Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [linguistic-typology]

The study of structural features, diversity and commonalities among the world's languages.

8
votes
5answers
962 views

What's weird about Proto-Indo-European Stops?

I was reading Wikipedia, and it maintains that it's unusual for a language to have a voiceless-voiced-breathy distinction (without a voiceless aspirated), but that the Sanskrit 4-way distinction is ...
2
votes
2answers
225 views

What causes relative frequency of consonants?

So, can you point me to some research, what causes the relative frequency of consonants in various languages?The fact that vowels are more common than consonants is obviously caused by phonotactics, ...
22
votes
2answers
2k views

Fourth person (in Slavey language)

I was reading a Wikipedia article about the Slavey (Slave) language in Canada, and it says that Slavey has first, second, third and fourth person. I've never heard about a language having a fourth ...
-1
votes
2answers
117 views

Is it really impossible for two different languages to have the exact same set of phonemes?

Is it really impossible for two different languages to have the exact same set of phonemes? I read that somewhere and wanted to know if it was true.
0
votes
4answers
421 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
56 views

Is Haitian Creole morphology fusional?

There are conflicting views regarding how Haitian Creole is classified in relation to its lexifier--French. I am trying to give a good description of Haitian Creole in terms of its morphology. Is ...
5
votes
1answer
77 views

Are the hebrew prefix letters (משה וכלב) considered a form of agglutination?

An example of this letters can be seen in the word וכשלהתמרמרויותינו where the וכש at start mean "and during to" (the entire word means "and during to our grumblings).
2
votes
0answers
49 views

Direct–inverse marking on the noun, or the possiblity of inverse alignment

A direct-inverse language, Wikipedia claims, is one which involve[s] different grammar for transitive predications according to the relative positions of their "subject" and their "object" on a ...
5
votes
3answers
156 views

Is the existence of a mixed branch of Indo-European plausible?

I was thinking about the possible existence of a branch of the Indo-European family that combines features of several branches. For example, a branch that is something in between the Germanic and ...
3
votes
2answers
180 views

Is “indirect object” syntactically definable or useful, in English or generally?

In traditional English grammar, we're taught that phrases like those boldfaced below are "indirect objects": I gave the book to Ted. I gave Ted the book. But this appears to be based on semantics (...
14
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
95 views

german phonology [closed]

Feature/Map 4: Voicing in plosives and fricatives (by Ian Maddieson) WALS value for German: “in both plosives and fricatives” Comment: Owing to final devoicing, voicing contrasts in Standard ...
-1
votes
1answer
70 views

What are the inventories for minimalist approach? [closed]

I have questions regarding German phonology. my first question is the example required for minimalist approach. According to Plank, the consonant phoneme counts for Standard German varies between 17 ...
2
votes
1answer
46 views

Are contour tone system and complex consonant clusters compatible in phonotactics?

Are there any language that have both of these characteristics? I am not sure but I assume that contour tone is unnecessary and uneconomical to be used in every syllable of a language with complex ...
1
vote
1answer
136 views

Does German have periphrastic causative constructions?

Wals chapter 110: Periphrastic Causative Constructions coded German as "sequential but no purposive". Is there an example of periphrastic causative constructions in German?
12
votes
1answer
177 views

Are there any languages with only one of “yes” or “no”?

Many modern languages have single words for "yes" and "no" (e.g. English), and some have more than a simple pair (e.g. French), while others have no word for "yes" or "no" (e.g. Latin and Irish). ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

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
1
vote
2answers
96 views

Are there languages that ban t+S (esh) sequences but have a č phoneme?

I’m not expert in typology, but I wonder if it’s possible for a language to ban t+S sequences but have a phoneme č. Does anyone know of an example of one such language?
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Are there any languages that mark plural before the noun, while everything else comes after?

There's a lot of head-final languages where everything precedes the noun except for the number (Japanese is one example). But are there any that do the reverse? Is there a language where number ...
0
votes
1answer
141 views

Inclusive pronouns—can there be more than one?

Many languages have two forms of the pronoun "we": an inclusive one and an exclusive one. In the examples I am aware of, there is just one inclusive we, meaning "i/we and you (sg./pl.)". Are there ...
2
votes
1answer
140 views

Differences among Chinese, Tibetan, and Burmese

Is there any research or explanation for the (grammatical, typological) differences among Chinese, Tibetan, and Burmese? I am thinking of the fact that Chinese is classed as an Analytic, SVO language,...
3
votes
1answer
222 views

Are there some languages that do not have infinitives/participles/gerunds?

Are there some languages that do not take their verbs and convert them into verbals (infinitives/participles/gerunds, et al.)? I noticed the Wikipedia article on participles has a number of language ...
3
votes
1answer
112 views

How to proceed with this Maasai translation?

The problem statement is as follows: Question: Indicate which translation goes with each Maasai sentence. My current approach: The word {word1} appears a total of 8 times in the Maasai sentences ...
1
vote
0answers
59 views

Are there languages that don't allow sub-clauses?

In the Language Construction Kit 2, the author makes the assertion that sub-clauses, in particular center-embedded clauses, add complexity. That is obviously true, but he claims that you can make do ...
1
vote
1answer
121 views

Why do most Austronesian and Polynesian languages have low consonant vowel ratio?

Refer: WALS feature 3A A simple Google search yielded - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5529419/ which could be one of the reasons. But can anyone come up with some other reasons maybe ...
4
votes
0answers
101 views

4 or 5: is thumb a finger? Distribution across languages

Researching the origins of counting systems, I came across the question I cannot seem to find an answer for: what is the typological distribution of languages that consider thumb a finger (5 fingers ...
1
vote
0answers
25 views

How are nominal predicates expressed in active-stative languages?

Based on my reading, Active–Stative languages typically feature the core arguments of Agent (AGN) and Patient (PAT). While the precise rules differ by language, it seems to be that for intransitive ...
2
votes
1answer
98 views

high tone retention

Is high tone retention typologically true? When one of the two adjacent vowels at a word boundary undergoes deletion, one of the two tones also undergoes deletion. And it is said that high tone is ...
4
votes
1answer
256 views

What grammatical features do SOV languages often share?

I've read that languages with the same word order often have similarities, even if they're not related, purely because some grammatical features will force a language to use others. For instance, if a ...
0
votes
1answer
51 views

Factorial Typology--determining implicational universals?

For the implicational universal "if a language has voiced obstruents, then it must have voiceless obstruents," what would I have to observe from tableaux to verify its validity? The three main ...
3
votes
2answers
110 views

What subfield of linguistics studies curious or unique features of natural languages?

Some examples would include (languages in which) males and females use different words, there are no numerals or grammatical gender or number distinction, etc. Is there a field of linguistics that ...
-1
votes
3answers
205 views

Is there a natural language that doesn’t use an action verb to describe death?

English uses “activity” verbs such as the verb “to be” to describe that a person is dead, as in “He is dead,” or “He died.” Is there a language that doesn’t do this? I know that some languages have ...
9
votes
1answer
228 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?
1
vote
1answer
71 views

What is the technical name for declensible languages?

What is the correct nomenclature for languages constructing logical functions through desinences (through declensions) and what for the ones doing it via prepositions?
3
votes
1answer
78 views

Tone associated to segments other than vowels

Are there languages in which lexical tone can associate to semivowels or glottal stops, or does tone ALWAYS associate only to vowels when it is realized in a spoken word?
1
vote
1answer
116 views

Are there any configurational languages that AREN'T verb-medial?

Is it true that has a rule, a language where subject and object aren't explicately marked will always have SVO or OVS order? I've been thinking that it may be possible to get away with having no ...
4
votes
2answers
64 views

Are negative comparative operators like “less” typologically rarer than their positive counterparts?

I'm looking for a reference to the claim that negative comparative operators like "less" are cross-linguistically rarer than their positive counterparts. Is anyone familiar with this claim, and able ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

Are there any languages that place subjects and direct objects before the verbs, but everything else after?

I know the Romance languages do this with pronouns, but they don't do this with noun phrases. Are there any natlangs out there where the subject and direct object always precedes the verb, but ...
5
votes
2answers
73 views

Has there been cross-linguistic work on differential adjective-noun order?

In recent years, a massive amount of attention in linguistics has been devoted to the variation within language varieties of grammatical structures caused by semantic and discourse-pragmatic factors, ...
3
votes
0answers
59 views

Is the obligatory omission of tense/aspect/mood marking in polar interrogatives common?

In a language I'm studying for a field methods class, the range of tense/aspect/mood marking on verbs seems to be relatively limited in interrogative clauses. For example, in some verbs, a past tense ...
1
vote
1answer
224 views

Is case-marking really useful for such languages?

CASES The function of cases is to differentiate nouns in order for the reader/hearer to know what syntactic/semantic function it is performing in a sentence since others languages, such as Portuguese,...
8
votes
5answers
877 views

Languages where articles occur to the right of nouns

Are there languages where articles appear—as independent words—on the right-hand side of the noun phrases they occur in - in other words after the head noun in the noun phrase?
4
votes
1answer
220 views

Machine Translation: Why is Japanese-English the only pair where rules are still used?

The Microsoft Research Machine Translation system (MSR-MT) is actually a hybrid system, using both rules and statistical methods (1) . According to Peter Norvig (2) (emphasis mine): Machine ...
5
votes
1answer
95 views

Are there languages with both the singulative and the main verb 'have'?

Celtic and Arabic both exhibit singulative forms and both lack the verb 'have'. I would like to know whether there are are singulative languages that have the main verb 'have'.
4
votes
3answers
653 views

What do languages without a schwa vowel have in common?

This is a follow up to this answer were the OP makes the point that the schwa vowel (a.k.a. central or neutral vowel) is produced when other vowels are reduced to that sound. It makes perfect sense ...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

average root length cross-linguistically

A colleague of mine made a claim that the phonemic length of the root morphemes in whatever language does not usually exceed 5, as an average. I have some doubts about this unsubstantiated claim, ...
2
votes
0answers
66 views

Is there any resource about “exceptional” examples of false cognates available?

As an amateur I lack information about specialized resources for linguists. What I’m looking for is a list of stunning examples of false cognates in any discipline, that can be either exact matches, ...
3
votes
0answers
116 views

Is there a purely singulative-collective language?

I wanted to ask "Is there a language that marks singular?" but found this. So instead, I'm asking: Are there any purely singulative-collective languages? The (admittedly abstract) idea behind this is ...
3
votes
0answers
54 views

On +/-Pied-Piping of A's in AP's containing wh-degree words

When a degree wh-word (e.g., E. how, G. wie, F. que, Sp. qué, It. come, Port. como, etc.) grades an adjective, in some languages (= the 'Pied-Piping Type') the adjective must accompany the degree ...
-6
votes
1answer
115 views

What are the historical origins for the naming of the word 'function' in its mathematical context? [closed]

I tried to look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Function_(mathematics) but couldn't see anything. The reason why I was curious to ask is because this word just doesn't make any sense for what it ...