Questions tagged [comparative-linguistics]

A study of the relationships or correspondences between the languages that have a common origin. Formerly known as Comparative Grammar, Comparative Philology.

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3answers
91 views

Are proto-languages necessary to divide languages ​within a family into groups?

For example, Indo-European family is divided into groups, such as Slavic, Romance, Germanic, etc. Some of these groups can also be divided, but let`s just assume, that there is no further division. ...
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Have there been any reconstructive efforts of proto-languages, where aspects of historic culture have been inferred for languages other than PIE?

I'm not sure if this is the right SE to ask this question (possibly History SE?), but here goes! Similar to the source material for this video, have there been any efforts to infer aspects of culture ...
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Potsdam Sentence Corpus - English comparable corpora

Dear fellow Linguists, I am searching for an English corpus that has a high degree of comparability with the German Potsdam Sentence Corpus. Naturally I am already reading a lot of literature, but I ...
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1answer
89 views

Languages in which vowels predominate

I was thinking about the loss of hearing that can accompany aging, and how this loss can affect the ability to communicate verbally. Since the ability to distinguish consonants tend to diminish before ...
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Are the words “blue” and “red” universally linked to coldness and warmness in different languages?

We often talk about warm vs cold colors. When someone feels sad, we say she "feels blue". I conjecture this may be universal across cultures due to our experience with the warmness of the ...
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103 views

What kind of features support the claim that Slavic languages are closer to Germanic languages than to Indo-Iranian languages?

Inspired by this answer to a different question, I ask what kind of features justify a claim that Balto-Slavic languages are closer to Germanic languages than to Indo-Iranian languages. The features ...
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1answer
602 views

Can or has the comparative method be used in current Arabic dialects to reconstruct Classical Arabic?

The comparative method has been used in modern Romance languages to piece together Vulgar Latin and Proto Romance. Has the same been done for the modern Arabic dialects to recreate the last descendant ...
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1answer
94 views

Why are Slovak and Belarusian languages very related to each other while the two countries are geographically far from each other?

in this site, I found the fact that Slovak and Belarusian are very closely related. the lower the percentage, the more related the two compared languages. Why are these languages very related to each ...
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1answer
209 views

Spelling of monotonous [closed]

All, I am just curious why 'monotonous' is spelled as mo·​not·​o·​nous and not as mono.tonus following the Greek origin of the word as mono + tone. Mono and tone could be spelled alone and actually ...
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1answer
168 views

Mistakes in Native Language

I was wondering if there is some research on the number of mistakes made by native speakers in certain languages? I think that since some languages are more complex (their grammar is more complex) and ...
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What do you call (the fact that languages are not always one-to-one in their labellings)?

Based on this question. There is no reason that there should be a ["Good" + "morning"] in Spanish any more than there is a ["Good" + "days"] in English. I ...
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To be vs to have describing state

In English, when describing a personal state, the verb be is used often. For example in English, using be: "I am scared," compared to the German, using have: "Ich habe Angst." Is ...
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1answer
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-wise, -mente, -ment: How many languages use the “mind” metaphor for adjectives made adverbs?

When I noticed that English, Spanish, Italian, and French use the "mind" metaphor to turn certain adjectives into adverbs (not all, cf "-ly" from English). That is, as it was explained to me by a ...
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1answer
117 views

What is Proto-Semitic *x̣?

In his Akkadian grammar (specifically the appendix on phonology), Huehnergard lists the following Proto-Semitic consonants: Most of this looks familiar to me. However, *x̣ caught me by surprise; I'm ...
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1answer
57 views

Is there a database or standard (ISO etc.) which maps Unicode or ISO-15924 scripts with the ISO-639/Glottolog etc. languages that use them

Is there a database or standard (ISO etc.) which maps Unicode or ISO-15924 scripts with the ISO-639/Glottolog etc. languages that use them, so that I can make queries like the following on it: For an ...
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How can I obtain a list / cross-comparison table of phonemes in the world's languages? (preferably in softcopy, online etc., and in the IPA) [duplicate]

How can I obtain a list / cross-comparison table of the occurrences of phonemes in the world's languages? (preferably in softcopy, online etc.) I am looking for something like: ...
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1answer
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reason that v. la raison que [closed]

In English reason why is redundant. Prof. John Lawler's answers this twice . Equivalent phrase in French is la raison QUE, but grandson's French teacher told him use la raison pour laquelle = 4. ...
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1answer
97 views

Where can I find the letters of documented writing systems, as text, online?

I was looking for the letters of the Safaitic writing system of Ancient North Arabian (ANA) as text, online. Safaitic is a well documented and researched writing system that was a prominent (if not ...
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1answer
64 views

Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries Online database (by Brill, Leiden University)

The Indo-European Etymological Dictionaries Online database (by Brill) already includes eleven dictionaries https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/a/6356/22504 I've read about this "database" before. ...
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2answers
229 views

When was Proto-Indo-Uralic spoken?

You have seen that I asked a question about Proto-Indo-Uralic and whether or not it could be reconstructed using Proto-Indo-European, Proto-Uralic, and internal reconstruction in those branches. One ...
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1answer
108 views

Some scholars says that you cannot make the plural and feminine form of word Allah from arabic linguistic perspective [closed]

Is it possible from arabic linguistic perspective to make the plural and feminine form of word الله? for example اللهون plural form of word الله and اللت feminine form of word الله because in Arabic, ...
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Meaning of the inverted copula

I just discovered the existence of the inverted copula concept. Learning a bit of Latin, you have the structure: Subject - Copula - Predicate. But as the case is the same in Latin for the Subject ...
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2answers
130 views

How regular were Latin verbs compared to Spanish?

Compared to English, Spanish is very consistent within its rules about verbs. The endings for the three kinds of verbs—grouped as -ar, -er, and -ir verbs—are pretty consistently regular, and few words ...
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3answers
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Is there a specific name for the area of linguistics studying external constructs as encoded/embedded in languages?

I've recently become curious about this area of language/linguistics. I'm thinking about how mental, environmental and societal constructs are encoded within languages. Also about what a language ...
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2answers
902 views

Why is the concept of double articulation (André Martinet) so important in the study of linguistics?

I'm just having a hard time understanding in which context can double articulation be important and useful. I understood that the first articulation means morphemes and second one means phonemes, and ...
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1answer
2k views

Why is the word for I know in Spanish “yo sé” and not “yo sabo”?

When I was learning Spanish last year (I didn't feel forced), I found a peculiar irregularity: the word for I know. It was yo sé, which made no sense to me. I want to know why it is yo sé and not yo ...
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1answer
213 views

Glottal stops- comparative frequency among commonly spoken languages

I'm a brand new member who enjoys words and languages but I am not a trained linguist. Which common languages of the world, and families of languages, are considered the most glottal (most glottal ...
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3answers
164 views

In which languages could a phrase like “We went to lunch with Bob” signify an event in which exactly two people took part?

I'm sorry for the perhaps weirdly worded question, but here's my attempt to explain better what I mean: In English, if I say "We went to lunch with Bob" means that the people involved are me, Bob, ...
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1answer
133 views

Does the study of linguistics help one to be a good speaker and good writer of languages?

Linguistics is the systematic study of languages. Some people say "What chemistry is to medicine, linguistics is to language." It is a fact that linguistics helps one to study languages ...
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2answers
161 views

Can computational techniques solve historical problems that couldn't otherwise be solved?

Recently I've read that machine learning has been used to apply the Comparative Method (example with references here). Also, there are other mathematical approaches that have been applied to the ...
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8answers
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What are some interesting features that are common cross-linguistically but don't exist in English?

This is on purpose not a very concrete question, I simply want to know some interesting properties other languages have that English doesn't, or features you even think English ought to have, this can ...
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1answer
233 views

What are the “cardinal sins” in historical linguistics? [closed]

Are there any explicit examples of poor methodology or application of the historical comparative method that most, if not all, can agree on?
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1answer
507 views

Proto-Polynesian reconstruction and ambiguities in Hawaiian, Maori, Samoan and Tongan

given that: Hawaiian (H) Maori (M) Samoan (S) Tongan (T) /l/ in H S T = /r/ in M /t/ in M S T = /k/ in H why do we find words with /l/ /r/ /n/ alternations instead of the common attested /l/ /r/ ...
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1answer
134 views

Is it scientific to throw all previous work on language families and instead take two random languages and apply the historical comparative method?

Does it make any sense or rather is it scientific to take random languages that have no prior evidence of kinship and apply the historical comparative method?
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Sound Changes From Proto Bengali to Bengali

What are the sound changes that occur from Proto Bengali to Bengali? In which order did they occur historically? Ex. PB Būdhā became B Buro PB Karisi became B koriš PB dahī became B doi
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Are there languages where this “is” phrase is reversed?

"A cat is an animal". "Is a cat an animal?" I have a theory that the word order here is important. One must first put the image of a "cat" in your brain BEFORE recognising if it is an "animal". For ...
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Does high-context manifest in Japanese grammar and syntax?

Supposedly being a high-context culture, do modern Japanese text genres also sport a higher prevalence of ellipsis? Do Japanese texts, by and large, sport more kinds of high-context manifestations ...
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1answer
198 views

Does 'on' mean the same as 'a' or 'à'?

English: unless (conj.) mid-15c., earlier onlesse, from (not) on lesse (than) "(not) on a less compelling condition (than);" see less. The first syllable originally on, but the negative connotation ...
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335 views

If *h1 were a glottal stop, and virtually all German word initial vowels have an implicit glottal stop

If *h1 were a glottal stop, and virtually all German word initial vowels have implicit glottal stop then would the claim about regular laryngeal loss have to be revised? There's a rather recent ...
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0answers
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Is there a connection between the Sumerian En and the Semite El?

En means lord in Sumerian and El god or deity in Semitic. Semitic peoples use the word lord as a synonym of god, it seems that the same happens with Sumerian and its gods like Enlil, Enki, Enzu etc. ...
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How can I obtain a list / cross-comparison table of function / closed-class words in the world's languages? (preferably in softcopy, online etc.)

How can I obtain a list / cross-comparison table of function / closed-class words in the world's languages? (preferably in softcopy, online etc.) I am looking for something like: ...
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2answers
407 views

Nazis considered Slavs as non-Aryans, but did Nazi linguists classified the Slavic languages as “non-Indo-European”?

Nazis considered Slavs as non-Aryans, but did Nazi linguists classified the Slavic languages as "non-Indo-European"? What was the Nazi theory about historical linguistics?
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Why proto-languages?

Nowadays all the leading works on historical linguistics consider Proto-Slavic (you can put here anything you wish but I will talk about Slavonic studies) language as a fact (yes, there can be said ...
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1answer
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Is “small numbers inflect, large numbers don't” a universal?

In many languages, adjectives have some sort of noun-like inflection. In Latin (Indo-European) and Lingála (Bantu), just off the top of my head, adjectives are marked to agree with the nouns they ...
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263 views

From which language was the Finnish word for “language” derived?

I have noticed that several "Altaic" languages have similar words for "language," but I do not know whether this is a coincidence, or due to historical language contact. The word "kieli" in Finnish ...
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“program” Equivalent in Arabic [closed]

Program and programming language don't have a known translation in Arabic. برمجة and برنامج are used, even though they aren't Arabic. Is there a native word that can be used instead?
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441 views

“Ring species” as dialect continuum?

In biology, ring species is a population of subspecies in a geographically ring-shaped region, where individuals are close (in terms of interbreeding) if they live close to each other, but between the ...
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2answers
163 views

Why do some (usually, first ones) ordinal numbers seem completely different from corresponding cardinals?

I've noticed that in some (all? most?) languages, ordinal for 1 and 2 are completely different (i.e., not derived) from corresponding cardinals: English One/Two/Three vs First/Second/Third is a bad ...
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1answer
569 views

Latin “niger” from *negʷ-?

Could Latin niger "black", of uncertain origin, come from *negʷ- "bare, naked"? For an analogy, compare black, blank, Spanish blanco "white, argent", and their roots PGem *blakaz "burnt", PGem *...
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2answers
446 views

European loans in Bantu

This question is inspired by this answer. I wondered whether bod in the Beti language translates human and/or being just because it's reminiscent of body like everybody. Then I remembered Bantu means ...