Questions tagged [descriptive-linguistics]

Objective analysis and description of actual language usage

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9
votes
3answers
169 views

How to Identify Copulas in the Wild

What criteria do linguists use to tell if something is a copula? Let's say there's this group of undocumented languages and a linguist is studying nonverbal predication in those languages. Language ...
9
votes
1answer
531 views

How linguists select phonemes to construct an alphabet for a language

For languages without written alphabets, wondering how a linguist goes out in the field and determines, "hey, these are the core sounds of the language" and defines an alphabet in terms of those ...
4
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2answers
40 views

What's a good resource where I can publish some narratives in a minority language?

During my fieldwork, I recorded, transcribed and translated a dozen or so narratives in an indigenous language of Central America, in close cooperation with a couple native speakers (including some ...
1
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1answer
43 views

Term for “regional linguistics”?

What term should I use to describe the branches of linguistics studying a specific language or language family such as "Chinese philology"? Is it possible to call it "regional linguistics"?
1
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1answer
337 views

How to diagram a sentence containing a sentence adverb? [closed]

There is a traditional representation of a sentence's parts and it's relation called Kellogs-Reeds diagramming method,which is not used in linguistics. There are also linguistic representations like ...
0
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3answers
246 views

Possible to describe phonetics before phonology of an unknown language?

Hypothetically, When describing the sound system of an unknown language, is there any scenario in which you may perform a phonetic analysis before a phonological one? I guess the standard approach is ...
1
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1answer
99 views

Symbols to indicate different dialects in text

I'm writing a cross-dialectical description with three distinct dialects, and would like to indicate with a superscript symbol which dialect a given word/phrase comes from to aid the reader. I thought ...
0
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2answers
596 views

Glossing and translating personal pronouns absent from Indo-European languages

In describing most languages we can gloss the personal pronouns with English pronouns such as "I," "you," "he," and "we." However, it's not possible to do this with all languages. For example, in ...
1
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1answer
84 views

What's the conventional way to gloss ergative inflection?

I want to stress the difference between ergative and non-ergative inflection with a minimal pair like the one below. Does the gloss and translation make the distinction sufficiently clear? Or is there ...
2
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1answer
90 views

What languages have been documented using Minimalism?

I'm interested in having a few references to (more of less) full grammars of natural languages that would be written under Minimalist approach. Are there any around? I guess, accounts of some major ...
0
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1answer
101 views

Do any languages have a nominal suffix meaning 'former' or 'ex-'?

I have some examples like this from an undated manuscript about an unnamed language and I'm trying to extrapolate some observations about the nominal systems. zumbru – hat – 'hat' zumbru-g – hat-...
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0answers
144 views

Linguistic studies of singing: prosody, structure, etc

What are some well known techniques in which singing, especially that from less-known languages, has been studied? I'm particularly interested in prosodic analysis of singing and e.g. song-structure (...
4
votes
3answers
178 views

Contingent grammaticality

(I'm not sure about the title, but it's the best I can come up with). On ELU somebody has asked this question about which form of the verb "to be" to use in the frame She gives a blanket to me ...
1
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4answers
247 views

Are there people who intentionally refuse to use some words even if the majority does it?

Suppose one person does not like one word or expression. He would have to use it though, so then he chooses a substitute. The majority of the people however use that word. Now, since one meaning of ...
0
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2answers
449 views

Does anyone criticize descriptivism as heavily as prescriptivism?

This question concerns the reasons why prescriptivism is criticized. I know of these criticisms because I hold them myself. However, I have a question about the opposite side, and that is, do any ...
4
votes
1answer
108 views

What sort of criteria are used to deem a language description complete?

I'm not a field linguist but my hobby overlaps with it, particularly the descriptive part. At the far ends, with remnant langauges (Virginian Algonquin) and well studied mega-lingua francas like ...
4
votes
1answer
522 views

Will use of descriptive grammar ever overtake use of prescriptive grammar?

We all know that language changes over time and that what is "correct" in a language is how people actually use language, yet there are still many people who adhere strictly to prescriptive grammar. ...
2
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2answers
2k views

Are /w/ and /j/ considered to be consonants?

I've heard [w] and [j] are glides and that glides are not considered to be consonants. I've also seen voiced labiovelar approximant [w] and palatal approximant [j] on the IPA consonant chart. ...