Questions tagged [cross-linguistic]

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

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7
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4answers
867 views

Does English language stand special in terms of phonology?

I am a native Russian speaker. When I am listening to songs and music in other languages, which I do not know, such as Italian, Romanian, Greek, Bulgarian, and even Japanese, Finnish, Kyrgyz and ...
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3answers
136 views

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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1answer
113 views

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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2answers
1k views

Animal sounds across languages

As onomatopoeia, the words used for animal sounds are often quite similar across many languages. However, there are non-trivial differences, even for something as common as the croak of a frog. I was ...
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1answer
79 views

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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2answers
292 views

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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2answers
1k views

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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3answers
113 views

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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0answers
125 views

Is there count/mass distinction in European Portuguese as it is in English?

It is said that European Portuguese has count/mass distinction as many Indo-European languages. However I noticed out that all products/items at stores in Portugal are labeled in singular form. In ...
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5answers
753 views

Etymology of basic numerals (number words)

When speakers of a language coin words for one, two, three, four, etc., for the first time, where do they come up with the forms? Are there any common methods used across language families? Pirahã ...
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2answers
51 views

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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2answers
153 views

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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1answer
65 views

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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1answer
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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0answers
33 views

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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1answer
622 views

Lexical similarity among languages used in Southeast Asia

Among many languages used in Southeast Asia (especially I want to talk about Malay, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Thai), is there any study about which pair of languages is close to each other in ...
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33 views

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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1answer
41 views

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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1answer
109 views

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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2answers
103 views

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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4answers
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What are the historical origins of terms for north, south, east and west?

In the course of researching the etymology of the word "Australia", I was trying to find the Latin words for north and south (the cardinal directions). I found some websites that translate north as "...
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2answers
77 views

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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1answer
183 views

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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0answers
42 views

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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2answers
354 views

Are there any online databases of kinship terms across languages?

Related to a question at ELU, I am interested in doing a comparative analysis of kinship terms in various languages. What would help me with this is an inventory of terms for individual languages. ...
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0answers
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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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4answers
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Why does speech speed seem to vary between different languages?

I feel that French and Spanish speakers speak their languages faster than English speakers do. Is this difference real, or is it just a mistake in my observation (note: I am much less familiar with ...
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2answers
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Is the “ll” in Albanian like the sounds in other languages?

Albanian has a digraph letter "ll" which is described as being similar to English "dark l". But how similar is it and how different? My native Australian English has dark l and to me it tends to turn ...
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2answers
101 views

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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3answers
196 views

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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1answer
33 views

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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2answers
134 views

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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1answer
56 views

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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9answers
8k views

The relationship between “orange” the colour and “orange” the fruit

This is something that bugged me before I studied linguists, and it still does - why is the word "orange" so often used for both the colour and the fruit cross-linguistically? Every language I've ...
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2answers
659 views

The double ⟨l⟩ in Spanish

In Spanish, some words start with the double consonant graphemes ⟨ll⟩ - that have indeed the value of /ʎ/. Is there any language that have a similar pattern (starting with double consonants)? What is ...
4
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1answer
184 views

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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0answers
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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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1answer
150 views

Are there comparative studies of lexical variety in different languages?

I'm not a linguist, but really curious about how different languages measure up in terms of how many different ways of expressing the same notion they offer. For example, Chinese is definitely a more ...
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0answers
88 views

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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3answers
148 views

'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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0answers
48 views

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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2answers
147 views

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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6answers
544 views

Are there any languages where the genitive case changes according to its object?

In forms like Claudio's house or Claudio's dogs, are there languages in which the Claudio's would change depending on gender and number of the houses or dogs?
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2answers
759 views

Are There Ancient Greek Words Descended From Sumerian?

Does the lexicon of Ancient Greek contain words believed to be of Sumerian origin? If so, can some estimate of their number be provided? Thanks
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4answers
209 views

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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4answers
1k views

How did 'cocodrilo' originate from 'crocodile'?

The English word crocodile seems to originate from the Latin crocodīlus and Ancient Greek κροκόδιλος. Indeed it has ended up very similar in several modern languages: German (Krokodile), Russian (...
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3answers
143 views

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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2answers
144 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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4answers
2k views

Using the word “dream” as hope for the future across languages

Many languages seem to use the same word for "dream" (psychological phenomenon) and "dream" (hope for the future). Quick scanning on Wiktionary gives the list: Germanic languages: Danish (drøm), ...