A study of the relationships or correspondences between the languages that have a common origin. Formerly known as Comparative Grammar, Comparative Philology.

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Most conservative language in the Athabaskan language family

Which language in the Athabaskan language family is the most conservative in terms of: verb template composition/slots verb transitivity compared with the reconstructed proto-language? Would ...
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45 views

What resources explain the oppositions in Grammatical Gender between French and Spanish noun cognates?

Abbreviate Grammatical Gender to GG. This question concerns binary contrarieties and oppositions (Are these the correct terms?) in GG between French and Spanish noun cognates. Are there any books or ...
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108 views

The expressive power of languages : Information content in a sentence : How do we measure it

'What is your name'; 'Isme shoma chi e' Two sentences - same content. My question is about the way to measure information content in a language. How do we do this? Because quite evidently count of ...
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1answer
94 views

Why the grammatical difference between “eu gosto” in Portuguese and “me gusta” in Spanish. What's the historical evolution of this expression?

Apparently, "eu" is the subject in "eu gosto (de isso)" while "me" is the object in "me gusta (algo)". Why such a difference between two languages? What's the historical evolution of this expression?
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62 views

Have there been attempts to verify accuracy of the comparative method?

Comparative method, being a great accomplishment of historical linguistics, obviously has its flaws. Reconstructions of proto-languages provided by this method can only be perceived as mere abstract ...
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22 views

Are there resources that explore interchange between object and the subject caused by a verb?

1. Are there linguistics terms that describe the following phonemenon? 2. I desire to learn the possible explanations or reasons that in English, certain verbs interchanged the subject and object to ...
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2answers
98 views

Why do similar phonological shifts occur in unrelated languages

Some of the shifts are obvious such as palatalization, or any consonants with adjacent places and manners, but some other more radical changes are also observed in unrelated languages. For example, ...
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2answers
85 views

What language differs in the most aspects from English? [closed]

By aspects I mean things like grammar, punctuation, pronunciation, etc. I want to learn a language but I deliberately want it to be as different to English as possible while still being a reasonably ...
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3answers
256 views

Why do English, Italian, German, Spanish, French and Latin share a common alphabet and many words?

I wonder why English, Italian, German, Spanish, French and Latin share common alphabet and other words. Also what is the relation among them.
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100 views

Help us save a dying language with only 1 speaker left! [closed]

It's difficult to do this single-handedly, so I could use some professional help. :) I'm a professor of Ancient Egyptian (and cosmology as well, which means I'm a perfect target for conspiracy ...
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2answers
119 views

Oldest proto-languages

Dating proto-languages is obviously something we can't do precisely, but we can offer reasonable ranges. For example, Proto-Indo-European can't really be much younger than 5 millennia, and let's say ...
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2answers
258 views

Most commonly used words across languages?

I'm doing my own (very small) corpus analysis, including a word frequency list and would like to compare the top, say, 30 words with other such lists. I know that there are things like the GSL/NGSL, ...
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131 views

Which methodology is use for comparative study between two languages?

I want to study between two languages. In that one is classical language and other is tongue language. How can I compare that two category? Which criteria is used for comparative study? I want to ...
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63 views

What philologists influenced Wittgenstein's idea of family resemblance?

Wittgenstein coined the term "family resemblance" for collections with multiple overlapping similarities as opposed to universally shared traits. Wikipedia mentions that "It has been suggested that ...
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43 views

'dispose' vs 'dispose of' & « disposer » vs « disposer de »

[Source:] [D1.] dispose (v.) - (a) to arrange in order; (b) to lean toward or incline (typically used as a past participle). ... [D2.] dispose of (phrasal v.) - (a) to throw away or discard; (b) ...
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1answer
75 views

Relation between Hebrew 'סמפוניה' and English 'Symphony'

In the Mishna, it mentions a musical instrument called 'סמפוניה', transliterated 'Simp-O-nya'. This sounds rather like the English word symphony, which is a musical composition. What is the relation ...
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1answer
48 views

History of languages from a geographical perspective

Unfortunately I am totally unaware of the research and most of the basic methodology of Linguistics, but I am really keen on knowing more about languages because I am a passionate learner of new ones, ...
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2answers
88 views

Language characteristics only found in one language

I am looking for language characteristics only found in one single language. (Maybe that could shed some lights on language development, since that could be a starting point to investegate why these ...
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1answer
133 views

Database of Swadesh lists

Do anyone know where to find the most extensive collection of Swadesh lists? And with how many different languages in the collection?
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244 views

Linguistic relationship between Hebrew and Greek

In the modern linguistic school of thought, are Ancient Hebrew and Ancient Greek related? Hebrew is classified as Afroasiatic->Semitic, while Greek is Indo-European->Hellenic. However, in Jewish ...
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1answer
30 views

All things equal, does the number of words affect comprehension time?

The English sentence 'He runs' comprises two syllables. The Spanish sentence 'Corre' comprises two syllables. Both sentences mean the same thing, both sentences take about the same amount of time to ...
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1answer
64 views

Using Swadesh lists to find languages with most frequent vowel use?

Has there been any comparative studies of Swadesh lists from different language, regarding percentage of vowels vs. consonants? Some languages can occassionally be "derogative" talked about as "only ...
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2answers
113 views

What is the linguistic process behind prolonging of vowels?

Vowels can change from short vowels to long vowels in time But from a diachronic perspective, what is happening? Please fill in with some examples of vowels that have been prolonged and that have ...
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1answer
208 views

Why are the plural and singular first person forms of the verb “go” so different in the Romance languages?

In many Romance languages, the first person plural and singular forms are completely different: French (aller): je vais, nous allons Italian (andare): io vado, noi andiamo Catalan (anar): jo vaig, ...
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98 views

How different are Urdu and Hindi?

My family are Pakistani, but I never learned Urdu as a child. I'd like to learn a little, primarily as a means of keeping this part of my heritage alive. However, the pragmatist in me realizes that ...
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358 views

Is it obvious that the difference between French/German is much larger than between Mandarin/Cantonese?

In another Linguistics.SE question, an answer makes this claim: The difference between French and German is so much larger than between Mandarin/Cantonese that one would be hard pressed to say ...
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1answer
181 views

Does Korean have two classes of adjectives correlating to the -i and -na adjectives of Japanese?

It's widely claimed that Japanese and Korean have very similar grammars despite their differences in (non Chinese-derived) lexicon. Whether they're actually genetically related can be regarded as an ...
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2answers
139 views

Germanic comparative grammars?

Can anyone recommend a good comparative grammar of the Germanic languages -- or, failing that, good historical grammars specifically for Old English and Old Norse? Ideally, what I want is a ...
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1answer
1k views

Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and French number words from eleven to nineteen - history of a bizarre, inconsistent construction

Following Sklivvz's advice, I propose here a question I made in Italian Language. Because I am not sure how I should do this, I will just copy/paste the whole lot. Let's count in Latin from one to ...
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2answers
106 views

Conflation of “sense of touch” with “emotional well-being”?

I vaguely remember reading something years ago on this subject --an article in a magazine or something, I don't even remember-- but what I do remember is the theme that it's supposedly common for ...
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1answer
490 views

Looking for comparison of Lao (or Thai) and Zhuang languages

I'm soon crossing the Lao/China border and after gaining some familiarity with Lao in my capacity as an "armchair linguist on the road" I'm very interested in experiencing some Zhuang language before ...
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194 views

Words for fractions

While in English we have a "quarter" and a " half" as two words which denote fractions, in Hindi we have separate words for half ('Aadha'), Quarter ('Sava'), three-quarters ('Pauna'), One and a half ...
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3k views

What is the relation between the words “Cossack” and “Kazakh”?

These two words in English would appear to refer to foreign peoples / cultures known to the Rus within recorded history. The Russian wikipedia pages indicate a surface similarity in spelling: ...
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232 views

The shout symbol?

wikipedia : Devnagari :- : "The avagraha ऽ (usually transliterated with an apostrophe) is a Sanskrit punctuation mark for the elision of a vowel in sandhi: एकोऽयम् ekoyam (< ekas + ayam) "this ...
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1answer
387 views

Do the Thai masculine & feminine “polite particles” have counterparts in Lao?

In Thai there are particles which can be used at the end of many sentences to make them more polite. Different particles are used by male and female speakers: "ครับ" (kráp) : male "ค่ะ" (kâ) : ...
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12answers
5k views

What are the exact relations between Slovak and Slovene?

The former seems to have more speakers, while the latter seems to possess the elder history. Slovak said to be a West Slavic language, while Slovene seems to belong to the South Slavic group ...
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3answers
113 views

What is the most ancient form of Armenian verb 'to be'?

The infinitive form of the verb in Eastern Armenian (provided there are infinitives) is a suppletive 'linEl'. I am surprised to notice its resemblance to most Finno-Ugric words of similar meaning, ...
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1answer
186 views

What is the history of Eastern and Western Armenian dialects?

Are there any regular phonetical correspondences between grammatical patterns of both dialects? Which one is thought to be the 'real' Armenian? When and how did the dialects split? Is Western ...
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2answers
410 views

Hebrew - Arabic grammar book

I've been searching for quite a long time for a Hebrew-Arabic grammar book to study both languages in more depth at the same time while being able to compare similar roots and the root system for ...
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152 views

Do all languages with pre-positional articles have zero-articles if they don't have post-positional articles?

To clarify, pre-positional articles are the articles positioned before a noun they refer to, like English the or a(n). Post-positional articles are those positioned after a noun they refer to, like ...
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129 views

What is the exact domain of a grammar? [closed]

E.g. transformational grammars or probabilistic grammars deal with language structures, branching, semantic ranging, etc. They are dealing with more or less 'rational', or logical cocepts. But what ...
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50 views

Is there a correspondence between contextual semantics and the type of language?

Most of the isolating languages I am familiar with have context-bound semantics either in division into parts of speech (e.g. Chinese) or word meaning (Yoruba), or both (Chinese, again). E.g., in ...
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241 views

Which indigenous languages have marked Ancestral/Mythological Past in grammars?

I have found a mention on such a system among some South American native languages in Adam Jacot de Boinod's book I Never Knew There's A Word For It. Non-academic reading, which doesn't make it less ...
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3answers
405 views

Forming an imperative mood by using other grammatical moods or aspects across the languages

I'm looking for some comparative analysis that would indicate how imperative meaning can be built in various languages by using grammatical moods other than imperative. The reason is that in many ...
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3answers
610 views

Where do we find the highest “language density”?

At Travel.SE it was pointed out that in Georgia (the country), a visitor would have use of learning Georgian, Russian, and Armenian. That's three very different languages, with three quite different ...
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1answer
316 views

Is there a known rule of correspondence between Latin and Greek *p and *kʷ - in other languages?

It seems to me that some words that have -p- in stem in Latin have clearly reconstructible -ku̯- based on other Indo-European languages. Some examples include *u̯lpes - *u̯lku̯os ("wolf") *u̯esper - ...
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452 views

Linguistic idiomaticity in different languages

I've been reading this article about linguistic idiomaticity, and there's a good research on English idioms and indirect speech, in general. I've been thinking on different amounts of idiomaticity in ...
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4answers
671 views

Are there any languages with the equivalent of “both” for three items?

Referring to this question it seems that English does not have the equivalent of "both" for three items. Although it would seem to be a useful word, I am unaware of its existence in any languages. Is ...
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2answers
179 views

What strategies for efficiency are adopted by languages with minimal phonemic inventories?

As the size of a phonemic inventory decreases, the information rate allowed by the inventory should likewise decrease. So are there any (semantico-)pragmatic or morphosyntactic strategies that ...
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3answers
838 views

Efficient linguistic algorithms for detecting language of a website?

Some browser addons and web-services for website/dictionary translation sometimes offer a "automatic-language-detection" feature. This works more or less in my experience. There is probably a variety ...