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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2answers
852 views

How can I distinguish Dutch from Flemish from Afrikaans at a glance?

I don't know Dutch, Flemish, or Afrikaans, but will sometimes, on coming across a writing sample of one of them, wish to know which it is. How do I distinguish them in their written forms?
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1answer
353 views

How can I distinguish modern Scandinavian languages at a glance?

I don't know Danish, Nynorsk, or Bokmål, but will sometimes, on coming across a writing sample of one of them, wish to know which it is. How do I distinguish them in their written forms? (I'd include ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Is there any sentence structure that English has but Chinese (Mandarin) does not?

Chinese (Mandarin) translation of my question may be an example of the sentence structure that both English and Chinese share: [Is there any] [sentence structure] (that) [English has but Chinese (...
3
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1answer
270 views

What is the evidence for laryngeal in *méh₂tēr?

Wikitionary shows a PIE word *méh₂tēr but I never seen this word spelled with a laryngeal. There was a long vowel there but how is it correct to analyze it to be *-eh₂- rather than just *ā?
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1answer
324 views

Origin of *dhvor-

Formerly as I remember I saw somewhere *dhvor- (door, gate, yard, court) connected with the root *vert- (turn) in PIE. This is quite realistic and can be supported with similar Russian words створка (...
3
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1answer
686 views

How it happened that evolution of “mater” and “pater” is different despite their similar origin?

With an addition of PIE relatives suffix *-ter-, Eurasiatic *ama, *apa became Old PIE *mā-ter-s, *pa-ter-s (the final -s was later lost in late PIE) But there is a difference: in Old PIE *māters the "...
16
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5answers
2k views

Do linguists measure the relation distance between languages? How?

Sometimes, I read passages like: Languages X, Y and Z in region A are closely related to each other, comparable to French, Italian and Spanish in Western Europe. The discussion in the question "Do ...
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4answers
743 views

Which cues can I listen for to distinguish spoken Georgian and Armenian?

I'm living in an area of Tbilisi Georgia that is traditionally the ethnic Armenian area. I would like to take the opportunity to listen to people in the street to detect whether anybody is speaking ...
7
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1answer
1k views

How common is word order change?

During the course of their development, the word order of some languages change. Examples include Latin (SOV) that changed to SVO in the Romance languages, Proto-Austronesian (verb initial) that ...
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2answers
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Why do languages have different syllable complexity from each other?

Assuming human vocal tracts are similar and equally capable of articulating different syllable structures, why is it that languages develop different syllable complexity? Why is it that it is not ...
6
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2answers
157 views

Are there some studies or resources comparing the two living creole languages in Australia?

In Australia there are two creoles in daily use, Kriol (rop, also known as Roper River Creole etc) in the Northern Territory with about 30,000 speakers and Torres Strait Creole (tcs, also known as ...
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3answers
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Why does the name of the flower 'Forget-me-not' have the same meaning in other languages?

The flower forget-me-not is named "Vergissmeinnicht" in German and "Незабудка" in Russian. The meaning is the same in all three languages. Is this a coincidence?
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9answers
977 views

Are there grammatical analyses of languages that are extremely different from IE grammar?

It's a fact that the grammar core of most European languages (not only IE ones) can be analysed in a relatively precise common framework. Of course I do not know much of these languages, but the basic ...
5
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1answer
313 views

Is there a reference for the parameters of the world's languages?

The principles and parameters paradigm says that most languages in the world have their individual structure (grammatical meta-rules) set (and easily learnable) by a small set of principles and ...
16
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1answer
913 views

Is it possible to analyse Māori grammar without contrasting nouns and verbs?

In order to prepare myself for a glorious sports event this weekend, I've bought and read a book about Māori. If my sources are to be believed, Māori is relatively close to other Polynesian languages, ...
17
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3answers
968 views

Is it possible to predict language changes?

The comparative method is used to reconstruct unattested languages from the attested ones. By comparing different sounds for the same words in various sister languages, it is possible to infer some ...
8
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3answers
417 views

Where can I find a reliable academic source of translations of words to the world's languages?

In this recent question, I was trying to research a list of translation for "no", and a quick google found this page. That website also has other similar pages, like translation of "Hello", "Good ...
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11answers
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Articles before the name of a person

In the question “La” or “le” before a person's name? on the French SE site, the asker refers to the phenomenon that in some rural/dialect settings the first name of a person is preceded by the ...

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