A language is a system for encoding information. In its most common use, the term refers to so-called "natural languages" — the forms of communication considered peculiar to humankind. In linguistics the term is extended to refer to the human cognitive facility of creating and using language. Essential to both meanings is the systematic creation and usage of systems of symbols—each referring to linguistic concepts with semantic or logical or otherwise expressive meanings. 
Louisiana has a unique linguistic culture, owing to its French and Spanish heritage. According to the 2000 census, among persons five years old and older, 90.8% of Louisiana residents speak only English (99% total speak English) and 4.7% speak French at home (7% total speak French). Other minority languages are Spanish, which is spoken by 2.5% of the population; Vietnamese, by 0.6%; and German, by 0.2%. Although state law recognizes the usage of English and French in certain circumstances, the Louisiana State Constitution does not declare any "de jure official language or languages". Currently the "de facto administrative languages" of the Louisiana State Government are English and French.