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Questions tagged [english]

A Germanic language, which originated from England, and is considered the leading language in international communication.

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8answers
9k views

Why did English lose declensions while German retained them?

Why (or more specifically what caused) did English lose cdeclensions whilst they were retained in German? I ask as I have recently been reading into the various Germanic languages and it struck me ...
4
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2answers
390 views

Why is 'be' sometimes the auxiliary verb for the present perfect?

1. Why do these 16 verbs require être as the auxiliary verb, to form the passé composé in French? 2. Abbreviated as DMPRRS, these 6 (of the 16) are ambitransitive. When transitive, their auxiliary ...
16
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2answers
46k views

The Origin of the Word 'God'

I originally posted this a while ago on my blog, but someone recently suggested that I pose it as a question here. A brief Wikipedia search on the origin of the word ‘god’ reveals the following: ...
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3answers
3k views

Ergative Verbs and some discussion about them

I know what ergative verb is - Consider the following sentences - I opened the door. The door was opened (by me). The door opened. The verb open is a transitive verb in sentence #1, ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are only yes/no questions asked with a rising tone?

There is a rule used almost subconsciously by almost all English speakers (and I'm sure it applies to many other languages too) which is that yes/no questions are asked ending with a rising tone, and ...
5
votes
1answer
180 views

What were allophone rules for [r] in Old English and Middle English?

I gather that [r] (trill) was realized as [ɹ] in different dialects of Old English and Middle English, but when [r] was used, was it an allophone? In other words, did [r] vary predictably with [ɹ] (...
4
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3answers
3k views

English words which are both verbs and adjectives

A question about UI design led me to speculate about English words which are both a verb and an adjective. My answer to the question addresses this linguistics issue as the root of the UI issue. I ...
3
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4answers
1k views

How many of all possible English words are actually in use (have meaning)?

If we consider that there are phonological observations as to what is an English word and what probably isn't, one could come up with a dictionary of "all possible" English words, i.e. all words that ...
2
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2answers
124 views

Name of rule for whether compounds should be written with a space or not

What is the name of the rule that describes why some words are written together (e.g. "strawberry") and others apart (e.g. "street name")?
0
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4answers
318 views

Why is the “long i” sound in English written /aɪ/?

The "long i" sound in English, as in "fight" is usually written /aɪ/, so fight = /faɪt/. But /a/ is the sound in "hat", and /ɪ/ is the sound in "hit". When I say the two together it doesn't sound ...
21
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2answers
35k views

English text corpus for download

I need a free English language corpus with at least 15 million words. The corpus should contain one or more plain text files. There should be no tagging, just raw text. The corpus should be free. I ...
18
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10answers
8k views

What makes a non-native English speaker sound foreign?

I'm not a native speaker. However, I have tried a lot during last 10 years to learn English at a high level of proficiency and to become fluent in conversation. However, when I talk to some of my ...
16
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6answers
11k views

Do absolute synonyms exist?

By absolute synonyms, I mean words (in the same language) that are interchangeable in all situations. There can't be differences in register, meaning, or emotional value. Is there material that ...
18
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7answers
4k views

Is spoken English more efficient than other languages?

Oftentimes while watching a subtitled foreign film, I find that reading the subtitles aloud (usually in my head) at the same1 pace as the speaker takes less time than what's spoken in the native ...
7
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2answers
5k views

Impossible bigrams in the English Language

Is there a list that contains every two letter combination that is not found in any English words? I have searched for a very long time and found nothing. It would also be useful if I had three letter ...
8
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2answers
1k views

Are there any statistics or web services for n-grams of frequent English words?

I found this for six common subjects. But it doesn't contain the complete statistics about all common English words.
8
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2answers
1k views

Is the concept of 'long vowel' still relevant in modern English phonology?

It seems to me that despite the fact that Middle English long vowels have long since shifted dramatically, their descendants still pattern like long vowels in modern English. Since there's really very ...
8
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4answers
4k views

Correct syllabification in (American) English

I need to figure out what the proper syllabification of words in American English is and why. PLEASE NOTE: I am interested in syllabification from a phonetic point of view, not in terms of hyphenation/...
6
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5answers
1k views

What part of speech is 'found' in this sentence?

I have recently applied for an English teaching position in Brazil and had to take a test in which they asked: Choose the correct part of speech for 'FOUND' in the setence "A whale found dead on the ...
1
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2answers
198 views

English stress, abstract analysis

I am reading introductory phonology by Bruce Hayes, in chapter 12 he proposed an abstract analysis for English stress.Based on his proposed a word like cassette has been through a process like below: ...
0
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4answers
1k views

Is English the most descriptive language?

I only know English as a language aside from classes in Spanish and French and the typical stuff learned through movies and the like. To people who are multilingual, is English the most descriptive ...
15
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5answers
1k views

Are Written and Spoken English distinct languages?

First of all, I am not a linguist, but I was thinking the other night that being literate was almost the same as being bilingual. My reasoning is that sign language is distinct from written and ...
10
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1answer
531 views

Feminisation of men's language?

I was wondering whether there has been (generally) a feminisation of "men's language". Lakoff's claims in "women's and men's language" are almost half a century old and there have been contradictory ...
9
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4answers
1k views

Why in English words is [o] followed by [ʊ]?

The close-mid back rounded vowel is, according to Wikipedia, "usually diphthongized to [oʊ]". Examples: row, also. In fact, in the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary I didn't see o ...
7
votes
3answers
670 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
302 views

Structural ambiguity and 'because'

I am trying to analyze Arthur doesn't discipline his children because he loves them to show the structural ambiguity using phrase structure rules that precede X' rules, and that because is ...
5
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3answers
419 views

Do some dialects of English have a liquid vowels, such as /ɹ/ and /ɫ/?

Given that there are some languages that treat /r/ and /l/ as a vowel, such as Czech and Hindi, I am wondering how come the same isn't true in some varieties of English. As a native English speaker ...
5
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3answers
3k views

The “writer / rider” distinction

In some dialects of English (for example: General American), “writer” is said to be pronounced differently from “rider” due to the following two phonological rules (done in this order): Vowels are ...
5
votes
2answers
508 views

Does “and” come from the PIE word for “and”?

From the etymology of and: Old English and, ond, originally meaning "thereupon, next," from Proto-Germanic *unda (cf. Old Saxon endi, Old Frisian anda, Middle Dutch ende, Old High German enti, ...
5
votes
2answers
868 views

How does the word “thunder” get the letter “d”?

thunder O.E. þunor, from P.Gmc. thunraz (cf. O.N. þorr, O.Fris. thuner, M.Du. donre, Du. donder, O.H.G. donar, Ger. Donner "thunder"), from PIE (s)tene- "to resound, thunder" (cf. Skt. tanayitnuh "...
5
votes
2answers
364 views

When did Aspirated Consonants appear in English?

As stated here : (in English) "The voiceless stops /p/, /t/, /k/ are typically aspirated when they begin a stressed syllable, becoming [pʰ], [tʰ], [kʰ] [...]" Since these consonants weren't ...
3
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4answers
7k views

always | never | “all the time” - what kind of words are these?

always never "all the time" They aren't 'expletives', but they express a non-expiry. What word would describe this type of word? Context : he never brings me flowers; he's always late; you criticise ...
2
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2answers
191 views

Hebrew to English connection through linguistics?

On the website, "Edenics- Where Language Began" it is mentioned that the Hebrew word 'zinoot'(fornication) a Zayin-mem word have influenced the English sin". Since the z and the s are closely ...
2
votes
3answers
202 views

The ate-eight split?

The words "ate" and "eight" are supposed to be homophones in English, yet in (thick) Hungarian, Dutch and Swedish accents, they are not homophones. As a native Hungarian-speaker, I will attest to this:...
2
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4answers
606 views

Are modal verbs lexical or grammatical categories?

Are modal verbs, such as must and can, considered lexical or grammatical categories?
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3answers
3k views

English co-compounds? Is bittersweet a co-compound?

I'm looking for English or other standard European language co-compounds, and for other common examples. I came across "bittersweet" but I'm not sure if it's really a co-compound. It has a ...
0
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3answers
267 views

How does 'unless' mean 'or' or 'if not'? [closed]

Source: p 139, Introduction to Logic (2 ed, 2010) by Harry J. Gensler. [1.] Translate “unless” as “or.” ...     [eg: A unless B =  B unless A = Either A or B]. [2.] “Unless” is also ...
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2answers
1k views

Is the word “here” a preposition?

In a related question, I got entangled in a debate whether the word "here" (which I would classify readily as an adverb) is in reality a preposition. I am curious which modern analyses find ...
8
votes
2answers
369 views

Why does “begin” have /g/ instead of /j/ if it's from PG *ginnan?

My understanding is that the reflexes of Proto-Germanic velar consonants before front vowels were usually palatal consonants in Old English, which in turn generally yield palatal or palato-alveolar ...
6
votes
3answers
492 views

Verner's Law and 'ge-'

Verner's Law says that voiceless fricatives, when immediately following an unstressed syllable in the same word, underwent voicing. The Germanic prefix 'ge-' as in German 'genug' or English 'enough' ...
6
votes
1answer
83 views

Are there non-rhotic English speakers who distinguish between [ən] and syllabic [n]?

I'm aware that [ən] can be reduced to [n̩] in some circumstances. Does this possibility also apply to [ən] that comes from former [ɚn] in non-rhotic English dialects? I have had limited contact with ...
5
votes
2answers
224 views

In which varieties of English is it common to front predicates as in “Bought a nice house, he did.”?

In which varieties of English is it common to front predicates as in the following sentence? Bought a nice house, he did. In which pragmatic contexts is this done in these varieties?
5
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3answers
824 views

Is the similarity between the Arabic word Gayyid and the English word Good due to a borrowing?

Why is the Arabic word جید (jayyid) which is pronounced gayyid in Egypt and means good, so similar to the word good or the German word gut? Is it a borrowing? (since the word for good is very ...
5
votes
1answer
198 views

Interchangeable arguments with English copula

Is there a name for this phenomena with the English copula "to be"? 1a - "My day off is Saturday" 1b - "Saturday is my day off" 2a - "John is a doctor" 2b - *"A doctor is John" I think I'...
5
votes
1answer
186 views

What is the term for pairs of words with converse meanings such as (gave<>got) and (bought<>sold)?

I'm seriously struggling to identify a name for the relationship between such words. They are transactional terms,of which there are two parts. They may even show tense. John gave me an apple. I ...
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3answers
1k views

Biggest freely available English corpus?

Any help on finding the biggest freely available English corpus that can be used on research? So far I have found OANC with 15 M words.
4
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2answers
303 views

Other than Scottish rolled “r” and North American rhotacised vowels, are there any differences across “r” sounds in English dialects?

I'm wondering about subtle differences in /r/ sounds across varieties of English. By subtle I mean I want to ignore the obvious large differences such as the trilled "r" in Scottish English and the ...
4
votes
1answer
395 views

Apical postalveolar approximant [ɹ̺] and retroflex approximant [ɻ]: What is the difference?

English [ɹ] has two realizations: apical and bunched (aka molar). ExtIPA (extensions to the IPA) thus recommends the use of [ɹ̺] and [ɹ̈] to differentiate the two. But I also often see English /r/ ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Is there a computational method to syllabify English words?

There are straightforward ways to convert English words to phonemes via a dictionary that contains such information. However, is there a way to automatically convert English text into syllables? I.e., ...
4
votes
2answers
180 views

Is the English “because (noun)” an instance of grammaticalization?

This structure is often used recently (I think since mid-2012) in a sarcastic or humorous way, or to indicate that the reasoning is not sound. a) “Ok, I really want to hang with her because ...