Questions tagged [vocabulary]

The set of words within a language.

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2answers
60 views

What purpose do obscure words serve?

Inspired by a question about a rare, obsolete word psithurism. What purpose in human language is served by having words, communicative acts, that are very unlikely to communicate anything due to the ...
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2answers
46 views

What linguistic category would informal contractions fall under?

I'm sure this question has an extremely simple answer, but I'm comparing the dialects from two movies, one being a typical Hollywood movie, and one being a documentary. I am listing any linguistic ...
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2answers
234 views

How to find most common expressions starting with “iron”?

I want to find a list of 2-word expressions starting with iron: i.e. ironing board, iron filings, iron bridge Can you suggest a vocabulary tool for that?
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2answers
73 views

Technical term for similarity between two words?

I am learning Spanish at the moment, and I want to tag my vocabulary in the programm that im using to first learn words that are closely related to English (For example, "Contract" -> "Contrato", "...
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6answers
3k views

Does knowing PIE roots help with vocab?

It is known that in theory (and in practice, but you need dedication in practice) learning Latin can help with vocabulary in English. (I know Spanish, it helped me with vocab words, and I'm learning ...
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1answer
130 views

Cumbrian sources

I'm interested in the cumbrian dialect, but I couldn't find good sources of vocabulary and pontual aspects of its grammar. Also, I was trying to understand the following poem: I'll tell the' We're ...
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0answers
69 views

Languages Or Dialects Not Distinguishing Between Taste And Smell

Are there any languages or dialects not distinguishing between taste and smell? Possible duplicate of this older and much more general question.
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1answer
127 views

What can these verbs be called as a group?

I'm going to teach my students about different patterns of usage of these verbs: marry (e.g. get married, marry sb, marry to), die (e.g. die of , die from, die for), match (e.g. match (something), ...
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1answer
70 views

Do people know more words or proper nouns?

I'm curious if the average adult knows more words in their language (excluding proper nouns), or more proper nouns? At first I'm inclined to think the former, but then I think of all the names I know: ...
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0answers
64 views

What are typical child and adult vocabulary growth rates?

What are typical vocabulary growth rates (say, in words / day) for children and adults in their native languages? Has there been enough research to plot vocabulary growth rate vs age? I'm especially ...
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3answers
557 views

Do German and English share the same word roots?

The roots of English words, as we all know, mainly come from Greek and Latin. There is no doubt that knowing the Latin or Greek roots of English words greatly helps in memorizing them. For instance, "...
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1answer
98 views

How is the rate of evolution of a language measured?

Have linguists measured the rate of evolution of a language by analyzing the rate of change of the language's words' usages over time? Is there a term for this sort of measurement? For example, ...
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0answers
106 views

Parent–child kinship terms for same- or different-sex relationships

Does anybody know of a natural language in which the kinship terms used for parents and children are governed not by the gender of the individual but whether or not the two people in the relationship ...
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4answers
2k views

Is English the most descriptive language?

I only know English as a language aside from classes in Spanish and French and the typical stuff learned through movies and the like. To people who are multilingual, is English the most descriptive ...
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2answers
166 views

How has pair/couple ended up meaning both 2 and more in different languages?

Consider the following examples from different languages: (en) The bridge has been built a couple years ago. (de) Das Problem ist größer als vor ein paar Jahren. (pl) Poznaliśmy się parę lat temu. (...
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1answer
212 views

Do all cultures have the 5 senses?

In English speaking cultures, we have the 5 traditional senses (sight, sound, taste, touch and smell), but I'm wondering if other cultures have only one word for two of those things, ie taste being ...
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1answer
45 views

Vocabulary list

I'm looking for a list of the most common words used in either English or Spanish preferably organised by semantic fields. Can any of you point me in the right direction? Thanks a lot.
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0answers
56 views

Vocabulary Wordlist for the elementary school English

I am curious if there is a written English corpus that offers word frequency lists for the elementary stage vocabulary, i.e. K-5 grades? Something like Dr. Edward Fry's sight words, which is updated ...
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3answers
1k views

Did Latin “cum” get replaced in French by “avec” because “con” sounded obscene?

While the words for "with" in most Romance languages seem to be direct descendents from Latin "cum" (e.g. Spanish/Italian "con", Portuguese "com", Romanian "cu") it got replaced by "avec" in French. ...
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2answers
158 views

Help identifying words in unknown language from the Caribbean

These words come from a language known as Guene or Lenga di Luandu (Language of Luando) spoken by blacks on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. They were recorded in the early 20th century and are not ...
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4answers
373 views

American English speakers needing subtitles more often

I often ask my American English native speaker friends this question: When watching a movie in American English, do you turn the subtitles on? Quite a lot of them say that they always do ("in ...
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1answer
60 views

Where can I find a list of German nouns with their articles?

I am working on some linguistic software. The whole functionality is already there, the only thing that is missing is a good vocabulary to test it with. Of course there is no way to create a decent ...
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1answer
184 views

How can a human have such brilliant memory for vocabulary?

How is it possible that human beings are capable of remembering tens of thousands of words (later in life even being able to spell most of them correctly and increasing their vocabulary) and what ...
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2answers
102 views

What will form a minimum yet complete set of verbs that can define any action?

Let us think of a hypothetical situation where I need to identify a set of verbs, where the set can represent all possible actions that can be performed. For example, run can be tuned as a variation ...
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2answers
583 views

Why do we need erudite langage?

I am not a native English speaker and thus, am not sure whether 'erudite language' is putting it right. Yesterday, a friend of mine stated that he thinks that lots of people, including himself, do ...
3
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2answers
388 views

What decides the language family of a language the most structure/grammar or the vocabulary?

My assumed premise: Indo-European language classification is broad. We can always find two languages of this family which are grammatically so different, and also the languages grammatically similar. ...
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1answer
284 views

Examples of small, minimalistic natural languages?

I was reading about a constructed language called "Toki Pona" that is touted to have only 120 words. I wanted to know are there any examples of any natural languages notable for their simplicity or ...
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0answers
144 views

Does Japanese have as many English-derived words as English has French-derived words?

According to current corpora and other tools used by language researchers, does the current vocabulary of Japanese already contain as many words borrowed/derived from English as the number of English ...
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0answers
50 views

an open source lexicographical framework

I am looking for a lightweight open source framework for lexicographical experiments: building vocabularies, converting from one type to another, merging, dealing with multilingual issues, ... google ...
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2answers
227 views

Is this a nonce word or is there another name for a regularly constructed neologism?

I had an argument with a friend, since he didn't find "claustrophilia" in the dictionary he thought it should be called a nonce word. I thought the term "nonce" was for one-off words that arose a ...
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1answer
291 views

What is the lexical relationship between 'kingdom' and 'phylum'?

In biology humans belong to the kingdom of animalia and the phylum chordata. Every organism that belongs to chordata belongs also to animalia but not the other way around. Animalia is a hypernym of ...
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1answer
520 views

Shannon's entropy as a measure of vocabulary richness

The Entropy formula for lexical richness is The probability p-ith is calculated by dividing V-ith by N, where N is the total number of tokens in the text and V is the number of types. However, I can'...
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2answers
198 views

Is the general concept behind “Eskimo words for snow” true?

The specific claim that "Eskimos have X words for snow" is heavily disputed. However, is the general concept that certain cultures' languages often have a large number of words for things that are ...
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2answers
825 views

What languages other than English distinguish 'poison' and 'venom'

The English language distinguishes the terms "poison" and "venom", with "toxin" sometimes used as a general classifier for both: Venomous organisms deliver or inject venom into other organisms ...
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2answers
728 views

Are there measures of language complexity?

I can find measures of "readability" but not language complexity (there might be another word for this, I give an example below) online. If anyone knows of any, would you list them? By complexity I ...
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6answers
714 views

Could the English language be learned purely by observing written texts?

I just asked this question on English Language Learners and there they suggested that it might better fit here. This is a high level and difficult question, however I think it is an interesting ...
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1answer
322 views

How to determine difficulty of a word if its frequency in a corpus is known?

What is known in general about the relationship between word difficulty and word frequency? That is, for a given word, suppose I know the frequency with which it (or its word stem) is encountered in ...
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0answers
101 views

Did any indigenous American languages have/develop a word for “Native American”?

Obviously the political landscape of the Americas was a hugely complex thing during the period of European colonization, and what was true of one Native American group was almost never true of all of ...
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1answer
149 views

What is considered the smallest possible sample size for word frequency lists used in FL instruction?

I've been engaged in a conversation on another site pertaining to frequency analysis, particularly in relation to the 1966 work Buntús Gaeilge, Colmán Ó Huallacháin; Ireland. Department of ...
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0answers
129 views

Constructing/borrowing of complex scientific/technological/financial vocabulary in Esperanto [closed]

Most Esperanto scientific, some technology-specific, or financial dictionaries available online cover vast range, but mostly old terminology that was around for many years. How does one translate or ...
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1answer
97 views

Abbreviation taking the meaning of the whole expression

In English and some other languages (such as Portuguese and possibly Italian), the word "calculus" is actually an abbreviation from "differential and integral calculus" that has taken the meaning of ...
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1answer
241 views

Active vocabulary for Anglophones compared to native speakers of other languages

A site search has turned me up Size of active vocabulary in hunter gather tribes, and Which language has the biggest vocabulary?, but neither of those seem to address what I want to know about. I ...
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2answers
4k views

English vs. Esperanto (in grammar, vocabulary, semantics)

I know Esperanto is constructed on the basis of Romance languages; but what are the main differences and similarities between English and Esperanto? Especially from the following aspects: grammar (...
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1answer
239 views

Help understanding “degree of overall vocabulary divergence”

There was an article published with a diagram showing Lexical Difference: http://elms.wordpress.com/2008/03/04/lexical-distance-among-languages-of-europe/. It cites a Russian source "K. Tyshchenko (...
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2answers
302 views

Size of active vocabulary in hunter gather tribes

How big is the active vocabulary that an average hunter gather tribe in Africa uses? Is it comparable to the size of Western civilisation?
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2answers
6k views

What are the constituent morphemes in 'preposition'?

The word preposition. I am trying to break down a series of words into their constituent morphemes and am having trouble with the word 'preposition'. I can obviously see that the 'pre-' is a morpheme ...
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9answers
19k views

Which language has the biggest vocabulary?

I am thinking that it is English because it has so many borrowed words and most you French, Italian, or German words can be written in English as is. Am I right?
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1answer
771 views

Words and phrases more likely in everyday speech

I'm processing a large corpus for a given language. I've noticed that for certain sections of the corpus, I can go many tens of thousands of words without the word "me" being mentioned. These are ...
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5answers
26k views

How many “words” do I need to learn?

I am interested in learning a second language. To do this I have created a list of the 1000 most common words and phrases for a given language. I've also established sentences which contains each of ...
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4answers
256 views

Are there people who intentionally refuse to use some words even if the majority does it?

Suppose one person does not like one word or expression. He would have to use it though, so then he chooses a substitute. The majority of the people however use that word. Now, since one meaning of ...