Questions tagged [cross-linguistic]

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

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2
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1answer
456 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
100 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
211 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 ...
2
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0answers
55 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
605 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 ...
0
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1answer
220 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
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 ...
0
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1answer
148 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 ...
1
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1answer
503 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 ...
0
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1answer
125 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?
3
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2answers
248 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
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
273 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
97 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
766 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 ...
4
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0answers
184 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
75 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 ...
1
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2answers
150 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
190 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
52 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 ...
5
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3answers
570 views
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1answer
137 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
69 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
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 ...
2
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1answer
157 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
273 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 ...
7
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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 ...
4
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1answer
230 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 ...
2
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0answers
682 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" ...
5
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0answers
186 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
568 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?
2
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0answers
313 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
536 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 ...
4
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6answers
3k views

Which is the hardest language for a software translator to translate into English? [closed]

Many people i see over online auction sites and such use software translators for their benefit, but sometimes the outcome can be somewhat curious. Are these inaccuracies caused by the use of informal ...
3
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2answers
153 views

Reasons for things named same way in seemingly unrelated languages

How did it come different languages share idiomatic expressions, or name something in same words? Like, take word "inflammation" for example. In English, it's "in(ner)" and "flame". In Ukrainian, it'...
2
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2answers
2k views

List of phoneme per language

I there a resource that lists the phonemes that are used in different languages? I would prefer a ranking of the most common phonemes within each language like in this example: German: 1 /ɛ/ 2 /ə/ ....
7
votes
3answers
310 views

Relationship between possession (“to have”) and tenses (“I have seen”)

In several Indo-European languages the verb that denotes possession (to have) is also used to construct verb tenses. Some examples: I have seen ... I have a dog. (English) Am văzut ... Am un ...
4
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1answer
440 views

Language transfer for second language learners (French-English)

How does language transfer occur from French to English within native french speakers' mind? Can we observe this phenomenon ?
3
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2answers
529 views

Are there other languages where pronouns behave like they do in Japanese, Korean, and Ryukyuan?

In Japanese and Korean (and I have to assume the Okinawan / Ryukyuan languages also), pronouns are quite different from most other languages from most families in at least two ways I can think of: ...
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0answers
86 views

Name for “all things able to be referenced” by a language

Is there a name for the collection of all things that can be referenced in a language; a language's universe perhaps? For example, the "universe" of English would contain most all things/concepts we ...
3
votes
1answer
206 views

Active vocabulary for Anglophones compared to native speakers of other languages

A site search has turned me up Size of active vocabulary in hunter gather tribes, and Which language has the biggest vocabulary?, but neither of those seem to address what I want to know about. I ...
4
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2answers
371 views

What morphosyntactic features are associated with VSO?

In an answer to another question, librik cited Orin Gensler's observation that Insular Celtic and Semitic share a surprisingly large feature complex. This makes it hard for a layman with ready access ...
3
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2answers
277 views

What is a good way to represent data in a multilingual dictionary? Wordnet alternatives or extensions?

I'm not a linguist so forgive my misuse of terminology... I'm looking for a data structure to represent dictionary entries. A dictionary would have words translated to other languages along with links ...
7
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2answers
748 views

Are “nine” and “new” etymologically or historically connected?

Is there a connection between the word "nine" and "new"? The two words are similar in many languages.
5
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1answer
87 views

Are there languages with three non-neutral “strong” divisions of vowel harmony?

Most languages with vowel harmony seem to have two main divisions of vowels plus a neutral division. The main division is along one vowel dimension such as frontness/backness or +/- ATR (advanced ...