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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9
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1answer
584 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
87 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 ...
2
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1answer
207 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
166 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 ...
2
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0answers
49 views

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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0answers
54 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
66 views

-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 ...
6
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1answer
108 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 ...
0
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1answer
51 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 ...
0
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0answers
32 views

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
60 views

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
95 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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0answers
35 views

Relationship between three objects that can't be split into binary relationships?

First of all I have to say that I do not have a linguistic background, so I don't know how to put my question in correct linguistic terms, but I hope someone can help me anyway. (A google link might ...
0
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1answer
60 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
212 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
104 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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0answers
45 views

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 ...
0
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2answers
115 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
64 views

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 ...
2
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2answers
628 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 ...
4
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1answer
1k 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
167 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
162 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, ...
2
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1answer
117 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
158 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 ...
20
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8answers
4k views

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 ...
3
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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?
4
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1answer
454 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/ ...
2
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1answer
133 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?
3
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0answers
64 views

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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2answers
198 views

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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0answers
49 views

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 ...
0
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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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2answers
315 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 ...
2
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0answers
108 views

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. ...
0
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0answers
40 views

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: ...
3
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2answers
343 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?
9
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4answers
390 views

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
63 views

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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2answers
237 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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2answers
96 views

“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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3answers
392 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 ...
6
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2answers
156 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
489 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
445 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 ...
5
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2answers
162 views

Why is phonemic labialization often found only on dorsal consonants?

According to Merritt Ruhlen, over 50% of occurrences of phonemic labialization are applied to dorsal (velar and uvular) consonants, while coronals are usually left out. There are a few families where ...
14
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3answers
9k views

Are Hungarian and Turkish related?

I was told by somebody who has lived near Hungary that she thought that Hungarian and Turkish were related, and that their languages are very similar. A brief google search seems to support this. ...
1
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1answer
192 views

In what ways did the Insular Indic languages morphologically diverge from Maharashthri Prakrit?

Maharashtri Prakrit is the antecedent southern zone language to all insular Indic languages. What are some characteristics, morphologically speaking, which differentiate these insular languages from ...
5
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1answer
203 views

Statistical Methods in Etymology

Etymologists tend to categorize the probability of theories under formulaic labels. These range from "uncertain" over "tentative" or "not convincing" to "established", "accepted" or "nonsense". P ...
4
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4answers
268 views

Halegannada/Proto-South Dravidian Phonological Changes

What is the explanation behind the /p/ to /h/ phonological change from Halegannada to Kannada?