Questions tagged [english]

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

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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 ...
10
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3answers
28k views

Why is “Aurora Borealis” from Greek, but “Aurora Australis” from Latin?

In astronomy we have the Aurora Australis in the south and the Aurora Borealis in the north. According to Wikipedia, auster is in fact the Latin equivalent of the Greek νότος, or southern wind. ...
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.
11
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4answers
2k views

Can prepositional phrases with “of” ever be adjuncts to nouns, or only complements in English? If they can't be adjuncts, why?

This question came up while doing syntax homework. It seems to me that prepositional phrases with "of" can only ever be complements to nouns, not adjuncts. The basis for my conclusion was that, while ...
6
votes
2answers
509 views

Why does complementiser drop not occur in negative English sentences?

English that can often be dropped from a sentence. (1) I think (that) she can come. (2) I don't think (that) she can come. In some negative constructions, complementiser dropping sounds marked....
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 ...
35
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4answers
2k views

Why are certain there-sentences infelicitous in English?

The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language states that the first three of the following four excerpts are semantically or pragmatically anomalous (to give that term some context, it cites We ...
10
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2answers
959 views

Distinguishing between epistemic and circumstantial readings (without recourse to temporality)?

How can you/should you empirically distinguish between epistemic and circumstantial readings of modals? I (at least think I) understand how the two readings are supposed to be distinguished ...
8
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4answers
425 views

What is the name of the phoneme produced in an upper-class Briton's pronunciation of the word “Duke”? What's different in the articulation?

This question has been copied directly from English Language & Usage where it received plenty of interest but the answers had lots of flaws and no resolutions was reached. It was originally asked ...
20
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1answer
11k views

When does copula absence occur in African-American Vernacular English?

In what contexts can the zero copula occur in African-American Vernacular English? What rules govern its use—for example, what makes she runnin' more likely to be acceptable than ?she a runner? Some ...
9
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2answers
566 views

How did the present continuous in English get to be such a dominant present tense?

In French if I write the sentence Je mange le déjeuner it would/could be the same as if I am saying I am eating lunch. What is going on in French goes on in a number of the other Romance ...
29
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3answers
764 views

Why the prevalence of “ph” in transliteration?

Why is "ph" used so often (as opposed to "f") to transliterate the Hebrew "fei" sound into English? Examples: Alef - 1.3 million Google hits (MGh) Aleph - 3.7 MGh Seraf - 0.2 MGh Seraph - 2.2 MGh