Questions tagged [grammar]

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

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46
votes
9answers
214k views

What's the difference between syntax and grammar?

From what I've read, both terms have to do with the rules of formation of sentences. I've seen grammar used in mathematical contexts, in computability theory, where it has a precise definition. But ...
-1
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1answer
1k views

How can PSG describe the vertical dimension of sentence structure? [closed]

PSG (phrase structure grammar) describes the horizontal dimension of sentence structure with strings, sequences of sentence parts, in a way we are all familiar with. We know that nominal expressions, ...
18
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7answers
5k views

Looking for a good beginners reference to learn computational linguistics

Recently in my work I came across the Backus–Naur Form (BNF), one way of describing a context-free grammar. Since then, I've been interested in learning how to deconstruct and parse not only computing ...
14
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4answers
1k views

Are there any papers etc analyzing Japanese as a language with noun cases rather than particles?

Japanese is often included in lists of agglutinating languages. Many (most?) agglutinating languages are analysed as having case systems. Of course cases and prepositions/postpositions fill the same ...
37
votes
8answers
7k views

Are there languages that don't have this kind of ambiguity?

In the sentence "John told James that he's happy.", the pronoun "he" is ambiguous, since it could refer to either John or James. Are there any languages which try to solve this ...
12
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3answers
2k views

What is an example of a syntactic structure that can't be represented by a BNF grammar?

The tools for working with BNF grammars are a little more discoverable (ANTLR, Gold, etc) and usable than for other types of grammars. What sort of sentences can't be represented with ordinary BNF ...
4
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3answers
4k views

Ergative Verbs and some discussion about them

I know what ergative verb is - Consider the following sentences - I opened the door. The door was opened (by me). The door opened. The verb open is a transitive verb in sentence #1, and sentence #...
2
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1answer
116 views

What do the numbers 206.835, 1.015, 84.6, 0.39, 11.8, 15.59 mean in the Flesch reading ease and Flesch-Kincaid grade level formulas?

I am looking to understand what do these numbers mean in the formulas, and how do they affect results, and why they were specifically chosen. Here are the formulas: Flesh reading Ease = 206.835 - 1....
-3
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1answer
424 views

In English, noun phrases within a relative clause cannot be further relativized, but this is allowed in some cases in Japanese

Japanese: Revised edition by Shoichi Iwasaki: In English, noun phrases within a relative clause cannot be further relativized, but this is allowed in some cases in Japanese. If there is such a ...
71
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12answers
25k views

What characteristics are unique to English (or at least rare among language as a whole)?

After wondering about this today at work, I turned to the Internet. A short piece that focuses on pronunciation points toward "none". I've scoured ELU and Google (perhaps not as thoroughly or ...
16
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2answers
3k views

Is there a well-established metric to measure the effectiveness of a parsing algorithm?

My understanding that 100% accurate parsing (analyzing a text and creating a syntactic tree) is an impossible task for computational linguistics at this moment. However, there are many heuristics or ...
30
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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, ...
17
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3answers
2k views

Are word classes universal?

I'm working on an application that takes a special database of words and its word class and determines the such from a given sentence. I'm now working to see if word classes that are found in English ...
12
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6answers
8k views

What is minimalist about the minimalist program?

The minimalist program seems to be very fashionable amongst linguists at present, but for the life of me I can't understand its appeal. As far as I can see - and I've read my fair share of the ...
12
votes
2answers
922 views

Besides logics, what mathematical tools are used in the study of linguistics?

I learned of connections between linguistics and category theory when I'm learning the application of category theory in quantum field theory. Being aware that axiomatic set theory (logics) is ...
6
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1answer
2k views

How is category theory applied in linguistics?

I am learning monoidal category applied in quantum information and quantum field theory, and several references say that monoidal category is somehow related to linguistics via Hopf algebra of quantum ...
25
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2answers
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 ...
9
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3answers
7k views

Non-Projective Example

I'm looking for an example sentence with a non-projective dependency parse. It doesn't have to be in English, though such an example would be nice.
3
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3answers
2k views

What is the relationship between lambda calculus and logical form?

I was first introduced to lambda calculus as a way to use syntax to compose the semantic value of a phrase from the semantic values of the components of that phrase. Lambda calculus does more than ...
3
votes
6answers
11k views

Which comes first? Grammar or language?

I always have the impression grammar is just a tool to help studying and learning a language, i.e. it is a scientific tool invented for a language after the language has existed. But to think of it ...
8
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4answers
607 views

Relationship between possession ("to have") and tenses ("I have seen")

In several Indo-European languages the verb that denotes possession (to have) is also used to construct verb tenses. Some examples: I have seen ... I have a dog. (English) Am văzut ... Am un câine. (...
4
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4answers
654 views

What sub-field in linguistics should I study to help me learn foreign languages? [closed]

I'm interested in languages and linguistics, can speak a few languages (English, French, Mandarin, some German, Japanese, and Esperanto) and would like to eventually learn more (Japanese, Spanish, ...
3
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2answers
165 views

How does a field linguist record rare, unknown features of an undocumented language? Is it likely for him/her to miss the details?

A field linguists is most likely an adult, after all. We all know that babies are capable of hearing the specific sounds in natural languages. As a person grows up, however, he/she starts to lose the ...
2
votes
0answers
163 views

Combinatory Categorial Grammar developments and lexicon for German language?

I am trying to apply Cornell Semantic Parsing framework (implementation of Combinatory Categorial Grammars CCG) to the German language. This framework takes natural language texts, learns grammar and ...
0
votes
3answers
76 views

What is the name of introductory expressions like "It is not the case that..."

I'm trying to find out what is the grammatical category that corresponds to such expressions that use to introduce clauses, such as: It is not the case that... It is very possible that... It is ...
0
votes
2answers
301 views

How to represent a dative verb in first order logic?

I understand that the representation of an intransitive verb, V in lambda calculus would be lambda x. V(x), where x is the subject. How do I represent an intransitive verb followed by a ...
9
votes
1answer
357 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.
7
votes
0answers
170 views

Combinatory Categorial Grammar (комбинаторная категориальная грамматика) developments and lexicon for Russian language?

I am trying to apply Cornell Semantic Parsing framwork https://github.com/cornell-lic/spf (implementation of Combinatory Categorial Grammars CCG) to Russian language. This framework takes natural ...
5
votes
1answer
188 views

Do we know of any influences on Tibetan from Chinese (other than lexical borrowing)?

With China asserting its influence on Tibet, including the standard Chinese language, what changes if any have taken place in the Tibetan language due to influence from the Chinese language? ...
4
votes
4answers
982 views

Can the Latin conjunction -que coordinate two propositions?

I read in Ovid, Metamorphoses, I.474-477 (Apollo is in love with Daphne) : Protinus alter amat, fugit altera nomen amantis silvarum tenebris captivarumque ferarum exuviis gaudens innuptaeque aemula ...
4
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1answer
149 views

Which languages marks grammatically for social relationships?

Which languages apart from Japanese, Korean and Javanese encode systematically the relationships between speaker, hearer and referent by means of grammar markers and special sets of vocabulary?
4
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1answer
395 views

Resources comparing grammars of different languages

I'm looking for a book on comparative grammar, where the grammar of different languages and/or language families is described and compared. EDIT: A comment made me realize that the question is ...
3
votes
1answer
314 views

Root reduplication to mean singular

In different languages reduplication of the root serves as a means to express plurality (Malay 'orang' - 'a person', 'orang-orang' - 'people') or a greater degree (Russian 'много' - 'many, much', '...
3
votes
2answers
234 views

Is the English "because (noun)" an instance of grammaticalization?

This structure is often used recently (I think since mid-2012) in a sarcastic or humorous way, or to indicate that the reasoning is not sound. a) “Ok, I really want to hang with her because ...
2
votes
1answer
58 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
308 views

Scrambling in Languages like Latin

Consider a clause in Latin that has n words. Latin frequently uses scrambling, so there are n! possible ways to arrange that clause given a free word order. However, Latin writers use only a small ...
2
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1answer
1k views

English Phrase Structure Rules and adjectives

I am learning about English grammar, but as a programmer, I have natually gravitated towards learning about syntactic structure. I am learning from university lecture notes which I found through ...
0
votes
1answer
373 views

Does Swedish always had common and neuter genders?

Exactly as stated in the title. I wonder if it always been that way or it is some modern concept to enforce gender equality?
0
votes
1answer
57 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
93 views

How to build a robust transliteration scheme across languages?

So I am trying to imagine building a transliterator across languages that takes any language and converts it into IPA or some less-detailed equivalent (like a Romanization). I am thinking about ...