Questions tagged [theoretical-linguistics]

Refers either to abstract and often mathematical theories focused more on explanation and generalization than on application, or the discussion of these theories' properties.

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Heuristics for relative frequencies of grammatical features?

Mathematician here, very interested in linguistics but no formal training. Apologies if the question is absurd, ambiguous, or unanswerable. One thing I've found interesting in the process of learning ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Which expression in the conversation below is not an utterance?

This is a question from an MA entrance exam. 'Too tasteless' is the correct choice. I'm wondering why it's the correct choice. In other words, Why 'Too tasteless' is not considered an utterance? Would ...
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Is human language a prison for a mind?

I am dealing with a question whether is a human language a prison for a mind and also whether is there something above a human language. my progress: I have read articles on wikipedia about ...
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Are there practical rules for distinguishing between literal and nonliteral expressions?

I'm very much a layperson with respect to linguistics, but I do enjoy reading religious texts (Bible, Hadith, etc.) and talking with adherents about their particular meanings. A question which seems ...
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Difference between speech act and conversation act?

Since language has diversified uses, the course I am taking right now has diversified them into Linguistic act, Speech act, and Conversational act. The linguistic act is the utterance of a series of ...
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3 answers
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What is the proper definition of a verb?

I do apologise if the question is wordy, but I feel some context is required for me to stand any chance of finding a satifactory answer. I have been struggling to understand why the word "is"...
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5 votes
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How to define sentence complexity?

I am not a pure linguist but rather at the intersection of computational linguistics, NLP and computer science. Thus please be cautious with me and my ignorance. I am looking for definitions of ...
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9 votes
2 answers
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Does lexeme and stem mean the same?

Wikipedia says following about lexeme: A lexeme is a unit of lexical meaning... For example, in English, run, runs, ran and running are forms of the same lexeme, which can be represented as ...
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If mora are potentially sufficient to describe language, then what do syllables add, in theory?

Following the answer to the recent Question, Why is/was Gokana claimed to lack syllables?, I don't really understand the difference. I have heard of moras in the context of poetry before and didn't ...
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What is the difference between neurolinguistics and similar fields of study?

What is the difference between neurolinguistics and cognitive linguistics or psycholinguistics? I am already having trouble understanding the difference between cognitive linguistics and ...
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People learn words, but invent sentences

I am trying to find who was the first mentioned that "People learn words, but invent sentences". I read this sentense somewhere. Does anyone has any knowledge about theorist or theory behind ...
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What's a grammatical feature?

This is not a naif question asked by a layman just out of curiosity. I am presently editing a book by a colleague which is devoted to the notion of grammatical feature (with a special focus on ...
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Why is "addressing" discontinuity/nonprojectivity important?

I was reading about dependency grammars on Wikipedia, and then, following up on the term "(non-)projectivity", was lead to the page about discontinuity. Now, the concept is quite easy to ...
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In what way production of language is optimal or most economical?

I have been listening to Linguistics & Philosophy lecture by Noam Chomsky and he mentions around 1h:08m that it is posited that language productions are actually the most economical way to convey ...
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Is Welsh an isolating, an inflectional or an agglutinative language?

I saw that it can be classified both as an analytic and a synthetic langauage, so which one is it?
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Principles and Parameters vs. Government and Binding

I'm a little confused about the difference between P&P and GB. This Wikipedia article suggests that they are the same as grammar frameworks, from what I understood: Principles and parameters as a ...
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Are there any academic papers on the "Adjective like (article) Noun" construction/ phrase?

I am currently working on a paper about the "Adj like (article) Noun" construction. Some would consider that which comes after the "like"-part to be a prepositional phrase if "...
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The possible sound change when /t/ sound is preceded by fricatives or affricatives

Here, I am talking about the assimilated /t/ sound that is one of the most common features of Standard Southern British English (such as /t/ at the beginning of a syllable, time, task, Twitter, twice, ...
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What's the difference between event time and reference time?

Here is an example, "Molly had left at 10 pm". The temporal references will be event time < reference time < speech time, right? But why? Also, for "The sun has set", why ...
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Is have+ negation equal to imperfective?

I know aspect can be categorized into perfective and imperfective, but I'm just curious whether the example "John hasn't gone to Paris" is still perfective or converted into imperfectve?
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How to explain "Propositions are sets of worlds"?

According to Kratzer, propositions are sets of worlds, but I find it really abstract. Are there any examples to explain it?
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A question about possible worlds and truth value

The sentence "He must be Mr. White." can be interpreted as "In all the possible worlds, the proposition that he is Mr.White is true", right? But I'm just wondering all the possible ...
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What is the relation between modal base and ordering source?

I edited the question again. Here is an explanation for epistemic modal, John must have the flu. a. Epistemic Modal Base (MBepis) = { John has a fever, John has a cough, John did not get a flu shot, .....
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/ðæs saɪd/ versus /ɡʊb bɔɪ/ - Assimilation of place versus manner

Good day I am facing a problem to distinguish between assimilation of place and assimilation of manner So in Peter R's book he said that (AOM) is much less noticeable, and he provided examples which ...
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How can we distinguish activity and semelfactive in terms of lexical aspect?

Since both of them are atelic, dynamic, not durative, then how to distinguish them?
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What's the tense ambiguity of this sentence?

I'm reading Kearns(2011) and in Ch9, the author says the sentence "All Torah’s friends were rich then" is ambiguous in the possible scopes of tense and a quantifier NP. I know one meaning is ...
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Two questions about referential opacity

I'm self-studying Kearns(2011), and here are two tricky questions I'm really curious about. I asked my classmates but they failed to answer it too. We really don't know how the first sentence can have ...
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Are these generalized quantifiers correct?

According to Kearns (2011), I know that "the ten apples are bruised" can be interpreted as "‘The ten apples are bruised’ is true if and only if |A ∩ B| = 10." But how about this ...
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What is the difference between surface structure and logical form?

I'm still confused about the difference between these two concepts. Could you explain it with some examples? Thank you in advance!:)
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What is Hierarchy of Projections?

I know that Hierarchy of Projections for VP is T > (Neg) > (M) > (Perf) > (Prog) > v > V, but what does this mean? Does it mean in a tree "T is always higher than Neg, and Neg ...
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Help with syntax analysis

Good day to everyone! Could somebody explain me why in the following sentence "that he was disappointed" is S (subject)? (It)-S (must be confessed)-V (that he was disappointed)-S.
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What's the difference between logical modality and epistemic modality?

Logical modality includes logical necessity and logical possibility, while epistemic modality includes epistemic necessity and epistemic possibility. But when I read the explanation of these concepts ...
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What is the difference between theta-role, theta-grid and argument?

I know that theta-role has the distinctions like agent, theme, goal, etc., but all of them refer to entity, right? And argument can refer to both entity and sentence? Could you please explain them as ...
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Why is the intension of a sentence the set of all possible worlds in which it is true?

In Chapter 1 Section 1.3.3 in Kearns (2011), as for the extension and intension for sentence, Midge is grinning, the extension is "truth value (true or false) in the actual world", and the ...
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Some questions about the basic concepts in semantics

According to the Semantics (Kate Kreans, 2011), there are two kinds of denotation for predicates. For example, the word 'dog', has extension (the set of all dogs in the actual world), and intension (...
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What do we call the object in the relation of denotation?

If the relation between an object and the expression is denotation, is the object also called referent?
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What is a markedness constraint in Optimality Theory?

Here is my answer but I'm not sure whether it is correct or put in a formal way. Could you help me see this? Markedness constraints allow the markedness of a feature based on universal principles of ...
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Some questions about counterbleeding

Here are two words, "writing" and "riding". I know that there are two rules for them, as in the pictures. But in the first picture, can I say the /ai/ raising rule counterbleeds ...
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A question about connotation meaning and denotation meaning

Here is a word, "flightless" which means "(of a bird or an insect) naturally unable to fly". So should we say it refers to the word's denotation meaning or connotation meaning? ...
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What are the phonological rules or constraints for these pairs of words?

Mongol-Mongolia Arab-Arabia Babylon-Babylonian Boston-Bostonian comedy-comedian colony-colonial I know that the vowel in the second syllable is lengthened, but what are the rules or constraints for ...
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What are the target and source domain of this metaphor

The metaphor is: "the shower of arrows was over". Could "War" the source domain? And the target domain could be "water"? It doesn't make sense to me. I have read the ...
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What is the general term for linguistic categories?

I have been trying to understand the division of "properties of items within a grammar or language" as wikipedia calls it into the following sets (among a few others): Grammatical category Lexical ...
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Are there approaches to/theories of grammar that do not deal with the acceptability problem?

As I understand, grammars boil down to the acceptability problem: Is an utterance acceptable to the users of some language X? How to differentiate acceptable from non-acceptable utterances? Those who ...
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2 votes
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Are there formal linguistic understandings of misspelled words?

For example, I will assume that people make mistakes in spelling because, often, the misspelled words look similar enough to the intended words, so the communication can be made smoothly, but I wonder ...
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3 votes
1 answer
328 views

What are cyclic and non-cyclic application in Phonology?

I'm still confused about the two abstract definitions. Can you give some examples to explain?
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A question about C-command

Does "John" c-command "himself" in this sentence? "Mary talked to John about himself."
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A question about Binding Theory

In Binding Theory, Principle B says a pronoun must be free in its binding domain. But I wonder if there are any other constraints? For example, "He says her is great". In this way, "her" is free in ...
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What is the relation between sonority and stress?

Are there any relations between stress and sonority? Does stress denote high sonority?
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Population models in language formation

In the same way that there are population models in epidemiology, for example the spread of diseases, is there anything equivalent in linguistics to model the dynamics of language formation? These ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How can we explain "head feature" of a phrase? [closed]

For example, how can we explain the head feature of an adjective phrase?
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