Tagged Questions

Comparisons across (as opposed to within) languages or language families.

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0
votes
1answer
62 views

Is there a language without words which correspond to the concepts 'I', 'They', 'We'

I was wondering if a language exists without the ability to express the notions of 'I', 'We', 'they' etc. Would it be possible to communicate without these concepts being expressible as a ...
0
votes
2answers
190 views

why do in japanese phonetically and morphologically simple words like ついつい express semantically complex concepts like “unintentionally”?

in order to express an idea like "against one 's better judgement" one would have to use, for instance in English or German more complicated words with respect to their phonetic and morphology: ...
0
votes
1answer
85 views

Unknown language on back of paintings

Can you clarify what language these writings are in and what they say?
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Why is less consistent SVO more common than VSO or VOS?

"Language Change as a Source of Word Order Correlations", by Brady Clark, Matthew Goldrick, and Kenneth Konopka, is among the many sources dating back to Greenberg (1966) stating that language ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

Is there a data set of elementary typical phrases translated in different languages?

To be more explicit, I think about a collection of "abstract" sentences which could be categorized in such a way that they would be easily identified in any language. For example, some typical phrases ...
13
votes
13answers
3k views

What languages use numbers to name the week days and months?

I know in Chinese, the days in a week from Monday to Sunday are called 星期一, 星期二, ..., 星期六, 星期日, which are verbatim translated as weekday one (or 1st weekday), weekday two (or 2nd weekday), ..., ...
10
votes
2answers
327 views

Why do so many languages have a phase like “so-so”?

Many languages seem to have some sort of repeating and/or singsong equivalent of the phrase so-so: Arabic: نصف نصف (nisf nisf) Chinese: 馬馬虎虎 (mǎma hūhu) Greek: έτσι κι έτσι Hebrew: ...
2
votes
6answers
223 views

Which is the hardest language for a software translator to translate into English? [closed]

Many people i see over online auction sites and such use software translators for their benefit, but sometimes the outcome can be somewhat curious. Are these inaccuracies caused by the use of informal ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

Do stop words in any language significantly overlap content words in other languages?

I'm currently dealing with analyzing text with mixed languages. I could try to segment the articles by their language, and proceed with stop word removal and stemming, but I was wondering if the set ...
3
votes
0answers
70 views

Reasons for things named same way in seemingly unrelated languages

How did it come different languages share idiomatic expressions, or name something in same words? Like, take word "inflammation" for example. In English, it's "in(ner)" and "flame". In Ukrainian, ...
1
vote
2answers
196 views

List of phoneme per language

I there a resource that lists the phonemes that are used in different languages? I would prefer a ranking of the most common phonemes within each language like in this example: German: 1 /ɛ/ 2 /ə/ ...
7
votes
3answers
196 views

Relationship between possession (“to have”) and tenses (“I have seen”)

In several Indo-European languages the verb that denotes possession (to have) is also used to construct verb tenses. Some examples: I have seen ... I have a dog. (English) Am văzut ... Am un ...
0
votes
3answers
107 views

Are Indian languages distinct or do they differ in dialect?

I speak Malayalam, one of the Indian languages and also Hindi but there are always common words which I assume are original Sanskrit words? So are the languages truly distinct or can I say the ...
1
vote
1answer
123 views

Language transfer for second language learners (French-English)

How does language transfer occur from French to English within native french speakers' mind? Can we observe this phenomenon ?
-1
votes
1answer
141 views

recent topics in linguistics [closed]

what are the recent controversial issues in - pragmatics. -socio-linguistics. that are receiving the experts' attention ?
2
votes
2answers
146 views

Are there other languages where pronouns behave like they do in Japanese, Korean, and Ryukyuan?

In Japanese and Korean (and I have to assume the Okinawan / Ryukyuan languages also), pronouns are quite different from most other languages from most families in at least two ways I can think of: ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

Name for “all things able to be referenced” by a language

Is there a name for the collection of all things that can be referenced in a language; a language's universe perhaps? For example, the "universe" of English would contain most all things/concepts we ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Active vocabulary for Anglophones compared to native speakers of other languages

A site search has turned me up Size of active vocabulary in hunter gather tribes, and Which language has the biggest vocabulary?, but neither of those seem to address what I want to know about. I ...
3
votes
0answers
67 views

What morphosyntactic features are associated with VSO?

In an answer to another question, librik cited Orin Gensler's observation that Insular Celtic and Semitic share a surprisingly large feature complex. This makes it hard for a layman with ready access ...
3
votes
2answers
53 views

What is a good way to represent data in a multilingual dictionary? Wordnet alternatives or extensions?

I'm not a linguist so forgive my misuse of terminology... I'm looking for a data structure to represent dictionary entries. A dictionary would have words translated to other languages along with links ...
7
votes
2answers
202 views

Are “nine” and “new” etymologically or historically connected?

Is there a connection between the word "nine" and "new"? The two words are similar in many languages.
4
votes
1answer
52 views

Are there languages with three non-neutral “strong” divisions of vowel harmony?

Most languages with vowel harmony seem to have two main divisions of vowels plus a neutral division. The main division is along one vowel dimension such as frontness/backness or +/- ATR (advanced ...
6
votes
1answer
227 views

What motivates / allows preposition stranding in English, but disallows it in other languages, like Mandarin?

If someone could direct me to papers/sites that describe this, and a summary or something, that would be great. It is just a parameter for languages? What do linguists think so far? Example: "Which ...
0
votes
0answers
22 views

Kokkova or kokkora carved on ivory

My question is to try to find the origin of the word kokkova. I have an antique/primitive pin made of ivory which if I had to guess would say that it is walrus but not 100% sure. It is scrimshawed ...
1
vote
0answers
50 views

Grice's cooperative principless

Based on Pragmatics Approach, there is one of the principle that involves in communication. It is cooperative principle. This principle consists of 4 maxims. There are maxim of quality (Truthful), ...
2
votes
1answer
120 views

What problems should be solved when making multi-language dictionary? [closed]

Let's pretend we are producing four-language cross-dictionary. For it to be more difficult, let it be a Russian-English-Japanese-Sanskrit dictionary. By "cross-dictionary" I mean that the person ...
0
votes
1answer
151 views

The double ⟨l⟩ in Spanish

In Spanish, some words start with the double consonant graphemes ⟨ll⟩ - that have indeed the value of /ʎ/. Is there any language that have a similar pattern (starting with double consonants)? What is ...
2
votes
2answers
156 views

Do the Thai and Lao negative particles, “ไม่” (mai) and “ບໍ່” (bo) have reflexes in the other language?

In my continuing interest in this pair of closely related languages I have noticed each uses an unrleated word for the negative particle meaning "no", "not", etc. Thai: ไม่ (mai) Lao: ບໍ່ (bo) ...
7
votes
1answer
174 views

How does expressing possession vary across language families?

Related: http://english.stackexchange.com/q/126519/17952 Backstory: I recently was explaining a couple of Marathi phrases to my friend, and I realized that the language doesn't have the word ...
2
votes
1answer
90 views

How do I romanize words from the Akha Language?

I'm sorry for putting up such a specific question here but any help will be really appreciated. Akha is the language spoken by the Akha people of southern China (Yunnan Province), eastern Burma ...
5
votes
2answers
179 views

How common is phonemic vowel length across languages?

Including different kinds of length distinctions, such as in stressed syllables only, or stressed and unstressed, etc.
3
votes
2answers
553 views

Is there a general tendency among East Asian languages toward simple syllable structure?

I've noticed that several languages of East Asia and the Pacific islands like Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian, have much stricter rules governing phonotactics than languages in other parts of the ...
8
votes
1answer
602 views

Morphology of proper names

I'm wondering if there are any general morphological properties of proper names. If a word is used as a name, it will be constrained by whatever syntactic constraints that language uses from proper ...
1
vote
0answers
95 views

On price tags/labels why some nouns are used singular/plural regardless of countability?

Is there any explanation regarding why some nouns are used in singular form while the others are used in plural form such as price tags in stores or menus in restaurants. I know that in languages ...
1
vote
0answers
246 views

Animal sounds across languages

As onomatopoeia, the words used for animal sounds are often quite similar across many languages. However, there are non-trivial differences, even for something as common as the croak of a frog. I was ...
3
votes
0answers
82 views

Is there count/mass distinction in European Portuguese as it is in English?

It is said that European Portuguese has count/mass distinction as many Indo-European languages. However I noticed out that all products/items at stores in Portugal are labeled in singular form. In ...
-2
votes
7answers
2k views

Important english word which doesn't exist in another language

I'm looking for an important English word which doesn't have a corresponding word in another language. I would be happy even it's a language spoken only by a small population. Preferably, the word is ...
-1
votes
1answer
48 views

What are the different types of counting conjugations? [closed]

Different languages conjugate their nouns or verbs based on the number that they are referring to. For example, in languages such as English and French, there are two distinctions--singular and ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Which language has the biggest vocabulary?

I am thinking that it is English because it has so many borrowed words and most you French, Italian, or German words can be written in English as is. Am I right?
3
votes
5answers
520 views

Is there a way to prove one language is more efficient than another language for science?

English is widely regarded as the global language of science now. In China, we use simplified Chinese to write scientific textbooks, teach courses and do almost everything. Let's take the simplest ...
3
votes
3answers
295 views

How did 'cocodrilo' originate from 'crocodile'?

The English word crocodile seems to originate from the Latin crocodīlus and Ancient Greek κροκόδιλος. Indeed it has ended up very similar in several modern languages: German (Krokodile), Russian ...
3
votes
2answers
527 views

Affix that makes nouns into verbs and verbs into nouns?

I have a friend studying a language from the pacific islands, and she found an affix that when added to a noun makes a verb and when added to a verb makes a noun. What would you call such a thing, and ...
3
votes
1answer
114 views

A classical text about the Sun?

I've read once there is a text about the Sun, which is created to use words and concepts which shall be present in any human language, and which is translated nearly to all human languages for using ...
8
votes
6answers
5k views

Is learning German easier for people who know Sanskrit, and vice versa?

I've heard many times that learning German is easier for those who speak Sanskrit, and vice versa. Is there any linguistic basis for this? What similarities exist between the two languages that may be ...
5
votes
3answers
342 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
431 views

Does English language stand special in terms of phonology?

I am a native Russian speaker. When I am listening to songs and music in other languages, which I do not know, such as Italian, Romanian, Greek, Bulgarian, and even Japanese, Finnish, Kyrgyz and ...
17
votes
3answers
482 views

How are mathematical operators like “plus” and “cos” analyzed?

Consider the mathematical statement 1 + 2 = 3 It is read in English as One plus two equals three. One plus two is equal to three. In English at least, equals is obviously an ordinary ...
9
votes
3answers
686 views

Using the word “dream” as hope for the future across languages

Many languages seem to use the same word for "dream" (psychological phenomenon) and "dream" (hope for the future). Quick scanning on Wiktionary gives the list: Germanic languages: Danish (drøm), ...
4
votes
0answers
330 views

What is the most common vowel?

Of all the languages for which there is sufficient data, including extinct languages, which vocalic speech sound, or phone, as represented by the IPA, has been used by more languages, with more ...
4
votes
0answers
305 views

Exclamation for pain

I always thought that the response to pain, which people usually express with 'ouch' or 'ow' is a natural response which is the same for all languages. Although spelled differently the same and ...