Questions tagged [list-of-languages]

request for references of languages that satisfy the criteria set in the question.

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Is there such thing as a 'half-plural'?

If yes, does any language have this feature? By 'half-plural' I mean, somewhere between singular and plural, but not dual, trial, or quadral.
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2answers
91 views

Are there languages without idioms?

Speakers of about any language but English agree that the idea that it may be raining cats and dogs is preposterous. But the same people do understand what an idiom is, and their own language may have ...
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61 views

Describing continuity and change (like mou and mada in Japanese)

In Japanese, mada まだ refers to a continuing state: 'still (as it was)' or 'not (changed) yet', and mou もう is about change: 'already (changed)' or 'no longer (the same)'. Are there other languages ...
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161 views

Do other languages have an “irreversible aspect”?

Like many languages, Lingála combines tense, aspect, and mood into a single TAM marking. Three of these TAMs pertain to the past: a-kɛnd-ákí "he left earlier today" (hodiernal/recent past) a-kɛnd-áká ...
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2answers
66 views

Combining pro-drop with null morphemes

Some languages combine pro-drop with null or zero morphemes – inflectional morphemes, more particularly. Turkish is an example of this. To illustrate, the verb istemek = to want is inflected as ...
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1answer
113 views

Does Jespersen's Cycle apply to languages without negative concord?

In this comment, Rethliopuks mentioned something I'd never really connected in my head before. [Negative concord] is standard in plenty of languages around the world, incl[uding] most Romance ...
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6answers
814 views

Are there other languages, besides English, where the indefinite (or definite) article varies based on sound?

I was talking today with an English co-worker about whether he says "an H-1B visa" or "a H-1B visa", which hinges on whether one says "aitch" or "haitch" for the letter H. And I noticed that unlike ...
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276 views

Is there any other language containing the sound of the “evanescent l” in Venetian?

Venetian (the Italo-Romance language spoken in the area of Italy roughly corresponding to the Veneto region) has a weird sound which is usually called l evanescente (evanescent l). It varies ...
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2answers
143 views

Rejecting writing down a language for various reasons

I remembered reading somewhere about a language that its speakers believe the written words are sacred (or some other reasons) they chose to refrain from putting spoken words into written forms even ...
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1answer
50 views

Percent of languages with the same word for hello and goodbye

What percent of languages have the same (primary) word for hello and goodbye? I'm aware that this might be an ill-formed question, but I figured I'd throw it out there and refine/revise it with the ...
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2answers
130 views

Do any modern orthographies use capital esh?

The letter "esh" (ʃ) is well-known from the IPA, and is also used in some languages' orthographies. Because of this second use case, Unicode includes a capital esh at U+01A9 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER ESH (...
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5answers
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Is there any language where each character is pronounced differently depending on the word it's in?

Languages like Japanese have different pronunciations for each character (in the kanji system in this case) , a kanji character can have up to 20 different pronunciations depending on the the word it ...
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1answer
125 views

How common is the “elliptical dual” (or plural) cross-linguistically?

This question on Latin.SE asks about the "elliptical dual", a construction where the dual number doesn't mean "two X" but instead "X and one other". For example, in the Iliad, Aíant-e Ajax-DUAL means ...
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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
173 views

Other languages like English whose orthography is “not quite” phonetic

Most languages it seems are pretty much phonetic. (I'm only focusing on alphabet languages, so not Chinese for example). From what I've seen, Spanish is phonetic, Cherokee too, Finnish, Inuktitut, and ...
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2answers
89 views

If any phonologies / languages make a distinction between voiced/voiceless nasals, approximants, vowels, trills, or flaps

So there are voiced/voiceless stops and fricatives in many languages, but I'm wondering if there are the same sort of voiced/voiceless distinctions for nasals / approximants / trills / flaps / ...
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1answer
96 views

Can “It's not it” be expressed in any language in less than 3 words

Let's look at the sentence "It's not it" In Hebrew it's "זה לא זה" (lit. it no it) In French C'est n'est pas ca In all the languages I'm familiar with, in order to say "It's not it", one needs at ...
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3answers
192 views

If these letter pairs are used to distinguish two words in any language

Wondering if there are languages in which there are 2 words, 1 containing letter (a) and the other containing letter (b), such that they sound pretty much the same, yet they mean different things. The ...
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0answers
63 views

Are there written languages that commonly start direct speech without marking?

In English and many common languages nowadays, punctuation marks are used to introduce direct speech. This makes it possible to start direct speech without lexical clue, as in the second example here: ...
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1answer
179 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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172 views

Is there a language where another verb form is simpler/more basic than the imperative?

Imperative tends to be the simplest verb form, cf. Latin dic, fac. English is not very inflecting, so other verb forms can be just as simple as the imperative. Nevertheless, is there a language, where ...
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0answers
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Is Italian the only modern language that uses the feminine 3rd person singular pronoun for formal speech?

Is Italian the only modern language that uses the feminine 3rd person singular pronoun (Lei) for formal speech, regardless of the gender of the 2nd person singular addressee? cf. T–V_distinction#...
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1answer
145 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 ...
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213 views

Languages w/out morphology

Is there a natural language w/ no morphology (i.e. one that has neither inflectional nor derivational morphology -- in other words, no affixation whatsoever)? I've heard claims to the effect, but the (...
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1answer
177 views

Any languages that don't have consecutive letters?

I was wondering if anyone knew of a language (real or fictional!) that did not contain any double consecutive letters (like the double t in "letters"). Thanks!
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53 views

Are there languages which have ways to distinguish between an adjunct noun and an adjective?

(Take some example). Do other languages (than English) have means distinguish between their adjunct nouns and adjectives or is it a very complex/grammatical structure that cannot possibly be ...
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1answer
194 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 ...
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0answers
41 views

Languages with nominalized verbs that specify the thematic relation of its possessor

In English, nominalized verbs have only one form regardless of the thematic relation of its possessor: The robot's destruction (of the city) terrified authorities. The robot's destruction (by the ...
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0answers
86 views

Which other languages have discontinuous dependencies and how are cross or long ones managed in them?

Discontinuous dependencies are a part of English syntatic rules and also are something which linguists are still trying to deal with. My question: which other languages have this problem and how does ...
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0answers
46 views

Incoordination (sentence-initial equivalents of “and”)

In Italian, the conjunction corresponding to "and" can be used in imperative constructions for emphatic purposes, as in: E smettila! ('And stop!', i.e: 'Do stop!'). This is probably the outcome of ...
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Are there any languages that have words for open and closing quotation marks in speech?

It seems to me that most languages have some way of bounding quotations in written form. European languages have their apostrophe quotes and angle-brackets, while eastern Asian languages have those ...
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1answer
88 views

What language pairs are underserved, and would most benefit from machine-learned bilingual tools?

What language pairs are under-served by current resources — like human translators, bilingual dictionaries, and parallel corpuses — relative to their linguistic importance, economic potential, or ...
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1answer
234 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 ...
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2answers
93 views

Are there examples of phonetic mood markers at syllable/word boundaries?

Generally, Mood is marked by suffixes, prefixes, infixes etc. But are there languages which have mood marked by phonetic changes at syllable / word boundaries?
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2answers
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Are there any languages that only allow CV syllables?

In my research online, I have found a truism that CV is the most basic syllable type cross-linguistically, and is in fact present in all languages. Other syllable types are not present in all ...
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1answer
975 views

Are there languages where the tense depends on time elapsed between events?

In all the languages I am familiar with (mostly English and my native German as well as some rudimentary Italian and French, so all somewhat related.), the tense of a verb only indicates the time of ...
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0answers
102 views

Are there any languages where the first person cannot be an object?

In some languages, nouns low on the animacy hierarchy, particularly inanimates cannot surface as A, and if a situation arises where they are underlyingly A, some reparative strategy such as a passive ...
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1answer
189 views

Are there any European languages that read out dates in the order of year, month, day?

In (usually British) English the date "2018/02/13" is pronounced "13th of February, 2018", which corresponds to the DD/MM/YYYY date format. Same thing is true for Russian, for example ("тринадцатое ...
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165 views

Are there the languages that have writing systems consisting only numbers? [closed]

When I knew about Major Mnemonic System, I thought: "Are there the languages that have writing systems consisting only numbers?" Do they exist?
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59 views

Which language expresses aspect most similarly to English?

I suppose there are at least two ways to read this question (forgive me, I'm not a linguist, just a struggling practical language student): 1) Which languages' aspects map onto those in English most ...
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1answer
118 views

Are there any languages that use rapidly repeated or stammered/stuttered sounds for differentiation?

Ignoring languages such as spanish that distinguish between /ɾ/ and /r/, as such is not what I refer to, are there any languages that would differentiate between say, /p/ and /ppp/. It is a weird ...
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1answer
121 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 ...
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1answer
99 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 ...
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96 views

“Dash” dialog punctuation in different languages

I know that a punctuation of dialogues in literary texts in Russian and French may use dashes: — Hé, arrête avec ça, dit-il. (In French) — Эй, прекрати, — сказал он. (In Russian) But in English the ...
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162 views

Is there a language with distinct, non-compound words for cardinal diagonal directions?

That is, is there a language, natural or constructed, which has, for example, a word for top right (up right), separate from their word for top (up) and their word for right? Or a word for northeast, ...
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5answers
883 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?
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4answers
3k views

Geolinguistics: how many languages to talk to 50|90%

If someone wanted to talk to 50 or even 75% of the population, how many languages would he have to learn? Are there maps showing how language speakers are distributed? In many cases it's not safe to ...
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220 views

Were/are there any languages that decline(d) articles but not nouns?

This question is actually spawned from a rather embarrassing personal blunder years ago, that was that when I had first begun to learning an heavily inflected language, I had made the mistake of ...
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1answer
70 views

What languages have extraction markers?

I'm looking for languages that have extraction markers or wh-agreement markers like those cited in Chung (1994) in Chamorro below: The example shows wh-agreement morphology on the verb when the ...
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0answers
104 views

Are there any languages with words for negative powers of 10 like Japanese?

In Japanese they use 分, 厘, 毛, 糸, 忽, 微, 繊, 沙, 塵, 埃 for negative powers of 10 from 10-1 to 10-10 respectively There's also another system with a little bit different value range https://en.wikipedia....