What is language development?

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Language development is the task of preparing a language to serve as a vehicle of literacy and education.


Language development is not the process of developing a language so that it can be used as an effective vehicle of communication. Any natural language is already a suitable vehicle for oral communication.


However, literacy and education are language-based technologies involving writing. Some development work is required to prepare a language for these technologies.


Here are some examples of typical language development tasks:

  • Development of

    • a basic writing system
    • conventions for spelling, punctuation, word-space, capitalization, hyphenation, and writing of loan words
    • conventions for place names and personal names that are compatible with national conventions
    • appropriate technical terms (metalanguage) to talk about these features of language
    • a dictionary to standardize spellings and use of terms
    • a grammar of the language including appropriate technical jargon to talk about the language
  • Language standardization work between villages or regions
  • In the case of education, the development of

    • appropriate pedagogical jargon, and
    • appropriate terms for the many concepts to be introduced in the educational process
  • If necessary, the development of a system of terms for such things as numbers, counting, time keeping, currency transactions, and ages

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