Questions tagged [english]

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

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2
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0answers
61 views

Which language expresses aspect most similarly to English?

I suppose there are at least two ways to read this question (forgive me, I'm not a linguist, just a struggling practical language student): 1) Which languages' aspects map onto those in English most ...
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66 views

Does a main verb undergo inversion in “Has he any shame?”

My undergraduate textbook builds a case to posit separate classes of verbs as lexical, auxiliary, modal in nature. One criterion is how auxiliary and modals (unlike main verbs) undergo inversion but ...
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1answer
51 views

Estimate of the number of homographs in english

Am curious as to the number of homographs (sets of word meanings that share a common spelling) that occur in the English language. Also what the current state of the art would be for automatically ...
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2answers
171 views

help with minimal pairs in English

In a famous paper on phonology R. Jakobson made an example of an English minimal triplet as follows: pop ~ tot ~ cock By this example he wanted to show that syllable onset and coda positions ...
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57 views

Why can't we explain exceptional case-marking as sentences with a three-place predicate?

In this sentence: I consider him a good person. What is prohibiting us from positing a three-place predicate here? In such a scenario, consider would discharge three theta-roles to agent (I), ...
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1answer
270 views

Why is there no Subject-Auxilliary inversion in Subject questions?

In questions where a wh-element refers to the object, we can observe SAI (Subject-Auxilliary inversion). [Who did [you see]]? As far as I'm aware, C-head has a [+Q] feature and it's occupied by a ...
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1answer
224 views

Are the inflectional endings in English known to have evolved from separate words or do they go too far back into PIE to know?

English isn't a highly inflected language, but it did evolve from one and still has at least: -s, -es; -ed, -ing; -er, -est; for nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Do we know if these all evolved from ...
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70 views

Is standard written English really more open to the repetition of words?

In written English, I often see redundant repetition of the same or similar words even in the same sentence. Here's an example I've just seen: She was born to Patrick Mbatha, a black African doctor ...
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63 views

Subjective pronouns in English copulas: gradual loss of objective case, or emphatic construction taking over?

I'm interested in the historical linguistics of constructions like "that's me" versus "this is she" when answering the phone. Searching online led to a Google Books peephole view of a book that ...
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1answer
102 views

What determines how a language creates new words? For example, is it likely for English to continue to create new words from Latin in future?

In particular, I'm curious about the phenomenon where a language creates most new, modern words using a dead ancient language, rather than its existing, living original word roots. One example is ...
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102 views

Find noun phrases using syntactic analysis from Google Cloud Language API

I'm using the Google Cloud Language API (GCL API) to do syntactic analysis of English sentences. In particular, I'd like to identify all noun phrases. I don't care how they are used (subject, object,...
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1answer
143 views

How did “will” lose the meaning “want” in English?

Will used to mean want (and sometimes still does) but in other Germanic languages, such as Dutch and Norwegian, the cognate still means want. What was different about English to cause this?
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2answers
53 views

Is there a term for the diminishment of intensity of meaning over time?

I can only imagine this has been asked before, but the closest I found in a search had to do with translation and slang. Sorry if it's been answered! My question is about the watering-down of English ...
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1answer
312 views

Did Google Translate supply North Korea with the word “dotard” because of J.R.R. Tolkien's “Lord of the Rings”?

This question contains some speculation that a good answer would confirm or deny: The North Korean government recently released a statement that referred to Donald Trump, the current US president, as ...
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1answer
80 views

What is the linguistic cause of the formation of “competete” a wrong variant of “compete”?

Competete a variant of Compete used in colloquial speech, but is written with the same spelling as the latter, has come into use (at the least) in Indian English variants if in no other English ...
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21 views

Semantics and pragmatics [closed]

Many people call implicature as ambiguity and to me it is what words refer to, I'm confused what implicature actually is and what is relationship between implicatures, entailment and presupposition. ...
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52 views

What explains the semantic sameness in 'Verb + preposition + Direct Object' and 'Verb + Direct Object'?

Why can prepositions following a verb not affect the meaning of Verb Phrases that differ by only a preposition? I.e., what explains the semantic sameness between Verb Phrases that differ by only a ...
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2answers
138 views

Common language root for dom, domain

Earlier today I was wondering about the similarity of domain (eng), domaine (fr) and the words for home or house dom (rus), dům (cz) makes me think they have some common root, is that true? If so, ...
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518 views

How to differentiate an East Anglian accent from a West Country accent?

I want to understand the East Anglian accents better (Norfolk, Suffolk etc) but can't seem to differentiate it from a West country accent (Devon Somerset, Cornwall) properly. What linguistics ...
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4answers
392 views

Why did English “man” and Latin “homo” take both the senses “gender-neutral human” and “male adult”?

Why did English "man" and Latin "homo" take both the sense "gender-neutral human" and "male adult"? According to etymonline.com, English "man", and incidentally Latin "homo" (which originally meant "...
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0answers
52 views

Test for function or content word? (LFG)

This might only apply to LFG, but are there any tests for if a word is functional or content/lexical? I have been trying to ascertain whether or not there is a lexical 'be' in English. The active '...
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1answer
86 views

Are languages losing features like honorifics due to code mixing with English?

This question is not the exact same as this question here,. Here, I want to ask if code mixing (if that's the right term) is affecting languages which are in contact with English. E.g. Hindi is ...
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2answers
300 views

What are the arguments against Wells’s syllabification of English?

In Syllabification and Allophony John Wells argues for a view of English syllabification based on phonetic processes within the pronunciation of words. He mentions elsewhere that it is unorthodox, but ...
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1answer
53 views

In spoken English, is there a clear preference for using contractions?

In spoken English, is there a clear preference for using contractions? Does it depend on the locale? I am mostly interested in Midwestern and Northeastern USA, but I would also care to know how it is ...
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1answer
93 views

Do we know anything more about the semantic shift of “with” in Middle English?

The Wiktionary page on the English word "with" < *wi says that the meaning of "with" shifted in Middle English to denote association instead of opposition. The latter sense is still present in ...
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2answers
312 views

Are Hindi “Bigul” (बिगुल) and English “Bugle” cognates?

In Hindi, Bigul (बिगुल) (IPA /bigul/) is a bugle-like instrument, if they are cognates can someone also tell me how they might have been formed.!
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2answers
102 views

How do you analyze a standalone hashtag like “#goals”?

For those not fluent in internet-ese, the semantics are something like "The subject under discussion has an aesthetic I want to emulate"; if I saw a picture of someone wearing an outfit I like, I ...
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1answer
74 views

What part of speech is the word “that” in “That you be happy!”

In the exclamation That you be happy! what part of speech is the word that? Is it a conjunction via ellipsis, i.e. "(I wish) that you be happy!" If yes, then does this poke a hole in the idea that ...
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2answers
259 views

Does a subordinating conjunction necessarily introduce a subordinate clause?

I would like to clear up some longstanding confusion of mine on subordinate clauses, especially since it is a rather simple grammatical topic and it is about time that I learn it. Which of the ...
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2answers
383 views

Need for English not to have many grammatical cases

In other languages (mainly Romance languages such as: Portuguese and Spanish), we have many grammatical cases such as: abessivo ablativo, absolutivo, acusativo, adessivo; English doesn't feature such ...
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2answers
158 views

Do english-speaking people feel grammatical gender of words like “California” or “America” being feminine and “New York” being masculine?

Do english-speaking people feel grammatical gender of words like "California" or "America" being feminine and "New York" being masculine? Many of geographical names are obviously came from languages ...
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1answer
62 views

How Acceptability is this Epithet? [closed]

I am a non-English native (Arab) I have constructed the following epithet and want to check whether or not acceptable to English-natives' ear. I have come across a thin layer of deposits-covered ...
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2answers
159 views

How is it possible to reconstruct old accents of a language?

I just a video of a guy who delivered the opening lines of Romeo and Juliet in the modern received pronunciation of (British) English and then the same lines in what he claimed was the original accent ...
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1answer
133 views

How would you describe X of Y phrases where X and Y are nouns?

What grammatical feature is being used, when we say something like, "I drink a cup of coffee"? In this sentence we have one noun modifying another noun, "coffee" modifying "cup". Would "cup" or even "...
3
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0answers
69 views

Does “a little” (en) correspond to the same grammatical class as “ein wenig” (de)?

If you want to say in German, "I speak a little German", you would say, Ich spreche ein wenig Deutsch. The phrase "ein wenig" is reminiscent of the English phrase "a little", but what is ...
3
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3answers
210 views

Do “wise” and “wissen” share the same root?

A cursory search shows that the English adjective "wise" and the German verb "wissen" descend from the same root: the PIE *weyd- ("to see, to know"). I found this by using Etymonline to search the ...
3
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2answers
436 views

English onsets with /s/ and sonority hierarchy

Why are clusters such as /sk/ (as in sky), /st/ (stop), and /sp/ (spill) allowed as onsets in English? The sonority decreases in these clusters and does that not violate the phonotactic rules? On a ...
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1answer
141 views

Why the writing and reading in English are different?

I do not encounter so big problems with the English language although I'm not a native English speaker. But I'm curious why some languages (like English or French) are written different from the way ...
10
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1answer
552 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 ...
2
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1answer
869 views

Auxiliaries in generative grammar

In a course of introduction to Generative Grammar, my teacher told that auxiliary (Aux in the tree diagram) is the element that comes before the subject (NP) in an interrogative sentence. But I ...
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2answers
85 views

Why is Indonesian Google Translator voice so much better than English?

Listen to those Indonesian words. The sound is very clear and native speakers agree with me it's way better than the voice of English Google Translator. I doubt Indonesian speaker uses more advanced ...
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1answer
244 views

Is /ɡ/ Germanic and /dʒ/ French in English ge-/gi- words?

I've recently noticed that in English words starting with "ge-" or "gi-", when the "g" is pronounced /ɡ/, they tend to be etymologically Germanic, while the words where the "g" is pronounced /dʒ/ tend ...
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2answers
241 views

What came first: «starboard» or «estribor»?

In English, the right side of a ship (and everything beyond said side) is called «starboard». I know enough about sailing and about stars to know that stars can't have anything to do with that name, ...
2
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1answer
126 views

Letter switching? “r” and vowels switching

This is something I don't think is worthy of a question, but it is something I noticed happening to me, and I was curious if there are any other cases. For me for somereason I have begun switching my ...
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2answers
186 views

'there' vs 'it' expletive insertion

These are my conditions for detecting an expletive position: if spec IP has been assigned non 'null' Case and is not theta marked. However, after this I struggle to choose between 'it' and 'there'. ...
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2answers
117 views

What phonetic elements is the word yes and no put together by? [closed]

This might be a long shot but it will try it anyway?... I am currently working on developing a speech recognition application, capable of detecting utterances consisting of the words yes/no. A ...
3
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1answer
109 views

What's this punctuating feature of some peoples' English?

What exactly is the name and nature of this odd bit of consistent yet seemingly redundant English found in many forms of colloquial English: "She gave me dates, she did!" "The little lads ran home, ...
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2answers
154 views

Why do some English speakers insert a /t/ in ⟨else⟩ and say /ɛlts/?

Some English speakers insert a /t/ absent in standard American English in ⟨else⟩. How did this arise? What’s the mechanism behind it? Is it related to the insertion of a /ks/ in ⟨espresso⟩, as in /...
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2answers
2k views

Why can “autarchy” be spelled with an “k” while other words not? [closed]

English has a set of words with "ch", coming — more or less directly — from the Greek language. They all have a /k/ sound. character charisma psychology choreography archive Just to name a few. All ...
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1answer
123 views

What are the historical origins for the naming of the word 'function' in its mathematical context? [closed]

I tried to look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Function_(mathematics) but couldn't see anything. The reason why I was curious to ask is because this word just doesn't make any sense for what it ...