Questions tagged [terminology]

Words, phrases, and acronyms specific to the study of linguistics.

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14
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2answers
14k views

What's the difference between accusative, unaccusative, ergative, and unergative?

What does it mean for a language or verb to be one or the other of these typologies (examples would help)? Can it be more than one at once?
6
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1answer
312 views

Are there different terms for when a language has two ways to spell a sound vs. two ways to pronounce a spelling?

In languages that don't have a perfect 1:1 mapping between sounds and letters in their written form there are two possibilities. In English "bow" and "bough" are two spellings with a single ...
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4answers
949 views

What is the term for how close a phonetic expression is to its meaning?

In some cases, the cognates of onomatopoetic sounds are highly similar even across unrelated languages. In these cases, the sounds of words seem to be an attempt to echo naturally occurring sounds. ...
4
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1answer
103 views

What is the technical way to talk about patterns that work sometimes vs. those that work always?

To say that John ate something, you say John ate (something), and it's always grammatical. To talk about the state or time of filling some role, you append -hood or -ship, as in womanhood, but for ...
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2answers
914 views

What is an “adjectival article”? Apparently Albanian “të” is one

Being in Albania I decided to sit down with a word frequency list of the language and look each up so I would know some of the common words I see around me. The second most common word in Albanian is ...
12
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3answers
35k views

What's the 'official' term for when a word is at the tip of your tongue?

If I remember correctly from the half year I studied linguistics, there is a sort of official name for the situation or state your brain (or your speech center) is in when a word is at the tip of your ...
9
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2answers
387 views

Is there a term in linguistics for underdeveloped number systems?

I had trouble phrasing a recent question because I couldn't find simple wording to convey the difference between languages like English where all kinds of numbers are expressible, such as "nineteen ...
16
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3answers
3k views

What's the term for correspondence between the written and the spoken form of a language?

Not all languages have the same degree of correspondence between the spoken and the written form. Saying correspondence, I'm referring to the equivalence between what we write in a certain language ...
6
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5answers
6k views

Is etymology considered part of linguistics or a separate field outside the scope of linguistics?

Etymology is the study of the origins and history or development of words and phrases. Is it considered though to be part of the study of linguistics or is it considered to a separate field like we ...
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6answers
2k views

Why is the definite article in Balkan languages always called a suffix when it really seems to be part of the inflection?

The Scandinavian languages have a suffix definite article which is pretty straightforwardly tacked on to to the ends of nouns: -en, -et. But in languages of the Balkan Sprachbund, Romanian, Bulgarian,...
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1answer
1k views

How exactly are noun classes different to classifiers?

Before the beta I would've thought questions like this one would be such basic concepts that most contributors would be familiar with them. But after a few questions on gender and animacy it seems ...
4
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1answer
225 views

What linguistic operation is used in “I declined your report”

The OP in this EL&U question says: ?I declined your report. There is some mutually-understood portion that was dropped from the sentence. In my answer (comment section), I contrasted Visa ...
16
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3answers
21k views

Meaning of star/asterisk in linguistics

In some dictionaries/lexica, I've seen the asterisk in front of old words. What does it mean/stand for? Example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Germanic#Pre-Proto-Germanic *ǵʰóstis "stranger" >...
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1answer
264 views

What are the criteria for deciding whether a language is “a vernacular”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What are the criteria for deciding whether a language is “natural”? Edited to add: I've been directed by the moderators to revise my earlier question (What are the ...
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3answers
1k views

Is there a term for the theory that languages move from one morphological typology to the next in a fixed cycle?

There is a well known theory, widely accepted that as languages evolve their morphological typology changes through the same usual steps. The major steps are I think isolating or analytic, inflected, ...
10
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4answers
1k views

What are the criteria for deciding whether a language is “natural”?

I read in the Linguistics section on the Wikipedia page for American Sign Language that ASL was "proven [to be a natural language] to the satisfaction of the linguistic community by William Stokoe, ...
4
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3answers
626 views

Are there counterparts to phones and phonetics for signed languages?

Given that there is a difference between phonetics and phonology, and that in the study of signed languages cherology is the counterpart to phonology, are there also counterparts to phones and ...
13
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7answers
3k views

What is a phoneme in the context of a signed language?

A phoneme is the smallest contrastive unit in the sound system of a language. SIL.
5
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1answer
4k views

What is the difference between a “mixed language” and a “creole”?

A creole is defined as a pidgin (or trading language) which becomes a full language after being used by a new generation as their first language. Generally they take most of their grammar from one ...
42
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15answers
468k views

What's the difference between phonetics and phonology?

Having practiced armchair linguistics for some years I should be able to sum up the difference off the top of my head, yet often I don't know which term to use. And looking them up on Wikipedia doesn'...
7
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2answers
216 views

What is the terminology for a source language for new word production?

For example, Latin is used as a source language for scientific terms in many European languages, and English is used as a source for technology-related terms in other languages
14
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3answers
2k views

What are some recommended online dictionaries for linguistic terms?

For one to find out about the definitions of "generative grammar", "sandhi phenomenon", "agglutinative morphology", etc.
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6answers
1k views

Is there a term for the syntax difference between English “I like you” and Spanish “Tú me gustas”?

English and Spanish each have one main verb for "to like". In English "to like", the grammatical subject must be the one doing the appreciating: I like her. But with Spanish "gustar", the person ...

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