Questions relating to lexicons: the catalogue of a language's words.

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2
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1answer
53 views

Is there an estimate for the typical number of morphemes in natural language?

Martinet's "double articulation of language": With phonemes we build morphemes, and with morphemes, words. I'd like to get a sense of how productive are these combinations: With only a few phonemes ...
1
vote
1answer
59 views

Systematic analysis of the Japanese lexicon (specifically, Kanji)

I'm wondering whether anyone has carried out an analysis of the Kanji (or Hanzi), the traditional Chinese characters used in Japanese and some dialects of Chinese. For example, I wonder whether ...
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), ..., ...
3
votes
2answers
141 views

What are the necessary and sufficient characteristics of a word to be considered as nominal?

Clearly there are morphological "tendencies" (case inflection, no TAM marking) -- but what about the semantic or syntactic characteristics (even if they are just tendencies and not universal)? I ...
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Free proper noun dictionary/lexicon

For my project I need to construct a lexicon of various topics (technology, music, cooking, ...). This lexicon will be enormous but with the implementation of a Directed Acyclic Word Graph, the size ...
1
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2answers
101 views

Looking for an open source English dictionary

I'm creating a multilingual online dictionary and I need an open source English dictionary to work off of. Wordnet is the obvious choice, as it's extremely complete and its license is permissive of ...
4
votes
3answers
141 views

What range of strategies are common in natural languages for providing unambiguous answers to negative yes-no questions?

I have been told that, in Chinese, terms for "yes" and "no" used as answers for questions are not needed because one answers yes-no questions by either repeating the verb in the question or adding a ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Help understanding “degree of overall vocabulary divergence”

There was an article published with a diagram showing Lexical Difference: http://elms.wordpress.com/2008/03/04/lexical-distance-among-languages-of-europe/. It cites a Russian source "K. Tyshchenko ...
2
votes
1answer
167 views

List of words in Hebrew

Where can I found a list of all the words in Hebrew including plurals, inflections, etc.? I have only found some lists that are based on wikipedia corpus or subtitles curpus, which include many errors ...
-1
votes
1answer
274 views

Why the following two jokes are fun in terms of linguistic terms?

A: What's a baby pig called? B: A piglet. A: So what's a baby toy called? B: A toylet. Tom: Mike has asked me for a loan of five pounds. Should I be doing right in lending it to him? Jack: Certainly. ...
3
votes
0answers
120 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
174 views

Adjectives/verbs being used as nouns: the trend grows?

"I want a job with a social connect" , using a verb connect for the noun connection. "It's a fail!" , using the verb fail instead of the noun failure. "Acme is a multinational corporate" , using ...
7
votes
0answers
194 views

What is the notion of lemma?

Psycholinguistically, a lemma is an abstract conceptual form of a word. However from a lexicographic perspective, the lemma is merely the aorist or canonical form of a word. In English, the lemma of ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Semantic logic of the word “both” in English - different from “and”?

I am trying to figure out what additional semantic information "both" carries when used in a sentence. Does it differ from "and"? Take the following sentences: Alice and Bob both ate lunch. vs. ...
3
votes
1answer
364 views

What factors affect the number of synonyms a language has?

What factors affect the number of synonyms a language has? I'd like to leave aside sign languages for this question. When the production of a given sign can be varied in 3-D space, not a lot of ...
2
votes
2answers
317 views

What is the difference between mediopassive VP's and anti-causative VP's?

[I've overhauled this question.] I guess I'm asking about the semantic differences, if any, between mediopassives and anticausatives. Here's a definition of anticausative verb from ...
4
votes
2answers
241 views

Why is Ivrit not considered an artificial language?

Why is Ivrit, the modern version of Hebrew, not considered an artificial language like for example Interlingua? From the history it looks like the language was dead except in clerical circles and ...
1
vote
0answers
50 views

Can some verbs be unergative in some contexts and unaccusative in others?

It seems to me that there are a number of English verbs that can stand for acts that can be done voluntarily or involuntarily. Sometimes we can't help but laugh, but anyone with even mild acting ...
4
votes
1answer
70 views

Are lexicons finite in principle?

As we all know, every language has open classes of morphemes. If we discovered a new mineral whose natural florescence captured the public's attention, there would be no difficulty coining a new ...
3
votes
2answers
826 views

Is there any synchronic difference between homonymy and polysemy?

Is there any synchronic difference between homonymy and polysemy? As a literate English speaker, I can usually tell when words that are pronounced identically have different etymologies thanks ...
0
votes
1answer
114 views

Tools to identify lexicalization

Is there any tests or morphological test which can help to identify whether an expression is lexicalised or not? For example, whether some compounds are processed through morphological processes or ...
1
vote
0answers
25 views

How much do languages vary when it comes to the prevalence of compound words in their lexicons?

Apparently, languages differ when it comes to the prevalence of compound words in their lexicons. For example, the fact that compound words are more prevalent in Chinese than in French was mentioned ...
4
votes
2answers
164 views

Are we witnessing the death of stative “think”?

For those who came in late: From what I understand, English stative verbs don't take the progressive. We can use progressive in utterances with dynamic verbs. Witness "I'm eating," "She's ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

What, if any, aspects of linguistic typology affect the percentage of loanwords that a language has in its lexicon?

By "loanword," I'm referring to words borrowed into language X from other languages and altered only as the phonology of language X requires. Examples would include "le weekend" in French, "das ...
6
votes
3answers
269 views

Mutual lexical borrowings between Arabic, Persian and Turkish: a reference request

As an occasional learner of these languages, I find the linguistic situation of Arabic, Persian and Turkish very interesting: they are three genetically unrelated languages (if you stick to ...
11
votes
2answers
463 views

Did Georgian ever have a native word for “dolphin”?

During my time in Georgia one word came to puzzle me and I'm still thinking about it: დელფინი (delp'ini) "dolphin" Wiktionary says this comes from Greek via Russian. The thing is Georgia is on ...
4
votes
0answers
141 views

Do some languages have significantly more or fewer idioms than others?

Among the well-attested languages for which large corpora have been gathered, does the number of idiomatic expressions per language vary significantly? Are there fewer idioms in some languages than ...
5
votes
1answer
234 views

Are there any languages in which verbs are a closed class?

In English, the verb "do" can be a transitive verb whose object stands for an action. So, we English speakers can "do a somersault," "do a back flip," and "do a cartwheel." The productivity of this ...