Questions tagged [grammar]

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

1
vote
1answer
15 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
88 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?
1
vote
2answers
102 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, ...
1
vote
1answer
68 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
52 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,...
0
votes
2answers
54 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
122 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
122 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.
2
votes
2answers
78 views

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
44 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
61 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
30 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 ...
22
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
63 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 ...
3
votes
0answers
48 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" ∅-...
-1
votes
1answer
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 ...
7
votes
1answer
209 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.
-1
votes
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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
29 views

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)?
3
votes
2answers
104 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
38 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 ...
1
vote
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 ...
5
votes
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
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 ...
1
vote
0answers
62 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
87 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
682 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
44 views

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"...
5
votes
1answer
161 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
60 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
75 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
107 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
173 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
0
votes
1answer
71 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 ...
7
votes
0answers
107 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
163 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 ...
-4
votes
2answers
81 views

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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
64 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
57 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
217 views

Example of a tenseless sentence

I just learned about Tenseless languages, such as Chinese. But I'm interested to see what this looks like and/or means. For example, wondering if one could write a tenseless sentence in English and ...
1
vote
1answer
83 views

How can I identify Grammatical Categories in a sentence?

Please excuse the fact that I'm not an academically trained Linguist. I am working on a computer program with example sentences and their equivalents in different languages. The idea I am trying to ...
2
votes
2answers
96 views

Does it make any sense when saying someone's grammar was wrong?

This is a followup question of this question that I asked 3 and a half year ago. So based on what I could gather there, "descriptive" grammar comes after a language, hoping the rules are best ...
0
votes
1answer
52 views

What part of speech is “group” when used in a construct like “people group,” or “product group”

Given a class C, we may append it with the literal "group" to obtain a class of sets whose elements are instances of C, and which are related in some way. If you're not super familiar with object ...
2
votes
3answers
153 views

How can you know that a word in a sentence is a verb?

I am wondering what it takes to parse a sentence with incomplete knowledge. That is, take a sentence like this: If I use timeout I have to call again my function at the end of the execution of the ...