Questions tagged [english]

A Germanic language, which originated from England, and is considered the leading language in international communication. For non-linguistic questions about the English language, visit one of our sister sites English Language & Usage or English Language Learners.

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Can an inference be be an implicature and also a presupposition?

A sentence like ‘the boy stopped working’ gives the inference that he was working before. Is this inference an implicature or a presupposition? Is it possible that it is both?
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Passive Constructions

No-one else but me has yet called those passive constructions yet, but I have because I was really not satisfied about the fact that I couldn't differentiate them from one another anyhow. Do you think ...
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Why are reflexives prohibited in partitive constructions?

In a partitive construction, reflexives do not usually occur: Julie and Bob are talking about the two of them/*themselves. The following example is from COCA: The men, all of them, stared into ...
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Child language acquisition as an explanation for American rounding of the /r/ sound

The English phoneme typically represented by the letter ⟨r⟩ represents a confusing and complicated mess of allophonic realizations, some of which are highly disparate and some of which vary only ...
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1 answer
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Why are intervocalic coronal plosives apparently so unstable in English?

There are a plethora of words in the English language in which the phonemes /t/ and /d/ appear between two vowels, whether they be in adjacent syllables in the same word or in different words as a ...
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3 votes
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Why are some consonant clusters acceptable in some languages and not others and how does this change over time?

As per the question statement: is there a resource available for quickly determining which codal (or onset) consonant clusters are attested in human language? Mark Vandam’s Word Final Coda Typology ...
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4 votes
3 answers
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Do other languages have correspondences like English's No-Nope and Yeah-Yep?

In the English language, as in others, there are a variety of interjection words. Among these are some comprising an open syllable, like yeah and no. Others end in stop consonants, like yep (or yup) ...
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The relationship between Mora-timed languages, long vowels and quantitative verse, also the status of Iranian and Balto-Slavo-Germanic?

In an anthropological forum, there was once a view that because Latin, Greek, Sanskrit (also Celtic IIRC) are Mora-timed, they are divided into one subgroup. However, "syllable-timed" ...
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Question about subject auxiliary inversion in the embedded clause [migrated]

I was reading the book The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and there is a sentence from it I found quite strange: "I wonder could we untie him as well?" said ...
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How do syntacticians explain object pronouns in the subject position ("Me and him" or "Lui et moi")?

Me and a lot of other native English speakers sometimes use object pronouns as the subject of sentences if there's an "and" in the subject. This has been mentioned on Stack Exchange before ...
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Using 'is' after non-denoting phrases

Usually 'is' can be an identity statement 'John is my boss' or a predication like 'John is angry', how about using 'is' for something that refers to no particular idea or object? For example 'a ...
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Judgment about obligatory de se reading

(1) John himself said he hates himself. (2) John said he hates himself. In sentence (1), does he obligatorily refer to John? Or it can refer to other people as well like in sentence (2). In more ...
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Corporeal - spelling over time [closed]

Note the English phrase 'Corporal Punishment'. I suspect that it is a spelling corruption of Corporeal. I haven't been able to find any information on this online. Is this just a rule of spelling I'm ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Using 'it' in sentences with indefinite noun phrases

I was looking at indefinite noun phrases like 'a man' or specifically sentences of this form: 'If I were to bring a chicken home, my dog would try to eat it. Why is it that 'a chicken' does not refer, ...
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6 votes
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Geographic distribution of ‘I haven’t’ and ‘I’ve not’

The answer to this question on English Language & Usage discusses a possible difference between American and British dialects in their use of ‘I’ve not’ and ‘I haven’t’. I have noticed ‘I’ve not’ ...
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Does PRO satisfy binding condition A?

My assignment requires me to analyze two sentences (* denoting ungrammaticality): *David realized that they have been spreading lies about himself David has tended to spread lies about himself The ...
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What's the geographic distribution of the father/bra split in American English?

In most American English dialects with the father/bother merger, the bother vowel (originally /ɔ/) unrounds, lowers, and merges into the father vowel (originally /ɑ/), with the end result being /ɑ/, ...
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6 votes
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Is it pure coincidence that English makes plurals with -s, like in French and Spanish?

It is known that the plural -s suffix in English has Germanic origins, and is not a feature imported from French. However, to what extent does the use of -s for plurals in English have to do with ...
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4 answers
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Why are modal verbs in English defective?

Modal verbs exist in many languages; but they are often defective. English is an extreme example where they seem to only have present tense forms; and have no gerund, participle, or infinitive; some ...
2 votes
2 answers
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Why does English not use any diacritics?

Why does English not use any diacritics, at least in native words? What is the reason for that?
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I read a paper where I cannot understand why “arrived girl” is incorrect, but “recently arrived girl” is correct: [closed]

Such participles whose corresponding verbs are intransitive verbs. We usually do not say an arrived girl, a departed friend, etc., because they come from their intransitive verbs. However, a past ...
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Is "的" (de) used in Singlish for possession or subordination? Or neither?

In Singlish (Singaporean English creole), is 的 used? And if so, is it used for simple possession ("*Jenny de dog") or for introduction of a subordinate clause? ("*Jenny found last week ...
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1 answer
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Does French retain more Celtic words than English does?

English has very few words left from the Ancient British. I am wondering if the language of the Gauls suffered much the same fate, or whether there are significantly more Celtic substrate words ...
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The sequence of parts of speech in English

Considering the main eight parts of speech, every two adjacent words in a sentence can be one of the possible 64 pairs. The probability of these pairs significantly varies, as some might even be ...
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Could the Midwestern (Wisconsin) L sound be described as a semivowel/glide?

In Midwestern accents, words like "love" (with the L in word initial) the L sounds close to the /j/ glide, but I wonder if anyone has noticed this or come across it.
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Phonology for Loanwords

What is the reason for loanwords to preserve the original pronunciation, but not to be assimilate into the new language? For example, the German loanword from English Handy (mobile phone), it is ...
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How do "transform into" and "turn into" function syntactically?

He turned into a car He transformed into a car What are the syntactic categories of "transform", "turn", and "into" in each sentence? I think that "turned into&...
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Can "has been" be copular? Can the perfect tenses be copular?

Do any or all of these conjugations of 'be' count as copulae? I have been a plumber I could have been a plumber I have been startled I think they might not be, because they aren't really ...
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2 answers
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If English adj → adv "-ly" suffix were inflectional, which grammatical category is it related to?

Wikipedia introduces inflection as a word is modified to express different grammatical categories such as tense, case, voice, aspect, person, number, gender, mood, animacy, and definiteness. ...
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Geminate consonants by total assimilation in English

Please can someone provide an example of a geminate consonant formed by total assimilation in English? The closest I can find is from this article written by presumably Professor Ian MacKenzie: In [...
7 votes
4 answers
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Is "illegal" an example of nasal place assimilation in English?

I've read that English has a nasal place assimilation phonological rule, n → m / _p,b,m etc. I was shown an example "illegal", apparently nasal place assimilation of the prefix "in-&...
6 votes
2 answers
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is schwa a phoneme in English?

or is it simply an unstressed allophone of unstressed lax vowels? I'm curious because I've heard some people claim that [ə] is not a phoneme and it is just a reduced allophone of all the unstressed ...
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Voiceless Schwa after a plosive consonant

Take American English as an example, what is the difference in sounding between [pʰə̥ˈtʰeɪ̯ɾoʊ̯] and [pʰˈtʰeɪ̯ɾoʊ̯]?
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What languages use a conceptual parallel to the Hebrew verb ירש?

The Hebrew verb ירש is loosely translated to mean "inherit," but does not quite mean the same thing as the English word inherit because the Hebrew verb refers to an heir inheriting his ...
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Suffix in word 'scenario'

Does -io such words like 'scenario', 'oratorio' is considered to be a suffix or a part of a root?
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Is it not plausible that English "wraith" could be connected to Proto-Germanic "*wraith-" or its derivatives?

For wraith, OED has: 1510s, "ghost," Scottish, of uncertain origin. Weekley and Century Dictionary suggest Old Norse vorðr "guardian" in the sense of "guardian angel." ...
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Does a pronoun share the subject of a noun it is referring to?

I have been reading the Cambridge Dictionary punctuation guide (https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/punctuation), and a couple of things struck me as queer. Especially the "...
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Approximate context-free model for English?

I believe a similar question has been asked before, but it still has no answers: *Compact* Context-Free Grammar for English I would like to know where you can find a set of context-free production ...
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2 answers
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Are there any dialects of English which ⟨i⟩ in unstress syllable will be realized as [ɪ]?

The pronunciation of "dilute" should be /daɪˈlut/, but according to Wikipedia, another acceptable pronunciation of this word is /dɪˈlut/. So I summarize this rule as "/aɪ/ is realized ...
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Pronunciation of D sound in British English

I could be wrong about this, but the D sound in British English (RP) sounds a little different from the American counterpart. Often when I hear the words "Lady", "Ready", "...
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English toponymy of ‘Wardle’ in Lancashire (near Rochdale) and ‘Wardle’ in Cheshire (near Nantwich)

I found on internet that the name of these two places comes from Old English ‘weard’ (watch) and ‘hyll’ (hill). ‘Wardle’ is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as ‘Warhelle’ and as ‘Wardhul’ in ...
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Are the phonetic features of this recording of Booker T. Washington characteristic of any dialect of English?

I ran across this recording of a speech by Booker T. Washington, and was surprised by his pronunciations. (The recording is evidently from 1908.) From what I gathered, for /ɹ/ he uses [ɾ] in onset ...
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Stacking of prepositions in English?

The Cambridge Grammar Of The English Language recognises the existence of intransitive prepositions (p. 612): The case for allowing prepositions with no complements is most compelling where the same ...
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How are the meanings of "you will" in English formally categorized?

As someone with only my vague instincts as a native speaker to go off of, I would expect the breakdown comes to something like: "You will find that he is not too receptive to this sort of thing&...
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Pronunciation of English R

I'm a native speaker and I notice I pronounce R as [ɹʋ] non finally, a spontaneous ɹ and ʋ. At the end of words though I use the regular ɹ. Is this normal and does anyone else do this?
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Is the active vs passive voice distinction, a property of the verb or sentence itself?

In English, I have seen some sites explaining active vs passive voice distinction as property of the verb. And, other sites as a property of sentence as a whole. I am learning German, and in that it ...
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1 answer
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Lateral Approximant v. s. Lateral consonant

Reference https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiced_dental,_alveolar_and_postalveolar_lateral_approximants#Velarized_alveolar_lateral_approximant https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_consonant ...
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Why don't certain antonym pairs get rearranged often?

Why don't certain antonym pairs get rearranged often? We have little and big, small and large, but almost never hear little and large. Another example: weak and strong, soft and tough, but never weak ...
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Category & Function

I have the next two sentences, and I'm asked to state the function and category of the parts in bold. I am introduced to the concepts of function and category, but I was applying what I learned about ...
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Any languages beside English where one goes"back and forth" rather than "forth and back"?

Are there languages beside English in which one goes "back and forth" rather than, as is logical, "forth and back"? One typically goes "forth and back" or similarly in ...

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