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Questions tagged [morphology]

The study of the structure and formation of words and their component parts, "morphemes".

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Language where negation is the default

I was wondering how in English we say "I can" and "I can not" the negative is the longer one, in terms of morphemes, but is there any language where the negative is the default and the positive is ...
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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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Algorithm for identifying “secondary roots”

In machine learning on text data (aka natural language processing), it's common to apply a stemming or lemmatization algorithm to the text. However, sometimes you want to go a step further. For ...
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1answer
49 views

Example of language with lots of agglutination/fusion/inflection without a lot of regularity

Wondering what a good example language is where, when you combine "prefixes" or "suffixes" to a base, it (a) changes the phonetic form of the word in certain places, and (b) this specific pattern only ...
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1answer
122 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
68 views

Languages without orthographic stress marks that still have words that differ based on stress

Wondering about languages with stress that don't mark it orthographically. For example, the only two languages I know of that actually mark stress are Ancient Greek and Spanish. It seems that marking ...
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0answers
45 views

References to languages lacking morphology in scientific literature

Are there any references of natural languages lacking morphology in the scientific literature? I suppose there should be, given the topic's importance and the popular opinion on this, but so far all I'...
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1answer
51 views

Why are pronouns considered grammatical (functional) morphemes?

Grammatical/functional morphemes are generally defined as morphemes that modify meaning, as opposed to lexical/content morphemes which supply a root meaning. In my intuition, a pronoun – although its ...
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65 views

How agglutinative languages affect comprehension

I am just learning about agglutinative languages so I don't have much experience with them. I am looking at longest words for example words in a language like Finnish, but not sure yet if those would ...
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2answers
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How to remove an accent from a language (and what an accent actually is)

Wondering if there is such thing as a language without an accent. This is probably naïve, but to me as an English speaker it feels like I can tell when someone has an accent or not, myself included. ...
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2answers
692 views

What exactly a morpheme is

It says that morphemes include un-, -ed, -ness, and re-, in addition to words like town or chair or computer, words that can't be broken down. But computer comes from compute and -er. And compute ...
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168 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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76 views

Is there a language where semantic aspect determines which tense is unmarked in a verb?

For every language there is a tense that is morphologically closest to the root, e.g. English present is more basic than perfect since perfect either adds a suffix -(e)d or has ablaut as tense marker. ...
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2answers
473 views

What is the past tense of 'yeet'?

Yeet (/ji:t/) is a recently coined verb in English that seems to have taken on the characteristics of a strong verb, as seen in this hilarious urban dictionary definition. In English, the strong ...
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2answers
166 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
50 views

“Who lives there” vs “Who live there?” [closed]

I'm a bit confused as to the proper grammar when posing the following question. "Who lives there?" <- seems to imply just one person "Who live there?" <- seems to imply more than one person ...
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1answer
63 views

Is longish an inflected form of long or a lexeme?

I am a bit confused on this, since "-ish" is a a derivational morpheme for forming adjectives meaning "somewhat Adjective". Based on my knowledge, a comparative is made by the suffix "-er" and not "-...
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What does one call a similar inflections of a root with different morphological classes as?

In a morphologically rich language, it is quite common that a root might have multiple inflections, each representing a different morphological class. Here multiple inflected word forms of a root ...
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1answer
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suffixes, infixes and interfixes: help with terminology

I asked this question on Italian exchange, but I was told that this is more of a question about English terminology. So here it is. I am currently writing a short summary of certain morphological ...
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0answers
95 views

What are the main features of an agglutinative language?

As I was beginning to study some Esperanto, it immediately became clear that the language used the same morphemes without significant modification. Therefore, on further research, concluded that it ...
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2answers
188 views

Is it possible that a language's number system is inherently wrong?

Is it possible due to mythological reasons or some other human error (what can be the reasons of those errors in that case) that a language's number is flawed for e.g. -> Copainala Zoque number ...
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2answers
69 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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Suffix -ed indicating current state

I'm noticing that some English verbs use the -ed suffix to indicate the current state. Using this example: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/base Specifically, the verb sense, ‘the film ...
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5answers
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What's the term for a word which contains an affix?

From my basic lay understanding of non-polysynthetic linguistics (and this answer), a word may be either: #1. A single root (or "stem" or "base") morpheme; or #2. One or more affixes combined with a ...
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1answer
50 views

What do these morphemes' abbreviated glosses mean?

I am taking a course on linguistics and got introduced to a lot of abbreviations. Other than the obvious V for verb, I am having a lot of trouble finding out what the others mean. The book Speech and ...
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How to determine the direction of conversion?

Recently I have been researching the topic of nominalizations. I learned that such structures might be created by means of morphological derivation (be it affixes, clitics, light verbs) or zero-...
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2answers
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Are 'yesterday' and 'now' forms of the same lexeme?

Is yesterday just the past tense form of now? Or are they different lexemes entirely?
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2answers
70 views

Proto-Slavic a-stem locative plural in -asъ?

Browsing through Wiktionary, I ran across a note in a-stem declension tables (like žena) which claims that -asъ is the expected Balto-Slavic form of locative plural, which is however found only in ...
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0answers
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Marking subject/object that is not a pronoun?

I've recently been on a kind of a morphology seminar and was informed that it is not an uncommon phenomenon for languages to specifically mark subjects and objects which are not pronouns - an example ...
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1answer
199 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
78 views

Why do I feel like the alternate form of “g” should be “dz”?

The phoneme g is not original in Czech and is present only in foreign words. There is an official grammar rulebook declaring the inclination in locative case to be "ž" or "z", however I feel like ...
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0answers
50 views

Where is the boundary between an adjective and a noun adjunct?

My working model is thus: An adjective should be flexible in that it can describe a variety of nouns. A noun adjunct looks like an adjective but can only be connected to a limited number of nouns. So, ...
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1answer
78 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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Is it possible to move from non-concatenative to concatenative morphology?

I've been wondering whether it is possible for a language to move from non-concatenative (root-and-pattern, Arabic-style) morphology to concatenative type known from the Indo-European languages? If ...
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Is the difference between analytic and agglutinative languages superficial? [duplicate]

Say you have a theoretical language which has verbs that are never inflected. If that verb appears, it will only appear in one form. Tense and such things are marked with particles that follow the ...
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1answer
52 views

Difference between forms of the georgian verbs with and/or without objective version vowel

I was studying the complicted verbal morphology of Georgian language, when I came across the description of versioners in Hewit's Georgian: A Structural Reference Grammar. In discussing the Objetive ...
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1answer
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What are current perspectives on analyzing word-final /i/ in English words like “potency” as synchronically derived from /j/?

I have encountered, I believe mostly in works from Generativist phonological traditions along the lines of Chomsky and Halle's The Sound Pattern of English, the idea that words like potency, latency, ...
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3answers
166 views

Distinction between phonology and morphophonology

If a language has separate phonemes /r/ and /d/, the distinction between which appears to be contextually neutralized after the nasal /n/ on the grounds that the sequence [nr] never occurs in the ...
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1answer
64 views

What is the linguistic cause of the formation of “competete” a wrong variant of “compete”?

Competete a variant of Compete used in colloquial speech, but is written with the same spelling as the latter, has come into use (at the least) in Indian English variants if in no other English ...
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3answers
155 views

To what extent does this image accurately express the modularity of linguistic units?

This is a popular image floating around the internet, but like many things floating there, it seems like a gross simplification and just plain inaccurate. However, I’m more of an armchair linguist ...
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which one is the unnacusative and which one is the unergative version of the following verbs

I'm having trouble answering the following syntax and morphology question: Some languages allow identical looking verbs to behave like both unaccusatives AND unergatives or mark different types of ...
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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 ...
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0answers
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Verb classes confusion: unaccusative, unergative [duplicate]

I still have a confusion in relation to verb classes, I read somewhere here that 'unaccusatives' are types of unpaired unergatives, and somewhere else 'unaccusatives' are the opposite of 'unergatives'....
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43 views

Determining formative list of -ian and -ism

I'm new to Distributive Morphology and cannot find any resources of how to construct formative lists for morphemes. I know they're meant to be the feature bundles of the morphemes, but I don't really ...
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3answers
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Examples of Umlaut in a living language

For a teaching material I needed a good example of vocalic mutation of the root, aka Umlaut, and I got stuck at the fact that, while the Umlaut is often postulated for some reconstructed languages, ...
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Are there any universals about how m-case can pattern for predicate NPs?

Predicate noun phrases (NPs) have different patterns of case in different languages. Even closely related languages can show significant differences (Sigurðsson 2008). For example, among the Germanic ...
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1answer
106 views

Greek - Arabic language relation

Is there a valid, known link (academic source or even speculation) regarding the Greek and Arabic language, when it comes to syntactic- grammatical or morphological cohesion? I ve only come across ...
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2answers
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Aorist Present--what does this mean? I thought aorist was primarily reserved for past action

As if aorist isn't confusing and ambiguous enough, what could Prokosh mean in A Comparative Germanic Grammar when referring to "aorist presents"? If anyone has the book, it's on page 66. Here are a ...
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1answer
142 views

Is there a language that's purely fluid-s?

By fluid-s I mean a stative-active language that relies on semantics for its morphosyntactic alignment, using things such as volition, empathy, animacy.
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1answer
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Letter switching? “r” and vowels switching

This is something I don't think is worthy of a question, but it is something I noticed happening to me, and I was curious if there are any other cases. For me for somereason I have begun switching my ...