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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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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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At what point did the feminine ending fall silent in Semitic languages?

Hebrew and Arabic both mark feminine nouns with a final consonant in writing, which is pronounced /t/ in certain sandhi-conditioned environments (and is otherwise silent). From what little I know of ...
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What natural symbolic representations could be used for Mathematical constants?

We know mathematics is a language by itself. But to evoke any constants or any arbitrary values as such to solve anything, prior knowledge of a particular symbol and its usage must be understood. ...
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Do reborrowings and neologisms statistically help the communicative function of the languages or do the cause more confusion?

Rephrasing do reborrowings and neologisms help or bedim the communications? I am making the distinction of instantaneous or contemporary communications(especialy for scientific use and social) and ...
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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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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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Criteria for judging allomorphs and different morphemes?

I read in Crystal, D. (2008) that “Some morphemes...are realized by more than one morph according to their position in a word or sentence, such alternative morphs [are] called allomorphs” (p.313), and ...
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Historical morphology of Italian nouns from Latin 3rd declension

Italian is commonly analysed as inheriting the nominative forms of nouns from Vulgar Latin, instead of the accusative ones. But what happened to 3rd declension nouns? It looks like for the majority ...
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Dissatisfaction

I am having a difficult time drawing the chart for the word "dissatisfaction". "Action" is not a suffix, so if you would combine satisf(y) + action to get "satisfaction", you would have two roots. ...
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Is morphology always attributable to phonological processes?

I am wondering if you can justify the development of most/all morphemes to regular phonological processes if you argue that diachronically those environments existed and have just been lost in modern ...
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Theories that can predict the spelling and pronunciation of complex words

Are there theories that can predict, at least for modern English, how a complex word will be realised phonologically and graphically i.e. how it will be pronounced and spelled, given the spelling and ...
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Statistic for root-efficiency in languages

In Esperanto you can construct many new words from a relatively low number of root-word. Example, with from arbo (tree) and aro (set) you can build arbaro (forest). My question is three folded: What ...
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Is *grandmother* a compound?

"Grand is used in a specialized sense in kin terms like grandmother or grandson to indicate a further degree of lineal distance beyond that expressed in the head. Such forms can themselves be modified ...
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How do I gloss a Semitic verb?

"Standard" glossing (following the Leipzig rules) uses a linear model of breaking down words into morphemes. In other words, it assumes you can draw lines between all the morphemes to separate them. ...
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What does 3MPL refer to?

" b. Ha-yeladim kul-am zarku ʔavanim. the children all-3MPL threw stones ‘The children all threw stones." In this example, what does '3MPL' mean?
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Is Haitian Creole morphology fusional?

There are conflicting views regarding how Haitian Creole is classified in relation to its lexifier--French. I am trying to give a good description of Haitian Creole in terms of its morphology. Is ...
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How to record differences in irregular morphemes

Sometimes the spelling of a morpheme changes depending on how it's inflected. For example in English, hat sometimes needs an extra "t", and hate sometimes needs its "e" removed. Inflections of hat (...
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Why is “index” as a noun pluralized as “indices” while the present tense verb is “indexes”? [closed]

What is the reason behind this? Do the noun and the verb have different derivations?
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What’s the standard way to gloss a morpheme that provides subject, object and tense?

If there a Leipzig standard to gloss a suffix like “1st person subject, second person object, past tense” My best guess is 1.S.2.O.Past And then what if it’s first person exclusive 1.EXCL.S....
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Synthetic fusional morphology

Are there other languages, apart from those in the indo-european and semitic language families, that have synthetic-fusional morphologies? It seems that the synthetic-agglutinative morphologies are ...
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Identify the status of the word-final -s

I don't understand this question, but we have to classify if each word-final -s or -er is not a suffix or if it is an inflectional or derivational suffix. I specifically don't understand the wording "...
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Examples of words that are monomorphemic in English, but polymorphemic in other languages

I'm looking for words that are monomorphemic in English – preferably basic words describing things in nature such as star, water, tree, grass, etc. – but polymorphemic in other languages. It would be ...
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Are the hebrew prefix letters (משה וכלב) considered a form of agglutination?

An example of this letters can be seen in the word וכשלהתמרמרויותינו where the וכש at start mean "and during to" (the entire word means "and during to our grumblings).
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Morphology to generate hyponyms or hypernyms

Is there a natural/constructed language which allows us to express hyponyms from hypernyms or hypernyms to hyponyms. For example, pigeon to bird or bird to pigeon, both don't have any relation to them ...
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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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Morphophonology of changing adjectives to nouns

I’m a freshman who is taking Introduction to Language classes at my college. I’m struggling to answer a question but my mind gets confused. My question is: When the word “secret” becomes another word ...
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In what ways did the Insular Indic languages morphologically diverge from Maharashthri Prakrit?

Maharashtri Prakrit is the antecedent southern zone language to all insular Indic languages. What are some characteristics, morphologically speaking, which differentiate these insular languages from ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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“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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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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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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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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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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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 ...