Questions tagged [cross-linguistic]

Comparisons across (as opposed to within) languages or language families.

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What aspects of a conceptual metaphor can be compared cross-culturally?

I'm interested to do a cross-cultural study of a conceptual metaphor 'Love is food' between English and Thai. I would like to compare the use of this metaphor in the two languages to find similarities ...
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Is there a tendency to name money after other things?

Back in Spanish.StackExchange there was a question about the use of the word plata (literally "silver") in American dialects of Spanish instead of the proper word, dinero. European Spanish also avoids ...
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Why is the word “idiot” so similar between multiple languages?

Weird question, granted, but I was just looking around on Google Translate and I noticed that the word "idiot" is basically the same across quite a few languages, here are a few examples: Italian: ...
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Non-African Click Languages

Paralinguistic clicks are quite common across world's languages. But paralinguistic clicks usually appears as ideophones. But why is Africa the only continent that uses click consonants? Are there any ...
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Australia - absence of sibilants

Are there any sciencific/linguistic/historical theories about reasons of absence of sibilants in some Australian languages? As far as I know, sibilants are common accross world languages. Since ...
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What natural symbolic representations could be used for Mathematical constants?

We know mathematics is a language by itself. But to evoke any constants or any arbitrary values as such to solve anything, prior knowledge of a particular symbol and its usage must be understood. ...
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Different types of color adjectives

One the one hand, Berlin and Kay found a linguistic hierarchy of colors. On the other hand, some languages have several kinds of colors. In French, color adjectives are invariable if they come from ...
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Is there a dictionary of word commonalities across languages?

The most common combination of letters that is used for a word... What is that called? And is there a dictionary of that? An example is... Pineapple... If you look at the word pineapple in all the ...
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72 views

What cases are typical for nouns accompanying the subject?

In the phrase "I went to the shops with a friend", "a friend" is the accompanier, while I am the subject. Some languages, such as Finnish (I believe) have a comitative case, which is taken by an ...
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Where does supplementation fit in?

As far as I can see, the structure of supplementary constructions like Karen, being ill, was unable to go or John – her father – was unable to walk her down the aisle or maybe a washer-dryer ...
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Where online compares phonemes across multiple languages, and exhibits the common and distinct ones?

This answer refers to http://web.phonetik.uni-frankfurt.de/upsid_compare.html. Anyone know why it omits English? 2. Are there websites that can compare more than 3 languages concurrently?
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When is a conjunction not a conjunction?

I am trying to get to the bottom of Thai constructions which I can only gloss along the lines of: (1) Because of the fact that her friends helped her escape prevented the soldiers from catching her; ...
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Are Word Frequencies Cross-Lingual?

If someone tried to invent a code where they simply replaced every English word with another word, the code could be cracked (given a large enough sample) by comparing frequencies of English words to ...
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Are /tl/ and /dl/ rare onsets worldwide?

Onsets of stop+liquid are very common, but it seems like /tl/ and /dl/ are much rarer than other stop+liquid onsets, like /gl/ or /pr/. Are /tl/ and /dl/ especially rare compared to other stop+liquid ...
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Concept / function duplication

I'm looking for a name for the phenomenon whereby some languages like to put chains of words together that mean the same thing, while others don't - just some terminology that would help me search for ...
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All the punctuation features across languages

Wondering what features of language or writing that languages across the world transcribe into so-called "punctuation". To clarify what I mean, I don't mean a list of every punctuation character in ...
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Conjunctions between complex clauses - which items do they coordinate?

In a sentence like: He had joined up for no other reason than to escape, [blank] hated army life. I would use the conjunction and. In the equivalent Thai sentence, though, it seems that native ...
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Cross-linguistic study of distribution of number of verbal arguments

I think I remember reading once that cross linguistically, at least in "normal" spoken or written language, verbs almost never take more than ~4-5 obligatory arguments. This seems to be true in my ...
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How to remove an accent from a language (and what an accent actually is)

Wondering if there is such thing as a language without an accent. This is probably naïve, but to me as an English speaker it feels like I can tell when someone has an accent or not, myself included. ...
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Reversal of kinship terms when speaking to a child

When Turkish people speak to children, they often address them with the kinship term that the child is supposed to use for the speaker. For example a mother may call her child "anneciğim" ("my dear ...
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Case of Nominal Associate in Clauses with Exceptional case-marking

I've been wondering whether the nominal associate of expletive there gets nominative, accusative or dative case in clauses with exceptional case-marking in other languages, since case isn't visible ...
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Why do some languages distinguish between “identical” and “indistinguishable”, and others don't?

In some languages, there's a very prevalent distinction between different meanings of the English word "same" as in "These two items are the same". For example German: dasselbe / das gleiche Greek: ...
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Is there a better series of sentences for observing features of a language?

I've often tried to find a few short sentences that encapsulate most of the features of a language, a sort of Learn X in Y Minutes for spoken languages, if you will. Tim Ferriss, a Renaissance man of ...
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Can I report a multivariate effect in a two-way repeated measures ANOVA?

In my two-way repeated measures ANOVA analysis, I use Language (Frisian, Dutch) and Category (identical-cognates, form-similar cognate, non-cognate) as within subject variables. Sphericity is assumed. ...
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Are there any languages that have words for open and closing quotation marks in speech?

It seems to me that most languages have some way of bounding quotations in written form. European languages have their apostrophe quotes and angle-brackets, while eastern Asian languages have those ...
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Are there words for “second cousin twice removed” in other languages?

I know in english we have a whole bunch of terms like this, do other languages have something similar?
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How is chapter related to head?

In several languages, the word for "chapter" (a self-contained unitary text of a book) comes from the word for "head": In Latin, "capitulum" (literally "small head") comes from caput (head). This ...
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Linking surface and deep structure

The sentences in (1) contain the same words, but differ in word order. Nevertheless, the sentences have very similar, if not identical, meanings. (1a) I am home today. (1b) Today, I am home. ...
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Which languages have absorbed the most vocabulary from Russian, and which languages have influenced its vocabulary?

I'm a student of formal linguistics and Russian language, my question has been surprisingly hard to google -- I've studied a little Ukrainian, and I've read that its structurally similar to Russian ...
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146 views

How has pair/couple ended up meaning both 2 and more in different languages?

Consider the following examples from different languages: (en) The bridge has been built a couple years ago. (de) Das Problem ist größer als vor ein paar Jahren. (pl) Poznaliśmy się parę ...
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'Non-standard' indexicals

Currently, I am doing some research on indexicals, by which I mean words like: I here now today, tomorrow, yesterday local present, current For ease of reference, let’s call these the ‘standard’ ...
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Robustness of a language to noise

not a linguist. I was just wondering if the degree of robustness of a language to environmental noise is somehow measured or studied. I presume not every language is equally robust, right?
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Verbs and onomatopeias for knocking

I was reading the Wikipedia article regarding Cross-linguistic onomatopoeias. It struck me that the verb for knocking is similar to the onomatopoeia of knocking in various languages. To knock and ...
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The origin of a common word for tongue/language?

It seems that a lot of Indo-European languages use a common word to denote both a language, and the tongue (body part). In French, the same word is used for both aspects (langue). It is also the case ...
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Cross-linguistic cases of German 'trennbare' Verbs

How many languages have verbs where you can detach a prefix and put it at the end? That's like the German 'trennbare' Verbs. For example, in German, for depart/leave ('abfahren') you say: Der Zug is ...
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Offensive words over time in other languages

This may or may not be true, but it's my perception of it. In English there seems to be a phenomenon where we need a word for something that might be considered offensive, e.g. body parts, certain ...
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What do languages without a schwa vowel have in common?

This is a follow up to this answer were the OP makes the point that the schwa vowel (a.k.a. central or neutral vowel) is produced when other vowels are reduced to that sound. It makes perfect sense ...
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Is there any resource about “exceptional” examples of false cognates available?

As an amateur I lack information about specialized resources for linguists. What I’m looking for is a list of stunning examples of false cognates in any discipline, that can be either exact matches, ...
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examples for indoeuropean languages which are related to each other in different ways [closed]

I am currently writing an essay on Ludwig Wittgenstein's Family Resemblance Analogy (Philosophy of Language) and I need your help to find a neat example. I have thought of indoeuropean languages as ...
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Genitive forms (German)

Do you know any rule how I can decide (formally), wheter a German sentence contains a Genitivus subjectivus or a Genitivus objectivus? Example: "der Besuch des Botschafters". Here, the ambassador ...
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Languages where smells are heard

In Russian, one can use the verb слышать ([ˈslɨʂətʲ], "hear") with both sounds and smells, though it's more common to use чувствовать ([ˈt͡ɕustvəvətʲ], "feel") for smells. Example from Wiktionary: ...
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Linguistics concept about meaning of words according to a context

Several linguistics questions about the meaning in context of words: How is called in linguistics the fact some words have a meaning only with other words? How is it called when a word changes ...
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'Literally' non-literally

There has been a recent popularization over the questionable use of the word 'literally' as an intensifier rather than as a marker of non-figurative, especially since it seems to be used non-literally ...
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Transitive nouns (and adjectives) evidences from early Indo-Aryan languages

I search info and explanations about "transitive nouns", I didn't read Chomsky yet. I know he talks about "transitive nouns". Transitivity is typically thought of as a property of verbs, and ...
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are what we translate as “adjectives”, “nouns”, etc, the same kind of words in no indo-european languages?

This question comes from questions in japanese SE. Keiyōshi 形容詞 are translated as adjectives. Meishi 名詞 are translated as nouns. But are they really the same kind of words that we mean with nouns, ...
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Constructions like the double accusative outside of the Ancient Greek word “διδασκειν”

I'm looking for examples of having 2 or more nouns in the same case but with the different semantic roles given by the differing referents of the nouns, not entirely by one of morphological case, ...
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Are there languages with discontinued subordinate clauses?

As for the languages I know I think to believe, that a subordinated clause comes in a chunk and not scattered throughout the main clause. For instance: I LIKE TO SING, while i slave away while I ...
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How large is the number of all phonetic entities across all spoken languages?

Based on scientific (calculations in) literature, how many different "sounds" are there to be found across all languages of which the pronunciation is known? I think tones, and a fortiori dialects, ...
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362 views

Which epenthetic sounds are most common to separate vowels?

Many languages disallow vowel-vowel sequences in a word or phrase, instead inserting an extra consonant between them to keep them apart. Some versions of English do this, like when Kennedy would say ...
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What is a small language w.r.t. the number of speakers?

What would you call a "small" or "medium" language in regards to the number of speakers? I suppose a "big" language would be Mandarin, English, Spanish, Arabic. Small would be Greenlandic or Faroese. ...