Questions tagged [linguistic-typology]

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

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What are grammatical features specific to Eurasia?

I'n curious about what typological/grammatical features are prevalent across the entirety of Eurasia but are rare or absent in the rest of the world. I'm aware of "Standard Average European" ...
Someone211's user avatar
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In chinese 命運, 安慰. In japanese 運命, 慰安. it seems chinese graphs are switched regularly

Why these differences are made. Thanks in advance. (This question body does not meet our quality standards. Please make sure that it completely describes your problem - including what you have already ...
miyawakiyositaka's user avatar
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Semantic loans; words borrowing a meaning already there?

What exactly is a semantic loan, how can a word borrow a meaning it already has? I am trying to figure out whether there are any limitations (can we choose any morphemes) on the recipient word and the ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
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Polynonpersonal agreement: agreement for noun class of multiple arguments

Among languages that inflect their verbs for person, a majority index both the agent and patient arguments in a transitive clause. There are also languages that index one argument for non-person ...
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Dependent-marking on adpositions?

Is there a language such that an adposition is dependent-marked so that one can infer that it depends on head X but not Y? As a possible example, an affix is attached to an adposition to show that it ...
Shpekard's user avatar
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What theory of syntax and grammar do language typologists tend to prefer?

The first concerns the theory of syntax and grammar that typologists prefer: What theory of syntax and grammar do language typologists tend to prefer? Do they prefer a transformational phrase ...
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What are distinctive typological features of Uralic?

Many grammatical features of Uralic are shared with Turkic, Tungusic and/or Mongolic, while some of those that are not are nevertheless shared by indigenous Siberian language families. What are ...
Someone211's user avatar
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How do different grammar theory (e.g. PSG, FG) explain word order in different language? [closed]

In typology, how do different types of grammar theories (such as phrase structure grammar, functional grammar, etc.) explain different linear word order in different languages? I know that dependency ...
Rongrong's user avatar
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Cross-linguistic taxonomy of epistemic moods

I am interested in knowing how many different kinds of epistemic mood are known across languages. In modal logic, you can make a modal operator for any predicate you like, for example, “knowability”, “...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
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Yoruba purpose clauses

Is there anyone who knows how are made purpose clauses of Yoruba? I know that in typological literature they are classified as balanced (= the verb form of the purpose clause may also occur in a main ...
Giulia's user avatar
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What is the survey of definite article systems throughout the world?

Different languages have different ways of implementing articles. English has a very simple system, of simply "the" and "a". However, there is some irregularities regarding when ...
Fomalhaut's user avatar
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Phonotactic Parallels to Pyysalo's Laryngeal and Schwa

Jouna Pyysalo has a rather unique reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European, that he calls System PIE (documented here, amongst other places) and describes as a new form of monolaryngealism. This ...
Tristan's user avatar
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Implicational Universals in Optimality Theory

I think I am understanding something incorrectly in Optimality Theory but I can't figure out how. So, constraints are universal but rankings are language-specific. So, I read an analysis where they ...
h061's user avatar
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Are stylistic devices universal across world languages?

By stylistic devices, I mean things like: Metaphors: using a word for similar object instead of the implied word ("toxic person") Metonymy: using a word for related object instead of the ...
Slavus's user avatar
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Are there any languages with second-person pronouns marked for a proximal/distal distinction?

I am curious if there are any natural languages where the personal pronoun used to refer to the addressee varies in some way depending on their distance to the speaker. For instance, one form might be ...
AlphaModder's user avatar
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Is there any modern language that is currently shifting from one stage to the next in Jespersen's cycle?

Modern French seems to be going through the next stage in Jespersen's cycle, from Neg-V-Neg to V-Neg; i.e. Ce n'est pas toi to C'est pas toi. What else is shifting from one to the next?
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In any language, is there a word for a death relationship with one’s sibling?

In English, we have the word “widowed” for losing a spouse and “orphaned” for losing a parent. Is there any equivalent for one’s sibling in any language?
Jonah Weaver's user avatar
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How to interpret Givón's (1981) implicational scale for indefinite articles developed from numeral 'one'?

I'm having trouble understanding the implicational scale for indefinite articles developed from numeral 'one' given by T Givón (1981: 50-52). T. Givón in his paper "On the development of the ...
Mrloory's user avatar
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Is compounding a universal word-formation strategy?

From what I've read, compounding is one of a number of word-formation processes. By word-formation, I mean "the process of creating new lexemes in a language." One common process is the ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
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Any examples of any language bifurcating the past into past before one's life and past during one's life?

It can be either from a conlang or a natlang but I wasn't able to find any examples.
VFED's user avatar
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Possible influence of Phoenician on local dialects in the British Isles during the Iron Age

I'm very interested in the possible influence of Phoenician, specifically, on local dialects in the British Isles during the Iron Age. I'm curious about any historical and linguistic evidence that may ...
rcgy's user avatar
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Has anyone developed a complete, hierarchical ontology of “language”?

If we consider whatever the phenomenon of “language” is, what might be the most immediate way of subdividing it into types? For example, it could be broken into specific instances of languages, vs. ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
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4 answers
165 views

Human natural language metalanguage

I was thinking about how a controlled grammar of English can be used as a programming language because it’s fully parsible. The idea of doing this for other languages, such as Sanskrit, brought me to ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
3 votes
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How do languages without passive voice foreground constituents that don't stand for agents?

one: Passive voice can be used to foreground noun phrases that don't stand for agents by putting those noun phrases in subject position. e.g., in English, "The man bit the dog." --> &...
James Grossmann's user avatar
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Across languages, what are the most common syntactic constructions that are used to form alternative questions?

For those who came in late, an alternative question is one that asks the listener to identify a subset of two or more alternatives named in the question. For example: “Would you like the shrimp ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
144 views

is there an example where the consonant affects the vowel in English?

This generalization: In assimilation involving consonant–vowel pairs, the consonant may affect the vowel or the vowel may affect the consonant. what is an example of this in our English lexicon?
kat_wes's user avatar
-1 votes
2 answers
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Do syllabic liquids imply a syllable nasal in English?

The generalization states that: The occurrence of syllabic liquids in a language almost always implies that of syllabic nasals. Is this true for English? let me know your thoughts. examples would be ...
kat_wes's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
60 views

How does order of prepositional phrases effect semantics?

I was discussing the semantics difference when switching prepositional objects in the following sentences with a German native: , damit die Eltern auf ihre Kinder über CCTV aufpassen können, damit ...
tryst with freedom's user avatar
4 votes
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has any language ever lost articles? [duplicate]

many languages have articles (words translating as "a" and "the"); at the same time many languages lack articles. are there any known cases of a language having articles but losing ...
noah johnson's user avatar
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Classification of kinship system by languages

I'm looking for a way to compare "closeness" of languages based on their kinship systems. The only thing I found is this classification, which classifies kin systems to: Eskimo, Hawaiian, ...
ChomChom's user avatar
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1 answer
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Are there any case-based languages in which the modal verbs do not change the verb they control to the infinitive form?

I have come to realize that in all the European languages I know of, the modal verbs change the verb they control to the infinitive form. These languages are all case-based (Spanish, Danish, English, ...
Foolish Lemon's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
167 views

Examples of languages that lost auxiliary verbs [duplicate]

I've been looking around and haven't found any examples of languages that at one point in the past had auxiliary verbs but then later lost them. I know that both the Germanic and Romance languages ...
user3034777's user avatar
1 vote
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Conditional protases for suggestions: "Maybe if I have a read first and then we meet up later?"

In English it's possible to use what looks like a conditional protasis in conjunction with maybe, what about, or how about to informally make polite suggestions. For example, I recently got an email ...
Araucaria - him's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
322 views

Languages with Many Color Words for Value or Chroma

In the Munsell system, color is described by 3 dimensions called hue, value, and saturation. English has a lot of words for hue (e.g. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violent, magenta), but very few ...
E Tam's user avatar
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Why French Adjectives Uses BAGS

In French, most adjectives are positioned behind the noun e.g. vache bleue médecin étrange orange énevrant But sometimes you have an adjective following BAGS -- the adjective describes beauty, age, ...
MeltedStatementRecognizing's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
152 views

Looking for books on the typological descriptions of language families

I've recently stumbled upon "The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Typology". The book is absolutely amazing. It contains short (about 30-40 pages long) typological profiles of different ...
marcusque's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Can't find the features related to Rel-N

I'm making a table of features related to language families that exist in Northeast Asia, but I can't find out if I'm not good at searching. What is the word order in the relative clauses (WALS 90A) ...
Farinelli's user avatar
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1 answer
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Characterizing the "tonality" or the tone of a language

I can illustrate my question with an example. I started by learning German. To me German sounds very articulated, sharp and clear. I then studied Italian. Italian sounds singing, fluid, warm and ...
kiriloff's user avatar
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2 votes
3 answers
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Do Dravidian languages have postpositions? Do any of them also have any prepositions?

I know that the Dravidian languages are agglutinating type and have noun cases but I was interested in whether they also have postpositions. I'm assuming they do. I also wonder if some might also have ...
hippietrail's user avatar
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2 votes
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Heuristics for relative frequencies of grammatical features?

Mathematician here, very interested in linguistics but no formal training. Apologies if the question is absurd, ambiguous, or unanswerable. One thing I've found interesting in the process of learning ...
Elchanan Solomon's user avatar
4 votes
2 answers
161 views

what's this linguistic phenomenon?

I am currently working on coding and standardizing the language of my community. There is something we do when we speak, that so far I haven't encountered in the other languages that I've delved into, ...
jello's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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Languages with homophonous IF-clauses

In English, most grammars tacitly or explicitly recognise two types of if. One of these introduces subordinate interrogative clauses: I don't know [if I passed the exam]. The other introduces ...
Araucaria - him's user avatar
2 votes
3 answers
446 views

Are there highly analytic (isolating) languages without tone?

I know many highly analytic languages (Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai) are tonal languages. Are there similarly analytic or isolating languages that don't use tone the way those languages do? The closest I ...
AWC's user avatar
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21 votes
3 answers
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What is the proper definition of a verb?

I do apologise if the question is wordy, but I feel some context is required for me to stand any chance of finding a satifactory answer. I have been struggling to understand why the word "is"...
user3273084's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
48 views

How common are "How" + infinitive interrogative sentence structures?

In English (or at least varieties with which I am familiar), if you want to ask how to do something, you can't just ask "How to do {something}?"--that's interpreted as a headless relative, ...
Logan R. Kearsley's user avatar
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1 answer
122 views

Language typology

I think that there are at least 2 types of languages: those that make derivates/inflections predominantly from nouns or protonominals, and those that make them from verbs or protoverbs, plus a 3rd ...
T1nts's user avatar
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Is derivation through valency change common cross-linguistically?

Sorry if this question doesn't make much sense, it's still a half-formed shower thought at this point. In my linguistics class yesterday we were going over ergative-absolutive alignment, and the ...
ⰲⱁⰴⰰ's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
61 views

Is it common for languages to incorporate hortative modality when there is one speaker present? i.e. talking to themselves?

I am an undergrad working with a papuan language. There is one sentence that was in the data that has me wondering about hortatives. The sentence, in english, translates to “Okay, I’ll just leave.” ...
Maiaiam's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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Examples of languages where noun have higher morphological complexity than verbs

Impressionistically, verbs seems to be as complex or more morphologically complex than nouns. What are some good examples of languages, if there are any, where A) there are good diagnostics for ...
Greg Nisbet's user avatar
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13 votes
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Why is tense obligatory in some languages and not in others?

In some languages like Chinese, it isn’t imperative that the tense of the verb is explicitly marked. So if you mean an action that will occur in the future, you can still refer to it in an all-...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar

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