for philosophical questions concerning the nature, origins, and usage of natural language

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Searching bibliography to develop a pure a priori language

I need some help with bibliography to fill some topics that a need for my project. Im trying to create a pure a priori language where phonetic and syllable are linked to root meaning of words and ...
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0answers
39 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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3answers
105 views

How does 'unless' mean 'or' or 'if not'? [closed]

Source: p 139, Introduction to Logic (2 ed, 2010) by Harry J. Gensler. [1.] Translate “unless” as “or.” ...     [eg: A unless B =  B unless A = Either A or B]. [2.] “Unless” is also ...
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1answer
42 views

How can two phrases refer to the same object, but have different meanings?

Source: Lecture 1-5 (transcription), ... How to Reason and Argue, by Prof W Sinnott-Armstrong The following is from a question that pops up during the video at 3 min 14 seconds. [Question:] When ...
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1answer
42 views

What are the blanket or general terms representing these linguistic pitfalls?

Are there collective, sweeping official terms that comprise linguistic traps such as these? Etymological fallacy Folk etymology False friend False cognate False etymology
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2answers
75 views

Did people actually used poetic languages like Latin and Persian for basic spoken communication?

I can't help but notice the older generation frequently scolding the younger ones of corrupting the language by introducing words like lol, ASAP, brb, OMG, pj, etc. Indeed, with the astronomical ...
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2answers
90 views

What stats are available to estimate the possibly coming “World language”?

My definition of the "World language" is the language most people can understand and use as an international language—not necessarily the language most spoken. Background: A hater of English argued ...
2
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2answers
154 views

Is music a language?

I am a musician. I read an article in the NY Times that suggested both words and musical melodies follow Zipf's Law. I had never really thought about it before, but I started wondering do linguists ...
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2answers
205 views

In which languages does “right” mean both a direction and “correct” (or another positive meaning)? [duplicate]

In Islam right direction symbolize good things and I realize that phenomenon in some languages (English, Russian). Are there other languages like this and where does this phenomenon come from?
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1answer
166 views

Can you give some examples of counter-intuitive phenomena discovered by linguists?

By counter-intuitive I mean, contrary to intuition of native speakers of some language, or contrary to some popular knowledge about languages (apart many cases of folk etymology)? (e. g. "strange" ...
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1answer
51 views

What's the difference between separated languages and a separated dialects? [duplicate]

In the context of international languages, i've seen multiple instances of languages that are mutually intelligible but are considered different languages: Serbian and Croatian Luxembourgish and ...
2
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2answers
113 views

Is there a good introduction to subjectivity in language?

Since the topic of "subjectivity in language" is all new to me, I am looking for an introduction to the topic that 1) gives an overview of the phenomena usually associated with the topic ...
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3answers
76 views

What are the uses of language in thought? [closed]

In Bertrand Russell's Analysis of Mind, after he gave only a few examples, he wrote "But it is unnecessary to prolong the catalogue of the uses of language in thought." At the height of excitement, I ...
2
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2answers
113 views

Question re connection between language and knowledge [closed]

Humans were/are learning about nature via identifying, observing and studying objects and relations between those objects. At the same time humans were/are assigning names to those identified objects ...
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7answers
324 views

Is Language infinite?

Can a Natural Language (like English for instance) describe anything? Are our thoughts limited by our language? If the number of words in a Natural Language is a finite set, can this set describe an ...
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1answer
2k views

Any difference between natural and programming languages?

First of all, as a native German speaker, I apologise for my incorrect use of the English language. After thinking about some different languages and wandering astray on this exact Stack Exchange, I ...
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0answers
152 views

Composite truth tables for sentence relations (entailment, synonymy,etc.)

I'm using John Saeed's 'Semantics'. Now in chap 4 I see he is trying to formalize sentence relations such as entailment, synonymy, contradiction, etc., by some kind of different truth tables he calls ...
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2answers
136 views

Are there systematic studies on HOW language features/characteristics are formed?

(I don't know whether this is a genuine "linguistics" problem as of how "linguistics" is defined, but it has bothered my curiosity for so long I have to ask it somewhere.) When we scientifically ...
7
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1answer
167 views

How old is linguistics as a discipline?

I hear a lot of people talk about how "new" linguistics is, or how "small" it is compared to other fields. Pāṇini studied grammar in the 4th century BC. Surely it didn't take until recent history to ...
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63 views

Language and Technological Superiority

Think about the English language: it is very simple, consisting of only 26 letters. And to my understanding, European languages have finite alphabets as well. Now compare that to Chinese, which has no ...
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2answers
109 views

What is the extension and intension of “I'm writing an exam right now.”

I study undergraduate philosophy. I enrolled in a semantics class this semester, which just held its first exam. One of the questions asked, What is the extension, and the intension, of "I'm ...
2
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1answer
134 views

Root reduplication to mean singular

In different languages reduplication of the root serves as a means to express plurality (Malay 'orang' - 'a person', 'orang-orang' - 'people') or a greater degree (Russian 'много' - 'many, much', ...
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4answers
404 views

Did a “cave man-style” language ever exist?

I recently had a discussion with a friend about whether a "cave man-style" language was likely to have ever existed. You know, the stereotypical "Fire bad! Need hunt, go tree-place now!" sort of ...
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2answers
130 views

Why do we use “someone” to signify one person?

I can't come up with a better title so let me just say that I'm sorry for misleading you if this question isn't even close to what you expected. First of all my observation: In the three languages ...
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2answers
488 views

Ontological status of syntactic transformations

Syntactic theories in the generative tradition involve transformations, i.e. movement of constituents, between deep structure and surface structure. What is actually meant by this? Is it intended as a ...
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0answers
57 views

What does it mean that cognition is linguistic in itself?

Cognition is, generally speaking, ‘linguistic’ in itself, in that it is the manipulation of language-like structures (propositions) according to formal rules; (b) the function of natural language is ...
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2answers
271 views

The Liar's Paradox : a linguistic perspective

The sentence "This sentence is false." is a paradox (called the "liar's paradox) as even though being well formed it is a contradiction. While logicians can call this a case of un-decidability what ...
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1answer
246 views

Body parts and metaphor

Across languages, body parts are used as part of a metaphor, whether it is in an idiom or in a phrasal construction. Do any know of any survey like academic paper that investigates the whys and hows ...
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3answers
5k views

Why is jargon sometimes used instead of familiar words?

I wonder why certain words are used in occupations when possibly a common known synonym could also be used? Examples: in law, desist instead of stop, cease in economics, parity instead of ...
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2answers
124 views

Is the evolution & development of language better described by Deleuze concept of the rhizome than the traditional tree?

I originally asked this question on philosophy.stackexchange, but the consensus was that this was better asked here Deleuze & Guattari introduce the idea of the rhizome in their text A thousand ...
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1answer
207 views

Does the phrase “thinking in a language” have empirical meaning?

In discussions of language learning, multilingualism, and related topics, I hear references to "thinking in a language." Two questions on this stack exchange list have referenced this, namely "What ...
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0answers
100 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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2answers
150 views

Do descriptivists differ from prescriptivists in how, or whether, they determine correctness?

Do descriptivists differ from prescriptivists in how they determine whether something is correct? Or do they differ in whether or not they determine whether something is correct? For example, if 80% ...
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3answers
246 views

Can any one experience the World without a language? if yes to what extent, if no, why not?

I am exploring of a possibility of experiencing the world around without a language. By listening, speaking, seeing and reflecting on words made by the alphabets of a language - one experiences the ...
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2answers
267 views

Could a constructed non-symbolic language be created?

Would the proper term for it really be "non-symbolic language"? Every language up until now uses symbols at various forms – vowel sounds and consonants are symbols; syllables, which are ...
6
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1answer
275 views

Usage of definite articles in Germanic and Romance languages

In the Germanic languages, a generic construction using the definite article with mass nouns is unacceptable. In contrast, Romance languages require the definite article to make the generic ...
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3answers
863 views

Why can't agreeing be an explicit performative?

I'm having a hard time determining when an utterance passes the thereby-test and thus can be considered to be an explicit performative. An utterance in the first-person singular indicative ...
5
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1answer
327 views

What does the term “ontology” mean vis a vis the study of natural language?

Many of us know that the term "ontology" applies to the a priori philosophical study of the nature of existence. Ontology is a branch of metaphysics (the attempt to coherently characterize reality a ...
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3answers
493 views

Which languages are used for purposes other than facilitating communication?

Although it seems that most languages are used to facilitate communication, some languages seem to have secondary purposes as well. For instance, expatriates of a nation may continue to speak the ...
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1answer
108 views

Metrics of evaluating the successfulness of persuasive language

Given a large number of sets of historical documents that are each divided into two subsets: each subset advocating a position in a legal dispute (i.e. one set for a plaintiff and one for a ...
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8answers
3k views

Why do we have interest in (dying) language preservation?

When we read the news related to dying languages, normally this is painted as bad news and it's really important to preserve the language, see Language at risk of dying out (Guardian) or Digital tools ...
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0answers
195 views

Where did Peirce publish his triadic model of signs?

A triadic model of signs can be found by various researchers. Probably the most famous illustration is the diagram in Ogden and Richards's The Meaning of Meaning (page 11, digitized here). It is also ...
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2answers
212 views

Is explanation part of Historical Linguistics?

I am reading John McWhorter’s "Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue". One thing called my attention in the book: he spends a great deal of effort trying to show the reader how scholars have thoroughly ...
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2answers
374 views

Bar-Hillel's critique of machine translation 50 years later

More than fifty years ago, philosopher Yehoshua Bar-Hillel wrote wrote an influential paper about computerized translation entitled: A Demonstration of the Nonfeasibility of Fully Automatic High ...
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496 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 ...
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5answers
2k views

Why is prescriptivism criticized?

Several linguists criticize prescriptivism. Stephen Pinker is probably the one to have made the strongest case against it. But, is their criticism based on a methodological principle (the abstraction ...