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86 views

Is Austronesian the closest relative to PIE?

Austronesian is usually regarded as a separate family, not related to any other. It is never groupped into Eurasiatic or Nostratic. Yet it seems to me that it may be related to PIE. I wonder whether ...
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2answers
92 views

Could a language be reconstructed from a dictionary and lots of natural text?

Let's say aliens (someone completely new to the language) want to talk with users of it. They've obtained a complete dictionary, and a large selection of natural text (for this hypothetical situation, ...
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2answers
152 views

Were the so-called aspirates of PIE ever aspirated?

In the thread Is unvoiced & unaspirated a category of speech? it was pointed out to me, that the aspirates in Indic languages, notably Sanskrit, are from a truly phonetic perspective not ...
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2answers
279 views

Why can verbal roots in PIE only contain the vowel e?

Verbal roots of PIE are generally reconstructed as (C5) (C3) C1 e C2 (C4) (C6); with certain phonetical restrictions, especially on the outmost consonants. I wonder why only "e" should be allowed as ...
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2answers
153 views

Would it be possible to discover through linguistics if any non-human languages influenced known language families?

Suppose some recent hominins such as Neanderthal had a spoken language (currently, as far as I'm aware, we are uncertain if they did, but suppose we knew they did). If this were the case, would it be ...
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1answer
150 views

Use of forks/chopsticks and sound change?

Apparently [European] humans had an ape-like bite until relatively recently, with our top and bottom incisors aligned along their edges. With the invention of the fork around 250 years ago, our ...
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0answers
520 views

Third-person singular suffix [eth] in Middle English

Related: Grammaticalization of third person singular -s in English According to responses to this question, there was a dichotomy between northern -s and southern -th in Middle English. What I am ...
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3answers
423 views

Did Ancient Greek have a rising intonation for questions?

Unlike English, Ancient (e.g. Attic) Greek does not reorder words to formulate a question. The particle "ἆρα" does modify a statement into a question, but is not always present. In that case, I ...
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514 views

Pre-Proto-Basque: is there a methodology to establishing its vocabulary?

For example, say I have a list Basque/Euskera words, is there a way I can reconstruct these modern Basque words into a Pre-Proto-Basque version? beo (hot) lur (earth) izotz (ice) izuga ...
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4answers
305 views

How does a linguist determine whether a pattern is grammatical in a language?

How does a linguist determine whether a pattern is grammatical in a language? Is there some kind of standard test? This is assuming that there is little documentation of the language and no authority. ...
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1answer
179 views

To what extent has Martha's Vineyard SL been reconstructed?

Martha's Vineyard had a large deaf population and a native sign language. I read that this had been partially reconstructed by looking at the differences between ASL and LSF, as modern ASL is ...