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
3k views

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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799 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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830 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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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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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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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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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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159 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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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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465 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
104 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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What's the difference between suppletion and irregular inflection?

I've been using the two terms interchangeably. One of my assignments is asking me to identify cases of both suppletion and irregular inflection. I've been going over course notes/google to no avail--...
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Difference between Genitive Personal Pronoun and Possessive Pronoun

I'm currently studying Icelandic. Right away at one of the first steps I found a bit of difficulty and I wonder if any of you might be able to help me as the question might be answered based on any ...
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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
597 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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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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548 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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Is there some intrinsic relationship between the nominative plural and genitive singular?

In Latin the similarity between the nominative plural and genitive singular is most striking: First: porta (Nom/Sing) and portae (Nom/Pl), portae (Gen/Sing) and portarum (Gen/Pl) Second: servus (Nom/...
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What really makes adverbs different from adjectives?

I just tried to answer a question that amounted to knowing whether adverbs can be inflected. Then, doing a bit of search for examples, I came up with the impression that, in many cases, I could not ...
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The suffix -er in English: Why is this derivational?

A typical charactersitic of inflectional suffixes is that they are productive (can occur on many words) and obligatory (are required by virtue of certain grammatical constraints). Simplistic though ...
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580 views

Mine, Yours, Ours, His, Hers, Its, and Don't Forget Theirs

What exactly are the Indo-European predicative mine/yours/ours/his/hers/its/theirs forms, in terms of word class and inflection? Would they be considered the genitive (or even the dative) case of ...
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How are foreign terms incorporated into the Arabic system of vowel alternation?

I don't know much at all about the specifics of Arabic grammar, so this question might not make sense, but as I understand it, most Arabic words consist of a three-consonant root with vowels inserted ...
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Why are there inflections?

I'm from a Chinese background. I wonder why there are inflections in many languages, as compared with no inflections in Chinese. I personally suppose that a language should originate simple and easy ...
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Does the classification of languages “agglutinating” concern itself with inflectional morphology, derivational morphology, or both?

I had always thought that the terms "agglutinative" and "agglutination" referred to the typology of the inflection in a language. But on another question here there seem to be a number of comments ...
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856 views

Are personal pronouns in English different lexemes or just inflected forms of the same one?

Take for example the words 'I' and 'you' (or 'I' and 'we'). Is it more reasonable to analyze them as different lexemes, or as different forms of a same lexeme inflected for grammatical person (or ...
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423 views

Are the demonstrative determiners “this” & “that” inflected to become “these” & “those” or are they different lexemes altogether?

If I'm not mistaken, nouns (and nominals) are the only words that can inflect for grammatical number. E.g.: cat (Sg), cats (Pl); writing (Sg), writings (Pl). "This" and "that" as singular ...
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271 views

Are there languages that mark different types of volition or causality morphologically?

A simple event description such as "The boy jumped" does not necessarily imply anything about the speaker's understanding of the cause of the event or of the volition of the agent. I can say "The boy ...
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Derivational vs. Inflectional Morphemes

Is the derivational/inflectional morpheme distinction particularly significant to linguists? If so, is it more significant for languages other than English, which I think is less "inflected" than ...
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Which language(s) has cases which cannot be mistaken for other cases?

I would like to learn a language which has cases which cannot be mistaken for other cases, in pronunciation and writing. Does such a language exist? For an example of what I want to avoid: The case ...
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Languages with vowel-based “radicals” inflected or derived by changing consonants?

Semitic languages are known for doing quite a bit of their inflection and derivation not via adfixes but via modifications around a triliteral radical of three consonants. But I'm wondering if there'...
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Which prefixing language has the most speakers?

Most if not all national or widely spoken languages with an inflecting or agglutinating typology do all of their inflecting at the end of the word. These are called "suffixing languages". This is ...
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Do any languages have verbal inflection with a plural object?

The verb in a language like English can inflect for person, for example: I see the cat > he sees the cat and the verb can inflect for tense: I see the cat > I saw the cat But do any languages ...
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Third-person singular suffix [eth] in Middle English

Related: Grammaticalization of third person singular -s in English According to responses to this question, there was a dichotomy between northern -s and southern -th in Middle English. What I am ...
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Do sign languages inflect?

I saw the statement a few times that sign languages inflect in the same way that spoken languages do, but all examples I came across refer to phenomena that I would classify as word formation rather ...
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What is the maximum number of forms a (modern) Japanese verb can take?

Recently I've begun to wonder how many possible forms can be made from a single Japanese verb. I asked a similar question first on the Japanese Language & Usage site, where I received some ...
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What are some examples of well-known agglutinatve languages moving toward inflecting morphology?

We've had questions about inflected languages moving towards analytic morphology and about isolating languages moving to agglutinating morphology but we haven't yet investigated the third case. In ...
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Are there any recent articles on the current state of Case theory?

Specifically I'm interested in the split between Structural Case and Morphological case. Structural Case has been part of Chomskyan syntactic theory since at least Government & Binding (GB). ...
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Segmental exponents of tense/aspect on subject pronouns?

Languages with tonal inflection for tense/aspect/mood occasionally have tones associated with certain inflectional categories which are realized on pronouns, e.g. Ngbaka, where the imperfect and the ...

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