Questions tagged [inflection]

The patterns of changing endings in inflecting languages which cover multiple properties of a word such as tense, mood, person, number, case, etc. This general term covers conjugation of verbs and declension of nouns and adjectives.

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2answers
68 views

Combining pro-drop with null morphemes

Some languages combine pro-drop with null or zero morphemes – inflectional morphemes, more particularly. Turkish is an example of this. To illustrate, the verb istemek = to want is inflected as ...
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Is it possible to have a word-based language completely without word inflection?

First, sorry if I'm not using the correct terminology here. By "word-based", I mean typical Indo-European languages (plus Uralic) where there are only tens of characters (e.g. "A to Z" (Latin) or "А ...
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How did the complexities of Arabic cardinals arise?

Generally the grammar related to the numbers in Arabic is considered to be the most complicated thing about the language. In fact, it is considered so complicated that many teachers argue that not ...
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Are there any languages which inflect the noun for morphosyntactic categories normally reserved for verbs (e.g. tense, aspect, etc.)?

In English (for example), we say "I go/went/was going/etc.", inflecting the verb for tense and aspect while leaving the subject of the sentence unchanged. But are there any languages that would ...
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Noun inflection in which IE language is close to PIE noun inflection?

Which modern IE language is most conservative in noun inflection and in this aspect is most similar language to PIE?
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Example of language with lots of agglutination/fusion/inflection without a lot of regularity

Wondering what a good example language is where, when you combine "prefixes" or "suffixes" to a base, it (a) changes the phonetic form of the word in certain places, and (b) this specific pattern only ...
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Does “to” correspond to verb inflection in X-bar theory?

In this Government & Binding Theory book I'm reading, it is assumed that "to" in to-infinitives corresponds to verb inflection, meaning that in x-bar tree "to" appears under INFL, exactly where ...
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215 views

Languages w/out morphology

Is there a natural language w/ no morphology (i.e. one that has neither inflectional nor derivational morphology -- in other words, no affixation whatsoever)? I've heard claims to the effect, but the (...
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What does one call a similar inflections of a root with different morphological classes as?

In a morphologically rich language, it is quite common that a root might have multiple inflections, each representing a different morphological class. Here multiple inflected word forms of a root ...
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137 views

Do case endings really make sentences shorter?

In the Language Construction Kit, Mark Rosenfelder makes the claim that case endings 'makes things compact and frees up word order'. The latter is pretty obvious, but do case endings really make ...
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72 views

Is there a language where in declension number is affixed peripherally to case?

Is there a language where, given that number and case are affixed seperately not fusionally, a noun can have the structure of , e.g. ithawen = itha-w-en [woman]+GEN+PL ("of the women, the women's")? I ...
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Is there a language in which personal suffix precedes the temporal suffix in conjugation?

A fictional example: zelun (zel- (verb stem: "to make leather") + u (personal suffix, 3rd person sg.) + n (temporal suffix, present)) vs. zelud (u (3rd sg.) + d (preterite)) zelun = "He/She/It is ...
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104 views

Terminology: types of inflection and features

Happy New Year, everyone! I am reading an article by G.Corbett on canonical morphosyntactic features. He mentiones two kinds of inflection: inherent and contextual. These notions look to me somewhat ...
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233 views

Are there languages in which adverbs inflect?

Are there any languages in which adverbs (in the sense of verb modifiers) inflect to match the verb they modify?
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Are the inflectional endings in English known to have evolved from separate words or do they go too far back into PIE to know?

English isn't a highly inflected language, but it did evolve from one and still has at least: -s, -es; -ed, -ing; -er, -est; for nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Do we know if these all evolved from ...
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222 views

Were/are there any languages that decline(d) articles but not nouns?

This question is actually spawned from a rather embarrassing personal blunder years ago, that was that when I had first begun to learning an heavily inflected language, I had made the mistake of ...
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Examples of Umlaut in a living language

For a teaching material I needed a good example of vocalic mutation of the root, aka Umlaut, and I got stuck at the fact that, while the Umlaut is often postulated for some reconstructed languages, ...
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1answer
146 views

Does plural count as a grammatical gender?

Depending on the language, gender inflection can arise from natural gender, or even perhaps as a way of simplifying an extremely complex inflection system, but regardless, grammatical gender is a just ...
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656 views

Are fusional languages easier to learn than isolating languages?

As some of you may know, auxlangers tend towards isolating languages. At the very least, the direct object is determined by word order rather than with a case ending (mostly because most West ...
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Combinatory Categorial Grammar for inflected languages?

Can combinatory categorial grammars be used for inflected languages like Slavic and Baltic languages? I am aware only of this thesis https://pwmarcz.pl/pm-thesis-final.pdf As far as I have ...
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404 views

Languages preserving loanword inflections

Erudite English has an interesting practice where the plural form of loanwords may follow the inflectional grammar of the source language. Thus "campi" as well as "campuses", "minima" as well as "...
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Is there any language where verb inflection takes place word-initially?

In the languages I know, verbal tense, number, gender, etc. is applied after the word stem. Is there any language where verb conjugation morphologically affects the beginning of a word and not the end ...
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How is the the adjective in a definite noun phrase different from a nondefinite one in Germanic and Balto-Slavic languages?

In the wikipedia article about definiteness I came upon this: In the Germanic languages and Balto-Slavic languages, for example (as still in modern German and Lithuanian), there are two paradigms ...
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1answer
155 views

Is there a dominant sequence in which a language throughout its evolution changes its type?

To clarify, by type I refer to terms like isolating, agglutinative,flectional...I think the terms which Humboldt introduced for a rough categorization. Now, I heard of languages, that changed their ...
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difference between Isolating (analytics) vs inflected (fusional) vs agglutinative languages

It's not easy to grasp these concepts. I spent a lot of time perusing wikipedia articles but still can't really understand what makes a language: inflexed, isolating or agglutinative, Background ...
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Is there a document with all the inflection forms of all the world languages?

I'm looking for an overview of all the inflections (such as nominative, ablative, possesive) from all the world languages to get an insight into how the inflection works in language in general. For ...
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1answer
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Is there a name for self-reference in verbs?

In German and Swedish we have typically the ending ...sig (själv) or ...sich (selbst) (in German) when doing something with yourself, for yourself or oneself. Example Ändra sig (="change yourself/...
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Is there any declension in Hebrew?

In classical Arabic, declension is very useful to distinguish subject from object, example: Ysmʕ allah-u => He.listens (V) God(S) (God listens) Ysmʕ allah-a => He.listens (V) God(O) (He ...
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Why did English evolve to have so little inflection? [duplicate]

Consider the sentence, The boy hit the ball out of the yard. If we think of the words which make up the sentence, we realize that none of them have much inflectional possibility. The conjugation ...
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126 views

Term for borrowing an inflected form as an uninflected form

Sometimes when a word is borrowed from one language to another, what is an inflected form in the source language becomes an uninflected form in the target language. Examples of this are the Italian ...
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1answer
481 views

The Inflectional Phrase and Welsh

Wikipedia explains how the Inflectional Phrase has a VP as its complement and an NP (the subject of the phrase) as its specifier. It is long ago that I studied this, but a quick look at Sprachliches ...
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124 views

Origin of the term “iminutive”

The word "iminutive" is used in Yiddish, and, apparently, Bavarian grammar to refer to the second diminutive (i.e., of nouns). The etymology of "diminutive" is clear. As for the provenance of the ...
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comparative study of spoken language complexity or irregularity

Could you recommend a publicly accessible study/article that quantitatively compares languages by their complexity or irregularity? I am interested in spoken languages only. Not writing/spelling. ...
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522 views

Which language has the most types of irrealis moods?

A mood in grammar is a verb form that depends on how its containing clause relates to the speaker’s or writer’s wish, intent, or assertion about reality. Mood is distinctive from tense (how a verb's ...
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1answer
267 views

What is the inflexive Indo-European language that has least fusions?

I'm looking forward to learn a new language. In the two languages I know, I see problems where one word can mean multiple meanings and can be of multiple types and it gives me a hard time ...
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Is the {-ing} of the gerund a verbal inflectional suffix?

Is the {-ing} of a gerund a verbal inflectional suffix or a nominal derivational one? For instance, in the sentence Swimming is a great hobby. , swimming is a gerund and it has the syntactical role of ...
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1answer
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Is there a term for “lexeme-describing grammatical feature”?

I've heard terms like grammatical category and grammatical feature being used for inflectional properties such as number, person, tense, mood, and so on. Gender is commonly included in this list too, ...
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125 views

Grammatical term for inflectable conjunctions as used in the Arabic language(s)

Conjunctions in the Arabic language can be inflected be adding an affix that indicates the pronoun. E.g. the conjunction 'because' is لِأَن (li'ann), and 'because you' yields لِأَنك (li'annak). ...
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Where can I find free dictionaries for various languages? [closed]

Inspired by this xkcd comic, I'm trying to write a computer program that can generate random sentences to be used as pass phrases. However, I think that the pass phrases might be easier to remember if ...
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126 views

Non-tonal (and tonal) languages and inflection

I want to know whethere there are any standards that would allow a non-tonal (or tonal) spoken language like English to be augmented with diacritics to denote how the tone varies, as the entire ...
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1answer
710 views

V-to-I lowering and split IP hypothesis

English is I-lowering language, but on split IP hypothesis([AgrP [TP [VP]]]), verbs move to the head of TP: V-raising. /John often kissed Mary./ On unsplit IP(IP[VP]), [+tense] which the head of IP ...
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Do there exist any languages that use inflection to create questions?

In most (or all?) of Germanic languages questions are created by inversion. E.g.: "I am here." -> "Am I here?" As far as I know most of Slavic languages do it simply by adding a word before the ...
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333 views

stem classes and the terms “fusional” / “inflectional”

I have seen both the word "fusional" and the words "inflectional"/"flectional" used as the counterparts of "agglutinative" when describing a morphological process. 1) Is there a distinction between ...
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1answer
73 views

What's the conventional way to gloss ergative inflection?

I want to stress the difference between ergative and non-ergative inflection with a minimal pair like the one below. Does the gloss and translation make the distinction sufficiently clear? Or is there ...
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Trying to understand why adjectives do not refer

[Question rewritten and retitled, now that I have a better understanding of what I didn't understand, due to comments] This is probably information I could find on the Internet elsewhere, but I am ...
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1answer
497 views

What are common non-lexical indicators of sarcasm expressed orally in English

I've been doing some anecdotal research into what indicates sarcasm in spoken form. My goal is to find indicators of sarcasm without relying on the meaning of the words and sentences themselves. ...
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L1 acquisition of morphology in heavily inflected languages

It is very common to hear two- and three-year-olds in English saying "I falled down," "She gived me it," etc. And the frequency of a verb form is inversely related to the age at which one is likely to ...
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1answer
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Order of derivational and inflectional affixes

I saw the following formula on Wikipedia: morpheme + derivational morphemes + desinence (inflectional morphemes) followed immediately by the comment not not necessarily in this order. But all the ...
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408 views

Are there any languages besides Japanese which are both inflecting/agglutinating and do not indicate word boundaries in writing?

Many languages have inflectional or agglutinating morphology - they have words with multiple or many forms due to aspect, degree or comparison, gender, mood, number, tense, etc. A number of languages ...
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Does word order really not matter in Latin?

New to Latin, I can't help but wonder about the following: Every text I found online claims that since words are inflected (enough) to indicate the roles they play in a sentence, word order has no ...