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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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What is "o'clock" in English?

Please don't say "adverb" because that is an ad hoc part of speech that means "anything that doesn't fit". Certain words in the English language, from a functional perspective, map ...
Fomalhaut's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
299 views

Phonemes vs. Distinctive Feature Theories

I'm a high school student who will be going to college to study linguistics next fall. I'm already knowledgeable about some areas, but I'm currently trying to expand my knowledge in phonology. I have ...
Graham H.'s user avatar
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1 answer
80 views

What is the reason for learning vocabulary without understanding the concept behind it

I've recently had a discussion with a friend who said that he believes that putting labels on things kills understanding. Meaning if a person learns a name for something before they learn what it ...
Sebau-nu-mu's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
30 views

Present participles in a noun phrase

I'm working on a research project on premodufying present participles and I would like to have a native speaker's impression on the grammaticality or frequency of the following options. There are ...
Lilia Dieguez's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
63 views

Looking for a more general model/theory of pronunciation similar to the IPA chart for vowel sound

I have been introduced to the IPA diagram (the triangle/trapezoid) for vowel sounds and I find it interesting as a model of pronunciation as it represents the mouth position so it can be very ...
MiKiDe's user avatar
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3 votes
3 answers
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What is the “Chomsky hierarchy”?

What truly is the Chomsky hierarchy? I know it aims to categorize core features of “languages”. But what essential properties does each type have? Why are they so distinctive? Why are there four? And ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
88 views

What contemporary theories attempt to explain why languages have phonotactic restrictions instead of permitting any phonemic combinations?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonotactics As to why we see some combinations of phonemes allowed vs. not allowed, in some human languages, like how in English we have the phoneme clusters “sn”, “sm”...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
44 views

What does it mean to say that a component of grammar is "interpretive"?

I have a good grasp on the idea of a generative component---clearly syntax is generative in this sense. But what is an "interpretative component" supposed to mean? Like, when a line is drawn ...
Deep_Television's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
66 views

Paralinguistic features

If pragmatics deal with how the extralinguistic environment affects the interpratation of an utterance, which branch of linguistics deals with how the paralinguistic environment affects the ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
61 views

Can an inference be be an implicature and also a presupposition?

A sentence like ‘the boy stopped working’ gives the inference that he was working before. Is this inference an implicature or a presupposition? Is it possible that it is both?
Mohammed Bakr's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
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Has anyone developed a complete, hierarchical ontology of “language”?

If we consider whatever the phenomenon of “language” is, what might be the most immediate way of subdividing it into types? For example, it could be broken into specific instances of languages, vs. ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
-4 votes
1 answer
76 views

Can one practice generative linguistics without the UG baggage?

I'm very skeptical about Chomsky's UG axioms. Of course he revised his concept continually, or so it seems. In the end, I don't see any evidence yet for a 'language gene' as Pinker ridiculously ...
hal3m's user avatar
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-3 votes
3 answers
102 views

Is polysemy inevitable in all language including mathematics, and why?

Several languages (including Mathematics) use polysemy. My question is why? Specially in mathematics, where precision is important, polysemy seems to be undesirable but it seems it is inevitable in ...
Humberto José Bortolossi's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
21 views

Raising and Case Marking

Can someone explain subject-to-subject raising and case marking from a syntactic point of view? How/where do the NPS get Case-marked? Thank you
Venus's user avatar
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0 answers
37 views

How are inflection variance and invariance classified in linguistics?

I was trying to understand how variance and invariance in inflection is classified in linguistics. (Curiously I found this redirect page on wikipedia but no dedicated article.) What I mean is you can ...
bad_coder's user avatar
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8 votes
1 answer
484 views

Government versus Agreement

Taking English as an example, as I understand things, the case of a pronominal Subject is governed by the verb—it must be nominative: She loves elephants. *Her loves elephants. (ungrammatical) ...
Araucaria - him's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
66 views

Controversy & Debate in SLA: Can I ever get concrete takeaways?

I learned Mandarin in high school and later in life (now) started becoming interested in how I was able to acquire it, i.e., the study of SLA. My goal: As of now, I hope to have concrete strategies ...
user3871's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
414 views

How did Chomsky conceive orthography and spelling?

I am curious to whether Chomsky has ever addressed anything about orthography, spelling or the impact of writing systems. The way I see it, orthography lies outside of Grammar in his theory. I couldn'...
Matt's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
115 views

Seemingly discipline-wide dismissal of Linguistic Relativity and Post-Structuralism: Who still works with and supports these theories?

Many academics appear to immediately dismiss the mention of linguistic relativity/ Sapir-Whorf hypothesis because its been... supposedly debunked? I am wondering if the theory's critics offer a ...
spiralwise's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
36 views

What is the use of Critical Discourse Analysis Theory?

Can Critical Discourse Analysis be used to analyse the speech acts in a given Speech, and simply interpret the different orientations that those Speech acts impose upon that Speech (like joy, ...
Big Cedrick's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
681 views

Is there any difference between Discourse Analysis and critical discourse analysis?

I would like to know if Discourse Analysis and Critical Discourse Analysis are two distinctive theories or are the same. If distinctive, what is the main point that distinguishes them.
Big Cedrick's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
91 views

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 ...
Elchanan Solomon's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
158 views

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 ...
Herman's user avatar
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-1 votes
2 answers
285 views

Is human language a prison for a mind? [closed]

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 ...
Jan's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
80 views

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 ...
Vinay Sharma's user avatar
21 votes
3 answers
2k views

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"...
user3273084's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
441 views

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 ...
Marcel Braasch's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
177 views

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 ...
vectory's user avatar
  • 1,412
5 votes
2 answers
879 views

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 ...
George Ntoulos's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
86 views

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 ...
Digerkam's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
929 views

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 ...
Artemij Keidan's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
98 views

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 ...
phipsgabler's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
75 views

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 ...
sophros's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
426 views

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?
avrinti's user avatar
  • 13
2 votes
1 answer
526 views

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 ...
user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
98 views

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 "...
StructureOfAlogisms's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
117 views

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, ...
Peteryu's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
1k views

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 ...
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
0 votes
1 answer
62 views

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?
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
1 vote
0 answers
66 views

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?
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
0 votes
1 answer
79 views

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 ...
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
0 votes
0 answers
234 views

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, .....
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

/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 ...
Baber Fa's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
155 views

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 ...
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
1 vote
0 answers
77 views

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 ...
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
1 vote
1 answer
123 views

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 ...
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
3 votes
1 answer
244 views

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!:)
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
1 vote
1 answer
217 views

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 ...
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595
1 vote
1 answer
114 views

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.
Irina's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
87 views

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 ...
ronghe's user avatar
  • 595