Questions tagged [cross-linguistic]

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

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10 examples of complex infix / circumfix words which also contain prefixes and/or suffixes (cross language)? [closed]

I am putting together a cheatsheet of complex word forms across languages, so myself and others if so desired want to have a test suite of words to work with to figure out how to handle their complex ...
Lance's user avatar
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Semantic loans; words borrowing a meaning already there?

What exactly is a semantic loan, how can a word borrow a meaning it already has? I am trying to figure out whether there are any limitations (can we choose any morphemes) on the recipient word and the ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
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Hidden philosophy in languages?

The 'usual self-introduction' in English is 'I am [name]' or 'My name is [name].' The former indicates that someone's name is something they are, while the latter suggests that the name is a property ...
Human's user avatar
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Is “actual” both a false friend and a cognate?

English definition of “actual”: existing in fact; typically as contrasted with what was intended, expected, or believed. Spanish definition of “actual”: current, present, contemporary These are ...
Felix's user avatar
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Why don't currently spoken languages have words for everything they encounter?

I have been getting translations of what I would consider are fairly basic words, into various languages, and have found some don't have translations and they either make up a translation on the spot (...
Lance's user avatar
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What are examples covering the spectrum of possibilities of inflection types across languages?

I am currently looking at Turkish adjective intensification where they are formed by adding a letter in the middle of the word, according to some rules (after first consonant + vowel): siyah ("...
Lance's user avatar
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Most and least common places of articulation across world's languages

Which place of articulation is most common for oral pulmonic stops in the world's languages? In order, which places of articulation are the LEAST common in the world's languages? In order, which ...
teatime's user avatar
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What script is this, and what does it mean? [closed]

A girl in the gym has this printed down her trousers but has no idea what the text means or where the trousers even were bought from. My two guesses are either Amharic or Oghams. Who knows?
TylerDurden's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
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About phrasal verbs, separable verb and verbs with adverbs

I was wondering about the concepts listed in the title. In one side we have the separable verbs in German, like mitkommen: Ich komme mit. On the other hand we have phrasal verbs such as think over ...
Ergative Man's user avatar
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Distance between languages [duplicate]

This question is similar to this one; the difference is that I'd like to find out about quantitative measurements that are not based solely on the vocabulary. Are there any such objective quantitative ...
Michael's user avatar
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Is there a list of word meanings that are universally represented in all languages?

I am looking for a comprehensive list of words/concepts that are represented in most if not all known languages - presumably the category would include human body parts (hand, foot, mouth, eye), ...
norlesh's user avatar
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Exception to word order in quotative situations

I'm very uneducated in syntax, so I apologize if this question is something really basic that everyone already knows. English is a subject-verb-object language, and it is known to follow that pattern ...
Graham H.'s user avatar
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How do other cultures categorize phonemes?

I don't know where it came from, but the "west" at least as I have learned, came up with the idea of "vowels" and "consonants" at some point, and we just go with that ...
Lance's user avatar
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What languages like Chinese are composed out of a limited set of syllables?

It appears Chinese has about 400 syllables (1600 if you include tones): https://www.quora.com/Are-all-Chinese-words-one-syllable https://chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/14596/how-many-syllables-...
Lance's user avatar
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Word that means "a class of words that represent the output of the same phonology"?

What word do you use to describe groups of words that represent the output of the same phonology? For example, here are some words I found from looking at maps & name lists for different countries:...
Jarren_Takar's user avatar
1 vote
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Technical word for cross-lingual pronunciation that causes bad meaning

In Arabic, کونی is the imperative second person feminine of "be". But the same word in Persian means a faggot (slang). The one who found the heleocentrism is called Copernicus, bet the last ...
Saeed Neamati's user avatar
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How do languages without adjectives, that treat them instead as verbs, handle more complex adjective-like phrases?

I am looking at papers like Where have all the adjectives gone? The case of Jinghpaw which show stuff like: fi=go ggba=thinn re. 3sg=TOP be.big=SUPER COP 'He is the biggest.' Also, Approaches to the ...
Lance's user avatar
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Do any languages greatly restrict the placement of adjectives/adverbs in a phrase or sentence?

I am working on a conlang and wondering how natural languages might limit the placement of "modifiers" (adjectives and adverbs) in a sentence. For example: I eventually walked to the store. ...
Lance's user avatar
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How do the various different word orders handle 3 and 4 argument verbs?

If a 2-argument verb is like "to light", as in "I light the candle", a SOV might say it equivalent to "I the candle light", and a VSO might do "light I the candle&...
Lance's user avatar
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Difference between Cantonese /gw/ and Mandarin /gu/?

As a native speaker of both languages, Cantonese /gw/ like in 過gwo3 and Mandarin /gu/ like in 过guo4 sounds the same, but I've checked that the Cantonese one is [kʷɔː] while the Mandarin one is [kwo], ...
Gaai Chia's user avatar
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1 answer
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Languages that distinguish between objective vs. subjective genitives

Are there languages that grammatically distinguish between objective and subjective genitives?
Geremia's user avatar
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Are there any languages where you say "My age is x years"?

This question is inspired by another one on ELL.SE. To me, the most logical way to say "I am 20 years old" would be "My age is 20 years," because age is an attribute of a person. ...
Someone's user avatar
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Could Cimmerian be a transitional language between Iranian and Slavic?

After a period of reflection, I am currently no longer considering a direct kinship between Iranian and Slavic languages, but rather turning to the existence of another transitional language between ...
Fatyanovo2022's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
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Ambiguous active/passive interpretations

This is a general and brief question. Is anyone familiar with a language which can be largely ambiguous with respect to whether the construction is active or passive, to the degree that in some cases ...
Matthew Fulton's user avatar
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Embedding conditional statements in relative and complement clauses

I happened to run across the following sentence on ELL.SE: Anyone who feels that if so many more students whom we haven't actually admitted are sitting in on the course than ones we have that the ...
A. R.'s user avatar
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1 answer
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Peculiarities of English as spoken/written by Norwegians [closed]

I'm writing a fiction book. Some of its characters are Norwegians who exchange emails in English. I'd like to lightly stylise their texts. What mistakes / peculiarities / word choice / sentence ...
Alexander's user avatar
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What are some example linguistic glosses for the early languages which lack definite articles ("the")? [closed]

My working assumption is that definite articles evolve in language after much of more simpler language, though they can later be lost from a language as it evolves further. First, it appears to me ...
Lance's user avatar
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1 vote
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When/how did "articles" like "the" first appear in language?

I am wondering this sort of cross-linguistically. I know many (most?) languages don't have a word for "the", but the English language does. First part of the question is, did Middle English ...
Lance's user avatar
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Has anyone ever ranked the prevalence of phones by number of speakers worldwide?

I'm interested in knowing the most-used and least-used phones worldwide. According to Wikipedia, the IPA charts about 140 pulmonic consonants, 80 non-pulmonic consonants, 30 co-articulated consonants, ...
Lawton's user avatar
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What makes East-Asian languages sound different than European languages?

I'm not sure if this is on-topic here. If I get reasonable amount of comments telling that it's off-topic, I'll delete my post. I wrote a code that generates random human-readable strings. Every other ...
user avatar
17 votes
3 answers
10k views

What is the longest word without a vowel in any language? [closed]

(see edit below before you answer!) I'm not a linguist, but I've always been fascinated by the fact that in Czech, there is a 9-letter word without a single vowel: čtvrthrst. It means "quarter of ...
honzukka's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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Master's degree in linguistics [closed]

I am a student of Translation Studies (Slovene-German and English-German translation) from the University of Ljubljana, currently in my final year of bachelor's degree. At the time I'm in the process ...
David's user avatar
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What grammatical position hold slogans and mottos? Is this the same across languages?

"Make America Great Again." "Proletariat of the world, unite." "Move the way you want." "Rewards reimagined." "Death to fascism, freedom to the people.&...
JohnnyApplesauce's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
178 views

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, ...
harvinder81's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
219 views

What was the original pronounciation of the Thai consonant symbols?

The Thai language was devised to serve two main purposes: to write Thai words and to write Sanskrit (or Pali) words. For this reason, the Thai alphabet has one consonant symbol for each Sanskrit sound ...
snew's user avatar
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What is the difference between m̥, mʰ, and mʱ?

I am looking at Help:IPA/Nguni and Help:IPA/Welsh, and wondering what the exact difference is between these sounds, and if there are any good audio recordings (or if you can make one!) showing how ...
Lance's user avatar
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What sort of "root" patterns do languages have that don't have infinitive verbs?

I am trying to gather the "base" form of verbs across languages. The form that is used to generate all the other various verb forms. But it seems some languages don't have infinitive forms ...
Lance's user avatar
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What parts of speech are common across every language?

I am trying to make a word game, and part of it requires dividing the words into types. I want it it to work across any language, but so far I can only see 3 things that seem to exist in every ...
Lance's user avatar
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Is there any notion of a single "standard" dialect in various languages?

I am thinking of "standard languages" in the sense of normalized pronunciation of words within a language (English, Chinese, Hebrew, Arabic). I know for one in English there are at least 2 &...
Lance's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
331 views

Is most of the world's languages being in a small number of families a recent development? Or has there always been cycles of linguistic expansion?

I've always found it curious that the languages spoken by an overwhelming proportion of the human population can be traced to a small number of proto-languages that were each spoken by only a small ...
Aqualone's user avatar
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Which (of the Germanic) languages support resultative constructions?

my question regards resultative constructions. Which of the Germanic languages supports resultative constructions? It would be awesome if you could suggest any literature regarding any language. ...
NilsK's user avatar
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4 answers
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What can explain the appearance of "self-made" language features if neither of languages a person speaks or learns have similar features?

I know a woman, whose native language is Kyrgyz (Turkic family) and who learned Russian as an adult (mostly, maybe she was somewhat exposed to it before as well). What striked me is that she invented ...
Anixx's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Origin of describing emotions with adjectives associated with taste

You might have seen that most of the adjectives that are related to taste are used to describe emotions. Salty, sour, sweet, bitter etc. We use these adjectives to describe people and their emotions. ...
Melancholy's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
246 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 ...
Kernel's user avatar
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15 votes
3 answers
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Can Hangul be read as fast as Chinese?

I read that Chinese can be read 7% faster than English. Can Hangul also be read 7% faster than English? Reason to think "no": While Hangul and Chinese both have roughly one character per ...
Max Heiber's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
460 views

Measuring lexical similarity between two arbitrary languages

Pardon me if this question is naive, but I am wondering if there is a way to quantify lexical similarity between two corpora of text, each written in different languages whose alphabets differ greatly....
Vivek Subramanian's user avatar
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Do nouns in simple apposition semantically unpack to predicate nominatives in English?

A Koine Greek grammar states that nouns in simple apposition are semantically understood as predicate nominatives. So, "Paul the apostle" unpacks to "Paul is the apostle" and "the apostle is Paul" ...
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What are all the primary variants of these languages? [closed]

In order to make the transliterator more precise, it looks like I am going to need to distinguish between different versions of a language. My question is, is this the complete list of languages and ...
Lance's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
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How to build a robust transliteration scheme across languages?

So I am trying to imagine building a transliterator across languages that takes any language and converts it into IPA or some less-detailed equivalent (like a Romanization). I am thinking about ...
Lance's user avatar
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0 votes
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Frequency of phonemes in Indian languages

I would like to know the relative frequency of phonemes in Indian languages whose sript is basically very close to Devanagiri. We need this data to make a pronunciation based keyboard layout for ...
Cyriac Antony's user avatar

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