Questions tagged [english]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
21
votes
8answers
10k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
125 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")?
4
votes
2answers
397 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
votes
2answers
49k 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: ...
7
votes
4answers
865 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 ...
5
votes
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
181 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
votes
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
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
66 views

Homographs non-homophones

Homophones that are not homographs are common in languages like English. This arises because several letters (or diphthongs) can have the same pronunciation. But where do the (less common) homographs ...
0
votes
4answers
361 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
36k 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
votes
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
votes
6answers
12k 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
votes
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
votes
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
votes
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.
1
vote
1answer
6k views

Stress rules in English adjective-noun combinations

In English adjective-noun combinations the noun commonly carries the main stress: a big HOUSE a beautiful DOG An exception to this rule are adjective-noun combinations that are treated as one unit, ...
8
votes
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
votes
3answers
9k views

Does sample text exist that includes most English sounds represented by the International Phonetic Alphabet?

My understanding of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is that it aims to provide a set of letter-based values that represent and map to fundamental sounds present in human languages. My ...
8
votes
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
votes
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
vote
2answers
200 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
votes
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
votes
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
votes
1answer
539 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
votes
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
305 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
votes
2answers
522 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
872 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
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
3answers
427 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
385 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
votes
4answers
9k 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
votes
4answers
622 views

Are modal verbs lexical or grammatical categories?

Are modal verbs, such as must and can, considered lexical or grammatical categories?
2
votes
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
193 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
218 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:...
0
votes
3answers
275 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
410 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
500 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
2k views

Was the change in spelling from “cw” to “qu” in English associated with any difference in pronunciation?

I always thought that "cw" in Old English represented /kw/, and the same for modern English "qu", and that the change from one to the other was purely orthographic, since the "qu" digraph was more ...
5
votes
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.
5
votes
2answers
226 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
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
828 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
199 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
85 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 ...