Questions tagged [linguistic-typology]

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

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1answer
70 views

Are there natural languages that tolerate ambiguity between abilitive and possibilitive modalities?

In other words, is there any language that uses the same mood to convey ability and possibility? For example, is there a language in which a sentence meaning "He'll be able to do that" and "He might ...
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2answers
217 views

What does Eastern Aramaic have to say about “(definite) articles are acquired, not lost”?

The current answers on Definite/indefinite articles vs. inflections agree that (definite) articles are acquired by languages, not lost. I'm wondering what Eastern Aramaic has to say about this. ...
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1answer
60 views

Outside of English, is there a difference between noun infinitives and gerunds?

In English class in high school, we learn (or at least I did) about verbals, words that stem from verbs but do not function as verbs. Two kinds are infinitives and gerunds. Infinitives are usually ...
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2answers
210 views

Is there empirical support for this implicational universal: “if a language has no plural morphology, it has no tense marking”?

The WALS map that crossclassifies number and past tense morphology shows that they tend to covary. I want to know if people with a deeper knowledge of linguistic typology can vouch for this ...
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0answers
62 views

What are the unique features of the Australian Aboriginal Languages compared to other world languages

Not looking phonologically but grammatically, what are the languages which would be a good reference point for starting studies in Australian Aboriginal languages? Western Desert Language? Others? Are ...
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3answers
928 views

what is the essential difference between human languages to other earthly animalia languages?

I personally define "language" as a system of body actions that are generally supplemented by sound, representing one or more "meaning" or "message" (logic datum) for an organism itself and/or other ...
9
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1answer
165 views

Are all “Ergative Languages” split-ergative?

I've noticed that in a lot of examples of "ergative languages," there is some piece of the language that does not fit the pattern we call "ergativity." For example, Basque does not mark ergative case ...
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0answers
84 views

How common are languages with different word orders in matrix and non-matrix clauses

How common is it cross-linguistically for a language to have a different word order in various types of embedded clauses such as relative clauses? WALS appears to collect information on word order in ...
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1answer
116 views

Distribution and origin of reflexive pronouns like “myself” across languages

I'm neither a professional linguist nor a native English speaker, please excuse me if I use any term incorrectly. Feel free to make and suggest edits to make my question more clear. Question Hello, ...
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1answer
94 views

Some scholars says that you cannot make the plural and feminine form of word Allah from arabic linguistic perspective [closed]

Is it possible from arabic linguistic perspective to make the plural and feminine form of word الله? for example اللهون plural form of word الله and اللت feminine form of word الله because in Arabic, ...
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1answer
96 views

Glottal stops- comparative frequency among commonly spoken languages

I'm a brand new member who enjoys words and languages but I am not a trained linguist. Which common languages of the world, and families of languages, are considered the most glottal (most glottal ...
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2k views

Phonetic distortion when words are borrowed among languages

When languages borrow words from other languages, they sometimes deliberately distort words to make them phonetically easier to pronounce. For example, when Japanese speakers are taught the word "...
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1answer
147 views

What type of language ( tonal, pitch- stressed etc.) is Tamil? [closed]

Languages are classified according to tones, stress, pitch etc. What type is Tamil language?
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2answers
8k views

Is English tonal for some words, like “permit”?

I have heard the difference between tone and intonation described in the following way: Tone is when the pitch of a word determines its meaning. Intonation is when the pitch of a word conveys its ...
6
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2answers
439 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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8answers
4k views

What are some interesting features that are common cross-linguistically but don't exist in English?

This is on purpose not a very concrete question, I simply want to know some interesting properties other languages have that English doesn't, or features you even think English ought to have, this can ...
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0answers
33 views

What is sentence focus environment?

I am currently reading a chapter about dialect that distinguish dialects according to the alignment that is used in the dialect (alignment such as nominative-accusative, tripartite. etc) I am ...
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3answers
238 views

What are the reasons to justify that some text is in X language?

Let us say that I am in a library alone and I have a text that I think that is in X language, for example, this fragment of the 9th chapter of the 2nd part of the novel 1984 by George Orwell, that I ...
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4answers
955 views

Is a text with orthographic or grammatic mistakes in a language X still a text in that language X?

Let us suppose that we have a text that in its majority follows the orthographic or grammatical rules of a language X, but 10% of the words have orthographic mistakes, and 10% of the sentences have ...
4
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1answer
115 views

Ease of L2 acquisition of SOV and SVO/VSO word order

Is it easier for speakers of SOV languages to learn SOV/VSO syntax or vice versa? I've been reading about constructed languages recently, specifically the ones intended to be easy to learn such as ...
14
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3answers
6k views

Is English unusual in having no second person plural form?

In Spanish, there are the "vosotros" (only used in Spain) and "ustedes" (formal in Spain) forms for use when talking to a group of people. These also use specific conjugations different different from ...
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2answers
189 views

Are there languages where this “is” phrase is reversed?

"A cat is an animal". "Is a cat an animal?" I have a theory that the word order here is important. One must first put the image of a "cat" in your brain BEFORE recognising if it is an "animal". For ...
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2answers
133 views

Can we predict language death just by looking at grammar?

Is it possible to predict that a language is about to die out just by looking at its structure? So without taking into account the number of native speakers it has and other external factors? If so, ...
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2answers
113 views

Which (australian aboriginal?) language classifies nouns in “upright” things and “lying” things?

I'm quite sure I remember that in one class, while we were talking about aboriginal languages, the professor said that one language or more languages, classify nouns in the two categories from the ...
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5answers
1k 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
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2answers
289 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, ...
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2answers
3k 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 ...
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2answers
173 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.
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4answers
635 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 ...
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0answers
90 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 ...
6
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1answer
114 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).
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0answers
103 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 ...
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3answers
213 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 ...
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2answers
186 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 (...
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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 ...
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1answer
133 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 ...
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1answer
77 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 ...
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1answer
73 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 ...
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1answer
139 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?
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1answer
253 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). ...
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1answer
49 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
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2answers
146 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
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1answer
106 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
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1answer
243 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
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1answer
210 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,...
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2answers
482 views

Are there any languages with a case system like Esperanto's?

Thinking about Esperanto's case system, if I saw that in a natural language, I would think it was rather odd. Esperanto only has two cases: accusative and non-accusative. The non-accusative, on is ...
3
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1answer
394 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
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1answer
152 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 ...
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0answers
67 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
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1answer
178 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 ...

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