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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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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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Correct interpretation of this sentence

I have the following 2 sentences: 1- I did not see any other of classmates, except/but Michael. 2- I did not see any of classmates, except/but Michael For the first sentence can we understand that ...
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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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73 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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236 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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156 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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“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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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119 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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examples for indoeuropean languages which are related to each other in different ways [closed]

community, I am currently writing an essay on Ludwig Wittgenstein's Family Resemblance Analogy (Philosophy of Language) and I need your help to find a neat example. I have thought of indoeuropean ...
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How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é?

How did the Latin past participle suffix -atus develop into modern French -é? Considering the two following examples: modern French état ("state; status") and été ("been"). Both derives ultimately ...
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Why do 'wonder' and 'think' act differently in wh-movement?

For instance: Object moving: Who do you think that John saw t? (correct) *Who do you wonder that John saw t? (incorrect) Subject moving: Who do you think t saw John? (correct) *Who do you wonder t ...
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Can anyone explain the difference between nominal and pronominal cases?

Like the title says, can anyone give an explanation on the difference between nominal and pronominal cases?
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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 ...