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Questions tagged [grammar]

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

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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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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
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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
59 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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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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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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1answer
92 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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2answers
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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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1answer
45 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 ...
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4answers
161 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 ...
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1answer
43 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 ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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1answer
83 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 ...
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48 views

Pattern to Prefixes and Suffixes in English

I've come across a list of English prefixes and remember learning in school about Latin and Greek being helpful for learning words in English based on prefixes/suffixes. I'm wondering though if there ...
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1answer
40 views

Do the WALS chapters cover the core grammatical structure of Spanish?

How complete is their description for the Spanish language? Is it missing something out? Here is the description http://wals.info/languoid/lect/wals_code_spa Thank You
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1answer
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Instrumental - nominative inversion in Polish

While scrolling through a course in Polish, I saw the following sentence: Wynikiem wyrażenia jest nowa relacja. This is not the first time I notice this pattern, where the instrumental is used for ...
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This/that: a determiner or pronoun? [duplicate]

Is there commonly accepted opinion on what lexemes this/that are, determiners or pronouns? E.g. in the following phrase: ... can help you work these out these seem to show some properties of ...
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1answer
171 views

Python list to Parse tree

In Python, I have an input of list like following: [('S', ['NP', 'VP']), ('A', ['V', 'NP']), ('VP', ['V', 'NP']), ('NP', ['DET', 'NP']), ('N', "'mouse'"), ('NP', "'mouse'"), ('DET', "'the'"), ('V', "'...
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Are there languages which have ways to distinguish between an adjunct noun and an adjective?

(Take some example). Do other languages (than English) have means distinguish between their adjunct nouns and adjectives or is it a very complex/grammatical structure that cannot possibly be ...
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3answers
103 views

One usage of infinitive clause

My question is about the sentence A few opportunities exist to get a better education in the U.S.(1) Some people said: "It is a correct sentence." However, I don't think so and will explain why. ...
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1answer
72 views

Is there any theoretical explanation of putting infinitive clause at the beginning?

There is a sentence which my Canadian professor today talked about. 1-) I see no reason to do these stupid things. The Canadian English professor at the university said that we could put the part "...
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Which friend did he find to study with?

The question is about what happens to phrases during the time of making them questions. We know that the following sentence is a normal English sentence which is correct grammatically. He found a ...
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What do introductory non-finite clauses modify?

The introductory non-finite clauses below (in bold) Speeding down the road, Peter ran a red light. Discouraged by his losing record, the boxer quit boxing what, if anything, do they modify? Do ...
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How broad should the corpora be to describe the grammar of a proficient speaker?

What's the minimum size of a corpus that you need to cover substantially the grammar of a language? I know that the limits of 'substantial' might be open to speculation. But imagine you wanted to ...
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2answers
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Doesn't Sanskrit use adpositions of any kind?

For some reason, the Wikipedia article makes no mention of any adpositions of any kind. I find it highly unbelievable that the language makes no use of such. It has a case system, but there's only 8 ...
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2answers
145 views

“Den” or “det” in Swedish

I am native Swedish speaker and I have a problem that the language seems to have no grammar in some cases. For instance there is both "en lag" and "ett lag" meaning completely different things but the ...
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1answer
89 views

direct object and indirect object [closed]

Which is the direct object and which is the indirect object in the following sentence? The school has given David's proposal serious consideration. I think that "David's proposal" is the indirect ...
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1answer
60 views

To what extent do different languages allow different understanding of reality?

I know that some languages have more or less tenses, have a more or less complete vocabulary, and in these ways it seems they would allow a native speaker a more or less accurate understanding of ...
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34 views

(How) Can one create a language in a classroom setting?

My wife questioned me if there's a subject that I cannot teach effectively (per my standards of making the students salivate for more). I mentioned my weakness at teaching languages, English for ...
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83 views

What are the main features of an agglutinative language?

As I was beginning to study some Esperanto, it immediately became clear that the language used the same morphemes without significant modification. Therefore, on further research, concluded that it ...
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198 views

What is the difference between syntax and grammar? [duplicate]

I think syntax is concerning with the theories of syntax like structuralism, behaviorism, traditional, and informational since each school has it's own rules and theories while Grammar is in regard to ...
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29 views

General theory of acceptability criteria for the sentence to be the “valid sentence” and their use for grammar/lexicon induction?

I am reading the article https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs10988-017-9220-0.pdf "The division of labor in explanations of verb phrase ellipsis". Technically it considers the sentences ...
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431 views

What prevents certain grammatical forms to be analysed as one word?

When analysing a language, when do we analyse certain morphemes as one word as opposed to multiple, or is this arbitrary? For instance, I could make the claim that (in certain cases) 'a/an' is a ...
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1answer
46 views

What is the term for the formation of word groups with single meaning/function (e.g. “in relation to which”) in lingustics

Clearly - pharases "in relation to which" (subordinating conjunction) function as one word. How such process is named in linguistics. It would also be interesting to know how such formation is ...
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Looking for a thorough comparison of French and Spanish

Either in English, Spanish or French. I haven't found a comparative grammar but I got pretty excited with this monograph: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Portuguese_and_Spanish I'm ...
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1answer
953 views

Are there languages where the tense depends on time elapsed between events?

In all the languages I am familiar with (mostly English and my native German as well as some rudimentary Italian and French, so all somewhat related.), the tense of a verb only indicates the time of ...
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214 views

Why do we censor vowels, rather than consonants?

My first question on this site, so please be somewhat lenient :)) My question, put succinctly: Why do we asterisk the vowels in profane words, rather than the consonants? Now, just a disclaimer, ...
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1answer
36 views

Comprehensive phonological sketches post-SPE

Is anyone aware of a comprehensive phonological grammar of a language, along the lines of SPE, Sound Pattern of Russian or Chomsky's thesis on Hebrew, written in a framework that postdates SPE? I ...
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Are there any languages where the first person cannot be an object?

In some languages, nouns low on the animacy hierarchy, particularly inanimates cannot surface as A, and if a situation arises where they are underlyingly A, some reparative strategy such as a passive ...
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3answers
137 views

Context-free grammars

What is a 'context-free grammar' in relation to natural languages? This Wikipedia article, gives a broad description, but it isn't clear exactly what features of a language would result in it not ...
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2answers
90 views

Downward entailing verbs: is the verb “remember” downward entailing?

I have some doubts if there is downward entailing environment with "remember": a. Mary forgot that she saw anyone. b. Mary forgot that anyone saw her. c. #Mary remembered that she saw anyone. d. #...
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1answer
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Is there a technical term for the kind of adjective A which appears in sentences of the form 'The object O is A.'?

Question. Is there an attested technical term for the construction 'Object O is A.' where O is a noun and A is an adjective? Remarks. The phenomenon that I am hoping to read about, and find a ...
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0answers
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Connections between combinatory categorial grammars and abstract categorial grammars?

Are there connections/translation or common tools usage/adaptation between combinatory (concrete) categorial grammars (incl. Lambek calculus) and abstract categorial grammars? Can tools for one of ...
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1answer
120 views

Conflation of language dialects and phonology

The main idea behind this questions is that I have some difficulty to accept that a certain language can be a dialect of another one by simply basing that argument on the similarity of the vocabulary ...
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1answer
40 views

Formal semantics of subordinate clauses (compound sentences) - in categorial and type logical grammars?

I am trying to apply combinatory categorial grammars and type logical grammars (Montague semantics etc.) to the compound sentences and the subordinate clauses. Are there efforts to develop those ...
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1answer
129 views

Are there any natural languages that actually have gender neutral 3rd person pronouns? [duplicate]

You see this a lot in the auxlang movement that having gendered pronouns is sexist. But making conlangs of my own, I find its absence to be often annoying. No one seems to realize how useful it is to ...
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What to reference for grammatical features being more reliable than lexical features for diachronic research?

I often hear people mention in passing that grammatical features are more reliable than lexical features in diachronic research, specifically when detecting pseudepigraphs, because it is relatively ...
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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 ...