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

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1answer
140 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
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1answer
36 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
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2answers
62 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
89 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
62 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
101 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
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1answer
104 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
85 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
57 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
64 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
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0answers
88 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
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0answers
24 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
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1answer
41 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
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1answer
136 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
35 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
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2answers
75 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 ...
0
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3answers
198 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
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1answer
173 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?
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1answer
64 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
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1answer
60 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
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1answer
72 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
59 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
88 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
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2answers
66 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
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0answers
54 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
115 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
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5answers
820 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?
3
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1answer
169 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
85 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
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3answers
404 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
52 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
59 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
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0answers
83 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
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0answers
45 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 ...
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votes
1answer
91 views

what is 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 does ...
4
votes
1answer
118 views

What's the acoustic difference between laterals and nasals

I have a hard time distinguishing nasals and laterals on the spectrogram. They both seem to exhibit lower amplitude, and I think on average nasals have lower F1. Are there any sources on the acoustic ...
11
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5answers
1k views

Are there natural languages with the following properties (seen in Esperanto)?

Are there natural languages that have the following set of properties: The language possesses nouns, adjectives, and definite articles Nouns and adjective are both inflected for number and case (or ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Common linguistic term for conjugations, declensions

I'm not clear on an aspect of linguistic terminology. I have a programming background, so maybe my conception of this is too hard-edged, but here goes. There are some grammatical categories into ...
3
votes
1answer
453 views

The difference between isolating and analytic languages?

There seems to really be a very minor difference between analytic and isolating languages. A lot of the time I just don't see isolating used at all but analytic used instead. Generally I also see ...
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0answers
102 views

wals chapter 50 regarding german language

Regarding asymmetrical case marking in German referring WALS chapter 50, I understand the asymmetry in German (ich : I; mich : me; mir : to me; er : he; ihm : to him; ihn : him, etc.) but the value is ...
1
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0answers
102 views

Examples to Whole Language Typology in Turkish

I need examples to whole language typology in turkish ! The value is inconsistent for turkish language which means it has both dependent marking and head marking at the same time referring whole ...
-1
votes
1answer
104 views

Wals chapter 3 consonant vowel ratio

hello I just do not understand how to calculate consonant-vowel ratio referring wals chapter 3! I need to calculate the consonant-vowel ratio regarding german french and turkish! Concerning the ...
3
votes
1answer
47 views

wals chapter 136 m-t pronouns paradigmatic

hello I have read wals chapter 136 very carefully and I cannot understand what paradigmatic means! can someone explain it (m-t pronouns referring to paradigmatic) shortly and give examples in german ...
0
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1answer
69 views

Need examples from German and French, for chapters 31 and 32 on WALS [closed]

WALS chapters 31 (wals.info/chapter/31) and 32 (wals.info/chapter/32). I need examples in French and German languages regarding these chapters. One language would be enough too!hello can you please ...
0
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2answers
59 views

Are there necessary and sufficient features for categorizing tone using only f0?

Imagine i gave you recordings of a few syllables in an unknown language, but told you that there are H and L tones in that language. In that case you could probably distinguish H from the L syllables ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

Transitive nouns (and adjectives) evidences from early Indo-Aryan languages

I search info and explanations about "transitive nouns", I didn't read Chomsky yet. I know he talks about "transitive nouns". Transitivity is typically thought of as a property of verbs, and ...
4
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1answer
167 views

What are some of the most prefixing languages?

Turkish is commonly cited as an example of a language which is, with only one or two quirky exceptions, exclusively suffixing. Cross-linguistically, suffixing is much commoner than prefixing and I ...
0
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0answers
62 views

Which languages need the least paralinguistic features like facial / sound?

[Please tell me why you would down vote it in the comments]I am not sure about the technical term for it, but is there a language which could qualify as one with the least paralinguistic features? ...
4
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3answers
146 views

Constructions like the double accusative outside of the Ancient Greek word “διδασκειν”

I'm looking for examples of having 2 or more nouns in the same case but with the different semantic roles given by the differing referents of the nouns, not entirely by one of morphological case, ...
5
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1answer
136 views

Is there a dominant sequence in which a language throughout its evolution changes its type?

To clarify, by type I refer to terms like isolating, agglutinative,flectional...I think the terms which Humboldt introduced for a rough categorization. Now, I heard of languages, that changed their ...