none of their communication systems begins to approach language in its ability to convey information. Nor is the transmission of complex and varied information such an integral part of the everyday lives of other creatures. Nor do other communication systems share many of the design features of human language, such as the ability to communicate about events other than in the here and now. But it is difficult to conceive of a human society without a language.
Language, like culture, that other most human attribute, is notable for its unity in diversity: there are many languages and many cultures, all different but all fundamentally the same, because there is one human nature and because a fundamental property of this human nature is the way in which it allows such diversity in both language and culture.
Language, being a human activity, is social in nature; hence, linguistics is usually classified as a social science. Because languages can only be studied through human behavior, linguistics, like psychology, is further classified as a behavioral science; and because language is essentially mental, linguistics is also a cognitive science.