Questions tagged [complexity]

A set of aspects of a language that make communication easier, simpler or more compact using the inventory of a given language

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Which language is more complex, English or French? Is it even possible to objectively measure a language's complexity?

OK, so I'm a native English speaker who learned French as a teenager and I have a friend who is French and learned English as a teenager (so the opposite). The other day he was telling me how easy ...
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5 votes
2 answers
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How to define sentence complexity?

I am not a pure linguist but rather at the intersection of computational linguistics, NLP and computer science. Thus please be cautious with me and my ignorance. I am looking for definitions of ...
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1 vote
4 answers
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What are some reasons why grammar is often more complex than needed for communication purposes?

It shouldn't be controversial to say that the grammar of certain languages is more complex than what communication calls for. For instance, some languages have gendered nouns, and it is often unclear ...
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6 answers
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Is there any evidence to support the claim that English grammar is unusually straightforward?

The renowned linguist Eddie Izzard devoted at least one of his standup comedy routines to the proposition that English grammar is unusually straightforward, at least in comparison (if I recall ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How to determine grammatical complexity using quantitative features?

I'm doing a research on defining the complexity of language used in technical documentations for technologies (libraries and modules) used in data science and machine learning engineering. And I'm ...
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7 votes
3 answers
349 views

relative complexity of languages

Often, when talking casually about languages, people will say that one language is harder to learn than another. I always thought that this was a common misconception, and that other than the ...
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8 votes
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Why do languages retain or re-create complexity?

It seems to me (but I may be wrong), that languages tend to evolve towards simplification. Some examples I can think of: loss of declinations in Romance languages or in English, loss of 2nd person ...
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