It's not easy to grasp these concepts. I spent a lot of time perusing wikipedia articles but still can't really understand what makes a language: inflexed, isolating or agglutinative,
Background These are languages that I know, and I would love the answer to post some examples in these languages : - Polish - English - Spanish - French - Italian - Russian - Vietnamese - Chinese
As far as I understand the first 6 are inflexed languages(with Russian and Polish highly inflexed), and the last two are highly isolating.
Now, Wikipedia says that an inflexed language uses inflectional morphemes:
Inflectional morphemes modify a verb's tense, aspect, mood, person, or number, or a noun's, pronoun's or adjective's number, gender or case, without affecting the word's meaning or class (part of speech). Examples of applying inflectional morphemes to words are adding -s to the root dog to form dogs and adding -ed to wait to form waited.
Now I don't see a problem to appoint the Vietnamese các/nhũng and đã as the equivalent morphemes for respective English s and ed from the Wikipedia's excerpt. Namely:
a dog dies -> con chố chết
dogs died -> các con chó đã chết
"The only thing" that I see differs supposedly inflexed and supposedly isolating languages is that languages like English, Polish have many versions of a same morpheme, like for example there are at least more than 5 morphemes to express the past tense in Polish and English, while Vietnamese has only one, namely đã.
Polish to English to Vietnamese example:
Ja jem -> I eat -> tôi ăn
Ja jadłem -> I ate -> tôi đã ăn
Ja jadę -> I go -> tôi đi
Ja jechałem -> I went -> tôi đã đi
But then one could say that grammatical classifiers so abundant in Chinese and Vietnamese are morphemes that varies greatly depending on situation. Is it that linguistics was mainly developed in Europe and nowadays all world linguists try to look at other languages from the European standpoint?
- Unfortunately I can't give any example of an agglutinative language as I don't know a word in any such language. But I would love the answer to address the distinction inflexed-agglutinative and isolating-agglutinative too
- What are the problems with my reasoning with Polish English and Vietnamese?