Questions tagged [grammar]

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

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6answers
10k 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 ...
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8answers
403 views

What's the use of Grammar?

There's a question that bothered me for a long time when I am learning another language. English is not my first language, so when I was being taught, they told me all these grammars like like the ...
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1answer
889 views

Does English have [ inchoative aspect ]?

Does English have the [ inchoative aspect ] ? The first passage quoted below says NO, but the second says YES. . . . So I guess it depends on the definition. Is English generally/usually said to (...
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4answers
200 views

How does the description of the grammar of a language differ between a traditional and scientific approach?

Let me clarify the question, There are traditional grammars to describe the working and structure of languages, mostly with the purpose of teaching someone to speak the languages. So, it is approach ...
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2answers
408 views

What decides the language family of a language the most structure/grammar or the vocabulary?

My assumed premise: Indo-European language classification is broad. We can always find two languages of this family which are grammatically so different, and also the languages grammatically similar. ...
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1answer
213 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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3answers
239 views

What are good linguistic arguments for keeping heterographic homophones?

While having a discussion with a friend who oft malapropriates their/there/they're, and to/too/two, he maintains the position that he has a: "disbelief that the current system is the best one" He ...
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2answers
151 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 ...
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3answers
247 views

Book suggestions for linguistics for Computer Science people

I am asked to do some NLP tasks on a language which is agglutinative. I am finding these terms difficult to understand since my background is different. I am looking for some nice books that give a ...
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2answers
372 views

Does a subordinating conjunction necessarily introduce a subordinate clause?

I would like to clear up some longstanding confusion of mine on subordinate clauses, especially since it is a rather simple grammatical topic and it is about time that I learn it. Which of the ...
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1answer
132 views

What's this punctuating feature of some peoples' English?

What exactly is the name and nature of this odd bit of consistent yet seemingly redundant English found in many forms of colloquial English: "She gave me dates, she did!" "The little lads ran home, ...
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5answers
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English grammar: is it possible to automatically verify correctness

Is it possible to verify if sentence is grammatically correct automatically. E.g. for sentence Lemon yellow. verb (predicate) is missing or for sentence If it will rain, we will not go to ...
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1answer
321 views

Subject/Complement Agreement. How to describe problem with “The thing is the objects.”

In https://ell.stackexchange.com/questions/29140/is-or-are-the-only-thing-that-i-want-you-to-hit-right-now-is-are-the-books/29170#29170, I provided the following, problematic, wording (especially ...
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3answers
271 views

Grammar framework features that are not supported cross-linguistically

There are quite a lot of grammar frameworks postulated since the last century, like MP, LFG, RRG, RCG, MTT to name a few. I like reading about languages, but a lot of publications about languages are ...
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1answer
329 views

How is the hesternal past, crastinal future etc. conveyed?

Hesternal Past tense describes an event occurred yesterday (in an absolute tense system) or the day preceding the day under consideration (in a relative system) and the crastinal future describes and ...
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2answers
435 views

“used to” for past habitual: analysis

I teach ESL at the adult level. I am trying to analyze "used to" for past habitual, as in: My car used to malfunction a lot. Is "used to" an adverb-phrase meaning something like 'for a long time in ...
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2answers
1k views

Is the set of lexical rules, or phrase structure rules finite?

I'm trying to write a program that generates valid English sentences, but without specifying what structure the sentence takes. I want that to be determined by starting at a simple sentence S (NP VP?...
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2answers
73 views

a question about reflexives and nonreflexives

Why "the house(i) had a fence around itself(i)" is ungrammatical but "Susan(i) wrapped the blanket around herself(i)" is grammatical?
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1answer
295 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', '...
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2answers
1k views

Checking grammar of non-English text (NLP)

I am writing a program that will take input from users in non-English languages (German, French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese) and will need to determine whether the input is grammatically correct....
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2answers
137 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 ...
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3answers
163 views

What grammar generate this sequence

I need some little help in connection with linguistics. My first question is: Is there any fast way to figure out grammar if I have sequence of symbols, or do I have to guess? My second question ...
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2answers
212 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 ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
158 views

Are all grammar formalisms either dependency or constituency grammars?

Can a grammar formalism be something that's neither a dependency grammar nor a constituency grammar?
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1answer
159 views

What's a good source to say if a word is masculine or feminine in Sanskrit?

I trying to write a few verses and knowing the gender might change the meaning. A good source to Sanskrit grammar would also be accepted!
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1answer
2k views

Grammar for language L = {ww ∣ w ∈ {a,b,c} * }

I am new to linguistics and trying to understand how to construct a grammar. I am however having issues on this. L= {ww ∣ w ∈ {a,b,c} ∗ } is a linear indexed language, how can I construct the ...
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2answers
149 views

What are the main criteria for a grammar mistake to become a new normative?

I am conducting a small research on the usage of dual in the Czech language. Normally, the dual is used only when referring to body parts (legs, eyes, knees etc) and the number 200. However, in spoken ...
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1answer
99 views

Is English grammar teaching tradition rooted in Latin?

I heard once that the way English grammar was taught as school was rooted in Latin and it wasn't a correct approach for a number of reason ? This was a long time ago, so I cannot remember the details. ...
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1answer
152 views

Why are constructions such as ‘AN historian’ commonly pronounced with a non-silent H?

It is well-known that the determiner a is substituted with an when the following word begins with a vowel (letter or sound). In some cases, however, an has been used preceding words beginning with (as ...
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1answer
8k 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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1answer
103 views

In what ways might dependency grammar be a better fit for free word order languages?

I believe it is often cited that dependency grammars are more adequate for free word order languages. How actually, is dependency grammar more descriptive or less limited, than constituency grammar, ...
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1answer
135 views

What is the influence of Germanic languages on Esperanto grammar?

I am making a presentation in my class about the influence of Germanic languages on the Esperanto grammar. I was wondering if you could help me further. I already said that Esperanto was a non pro-...
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1answer
206 views

Are Spanish “que” clauses following “parece” complements or postponed subjects?

The Spanish equivalent of It seems that they hate each other is Parece que se odian. In both languages seem/parecer are one-place predicates (well, both can optionally accept a second argument with ...
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2answers
706 views

Hebrew - Arabic grammar book

I've been searching for quite a long time for a Hebrew-Arabic grammar book to study both languages in more depth at the same time while being able to compare similar roots and the root system for ...
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0answers
32 views

Interleaving (Cross serial dependency) using context sensitive grammars

I saw from different sources that Context Free Grammars are insufficient to generate cross serial dependencies (interleaving) in languages and it would require mildly context sensitive grammars to do ...
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0answers
77 views

Where did English get its perfect tense(s) from?

Apologies if this is too basic, but I know very little about linguistics and figured this would be a good place to ask. English seems like it draws from several other langiuages, notably the romance ...
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0answers
73 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 ...
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0answers
86 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" ∅-...
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0answers
52 views

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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0answers
77 views

Does “a little” (en) correspond to the same grammatical class as “ein wenig” (de)?

If you want to say in German, "I speak a little German", you would say, Ich spreche ein wenig Deutsch. The phrase "ein wenig" is reminiscent of the English phrase "a little", but what is ...
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1answer
166 views

Giving grammar without useless symbols / ε-productions

I hope some people here are firm with computational linguistics, since I couldn't find any question here about this topic yet. Question 1 As the title says, I'm trying to give an equivalent ...
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0answers
189 views

Inside-outside algorithm (PCFG learning) and binarization

I am implementing the Inside-outside algorithm to estimate the parameters of a PCFG based on the train corpus. One observation (on existing implementations) is that, the grammar is converted into ...
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0answers
61 views

Which grammar framework the terms “predicate/ complement/ adjunct” belong to?

From wiki, there're a number of grammar frameworks. Which framework the terms "predicate/ complement/ adjunct" belong to?
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0answers
135 views

What accounts for grammatical gender classifications?

Has there been any account given for what causes grammatical gender classifications to be used in languages? Is there a purpose in associating a gender to a word? Does this type of classification ...
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2answers
140 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 ...
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4answers
488 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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4answers
332 views

Why does Spanish have obsolete tenses?

In Spanish, there are a few tenses that exist but are almost never used in daily life, like the subjunctive future and future perfect tenses. They are only utilized in legal documents and older pieces ...
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3answers
2k views

How should I form grammatical cases in my conlang?

Now, I'm a Latin student, and that being said, I understand how cases operate and what they do for a language, but I've never enjoyed learning/studying/keeping track of them. That being said, I feel ...
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1answer
537 views

How to detect verb in a sentence where the verb is invisible in the sentence?

In case of some Indo-European languages it seems there is no visible verb in the sentence. This is specially visible in languages like Bangla, Hindi etc. For example the sentence Who is there? is ...

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