Questions tagged [cross-linguistic]

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

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5
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0answers
117 views

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 ...
3
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0answers
102 views

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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2answers
665 views

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 ...
4
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0answers
136 views

'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 ...
3
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1answer
183 views

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 ...
4
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1answer
178 views

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, ...
3
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3answers
175 views

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, ...
3
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2answers
108 views

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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1answer
84 views

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, ...
2
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3answers
370 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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1answer
529 views

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. ...
3
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1answer
189 views

In Arabic loanwords, why does Persian change the short vowels with different vowels instead of matching them with long counterparts?

Classical Arabic (4th-9th century) short vowels are /a/, /u/, and /i/, and long vowels are /a:/, /u:/, and /i:/. New Persian (1000-1200 years old) short vowels are /æ/, /o/, and /e/, and long vowels ...
2
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1answer
565 views

Do valid sentences of phrases that have different meanings in different languages exist? How are they called?

I am aware of words that have different meanings in different languages (for example, the word "brat" means brother in many Slavic languages). There are sentences made up from words of one language, ...
4
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1answer
103 views

Term for words that introduce a new sentence

I'm curious if there is a decided term for the words that begin a new utterance. They often are written with a comma following them such as below: "Well, ..." "So, ..." but the class of these words ...
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2answers
249 views

Could the proto-human language still play a role in the interlingual communication?

I've read several studies about sound symbolism and I'm still not sure whether I got an insight into the topic. I know that today's view of most of the linguists is skeptical towards sound symbolism ...
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0answers
59 views

French Auxiliary Selection. Theoretical explanations?

I've heard that Generative Approaches trying to explain Auxiliary Selection are mostly focused in Italian, because its a language which intransitive verbs respond pretty well to unaccusativity ...
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3answers
737 views

Difference between particle and adverb in English

Some dictionaries such as Cambridge Online Dictionary defines the word particle as a word or a part of a word that has a grammatical purpose but often has little or no meaning: In the sentence "I ...
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1answer
234 views

Which language among South East Asia has the most and least loanwords from English? [closed]

Among different languages used in Southeast Asia, which language has the most and least loanwords from English in lexicon? In different languages, I assume Tagalog, Malay, Thai, Vietnamese. I know ...
8
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1answer
690 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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1answer
166 views

Languages with alphabets sharing the same basic shapes as Arabic

I would like to know, besides Arabic itself, how many other separate languages (not including dialects) have alphabets sharing same basic shapes as Arabic? I would like to have a complete list of all ...
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1answer
600 views

Question about usage of Swedish words “som” and “vem” [closed]

In the song "Jorden är ett litet rum," Eva Dahlgren sings "kvinnan som lever sitt liv i Stockholm..." Would it be correct to say "kvinnan vem lever sitt liv i Stockholm"? I ask in part because the ...
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1answer
127 views

Are there any languages in which 'knowledge' is not a mass noun?

I would have thought there would be some, but I'd love some examples. So are there any languages in which the translation of 'knowledge'is not a mass noun?
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2answers
254 views

Lexical Distance, is there a table?

I was looking (for a statistics project) to the Lexical Distance between languages and I came across this post Worldwide map or data for linguistic distance? I was wondering if there is any "...
7
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2answers
838 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
278 views

How do languages other than English form lists of words? [closed]

(Apologies if this is off-topic for Linguistics.) I'm trying to properly internationalize a web site. I have a sentence like, "You've earned badges A and B." Because the number of badges can vary, ...
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2answers
99 views

Do languages affect the focus of a society/civilization? [closed]

As I have come into contact with different languages in life I began to wonder whether some languages are more geared toward science, efficiency, literature or whatever. It seems like certain ...
2
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1answer
927 views

Does “I don't drink.” mean “I don't drink alcohol.” in all languages? [duplicate]

In those languages I'm a bit familiar with, the verb for drinking is very often understood as drinking alcohol, especially if its meaning "the oral intake of any fluid", wouldn't make sense. For ...
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0answers
194 views

The expressive power of languages : Information content in a sentence : How do we measure it

What is your name Isme shoma chi e Two sentences - same content. My question is about the way to measure information content in a language. How do we do this? Because quite evidently count of the ...
2
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2answers
66 views

What is the web-searchable database of linguistic features?

Years ago, I heard of a website that allowed you to search thousands of described languages by feature, like consonant inventory and word order. It was an acronym, and I think it had multiple W's in ...
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0answers
79 views

Distal features of wh-words cross-linguistically

My question concerns distal marking on Wh-words. Pronouns like 'this'/'here' and 'that'/'there' show clear marking of the proximal/distal distinction. Wh-words seem to exhibit some similarities to ...
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2answers
174 views

Tackling cross-linguistic vowel markedness system[at]ically: features or what?

I have been trying to find alternative ways of representing vowel phonemes for cross-linguistic comparisons in a unified, systematic way that would also reveal their relative (un)markedness. At the ...
2
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2answers
201 views

Chinese 3rd tone: cross-linguistic comparison

I'm wondering about the rate of occurence of complex tone contours like the Mandarin Chinese third tone, the falling-rising tone. By "complex" I mean that its contour isn't simply a rising, falling, ...
2
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1answer
54 views

Looking for complementary word related to "xenophobia'

The Greek-rooted word "xenophobia" is commonly used to refer to "unjustified fear of an 'other'" in English. I'm looking some words which have related but different meanings: "unjustified ...
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3answers
613 views
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1answer
140 views

Why do peoples(Europe, Asia, Africa, etc) call “God” in very similar ways? [closed]

UK: dieu(the motto on passport - French)/deity(English word) China: tien(Chinese Wade-Giles... t->d) South Africa: modimo(o->əʊ) New Zealand: atua(Maori... t->d) North America: tirawa(Pawnee... w->u t-...
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3answers
94 views

Defining Linguistics

Studying Japanese, I finally broke the mindset of trying to turn Japanese phrases into English phrases. Doing this has made the study of Japanese much easier for me. Then I got to thinking, usually I ...
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0answers
71 views

Is it right that repetition in English is not so pervasive?

In Chinese, word repetition is very pervasive, for example pao lai pao qu 'run come run go'. However, this direct translation is not good English. Does the native English speaker intend to avoid this ...
1
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1answer
157 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 ...
2
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1answer
160 views

Relation between Hebrew 'סמפוניה' and English 'Symphony'

In the Mishna, it mentions a musical instrument called a 'סמפוניה', transliterated 'Simp-O-nya'. This sounds rather like the English word symphony, which is a musical composition. What is the ...
5
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1answer
289 views

What languages are writer-responsible?

It seems like every scholar since Hinds has only mentioned English as a writer-responsible language, which is also used to contrast reader-responsible languages (that are usually identified as Asian ...
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5answers
895 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 ...
4
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1answer
235 views

Why do French/German speakers round [ð] to /z/ while Italian/Hebrew speakers round it to /d/?

More generally, what factors determine which phoneme a non-phonemic foreign sound gets rounded to in a specific language when there are multiple possibilities available? Is the choice always ...
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0answers
724 views

What is the origin and meaning of the word/name “Idora”? (Shortened)

I have been researching the word "Idora" for a couple years now in hopes of discovering the meaning as it applies to the defunct trolley park "Idora Park" formerly in Youngstown, Ohio. "Idora Park" ...
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0answers
191 views

What languages use grammaticalized spoonerisms?

Here I define a "spoonerism" as the exchange of onset sounds between initially accented words in a phrase: "sh(oving l)eopard" instead of "loving shepherd" "f(ighting a l)iar" instead of "lighting a ...
4
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1answer
618 views

Is there a language without words which correspond to the concepts 'I', 'They', 'We'

I was wondering if a language exists without the ability to express the notions of 'I', 'We', 'they' etc. Would it be possible to communicate without these concepts being expressible as a ...
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2answers
130 views

Unknown language on back of paintings [closed]

Can you clarify what language these writings are in and what they say?
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0answers
336 views

Why is less consistent SVO more common than VSO or VOS?

"Language Change as a Source of Word Order Correlations", by Brady Clark, Matthew Goldrick, and Kenneth Konopka, is among the many sources dating back to Greenberg (1966) stating that language ...
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0answers
62 views

Is there a data set of elementary typical phrases translated in different languages?

To be more explicit, I think about a collection of "abstract" sentences which could be categorized in such a way that they would be easily identified in any language. For example, some typical phrases ...
14
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14answers
4k views

What languages use numbers to name the week days and months?

I know in Chinese, the days in a week from Monday to Sunday are called 星期一, 星期二, ..., 星期六, 星期日, which are verbatim translated as weekday one (or 1st weekday), weekday two (or 2nd weekday), ..., ...
11
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2answers
548 views

Why do so many languages have a phase like “so-so”?

Many languages seem to have some sort of repeating and/or singsong equivalent of the phrase so-so: Arabic: نصف نصف (nisf nisf) Chinese: 馬馬虎虎 (mǎma hūhu) Greek: έτσι κι έτσι Hebrew: ככה ...