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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27 views

Magic Academy Uniform [closed]

Can someone help me how to describe this one as a narrative description? It's a reference for the magic school uniform for my story.
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22 views

When are prepositional phrases sibling to leaf nodes?

In syntax trees in English, can prepositional phrases, modifying either verbs or nouns, ever be sibling to the verb or noun itself for example and not a verb phrase/noun phrase? I've heard the correct ...
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25 views

Difference between 'specify' and 'select' [closed]

What's the precise difference between specify and select? Can either be used in this example, or does one work better than the other? You are presented with a list of 5 choices. Alternatively, you ...
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1answer
127 views

Do other languages using the Latin alphabet borrow diacritics from one another?

I've always found the convention of borrowing diacritics on foreign names and occasionally words (although the latter is less standard) from other languages with Latin alphabets in written English to ...
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3answers
371 views

Why do two English personal pronouns — "you" and "it" — lack an objective case?

Most English person pronouns have an objective case — I/me, we/us, thou/thee, he/him, she/her, they/them, who/whom. But "you" and "it" have no such form. Did they every have one? ...
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1answer
183 views

In English are there any rules to prefer the word order "rock, paper, scissors" to name the game?

Reading some buzzfeed article I saw someone claiming that in their part of the world they say "paper, scissors, rock" As the article mentions, this seems crazy wrong to most Americans and to ...
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1answer
60 views

what is the headword in this sentence? [closed]

"Before the Saturday kidnappings, professional associations and businesses in Port-au-Prince had called for an indefinite strike." How many noun groups are in the bold clause? and what is ...
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1answer
106 views

Consonant clusters in English - how many exist exactly?

I am really struggling to find a complete list of all consonant clusters that are possible in the English language. Can anyone point me in the direction of one? I have spent hours looking online with ...
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1answer
61 views

What is it called when a verb takes its "logical" or "usual" object as its grammatical subject?

This usually occurs for objects that are used by a person, and in English often feels to me like an Americanism. Examples: The sofa sits five. The wine drinks very smoothly. The car drives very ...
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1answer
184 views

Why we do not usually say "who did eat the apples" while "What did she eat" is perfect to use? [closed]

I noticed that in English, it is incorrect to say "Who did eat the apples?" but it is correct to say "who ate the apples?" It would be very helpful if you can give me some clues ...
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51 views

Is the rule that "Lists with three items sound better" specific to English?

For example, the sentence "Todd liked crunchy apples, brown bananas, and small oranges" sounds better than "Todd liked crunchy apples and brown bananas". Generally, if you're ...
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124 views

When / why can adjective phrases come after nouns in English?

When and why can adjective phrases come after nouns in English, if at all? So, firstly: I am not talking about special usages like poetry or drama etc. where people may say things like "The night ...
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142 views

Peculiarities of English as spoken/written by Norwegians [closed]

I'm writing a fiction book. Some of its characters are Norwegians who exchange emails in English. I'd like to lightly stylise their texts. What mistakes / peculiarities / word choice / sentence ...
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1answer
103 views

Pre-fortis clipping of /n/

Pre-fortis clipping is usually defined as operating on vowels. See, for example, John Wells’s blog post on the subject. But at least in my idiolect (Northern English-influenced RP), in the environment ...
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45 views

Native Pronunciation of -rr- in the place name Wirral as voiced alveolar stop -d-

I was surprised to hear the Native Pronunciation of -rr- in the place name Wirral as voiced alveolar stop/tap -d- in this video as spoken by a native centenarian at the time point 0:47: Life Lessons ...
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1answer
174 views

Why is the intransitive form of "obtain" so common in academic writing and so uncommon elsewhere? [closed]

There's a low-frequency use of "obtain" that's intransitive, and means something like "occur" or "hold true." Merriam Webster says: intransitive verb 1: to be generally ...
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1answer
67 views

etymology of "a" being used as a prefix to mean "not" [closed]

Was merely curious about the origination of "a" being use as a prefix to mean "not", as in atypical or asymptomatic. I have only done a cursory search for an answer, but I figured ...
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55 views

Looking for socio research on "Latinx"

I'll crib the intro from Wikipedia: Latinx is a gender-neutral English neologism, sometimes used to refer to people of Latin American cultural or ethnic identity in the United States. "Latinx&...
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1answer
90 views

Accents of Sung Language vs. those of Spoken Language

I'm a GenAmE speaker, but I've noticed that many BrE-speaking singers seem to sing in an accent that is almost indistinguishable from my own. I first noticed it with Ed Sheeran, who I didn't even know ...
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113 views

What is the maximum number of accusatives you can have in an English sentence? [closed]

I know things like the double-accusative exist in English, like "I call sodas cokes." Then things can get more complex with words like "bet," where you can have "I bet you 5 ...
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1answer
87 views

Do Polish 'rz' /ž š/ and rhotic English have something in common? [closed]

This is a bit of a silly question that will need an explanation of the background that motivates this question. Background. I met a man named Andrzej. He was called approximately An-jay /dʒ/, or ...
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2answers
88 views

How to quantify the semantic depth of a sentence?

I'm looking for a robust way to roughly quantify the amount of information conveyed in a sentence, specifically in English. For instance "He went to the place" conveys less information than &...
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1answer
110 views

Middle English: y or ȝ

Lately I've been looking up the Middle English of many Modern English words via Wiktionary. It was my understanding that by this point in the history of English ȝ was in heavy use. Yet these ...
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88 views

language varieties that are languages

Language varieties Any set of linguistic forms which patterns according to social factors: i.e. used under specific social circumstances. The term includes different accents, different linguistic ...
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1answer
96 views

Which regularly used writing scripts commonly spoken are not alphabetic? [closed]

I believe Japanese and Chinese are logographic and the rest are simply alphabetic or abugida/abjad/alphabetic. Using Wikipedia as a reference it appears their definition of an alphabetic is not as ...
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2answers
123 views

The correct/consistent pronunciation of -ae in English [closed]

There are many Latin words in English that contain -ae-, including proper names in biology (Archaea, Rosaceae), generic scientific terms (larvae, medusae), Church Latin (Summa Theologiae) and more &...
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1answer
131 views

Where does Google's pronunciation notation come from?

When you search for "X pronunciation" on Google, it shows the "Sounds like x·y·z" box with phonetic respelling. Does anyone know if this respelling system is based on a particular ...
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1answer
79 views

Simple Way to Determine if IPA Words Rhyme (English)

As a follow-up to my question at Mathematics of Rhyme (perfect, slant), I have been able to map most English words to IPA using a mix of custom code and a dictionary stored at flancast90.github.io. ...
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1answer
68 views

Mathematics of Rhyme (perfect, slant)

I have recently been working on some programming frameworks incorporating audio analysis of the English language, particularly whether words "rhyme" or not (pure rhyme, slant rhyme, etc.) ...
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116 views

Is 'love' transitive?

I was just watching a linguistics video in which it was stated that in the sentence "John loves Mary", the verb love requires the direct object Mary, implying that it would be incorrect to ...
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1answer
95 views

What category does "broken English" fall into?

So I've been reading for about two hours now about pidgins and creoles. Can broken English such as Engrish be considered a pidgin? Or do they fall into another category?
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44 views

-logy Nouns: Referring to the Same Objects? [closed]

I am confused on how to understand nouns that in -logy. For instance: "I studied metereology in college." My confusion lies in that these are common nouns. But they seem to refer to a single ...
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1answer
121 views

Is Affix Hopping Still a Thing?

Tense affixes used to be analysed to have moved downwards from T to V in English. Is this analysis still current? Do minimalists still analyse it like this?
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1answer
137 views

Why is English so flexible?

In handling the concept of dialects of a common language among characters in "classical" role-playing games (e.g., D&D, Traveller), one idea for signalling 'foreign' dialects that often ...
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1answer
72 views

Compound English word with most etymologies

There are many English words with two different core etymologies, often Latin + Greek. For example: Claustrophobia – from the Latin claustrum meaning "confined space" and Greek φόβος (...
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38 views

Computer analysis of ESL learners' mistakes

This is a very broad question; I'm trying to get a sense of the current state of this subfield of NLP and what relevant resources may already exist, so even tangential answers will be welcome. To what ...
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1answer
71 views

Why are phonemic transcriptions used in English pronunciation courses (instead of phonetic ones)?

I'm doing an English pronunciation course. There, I'm asked to pronounce, for example, the following: /i:/ In each case, I'm presented with articulatory and mouth position guidelines. However, if I ...
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2answers
2k views

How did Greek loanwords with 'ae' come to be pronounced [i] in modern English?

There are a bunch of Greek loanwords in English that orthographically include the vowel sequence 'ae'. Examples include: aegis aether aeon The 'ae' vowel here is pronounced [i] in English, but at ...
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1answer
64 views

What parts of speech and sentence constituents are "yes" and "no" words in answers?

Let's look at some examples: — Would you like some ice cream? — No. — Are you happy? — Yes. According to Wiktionary “yes” is a particle: ParticleyesUsed to show agreement or acceptance... “No” and “...
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49 views

Reflexive Pronouns and Relative Clauses

At least in my dialect of English, sentences like the following are perfectly grammatical: The picture of himselfi that Tomi most liked is on the table. How does one account for the binding here? If ...
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2answers
163 views

In English the suffix sometimes changes the stress pattern of the rest of the word. Is English the only language with this system?

TELephone, telePHONic, teLEphony. PHOTograph, photoGRAphic,photOgraphy. biOLogy, bioLOGical. The suffix changes the stress pattern of the rest of the word. Is English the only language with this ...
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50 views

How to determine structure of answer for a wh- question

Consider a wh-question (in english language) such as "Who closed the door?". Personally, I can determine that an answer will look like "NP closed the door.", where NP would be a ...
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1answer
62 views

Praat 16,000 Hz

When I opened an American English Podcast in Praat, the area below 16,000 Hertz were all gray or dark. Then I speak some sentences in japanese then the area below 8,000 hertz were dark. How do english ...
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1answer
445 views

Words in English which elided medial 'g' or 'v' (or initial 'h' before 'l', 'n', or 'r')

What I am looking for is a list of words which in Old English either had a medial 'v' sound (spelt 'f'), which was dropped in Modern English, so words like 'head' from 'heafod' and 'lord' from '...
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45 views

Analysing the data from the study on Jocks and Burnouts by Eckert

I have a question for those who are familiar with the study by Eckert. I got stuck trying to analyze the table (the screenshot is attached). Do you know what "Input" and "Sig." ...
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92 views

Are there national accents that are "perfect neutral" for English?

I am French and I spent my days speaking English with people from various nations for the last 25 years. I heard English spoken in many different ways, some were easy to understand, and some difficult....
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51 views

What is the difference between the 'ea' and 'ēa' in both history and pronounciation in Old English?

I am aware that these two are essentially the same diphthong, just one is short and one is long, but I heard that they originated separately, so if it is so, what did they each originate from and what ...
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76 views

The aspect of imperative mood in English

What is the aspect of imperative mood in English? e.g., Go home! I know the mood of the verb is imperative here, but I am not sure about the aspect.
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1answer
97 views

Where could I find a list weak nouns in modern English which were strong in old English?

So I have been doing a thing recently for which I need to find a list of all (or at least most) of weak (regular) modern English nouns (and verbs, if possible) which were strong (irregular) in old ...
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1answer
37 views

Figure of speech name [closed]

Is there a name for a situation where a word is not needed because a the previous word doesn’t require it? Example: heart attacks are harmful for your health. “harmful” makes no sense there because ...

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