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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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 [...
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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-&...
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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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Is American English is incorrect and simplified? [duplicate]

I heard that American is incorrect and it is "simplified English" like "simplified Chinese" is that true?
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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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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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
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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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1 answer
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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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What is the logic behind "I am X years old"?

(I posted this on the English Language Learners SE but apparently it isn't a good fit because it's a "why" question, so it was suggested by multiple users I post it here instead.) In some ...
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Is a truly nonsensical grammatically correct sentence possible? [closed]

Most "nonsensical" or "meaningless" sentences can be interpreted to mean something that isn't total nonsense: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously: "Nondescript immature ...
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History of perfect tenses

I am thinking about the history of the verb "have". Why is the verb "have" used as an auxiliary verb in the perfect tenses? When did it start to be used that way?
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Looking for linguistics book my dad had when i was young

Hello linguistics people... When I was young, one of the books in my father's library had a unique conceit: it aimed to improve the English language. So it proposed changes, and from then on the ...
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Are there any more optimal tactile alphabets than Braille?

Sorry if this is the wrong stackexchange to ask this. Consider how QWERTY was the first keyboard layout, but isn't nearly optimal (e.g. Dvorak is much better and used overwhelmingly by top speed-...
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Can someone share with me an article in which the author claims that the get passive is not a passive (or at least a true passive)?

Can someone share with me an article in which the author claims that the get passive is not a passive (or at least a true passive)? I need an article in which the author says that he or she doesn't ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Is there a list of common English verbs with all of the inflectional "principal parts"?

I am looking for a list of common English verbs (1000 to 2000 most-frequent) which gives the distinct inflectional forms (spelled: pronunciation is irrelevant). For example, "sits, sit, sat, sat, ...
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Correlation between the English -wise and German -weise suffixes

The English meaning of -wise is the following. -wise adverb combining form Definition of -wise (Entry 5 of 5) 1a : in the manner of crabwise fanwise b : in the position or direction of ...
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Why did the Latin word marmor became French marbre (which is in present day English marble)?

I would like to know what process suffered the Latin word marmor when it was borrowed in French and became marbre. I know that the process from French marbre to English marble is dissimilation, i.e. ...
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1 vote
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Do we have evidence of the transition from -mentum to -ment?

Several English words end in -ment: augment, document, movement, moment, segment, etc. According to several dictionaries, the English -ment suffix is in many cases traced to the French -ment, which in ...
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Why are English diphthongs not analysed as a vowel and a glide?

The English language has the diphthongs /eɪ aɪ ɔɪ aʊ əʊ/, analysed differently in some accents. They end in sounds that are very close to [j] and [w], yet are analysed as unsyllabic [ɪ] and [ʊ]. Since ...
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What are some rules that native speakers instinctively know about English that non-native speakers usually don't? [closed]

For example, the famous tweet quoting Forsyth, [A]djectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little ...
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Why /əl/ in English sounds like [o]?

I am not a native English speaker. Recently i study some phonetics to improve my english pronunciation (and also french which i am currently studying). I noticed many words with phoneme /əl/ sound ...
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16 votes
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Native English speakers: worse understanding of other accents?

In this video, Lily Tomlin (an American) doesn't really understand what Kevin Bridges is saying at all with his Scottish accent. She also says she doesn't fully understand what Chris Hemswoth (an ...
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AmE feature related to American multiculturalism?

I speak with a (General) American accent. Native non-American English speakers sometimes tell me that "you pronounce every single syllable in every word." I've also stumbled upon very ...
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3 answers
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The A sound in Ask and At

I was reading a book on rhetoric today and it had the following table of pronounciation: The thing I find confusing about this table is that I pronounce the A in "ask" and "at" ...
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1 answer
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How to recognize Heads [closed]

I'm reading "Introduction to English linguistics" and in the chapter 4, there is a paragraph that I don't understand : The other crucial cluster of properties of heads concern their ...
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Concise IPA dictionary

For decades I have used "A Pronouncing Dictionary of American English" by Kenyon and Knott as a concise and accessible tool in learning the IPA. The fact that it's still in print must mean ...
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3 answers
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Is there any other Phonetic notation other than IPA? [duplicate]

I'm wondering is there any other Phonetic notation other than IPA — that is easy to understand by Native English speakers
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We typically say rates are 'hiked' and cuts are 'swingeing' - is there a term to describe this?

You never really hear of interest rates 'going up', they're always 'hiked'.. and government cuts are rarely 'deep' or 'severe',. they're 'swingeing'. Is there a word/term for either this use of ...
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OVS in English dialogue

English is an SVO language. When writing dialogue, especially in literature, writing a sentence with the speech first is considered grammatically correct. Take for example this extract from Ursula K ...
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Is there such a thing as attributive vs. modifier uses of adj? Is un rojo carro vs. un carro rojo the same difference as 红房子 vs. 红的房子?

In teaching Spanish I often explain the difference between pre-nominal adjectives and post-nominal adjectives as the difference between an English noun phrase in which the adjective is stressed, and ...
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Does English have animate/inanimate distinction?

I know we have the "'S" genitive and the "X of Y" but I don't exactly understand the rules of using these even as a native English speaker and I'm unsure if English makes other ...
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What linguistic sources discuss doubled -ed in -edly and -edness words?

Some linguists have written analyses of "double -er suffixation" in English, in formations from particle verbs such as fix up > fixer upper. For example: "Double -er suffixation in ...
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1 answer
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Do constructs like "going to do" and "ir a hacer" share a common origin?

I'm curious about the linguistic background between these phrases because they don't make sense word-for-word in either language, but they work almost identically. Wikipedia says that a similar form ...
10 votes
5 answers
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Which language is more complex, English or French? Is it even possible to objectively measure a language's complexity?

OK, so I'm a native English speaker who learned French as a teenager and I have a friend who is French and learned English as a teenager (so the opposite). The other day he was telling me how easy ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Singular countable nouns that don't require determinatives?

The English determiners wikipedia page says The determinative function is typically obligatory in a singular, countable, common noun phrase (compare I have *a* new cat to I have new cat). and In ...
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Is Hebrew more efficient and more grammatically logical than English? [closed]

Grammatically logical - this is possible, vs zeh yachol lhiyot. Let's break down the English way for a moment -- the words don't actually connect with each other in a logical sequence. 'This is' has ...

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