Questions tagged [list-of-languages]

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

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43
votes
9answers
6k views

Is there any language that uses different pronouns for “we” depending on whether the spoken to person is included in the group?

As in "we are going out tonight" using a different word for "we" depending on whether you mean "me and some other people" or "you and me (and potentially other people as well)".
35
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13answers
3k views

Are there languages with other spatial deixis besides “here”, “there” and “over there”?

When it comes to spatial deixis most languages seem to have either two or three distinctions: 2 | 3 English | Spanish Japanese ------------------------------ here | aquí / acá koko ...
28
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4answers
10k views

Is there a list of mutually intelligible languages?

Is there a list of languages which are mutually intelligible (i.e. a speaker of A can understand language B and [perhaps] vice versa)? And would this beg the question of whether they really are ...
28
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5answers
1k views

Which Romance languages have reflexes of the Latin nominative in nouns?

It is generally accepted that the nominal forms in the Romance languages represent reflexes of the Latin accusative rather than the nominative. (This is even true for those languages that have ...
25
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16answers
12k views

Is there a language without gender in third person pronouns?

English (as most Indo-European languages) has a gender-neutral third person pronoun, it, but it is typically not used for people; if one wants to be gender neutral, one is often stuck using he or she. ...
25
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9answers
4k views

Are there any languages or cultures that have genderless given names?

In the U.S. where I live it is possible to be right almost all of the time when guessing the sex of a person from his or her given name: Ronald, George (Sand and Elliot notwithstanding), William, ...
22
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22answers
3k views

What's the origin of “You're welcome”?

Is English the only language to use "You're welcome"? I've read on a few websites that English is the only language where it's accepted to say, "You're welcome" in response to someone thanking you. ...
22
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9answers
5k views

Do any languages mark social distinctions other than gender and status?

Many languages have pronouns that reflect gender, and some have pronouns that reflect relative social hierarchy or formality. (To pick an example I actually know, in Dutch the second person singular ...
20
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3answers
3k views

Can the IPA represent all languages' tones?

The IPA's current tone system can show five different tone levels, and any contours formed from them. Is there any language for which this is insufficient? In other words, is there any (known, ...
19
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9answers
3k views

Are there languages that distinguish between inclusive and exclusive “or”?

I would be especially interested in Indo-European languages or other common language families, but failing that, I would be very interested if it exists at all, because it is an important distinction ...
18
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23answers
17k views

Is there a language whose writing is 100% phonemic?

Is there a language that has a complete one-to-one correspondence between the graphemes (letters) and the phonemes of the language? In other words, is there a language that is 100% ideally phonemic?
17
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4answers
5k views

Do any languages mention the top limit of a range first?

In many languages we usually say "between min and max" (e.g., grades "between 1 and 10"). Are there any languages where the reverse construction ("between max and min", e.g. grades "between 10 and 1")...
17
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3answers
4k views

Do any languages use {woman} as the root for human?

In English, along with some other Latinate languages, the word for our species as a whole is related specifically to that of the male sex: 'Latin humanus "of man, human," – Etymoline' This, ...
16
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4answers
2k views

Are there languages in which “coffee” is not a cognate of a root containing k/q and f/h/w?

Is there a language, in which the word for "coffee" does not contain the sounds k/q and f/h/v, i.e. the word has a different root?
16
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8answers
2k views

Are there any languages in which verbs are a closed class?

In English, the verb "do" can be a transitive verb whose object stands for an action. So, we English speakers can "do a somersault," "do a back flip," and "do a cartwheel." The productivity of this ...
16
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5answers
1k views

Do any Indo European languages reflect noun class types other than gender?

In the comments of another question about animate as noun gender in some Slavic languages an interesting point was raised. Many if not most Indo European languages exhibit grammatical gender for ...
15
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14answers
6k views

Do any languages have kinship terms for the relationship between the respective parents of a married couple?

Do any languages have kinship terms for the relationship between each pair of parents of a married couple? For example, how would a husband’s mother refer to the wife’s mother? Do any of the kinship ...
15
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5answers
3k views

Which modern, spoken languages do not use the decimal number system?

Rationale: While writing a document about foundations of computer science and describing that a number is a sequence of digits, I was wondering about our relation to the decimal system. In English ...
15
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3answers
6k views

Are there languages without words for “father” or “mother” but only “parent”?

I'd like to know if there are languages where there aren't words for father and mother, but for parent, and how one would say [something like] this to their father in that language: where's mom? I ...
14
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19answers
7k views

Which languages have words containing the same letter three times in a row?

I was just reading a french text with the word créées (created). Are there any other languages where triple letters, especially vowels, can be found occasionally?
14
votes
14answers
4k views

What languages use numbers to name the week days and months?

I know in Chinese, the days in a week from Monday to Sunday are called 星期一, 星期二, ..., 星期六, 星期日, which are verbatim translated as weekday one (or 1st weekday), weekday two (or 2nd weekday), ..., ...
14
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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 ...
14
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2answers
422 views

Are there signed languages that have a case system?

In a prior question I asked whether word order in ASL has a special significance, which naturally lead to another question: do any signed languages, that is languages communicated mostly if not fully ...
13
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4answers
2k views

Which languages other than Chinese have apical vowels?

Which languages other than some Chinese languages have apical vowels? The "apical vowels" are the i in zi, ci, si (in IPA: z̩ (also seen as ɿ)) and ʐ̩ (also seen as ʅ). They are basically buzzed ...
13
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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 ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Have ejective consonants ever arisen on their own?

In an old comment on another question, jlawler mentions in passing: Much the same can be said about ejective consonants -- other languages can pick them up, but nobody knows where they come from. ...
13
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4answers
6k views

Is there any agglutinative Indo-European language?

It seems like Indo-European languages are always stuck between throwing away complicated fusional grammar (like English) or retaining most of it (like Russian). Are there any Indo-European languages ...
12
votes
5answers
814 views

Outside of Modern Hebrew, do any previously dead languages have native speakers again?

What previously dead (i.e. no more native speakers) or remnant (i.e. not very well or hardly documented) languages have been revived to the point that there are native speakers? Accounts of revival ...
12
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8answers
6k views

Are there any languages without /a/ or /i/?

Arabic languages include only three vowels: /a/, /i/ and /u/. Japanese is the only language I know about that doesn't have a /u/ sound - it has /ɯ/ instead. Do there exist any languages that do not ...
12
votes
5answers
418 views

Has any language ever borrowed an interrogative or relative pronoun?

One of the lexical similarities between reconstructed Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Uralic is in the interrogative and relative pronouns. For the former, in PIE there's a family of interrogatives ...
12
votes
1answer
359 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
293 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 &...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Are there languages where a change of character casing can lead to a different meaning of a word?

I'm no expert on linguistics. In fact I'm no even a proper amateur but please, bear with me on this: Are there any languages where a word would change its meaning depending on the casing of one or ...
11
votes
14answers
2k views

Languages with multiple forms of the verb “to be”

Many languages have multiple forms of the verb "to be". For example, Spanish has ser and estar, while Nepali has हो and छ. Some other examples are given in this nice blog post. My question is: what ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a language in which feminine is the unmarked gender?

In English and every language I speak or know well, masculine gender is unmarked, and feminine is marked, for any human referent. Is there any known language where this is the other way around? (Take ...
11
votes
1answer
422 views

Do languages ever get new cases?

In my education, I've learned about a lot of languages whose case systems have atrophied, especially from PIE. Wikipedia had a reference to The Evolution of Case Systems for Marking Event Structure, ...
10
votes
17answers
2k views

Do any languages form plural pronouns by adding a suffix to the singular form?

Are there languages whose plural pronouns ('we', 'they', etc.) are formed from singular pronouns ('I', 'he', etc.) plus a plural marker? For example, if English were such a language, instead of "we" ...
10
votes
2answers
291 views

Is there any language with number system that uses subtraction? (Other than Ainu)

Generally all number systems use addition or multiplication to express numbers like - '12*3 + 6 for 42 in a base 12 system', '2 on the way to 50' or 'even 10+10+10+10+2 in some'. But, are there number ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
10
votes
0answers
233 views

Are nouns ever a closed class?

For pretty much any grammatical category, I can think of a language in which it's a closed class. Japanese has closed classes of verbs and (verb-like) adjectives, for example, while Swahili has a ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

Is there any language where verb inflection takes place word-initially?

In the languages I know, verbal tense, number, gender, etc. is applied after the word stem. Is there any language where verb conjugation morphologically affects the beginning of a word and not the end ...
9
votes
5answers
275 views

Are there any known natural languages in which tense is never (or very rarely) expressed through the modification of verbs?

I should probably confess up front that I don't have a great deal of knowledge of foreign languages, but I have lately taken a strong interest in the structure and nature of language, and have spent a ...
9
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5answers
2k views

Examples of Borrowing Languages

In the Wikipedia page History of the English language it is mentioned that English is a "borrowing language", with the implication that there are many loan words in English. What other languages may ...
9
votes
1answer
185 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 ...
8
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6answers
1k views

Are there writing systems with more than upper case and lower case?

The English alphabet has two "cases", UPPER CASE and lower case. Japanese hiragana has one case. Are there any writing systems, with, say, 3, 4 or more cases?
8
votes
7answers
11k views

Languages with the fewest phonemes

Which natural languages have the fewest phonemes?
8
votes
6answers
732 views

Do there exist languages with wh-prepositions?

I can imagine a language where instead of "what did you put a toy on?" one says something like "whon did you put a toy?". Do such languages exist?
8
votes
4answers
555 views

Word for eighteen expressed as Twenty Minus Two

Other than Latin, are there any languages that have a word for the number 18 that means twenty minus two? A quick glance at some of the numeral systems of languages in the Indo-European reveal that ...
8
votes
5answers
1k 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?
8
votes
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 ...