Questions tagged [grammar]

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

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What is the origin of the “redundant” pronouns in the Venetian language?

From the examples taken from Wikipedia: • Venetian: (Ti) te jèra onto or even Ti te jèri/xeri onto (lit. "(You) you were dirty"). • Venetian: El can el jèra onto (lit. "The dog he was dirty"). It ...
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What are the unique features of the Australian Aboriginal Languages compared to other world languages

Not looking phonologically but grammatically, what are the languages which would be a good reference point for starting studies in Australian Aboriginal languages? Western Desert Language? Others? Are ...
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Did names are translate in different languages according to the meaning? Please tell me asap [closed]

Did names are translate in different languages according to the meaning of name?
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What is the suitable verb forms of this 'wish-clause'? [closed]

I would like to have a test item which requires the use of 'wish + wouldn't' I can't find such an item in the grammar books I use, so I think about slightly adapting the item so that the verb form ...
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When an existential verb is used existentially as the predicate to a subject, is it true in all languages that it cannot take another predicate?

When an existential is used existentially verb as the predicate to a subject, is it true in all languages that it cannot take another predicate? In other words, when the existential to-be verb means '...
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What are the thematic structures of a clause?

While going through Rodny huddleston's An outline of English Grammar; I came across a concept named :Thematic structures of a clause. Its been more than a year when I first read it but have failed to ...
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Are words classified (PoS) according to their use in a sentence, or does classification precede usage?

This is a rather broad question, so I'd like to limit this to verbs, at least in this explication of the question. Verbs take many forms and roles in sentences. Present participles can take the role ...
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1answer
89 views

Has grammar ever been observed in animal communication?

This question came into my mind while thinking about the question by JohnDoea: What is the essential difference between human languages to other earthly Animalia languages? I hypothized this could be ...
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A counter-example to the parsing rule model?

The idea that we have some strict "correct" parsing rules which we use to parse sentences seems a bit wrong to me. Here's why. Consider these sentences: Yesterday I went to the beach. I, yesterday, ...
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1answer
59 views

Is there specific grammar used in Newspaper headlines?

I need to find some general rules used in Newspaper headlines. I will use computational linguistics (nltk python library) to develop classification algorithm to distinguish news and not news by ...
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1answer
159 views

Absense of cases in Bulgarian

Nowadays, Bulgarian and Macedonian are the only Slavic languages where the system of cases isn't developed. Bulgarian and Macedonian are very close to each other, but are considered to be 2 ...
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1answer
113 views

Distribution and origin of reflexive pronouns like “myself” across languages

I'm neither a professional linguist nor a native English speaker, please excuse me if I use any term incorrectly. Feel free to make and suggest edits to make my question more clear. Question Hello, ...
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1answer
64 views

How does switch-reference typically arise in a language?

How does switch-reference typically arise in a language? In linguistics, switch-reference (SR) describes any clause-level morpheme that signals whether certain prominent arguments in 'adjacent' ...
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Diacope Confusion

I'm a little confused by diacope as a rhetorical feature. All examples I can find are short simple sentences "drill baby drill" for example. I'm trying to work out what the correct term would be to ...
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2answers
62 views

How to know when to use a direct and indirect object pronoun [closed]

Il faut les rendre actifs - we have to make them active Nous devons leur donner le choix - We have to give them the choice Please can someone explain why the second sentence takes an indirect object ...
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2answers
75 views

Is wrong article use a matter of pronunciation or grammar?

I was in a discussion with someone, where they described my wrong use of an article as a "mispronunciation". I argued it was rather a matter of grammar, as I did pronounce the article correctly, but ...
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74 views

Why isn't this sentence in a passive form? [closed]

I found this sentence in a grammar book for grade 10 Which CD sells the most? A traditional music CD. I wondered why it isn't in a passive form, or just because it's used in spoken context?
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Chains of nouns in English

English is becoming so indifferent to the proper roles of parts of speech that I have been finding longer and longer chains of nouns in written materials. I am under the impression that chaining ...
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1answer
5k views

Is it unusual that English uses possessive for past tense?

When learning some basic French, I was somewhat surprised to learn that phrases of the form "I have found the cat" generally translate almost word-for-word from English (J'ai trouvé le chat). To me, ...
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1answer
81 views

Context-Free grammars and Language

As someone trained in neither, how could you explain the analogies between context free grammars / languages and certain programming languages in computer science? Have I misunderstood whether there ...
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2answers
118 views

How many sound-to-letter sequence mapping rules does English have compared to other languages?

In English (I haven't really thought too much about English yet), there are tons of what-seem-like one-off patterns. (the "oo" sound) tool /tul/ two /tu/ to /tu/ through /θɹu/ blue /blu/ queue /ku/ (...
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1answer
39 views

Which option should I use if I want to learn theories that will account for as much English sentence's structure as possible

Option 1: "Cambridge English Grammar Language" by Geoffrey Pullum or Option 2: a site which, i think, is based on government and binding theory: https://www.ling.upenn.edu/~beatrice/syntax-textbook/ ...
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1answer
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How definitive are “patterns” in grammar across languages?

So when you learn a new language from English like Spanish in school, they make it seem like "hey there's these clear patterns and rules once learned you'll master spanish". So you learn the verb ...
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What is the 'best' language, and by what metrics, why those metrics…? [closed]

This is sort of the old question that you'd see whispered about a lot in Western academia, and shouted out by linguists of the past, who had their own circumstances, own canons, own less-connected (?) ...
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166 views

Why do languages modify their words for different moods?

At the bottom on Wikipedia's Grammatical Moods page they list a bunch of different moods, but not all of them. I have yet to find a list of all moods across languages (if you know of one please ...
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1answer
85 views

How does the Thai language express the instrumental?

In English and many European languages the instrumental is expressed with a preposition: I eat noodles with chopsticks. (But "with" is not dedicated to this function and has other uses such as the ...
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2answers
87 views

In which languages could a phrase like “We went to lunch with Bob” signify an event in which exactly two people took place?

I'm sorry for the perhaps weirdly worded question, but here's my attempt to explain better what I mean: In English, if I say "We went to lunch with Bob" means that the people involved are me, Bob, ...
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3answers
56 views

In what sense do non-restrictive phrases limit meaning?

In what sense do non-restrictive phrases limit meaning? It's well known that non-restrictive phrases are inessential to the meaning of the sentence because they do not limit the reference of a ...
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2answers
72 views

What is the boundary of morphologically decided gender assignment and the phenomenon like a/an-distinction in English from a synchronic perspective?

And are there any examples in world's languages of the one mechanism developed into the other? Grammatical gender is a specific form of noun class system in which the division of noun classes ...
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4answers
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Why isn't “I've” a proper response?

Suppose someone asked me the question, "Have you completed the project?". A standard response would be "I have". Why does the equivalent "I've" sound so strange and never used as a replacement? I am ...
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1answer
133 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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496 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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1answer
107 views

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
256 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
3k 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
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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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132 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
99 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
147 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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61 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
389 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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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
153 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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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
172 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
216 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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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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45 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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3k 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
109 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 ...