Questions tagged [grammar]

A body of rules, features, or generalizations which reliably differentiate between grammatical and ungrammatical constructions.

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40 views

Why is “turn” used in possessive constructions? [closed]

In a game of chess, for example. We talk of whose "turn" it is. The turn is either yours or your oponent's. The turn passes from on to the other. First it is mine then it is yours. It is almost like ...
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1answer
94 views

Can anyone explain me the structure of the FCFG grammar

I was not able to understand the grammar rules explain in discourse.fcfg file. Can any one help me understanding SEM means in S[SEM = <app(?subj,?vp)>] -> NP[NUM=?n,SEM=?subj] VP[NUM=?n,SEM=...
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474 views

Is the concept of grammatical function related to inflexion?

Studying the book Understanding Morphology by Martin Haspelmath, arrived at this fragment. The importance of the latter part of the definition is seen in paradigms like insula. Although there are ...
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What is considered a grammatical case in the framework of turkic languages?

Let's take kazakh language as an example. In every source I've read there are 7 cases in kazakh language: nominative úı - a house, laq - goatling; genitive úı-diń - of a house, laq-tiń - of a ...
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3answers
185 views

How to 'correctly' measure the complexity of the grammar of a language?

Linguists have some methods to measure the complexities of the grammar of a language. Some linguists may refer to how many grammar rules that language has. some may also refer to how many morphemes ...
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1answer
30 views

Paradigmatic vs syntagmatic relationship

I was exploring some various aspects of corpus linguistics and studying different approaches to corpus research on the internet when I came across these phinomena of paradigmatic and syntagmatic ...
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2answers
96 views

When is a thing correctly called a person? [closed]

When does a thing become a person, in any language. When is it correct grammar to refer to a thing as a person?
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2answers
119 views

Can we predict language death just by looking at grammar?

Is it possible to predict that a language is about to die out just by looking at its structure? So without taking into account the number of native speakers it has and other external factors? If so, ...
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1answer
77 views

Standardized and ambiguity-free language

Is there exist a language (the natural or the constructed one) with a completely standardized and ambiguity-free rules, and which is suitable for the modern use? I am wondering for a language which ...
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1answer
58 views

Grammatical case vs semantic case

I'm not sure what these terms mean. In my lecture notes I wrote that grammatical case is used to show the syntactic functions of a nominal syntagm, depending on its relation to the verb. Semantic case,...
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2answers
60 views

How to break down sentences into known grammatical categories

I'm trying to break down and analyse different sentence structures in English. Each group contains one present, past, and future sentence, but otherwise should be the same within a group. 1 He ...
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3answers
128 views

What's the difference between a modifier and a complement?

Take this syntax tree as an example: Why is a prepositional phrase (PP) sometimes a post-modifier and sometimes a complement? What is the difference in general? I need to be able to spot them and ...
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27 views

Grammar induction from grammaticality rules

Let's have formalisation of grammaticality judgments in some deduction system. Is it possible to learn/induce grammar from rules that govern grammaticality judgments? Is there theory, that connects ...
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1answer
138 views

Is there such thing as a 'half-plural'?

If yes, does any language have this feature? By 'half-plural' I mean, somewhere between singular and plural, but not dual, trial, or quadral.
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2answers
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Is English “<adjective> to <verb>” an idiomatic schema, or what do you call “easy to do”?

Is the question clear? Idiomatic scheme is not a term of art, I guess, but it's idiomatic and it follows a schema. It's a weird one, for sure. Some thoughts: The Adjective can't be removed * The ...
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1answer
50 views

How to understand semelfactive aspect of a verb? How is it varied/similar to iterative aspect?

How semelfactive aspect of a verb that represents a single occasion of an event like knock,hit etc..is perfective and moment defined. whereas,iterative aspect is event that is repeated on single ...
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1answer
68 views

Describing continuity and change (like mou and mada in Japanese)

In Japanese, mada まだ refers to a continuing state: 'still (as it was)' or 'not (changed) yet', and mou もう is about change: 'already (changed)' or 'no longer (the same)'. Are there other languages ...
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68 views

How is “In we go” syntactically valid?

Various simple sentences occur in English that I can't explain precisely. "In we went!" "Off he goes!" Is this an arcane idiom from an earlier grammar, or is there a general rule that can be ...
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34 views

Principle C of Binding Theory and Cataphoric Reference, why these notions are against each other?

Principle C of Binding Theory stated that 'referential expression' can not be c-commanded, even across clause boundaries. While cataphoric reference refers to a reference which occurs before its ...
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2answers
2k views

Fourth person (in Slavey language)

I was reading a Wikipedia article about the Slavey (Slave) language in Canada, and it says that Slavey has first, second, third and fourth person. I've never heard about a language having a fourth ...
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1answer
69 views

If you can use nouns as verbs for different languages

Along the same lines of If you can use Chinese nouns as verbs, or vice versa, I am wondering if you can treat nouns as verbs or verbs as nouns in languages such as these: Inuktitut Hebrew Japanese ...
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50 views

Behaviour of attributive nouns in foreign languages

A common construction in some foreign languages, but seemly not in English, is to use a noun where we would use an adjective. The two forms are: A: PRONOUN "BE" ADJECTIVE B: PRONOUN "HAVE" ∅-...
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93 views

Is *grandmother* a compound?

"Grand is used in a specialized sense in kin terms like grandmother or grandson to indicate a further degree of lineal distance beyond that expressed in the head. Such forms can themselves be modified ...
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228 views

Etymology of Latin infinitive verb endings

I was wondering, what the etymology of Latin infinitive verb endings -are, -ere and -ire was. I assume they are Indo-European, but I haven't found any information about it.
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1answer
45 views

Universal Grammar or Other Area of Study

So, what I am wondering about is what I should look up to study the following. From my understanding, there is a limited number of ways languages are implemented. That is, there is a set of abstract ...
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2answers
48 views

Can the need for ambiguity lead to merge of grammatical person, or other semantic merge?

My mother tongue doesn't distinguish 3.SG.F and 3.SG.M in speech. In some cases I feel the redundancy of it and the need for ambiguity of the grammatical person when I speak a language which ...
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Are there any statistic how similar are any two languages? [duplicate]

Are there any statistics on how similar any two languages are? For a whole language (lexical and structural) or maybe just a comparison of two dictionaries (vocabulary)?
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106 views

Understanding Feature Grammar syntax

Background: I am a software dev who doesn't really know much about linguistics but I am trying to learn some of it for an application I'm making I am trying to understand Feature Grammar syntax, and ...
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40 views

How are clauses containing adverbial clauses and free modifiers represented in syntax trees?

I know that relative clauses simply go in the noun phrase containing the noun they modify, but what about adverbial clauses and free modifiers? How do you represent a clause containing an adverbial ...
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4answers
109 views

All that glitters is confusing!

"All that is gold does not glitter" "Not all that is gold glitters" The first phrase appears in Lord of the Rings, modified from Shakespeare, and contextually implies that "Aragorn is vastly more ...
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1answer
91 views

Experimental support for construction grammar?

I realize there are many different instantiations of Construction Grammar (CxG), and I'm not necessarily tied to any particular version yet. I was curious if there are experiments that support CxG, or ...
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31 views

Noun Phrase/absolute clause distinction

What is the difference between a supplemental noun phrase and a absolute clause? In these examples and in general. Is it just the non-finite nature of the second example ? He won at his favourite ...
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78 views

Phrase structure trees for serial verb constructions

I have not found an example of a phrase structure tree for a serial verb construction like let’s go [and] see a movie The serialized verbs go and see would have to be sister nodes, I think, but I am ...
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94 views

Phrase structure trees for different languages

I am trying to get to the bottom of the difference between (1) and (2) below, and how the intended meanings would be reflected in a phrase structure tree: (1) If you think that $100 is too little you ...
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1answer
828 views

What ex­act­ly is “lev­el shift” in trans­la­tion the­o­ry by Cat­ford?

Catford (1978) divides the shift in translation into two major types, level/rank shift and category shift. Level/rank shift refers to a source language item at one linguistic level that has a target ...
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Markers that affect intensity of the imperative mood

I'm working on a project that explores how imperative mood varies in 'intensity'. For example, one can 'soften' the tone of a directive by including the speaker in the command: "Let's go to school"...
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1answer
167 views

'm' of predication vs. nominal sentence in Middle Egyptian

Consider the sentence: "I am a scribe, skillful of fingers." This is typically stated in Middle Egyptian using the 'm' of predication: iw=i m sš iqr n(y) ḏbaw I think this is correct, and 'm' of ...
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2answers
63 views

What is the proper terminology for “I touch” in this sentence?

I am trying to diagram this sentence for a personal project: Everything I touch with tenderness pricks like a bramble. From what I understand, Everything is the subject, and pricks is the ...
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71 views

“Peter sang a song to Julie”, Is “to Julie” is an adjunct or complement?

Peter sang a song to Julie. It seems that the verb "sang" selects the preposition, but to Julie is optional. And if we apply it to an X' Schema, how shall we do it? To Julie is the dependent of sang ...
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1answer
76 views

How to construct a grammar given a text and a dictionary

So I would like to learn how to construct a grammar from scratch. In order to do this the first step is collecting data, primarily texts, and compiling a dictionary. I think this can be simulated for ...
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1answer
108 views

Why Do We Say “The Same”?

Generally, sentences are constructed like this: Compared to Joe, he looks similar. Compared to Joe, he looks different. Compared to Joe, he looks handsome. Compared to Joe, he looks ugly. Yet, when ...
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1answer
180 views

Why Creole languages aren't the default

I am new to exploring Creole languages, after seeing them compared to "Riau Indonesian": The dialect of Malay spoken in Riau Province is considered by linguists to have one of the least complex ...
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1answer
100 views

Explaining Grammatical “Mood” for the Laymen

I have seen "mood" a lot in linguistics articles, have read about it a few times, but it never seems to click. Wikipedia links to Linguistic modality. I have come across Modal Logic which basically ...
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1answer
68 views

Complete guide to cross-language grammar [closed]

Wondering what the best (free) resources are for learning about grammar generically across languages. I have seen a lot of "Guide to the X grammar", but not "Guide to grammar in general". Would like ...
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1answer
73 views

The languages with the most complicated grammars [closed]

It looks like Navajo has a very difficult-to-tease-apart verb morphology, as seen here: Unusually for a natively North American language, Navajo is sometimes described as fusional due to its ...
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111 views

Does anyone know if there are plans for a 'successor' to Huddleston and Pullum (CamGEL or CGEL)?

Huddleston and Pullum's The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CamGEL or CGEL) is widely considered a 'successor' to a previous 'great English grammar': Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik's ...
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165 views

Why is sign language different from spoken language?

I have read a bit about sign language, and apparently they have different grammar from the local spoken language. Why would they need this? Doesn't it complicate things to have to learn 2 languages ...
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Why was 'grammar' chosen to signify the model of linguistic competence, when 'grammar' was already strikingly polysemous?

Page 5 of (R.L. Trask, Robert McColl Millar's) Why Do Languages Change? (2010 Rev. ed), expounds that 'grammar' originally didn't mean its linguistical meaning (quoted at the bottom): no surprise, as ...
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Latest research on the meaning of prepositions

Trying to understand what a preposition is. Wikipedia gives some hints (adpositions are the general case of preposition/postposition/circumposition): ...Adpositions are classed as syntactic ...
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59 views

Is there a grammatical case indicating displacement?

As part of a constructed language experiment I am trying to write phrases with clause structure of [noun supersedes noun] as just two words. For example, “death before dishonor” or “freedom over ...