Community Digest

Top new questions this week:

Validity of aging estimation for Proto-Afro-Asiatic

Tl;dr: What reasons do we have--besides glottochronology--to think that Proto-Afro-Asiatic is actually 14,000 years old? So, if you know much about proto-languages, you might know that Proto-Afro-...

historical-linguistics semitic-languages afroasiatic glottochronology  
asked by Khove 7 votes
answered by user6726 7 votes

What are parasitic gaps?

In 2001 M.I.T. Press published a volume titled Parasitic Gaps, edited by Peter W. Cullicover and Paul M. Postal. Its preface begins as follows: Parasitic gaps (P-gaps) represented by the underlined ...

asked by Michael Hardy 6 votes
answered by Tim Osborne 14 votes

In tonal languages, what is the tone relative to?

According to A tone language, or tonal language, is a language in which words can differ in tones (like pitches in music) in addition to consonants and ...

phonetics tone tonal-languages  
asked by rwallace 6 votes
answered by user6726 7 votes

Is there a universal (general) definition of gerund, infinitive and participle?

Applicable to all languages despite the differences between them.

grammar verbs universal-grammar  
asked by condor12 3 votes
answered by Draconis 2 votes

Does every semantic ambiguity produce an equivalent syntactic ambiguity?

I was reading this question Syntactic and semantic ambiguity, and there is a comment from @jlawler on how the sentence "He's mad" have different syntactic affordances: Original comment: &...

syntax semantics  
asked by Tangent 2 votes

How can I identify whether it is local or global ambiguity?

I am currently learning about local and global ambiguity and we had the following example in of the texts explaining what the topic is about: Paul sent the note to Elena. Paul sent the books, a record,...

ambiguity sentences word-sense-disambiguation complex-sentences  
asked by Leonard 1 vote

Probability based algorithm to convert IPA into english language text

For a student job i'm creating a neural network-based method of determining the probability that two written names are referring to the same person (e.g. what is the probability that kelly m. refers ...

phonology ipa writing-systems syllables  
asked by JadaLovelace 1 vote
answered by Draconis 1 vote

Greatest hits from previous weeks:

What are the fundamental differences between Natural Language Processing and Computational Linguistics?

I have a vague knowledge regarding those two fields, but I admit there are some fundamental concepts that I lack. So, if we had to write down the actual differences between these two fields, what ...

computational-linguistics nlp  
asked by Alenanno 30 votes
answered by anongal 26 votes

Is there a technical name for when languages use masculine pronouns to refer to both men and women?

I know a little Arabic, and I also know English. They both have the notion of "gender" built into their syntax. I am Persian and I speak Farsi, which does not have "gender" built ...

terminology pronouns gender  
asked by Saeed Neamati 28 votes
answered by jk - Reinstate Monica 46 votes

Is future tense in English really a myth?

Does English really have two tenses - present and past? Some linguists argue that it is a Latinate fallacy to think that English has three tenses. Some English professors and even some native ...

english tense tense-aspect-mood  
asked by successive suspension 30 votes
answered by Draconis 40 votes

Why was korea able to remove kanji but japan wasn't when both languages use homophones?

I am strictly interested in the question of homophones and kanji. Korean has homophones yet they removed the Chinese characters and are getting by just fine? Or are they? Japanese kanji lovers say ...

written-language japanese  
asked by Alex 20 votes
answered by flow 19 votes

Were ancient languages as sophisticated as modern languages?

Reading some dialogues from Socrates, it struck me how eloquently the people seemed to speak from those times thousands of years ago. (Although this might be a result of the translation.) And yet ...

asked by zooby 36 votes
answered by Draconis 64 votes

Why did Old English lose both thorn and eth?

My understanding is that Old English had two letters, thorn and eth, which were used interchangeably to represent the sound th as in thin or father. Intuitively, one might think that one of these ...

orthography old-english  
asked by daisy 73 votes
answered by Draconis 151 votes

Why do some Indo-European languages have genders and some don't?

In some languages, like German and French, every noun has a gender and each gender has its article. Whereas languages like English and Persian do not have genders. Why is that? Even though these ...

historical-linguistics philosophy-of-language gender  
asked by Aziz Qadeer 22 votes
answered by Cairnarvon 26 votes
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