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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What is the history behind the use of the infinitive form with an imperative function in Germany, Dutch, and other languages

In German, Dutch, and other languages, the imperative is distinct from the infinitive: Dutch would be doe mee! (singular), doet mee! (plural or formal, dated). German would be mach mit (singular) or ...
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Reversing text — how do different cultures and languages approach this?

In computer science, there's a "basic problem" called string reversal. You take a piece of text, and flip it so it reads backwards. "abcd" becomes "dcba", etc. There's ...
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Is there a linguistic term for apologetic prefacing?

I was editing a question on Stack Overflow. Like so many questions it started with an apologetic or diminishing preface: I am genuinely sorry if this is seen as simple but I am new to coding in ...
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What spoken human languages in 2021 don't greet with words related to health or peace?

What are the exceptions to the fact that most Asian, Middle Eastern and European languages greet with words anent health or peace? I know that "salutation" itself meant "health". ...
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Were names attributive on kinship terms (e.g. in Germanic)?

As a follow up to the question Which languages have different words for “maternal uncle” and “paternal uncle”? I wonder if expressions like "Uncle Bob" could have meant the uncle to Bob. If ...
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Which languages have different words for “maternal uncle” and “paternal uncle”?

According to some early Hebrew grammarians, the Biblical Hebrew word דוד (dod) specifically means "paternal uncle," while the term מסרף (misraf) means "maternal uncle" (for example,...
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81 views

Would we be able to prove “Afroasiatic hypothesis” without Akkadian and Egyptian corpora?

In an alternative world where ancient Akkadian and Egyptian corpora didn't survive, if someone formulated the "Afroasiatic hypothesis" encompassing the branches that current consensus places ...
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how to tell languages are different? [duplicate]

How to tell that two or more languages are different from each other? I mean what are the linguistic features that are best indicators of language being different e.g. may be numerals, pronominals, ...
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What is the reconstructed root for fire in Proto-Uralic or Proto-Finno-Ugric?

Starostin alleges that IE root h₁n̥gʷnís has cognates in Finno-Urgic. But I distrust this database and also I would like to know what was the proto-form of the root, particularly, the origin of Mari ...
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What's the reconstruction of the word for fire in proto-Australian?

The word for fire in some modern Australian languages: Tiwi yikwani Djinang junggi Maung yungku Walmajarri yakun This is strikingly similar to that in PIE: PIE h₁...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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-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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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262 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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. ...