Questions tagged [grammar]

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

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575 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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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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267 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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92 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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"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
115 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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206 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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384 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
168 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
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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
195 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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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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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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1answer
70 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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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
133 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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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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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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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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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
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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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Instrumental - nominative inversion in Polish

While scrolling through a course in Polish, I saw the following sentence: Wynikiem wyrażenia jest nowa relacja. -- *resultant (of the) expression is (a) new relation This is not the first time I ...
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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
941 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
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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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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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333 views

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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"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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158 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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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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(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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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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818 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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461 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
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 ...
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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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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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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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135 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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388 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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203 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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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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