Difference between Language and Script

Key Difference: A language usually refers to the spoken language, a method of communication. A script refers to a collection of characters used to write one or more languages.

A language is a method of communication. The purpose of a language is to allow one to share and understand the thoughts of one another. There are 1.7 billion people in the world, who over time have developed their own types of languages to communicate. According to estimates there are between 5,000 and 7,000 languages in the world, half of which will be extinct by 2100.

Language has an in-built category named Natural languages. Natural languages can be spoken, and/or signed, like the American Sign Language. However, all languages can be written and/or represented using media such as auditory, visual, or tactile stimuli. There are some languages that can be whistled. A typical language will have words, phrases, idioms and a grammar structure.

Still, to transcribe a language, i.e. write it down, one needs a set of alphabets. This set of alphabets is called a script. A script is officially described as a set of characters, including both signs and/or symbols, which are used to store or transfer communication of messages, such as thoughts or ideas, visually in a language, via reading and writing. These characters also often include letters and numbers.

The most commonly used script is the Latin script, also called the Roman script. In fact, 70% of the world’s population uses this script. It is an alphabet based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. It is the standard method of writing in most Western and Central European languages, as well as many languages from other parts of the world. Languages such as English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, etc. are transcribed using this script.

Even though many of the Western and Central European languages, such as English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, etc., use the same script, they are clearly different and individual languages.

Comparison between Language and Script:

 

Language

Script

Function

Communication

Communication and transcription

Types

Spoken, written, signed and/or whistled.

Written

Criteria

Should have words, phrases, idioms and a grammar structure.

Should have individual characters to denote the words, phrases, idioms and grammar of a language for reading and writing.

Description

Languages are one of the intricate forms of communication out there. It allows us to converse with each other and share thoughts and ideas.

Scripts are writing systems that allow the transcription of a language, via alphabet sets.

Examples

English, French, Spanish

Hindi, Urdu

Latin Script

Arabic Script

Image Courtesy: cie.uci.edu, fontbros.com

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