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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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Patterns of inflection for Italian natives in natural conversations and whether they're common in other languages

When speaking with Italian natives in both English and Italian, I've noticed that they tend to place a considerable amount of stress on every other word in a sentence (barring words like oh, ah, etc. ...
1 vote
1 answer
86 views

Why is it to distinguish inflection in the two cases by conjugation and declension?

Inflection for verbs is called conjugation, and for nouns, pronouns and adjectives are called declension. Why are "conjugation" and "declension" in use when "inflection" ...
1 vote
4 answers
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Errors of inflection in languages other than English -- more common or less common in very inflected languages?

Note: While a question similar has been suggested and the replies indicate that even uneducated Russians do not make mistakes as even educated English speakers tend to, I am firstly not convinced this ...
1 vote
3 answers
529 views

Could have inflected Proto-Slavic really 'been created' as a lingua franca among some Slavs and many agglutinative, Turkic languages-speaking peoples?

In my experience, it seems to be that people learning as a second language one that is significantly more inflected that their mother tongue(s) experience serious difficulties and tend to avoid ...
22 votes
7 answers
8k views

What is the origin of non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages?

Non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages: What is their origin (assuming that there is a single origin, if there are many origins)? Or what are the origins? How and for what ...
2 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
-2 votes
1 answer
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What are examples covering the spectrum of possibilities of inflection types across languages?

I am currently looking at Turkish adjective intensification where they are formed by adding a letter in the middle of the word, according to some rules (after first consonant + vowel): siyah ("...
1 vote
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Rules for inflecting Tibetan nouns and verbs?

The internet is scarce in Tibetan grammar, this being the best I can find. It says there are 6 noun cases, and gives the pattern for inflecting the base noun, it seems. Is that all that is required ...
4 votes
5 answers
180 views

Does there exist a pair of words with the same parts of speech, same base form, but different inflections?

I will attempt to illustrate my question via example. Let's say we have two verbs which are homonyms of eachother: "fleeber" and "fleeber". The first means "to create a soft ...
1 vote
0 answers
232 views

inflected languages other than IE and Semitic ones

When one looks for examples of inflected languages outside the Indo-European and, perhaps, Semitic domains, it seems that there is none. Does anyone here know other examples in different linguistic ...
6 votes
4 answers
5k views

Are there languages with verb tenses, but no conjugation?

More specifically, what I'm looking for is this: verbs have no conjugation or inflection; the only form is the infinitive. The language does have verb tenses, (past, present, future, conditional, etc),...
6 votes
3 answers
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Do modal auxiliaries in English never change their forms?

Anderson's Essentials of Linguistics says that in English: The modal auxiliaries never change their form: they occupy the T- head position in their own right. The non-modal auxiliaries, like main ...
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Multiple plurals per inflectional paradigm slot (Arabic)

Lexemes are generally associated with inflectional paradigms; let us take a nominal for the purpose of this discussion, and more specifically an Arabic nominal. Let's say that we are dealing with a ...
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3 answers
291 views

What's the difference between nominative and absolutive case?

Why do both these cases need to exist? They are both subjects
6 votes
2 answers
562 views

Are inflectional morphemes considered affixes in English?

From what I remember to have learned in SPANISH, which is my mother tongue, affixes just refer to derivational morphemes such as suffixes and prefixes which can change the meaning of words when added ...
6 votes
2 answers
314 views

Is it pure coincidence that English makes plurals with -s, like in French and Spanish?

It is known that the plural -s suffix in English has Germanic origins, and is not a feature imported from French. However, to what extent does the use of -s for plurals in English have to do with ...
1 vote
1 answer
299 views

Why are comparative -er and -est suffixes considered inflections not derivations?

In e.g. English, why do we say that better and best are inflections of "good" and not derivations of "good"? Why is tastiest commonly understood as an inflection and not a ...
3 votes
1 answer
595 views

Inherent inflection vs. Contextual inflection

dear community! In morphology, there is this concept of inherent inflection vs. contextual inflection, which is mainly associated with the Dutch morphologist Geert Booij. In the case of inherent ...
4 votes
2 answers
149 views

Understanding "inflection" and "grammatical category"

The Wikipedia article Morphology says: A further difference is that in word formation, the resultant word may differ from its source word's grammatical category whereas in the process of inflection ...
3 votes
3 answers
379 views

Languages with definite and indefinite conjugation

Apart from Hungarian, are there any other languages with definite and indefinite conjugation (verbal inflections)? For example (in Hugarian): Definite conjugation: I see the tree. – Látom a fát. ...
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0 answers
221 views

In the IPA transcription do I need to show the global fall/rise before or after the stressed syllable?

I put the global fall symbol (down arrow) after the stressed syllable because it makes more sense to me. The last content word in a though group is where final inflection usually occurs, the syllable ...
0 votes
1 answer
119 views

Are there any inflectional languages that have less ambiguous endings than Latin?

Latin has many ambiguous endings. For example, in Latin, -is can be the ending for: First and second declension Ablative and Dative Plural of any gender. Third declension Genitive Singular. Third ...
3 votes
2 answers
174 views

Are different inflectional forms of a word different words or the same word?

At some point, I gained the notion that inflections of a word didn't constitute different words, but rather different forms of the same word. This Wikipedia article however, says the process of ...
1 vote
2 answers
243 views

In English the suffix sometimes changes the stress pattern of the rest of the word. Is English the only language with this system?

TELephone, telePHONic, teLEphony. PHOTograph, photoGRAphic,photOgraphy. biOLogy, bioLOGical. The suffix changes the stress pattern of the rest of the word. Is English the only language with this ...
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Does "this" and "these" belong to the same lexeme?

I am confused as to whether "this" and "these" belong to the same lexeme
3 votes
2 answers
471 views

How do Agglutinative Features/Languages develop out of Fusional Features/Languages?

Does anyone know about the development of agglutinative languages out of fusional languages, or, more precisely, agglutinative features out of fusional features? I am thinking in particular about the ...
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What would be the collective noun for collection of words whose affixal markers indicate the same grammatical categories?

I am working on Sanskrit, a fusional language. I am confused about what should be the collective noun that I should be used to address the set {nominals, verb, adverb, indeclinable, participle}. Could ...
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1 answer
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What are the main types of inflection that can be found in the languages of the world? [closed]

What are the main types of inflection that can be found in the languages of the world? If you can, define them and give an example for each of them please. Thank you!
12 votes
4 answers
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French conjugation, spoken vs written

French verbs are conjugated depending on the subject's person and number (ex. je parle, tu parles, il parle, etc.) However in spoken language most of these sound the same anyway because the end part ...
1 vote
4 answers
2k views

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 ...
4 votes
6 answers
865 views

Do Modern Grammar Theories fall short in explaining Free Word Order?

Here's my childish challenge to generative grammar: Could anyone give me an analysis of Russian sentence Мама мыла раму. (Mom washed the (window) frame.) from the point of view of modern grammar ...
1 vote
3 answers
600 views

Definite/indefinite articles vs. inflections

While some languages have definite/indefinite articles (a/an/the in English, le/la/les and un/une/des in French), others don't (Russian, Latin). In this connection I have a few questions: Chicken or ...
3 votes
1 answer
605 views

How did Latin drop noun declension?

Latin has/had noun cases, while modern Romance languages don't. I wonder if the transition can be observed in written forms. Are there examples from different historic moments? A side question: ...
6 votes
2 answers
973 views

Are there languages that inflect adverbs for gender

Triggered by this answer, I am curious: Are there languages that inflect adverbs for gender or noun class? I have consulted the following two questions but the given inflections of adverbs in their ...
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what are the various properties that inflection indicates in words in various languages?

Whereas some types of inflection are common, such as gender, plurality, tense, etc., many languages are known to possess a very rich set of inflection semantics and/or agreement inflection features. ...
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1 answer
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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 ...
6 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
30 votes
4 answers
9k views

Why do English verbs inflect so little, especially in regard to "person"?

Most Indo-European languages have verbs which endings change according to the person. I made a table with the most common (and close) languages and focussed on the category of person and the present ...
3 votes
2 answers
187 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 ...
9 votes
5 answers
6k views

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 ...
4 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
7 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
14 votes
2 answers
2k views

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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
548 views

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?
1 vote
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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 ...
10 votes
1 answer
454 views

Grammaticalization of third person singular -s in English

Is there any evidence that the third person singular -s can be traced back to a lexical item before it became an inflection? I am trying to see if the theory of grammaticalization applies to its ...
4 votes
2 answers
1k 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 (...
0 votes
2 answers
81 views

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 ...
26 votes
3 answers
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How do linguists distinguish between case endings and postpositions, especially in languages which have both and/or have no traditional grammar?

In my attempt to learn Georgian, an agglutinative language of the South Caucasus, I have learned that it has both case endings and postpositions. I also have some familiarity with Korean and Japanese ...
3 votes
1 answer
241 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 ...