Rules which determine relationships between various features of all languages.

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2
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2answers
146 views

What do all languages have in common? [closed]

What do all languages have in common ? I'm looking for a list of features (such as grammatical, semantic or phonetic elements) that are present in all natural languages.
6
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3answers
169 views

Across agglutinative languages are there tendencies for morphemes to occur in certain orders?

In agglutinative languages there are normally roots for nouns and/or verbs that can have multiple morphemes attached as affixes, following certain rules, to add information such as tense, aspect, ...
5
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1answer
149 views

Which languages conflate (imperfective) past and irrealis, and why?

In English, the "simple past" form of a verb can sometimes be used to convey irrealis meanings, without any preterite sense: If I was rich, I'd buy a Porsche. If you only knew! I'd like to be able ...
7
votes
1answer
169 views

Universals and emphatic pronouns

In (spoken) English, the object pronouns "me/you/her/him/us/them" are, in some sense, the "unmarked" pronouns. (I only claim native knowledge of English as it is spoken in parts of the US). By this I ...
4
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2answers
259 views

Universal “grammar” for mathematics

The Chomsky paradigm states that all languages obey certain laws or conditions which ultimately are a function of the physical properties of the brain. Is there a similar constraint on mathematics? Is ...
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2answers
144 views

How to solve 48÷2(9+3) from a linguistics perspective? [closed]

Suppose an alien life comes to Earth, and challenges us to answer a question that will allow them do determine if we can communicate without ambiguities and solve controversies in a rational way. The ...
4
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0answers
138 views

Is there any evidence pro/contra Du Bois' Preferred Argument Structure (ergative patterning in discourse)?

In The Discourse Basis of Ergativity published in Language in 1987, John W. Du Bois proposed a theory which stated that (p. 850) [universally] the distribution of new information vs. old ...
2
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0answers
160 views

Do all tonal languages have tone sandhi?

Tone sandhi is the process by which the nominal tones of syllables or words change based on the surrounding context. I know that Mandarin Chinese and Thai have tone sandhi - but is this process ...
10
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4answers
370 views

Do all languages have sentences?

This is a pretty basic question I guess, but anyway. Do all (human) languages have sentences? Most linguistic articles I read assume so, but can we take this as an assumption?
4
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2answers
496 views

Why do marked terms exist at all?

According to the definition of markedness, unmarked terms can be consider the "norm". So if there is something more "normal" about using unmarked terms, why would a language have marked terms at all? ...
2
votes
2answers
248 views

Are there agglutinative languages without a propensity for long compound nouns?

I've noticed a propensity for agglutinating languages to also permit quite long compound nouns. Finnish, Turkish and Hungarian certainly have them and I've been finding a few now that I'm trying to ...
6
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2answers
359 views

Are there any “universal” aspects to “adjective sequence”

Whilst it's by no means a "fixed rule", it seems to me the normal sequence for multiple adjectives applied to a single noun/verb in English does indeed tend to correspond to the top answer given in ...
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4answers
568 views

Did case systems dissappear to make embedding easier?

I edited this question in response to Karlsson's paper, "Constraints on Multiple Center-Embedding of Clauses" (Journal of Linguistics 43 (2), 2007, 365-392), linked here: ...
10
votes
1answer
203 views

Why do onsets not count for syllable weight in phonological processes?

Whether a syllable has a heavy or light rime is often important in whether it will participate in phonological processes, and whether it will receive stress. For example, in Latin, stress is on the ...
11
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3answers
505 views

Languages with a 12th Basic Color Term

Is the 12th Basic Color Term (BCT) always light blue as in Russian “голубой” (goluboy) and Italian “azzurro” or are there languages in which the 12th BCT is different? Which languages have a 12th BCT? ...
5
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1answer
96 views

Recommendations on the current state of parameters as explanation in acquisition?

In the original P&P model, we had a nice story in which there was supposed to be some finite list of principles and some finite list of parameters, the former constraining hypotheses and the ...
24
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2answers
3k views

Why do most words for “mother”, across languages, start with an [m], and for “father” with [p]/[b], but not vice versa?

It has been observed that in general, a word for "mother" tends to be based on a bilabial nasal [m] or similar consonant, and for father it tends to be [b] or [p]. This is found in many language ...
9
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1answer
273 views

Are there languages which use the negation of 'odd' to denote 'even'?

This question is influenced by another one I found on the German SE, "Warum nennt man in Deutsch die Zahlen 0, 2, 4 … “gerade” Zahlen?". It asks "Why call Germans the numbers 0, 2, 2 "even". The ...
5
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2answers
258 views

Are there languages with indefinite articles but for which the word for “one” is not related etymologically to any of the indefinite articles?

This is part of a set of three related questions but note they are each specific and distinct, they are not duplicates. In all the languages I'm familiar with that have an indefinite article, the ...
4
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2answers
268 views

Are there languages which lack a full number system but which have an indefinite article?

Most languages have a fully developed concept of numbers but many do not, for instance most Australian Aboriginal languages lack numbers and counting beyond a few such as 1, 2, and 3. Many languages ...
19
votes
9answers
560 views

Are there grammatical analyses of languages that are extremely different from IE grammar?

It's a fact that the grammar core of most European languages (not only IE ones) can be analysed in a relatively precise common framework. Of course I do not know much of these languages, but the basic ...
5
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4answers
247 views

Vocabulary Comparisons Across Languages

Based on my understanding, there is no universal vocabulary across languages, which is fine. That said, there must be words that have a both highly correlated meanings and levels of usage. Which ...
9
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4answers
345 views

Hierarchy of morphology, auxiliaries, and suppletion of verbal accidents?

I would like to make a hierarchy of verbal accidents that would have the following features. For any two accidents in the hierarchy, if a language marks only one of them by lexical suppletion, it ...
4
votes
0answers
358 views

What is the origin of the “hierarchy of projections”, the language system or (some) conceptual system?

All languages display some form of the hierarchy of projections, to the extent we understand what this is: in a given clause, roughly, complementizers are higher than inflectional heads are higher ...
6
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1answer
244 views

What is known about the universal aspects of the relation between intonation and emotion?

Are there language-independent aspects of the expression of emotion by intonation? More specifically, are there established relations between the expression of emotion by linguistic intonation and by ...
5
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2answers
304 views

Can the /m/ sound in a 1st person pronoun be considered a linguistic universal?

For example, english: me, mine, my Russian: мне, меня, мой Estonian: mina, mind, mulle How prevalent is this in world's languages and what should it be attributed to?
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4answers
442 views

Is the seeming relation between the sound /n/ and negativity purely coincidental?

I have noticed that in many languages, words for "no", negative verb forms, etc. often begin with the sound /n/. Although I understand it is by no means universal, is there any relationship between ...
16
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2answers
353 views

Paucal number without singular

I have usually seen the paucal number presented as intermediate between singular and plural in the languages that have it: singular - just one paucal - a few plural - many However, is there any ...
9
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3answers
424 views

Are word classes universal?

I'm working on an application that takes a special database of words and its word class and determines the such from a given sentence. I'm now working to see if word classes that are found in English ...