Questions tagged [cross-linguistic]

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

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9
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3answers
647 views

What motivates / allows preposition stranding in English, but disallows it in other languages, like Mandarin?

If someone could direct me to papers/sites that describe this, and a summary or something, that would be great. It is just a parameter for languages? What do linguists think so far? Example: "Which ...
0
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0answers
26 views

Kokkova or kokkora carved on ivory

My question is to try to find the origin of the word kokkova. I have an antique/primitive pin made of ivory which if I had to guess would say that it is walrus but not 100% sure. It is scrimshawed ...
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0answers
94 views

Grice's cooperative principless

Based on Pragmatics Approach, there is one of the principle that involves in communication. It is cooperative principle. This principle consists of 4 maxims. There are maxim of quality (Truthful), ...
2
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1answer
386 views

How can a multi-language dictionary be made? [closed]

Let's pretend we are producing four-language cross-dictionary. To be more difficult, let it be a Russian-English-Japanese-Sanskrit dictionary. By "cross-dictionary" I mean that the person using it ...
1
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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 ...
3
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2answers
378 views

Do the Thai and Lao negative particles, “ไม่” (mai) and “ບໍ່” (bo) have reflexes in the other language?

In my continuing interest in this pair of closely related languages I have noticed each uses an unrleated word for the negative particle meaning "no", "not", etc. Thai: ไม่ (mai) Lao: ບໍ່ (bo) Does ...
10
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1answer
659 views

How does expressing possession vary across language families?

Related: https://english.stackexchange.com/q/126519/17952 Backstory: I recently was explaining a couple of Marathi phrases to my friend, and I realized that the language doesn't have the word "...
3
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1answer
334 views

How do I romanize words from the Akha Language?

I'm sorry for putting up such a specific question here but any help will be really appreciated. Akha is the language spoken by the Akha people of southern China (Yunnan Province), eastern Burma (...
7
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2answers
884 views

How common is phonemic vowel length across languages?

Including different kinds of length distinctions, such as in stressed syllables only, or stressed and unstressed, etc.
5
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2answers
971 views

Is there a general tendency among East Asian languages toward simple syllable structure?

I've noticed that several languages of East Asia and the Pacific islands like Japanese, Chinese, and Hawaiian, have much stricter rules governing phonotactics than languages in other parts of the ...
9
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1answer
2k views

Morphology of proper names

I'm wondering if there are any general morphological properties of proper names. If a word is used as a name, it will be constrained by whatever syntactic constraints that language uses from proper ...
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0answers
126 views

On price tags/labels why some nouns are used singular/plural regardless of countability?

Is there any explanation regarding why some nouns are used in singular form while the others are used in plural form such as price tags in stores or menus in restaurants. I know that in languages ...
3
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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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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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7answers
3k views

Important english word which doesn't exist in another language

I'm looking for an important English word which doesn't have a corresponding word in another language. I would be happy even it's a language spoken only by a small population. Preferably, the word is ...
0
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1answer
103 views

What are the different types of counting conjugations? [closed]

Different languages conjugate their nouns or verbs based on the number that they are referring to. For example, in languages such as English and French, there are two distinctions--singular and plural....
7
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9answers
16k views

Which language has the biggest vocabulary?

I am thinking that it is English because it has so many borrowed words and most you French, Italian, or German words can be written in English as is. Am I right?
5
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5answers
896 views

Is there a way to prove one language is more efficient than another language for science?

English is widely regarded as the global language of science now. In China, we use simplified Chinese to write scientific textbooks, teach courses and do almost everything. Let's take the simplest ...
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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 (...
4
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2answers
1k views

Affix that makes nouns into verbs and verbs into nouns?

I have a friend studying a language from the pacific islands, and she found an affix that when added to a noun makes a verb and when added to a verb makes a noun. What would you call such a thing, and ...
4
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1answer
157 views

A classical text about the Sun?

I've read once there is a text about the Sun, which is created to use words and concepts which shall be present in any human language, and which is translated nearly to all human languages for using ...
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6answers
15k views

Is learning German easier for people who know Sanskrit, and vice versa?

I've heard many times that learning German is easier for those who speak Sanskrit, and vice versa. Is there any linguistic basis for this? What similarities exist between the two languages that may be ...
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3answers
1k views

Where do we find the highest “language density”?

At Travel.SE it was pointed out that in Georgia (the country), a visitor would have use of learning Georgian, Russian, and Armenian. That's three very different languages, with three quite different ...
7
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4answers
866 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 ...
19
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3answers
745 views

How are mathematical operators like “plus” and “cos” analyzed?

Consider the mathematical statement 1 + 2 = 3 It is read in English as One plus two equals three. One plus two is equal to three. In English at least, equals is obviously an ordinary verb, ...
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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), ...
4
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3answers
2k views

What is the most common vowel? [closed]

Of all the languages for which there is sufficient data, including extinct languages, which vocalic speech sound, or phone, as represented by the IPA, has been used most?
5
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1answer
2k views

Exclamation for pain

I always thought that the response to pain, which people usually express with 'ouch' or 'ow' is a natural response which is the same for all languages. Although spelled differently the same and ...
4
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3answers
189 views

How distinctive must a phoneme be?

How much of a functional load must a phone carry to be considered its own phoneme? For example, my idiolect of English has a marginally distinctive glottal stop. However, it exists distinctively in ...
8
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2answers
2k views

Rules for glottal stop insertion across languages

Many languages lack phonemic glottal stops, but regularly insert them. For example: English invariably inserts glottal stops before utterance-initial vowels, and often before word-initial vowels when ...
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6answers
3k views

What languages are the most similar to English?

I speak English and Bengali with similar proficiency, at least in the 'lower' registers of the languages. Since I was a small child in a bilingual home I've been struck by how, despite having ...
3
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2answers
302 views

How usual is it for languages to have multiple contrasting “neutral” vowels?

First of all, I used scare quotes on "neutral" because I can't think of a better word. I was going to say "central vowels" but that would cover some "a"-like vowels whereas I am only thinking of "...
9
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2answers
442 views

What is the historical basis for the use of this type of phrasal verb in English but less so in Spanish?

For example, English uses phrases like to look for and to look at, which (I believe) are considered phrasal verbs. Spanish, however, would under normal circumstances use some derivation of buscar and ...
12
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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?
10
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4answers
1k views

Are there any languages with the equivalent of “both” for three items?

Referring to this question it seems that English does not have the equivalent of "both" for three items. Although it would seem to be a useful word, I am unaware of its existence in any languages. Is ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Are there languages with more than three degrees of comparison?

In English and other languages there are three degrees of comparison: positive, comparative and superlative (e.g. tall, taller, tallest). Are there languages with more than three degrees, expressed ...
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0answers
3k views

What language has the longest word for 'no' and 'yes'?

I'm asking this because I'm learning Swahili now, for which the word 'yes' translates to 'ndiyo' and 'no' translates to 'hakuna.' It strikes me as strange that a language would have such long words ...
7
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2answers
504 views

Cross-linguistic association between velarization and pharyngealization

Articulatorily, velarization and pharyngealization are distinct, but they are often conflated in linguistic analyses I've seen: Conflating them is common enough, I presume, that the IPA allocates the ...
21
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2answers
1k views

Do onomatopoeias resist sound change?

Regular sound changes can of course affect phonemes used in onomatopoeias. For example, consider a language containing /mjaw/, referring to the call of a cat. Suppose that final /w/ is sound-changed ...
12
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1answer
366 views

Are there studies of difficulty to learn particular language depending on learner's native language?

Do you know if any studies were made to classify the difficulty to learn a particular language depending on learner's native language? There are a lot of discussions about what is the easiest or the ...
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2answers
2k views

What word has the most valid meanings, across multiple different languages? (interlingual homographs) [closed]

What word is valid across the largest number of different languages, and as different part-of-speech? (The precise term is interlingual homographs/heteronyms/polysemes) Examples: 'rate' is both ...
11
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3answers
270 views

About how much does language typology correlate with genetic relationships among languages?

About how much does language typology correlate with genetic relationships among languages? For example, should we expect most Sino-Tibetan languages to be isolating, or most Indo-European languages ...
5
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2answers
285 views

Is there a cross-linguistic subdivision of phones in signed languages akin to how all spoken languages have vowel and consonant phones?

After reading Joe Martin's enlightening answer to the question "Are there counterparts to phones and phonetics for signed languages?" I immediately began to wonder how much further spoken and signed ...
5
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1answer
368 views

Are certain phonological processes more likely to be surface true?

This question occurred to me when studying Optimality Theory phonology. For reduplication in OT, the base of the stem (/reduplicated part) is taken to be the input for the reduplicated morph. However, ...
11
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2answers
2k views

Gender of mixed groups defaulting to masculine – how common?

French has that rule that whenever a masculine entity is part of a group, the whole NP will default to masculine as far as agreement goes. My native language, German, also defaults gender to masculine,...
3
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1answer
359 views

Answering Tag Questions

I am not sure if the post really is about tag questions. I apologize for the confusion. Now consider the following situation in English. Your friend asks you, Haven't you had lunch? If you haven'...
6
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2answers
596 views

Are there any “universal” aspects to “adjective sequence”

Whilst it's by no means a "fixed rule", it seems to me the normal sequence for multiple adjectives applied to a single noun/verb in English does indeed tend to correspond to the top answer given in ...
2
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4answers
958 views

Did case systems dissappear to make embedding easier?

I edited this question in response to Karlsson's paper, "Constraints on Multiple Center-Embedding of Clauses" (Journal of Linguistics 43 (2), 2007, 365-392), linked here: http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/~...
37
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9answers
9k views

What is word order used for in “free word order” languages?

Consider languages whose case-systems allow the order of arguments to be changed without changing the arguments’ grammatical relations. (Note the 189 languages noted as having “no dominant word-...
2
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3answers
124 views

Is there a US/UK difference in interpretation/usage of “compound verb phrases” split by an embedded clause

Arising from discussion against “Against traffic” or “Against the traffic” on ELU, I wonder if anyone can give an authoritative opinion and/or supporting evidence for the proposition that Americans ...