Questions tagged [words]

a word is the smallest element that can be uttered in isolation with objective or practical meaning.

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Themself vs. Themselves [migrated]

The word "themself" seems wrong, and some spell checkers don't like it, e.g Microsoft Word always tries to correct it to "themselves", even in singular. It's in the dictionary ...
Rabbi Kaii's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
72 views

Classifying word class of "where" in "They've got this big board near the entrance where they list the trials"

in "They've got this big board near the entrance where they list the trials", I think "where" is a preposition since it's providing additional information about the location of the ...
martinkleins's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
145 views

Is 'will' always volitional, and if not, how can we distinguish action verbs as volitional or non-volitional?

Etymologically, will as a verb means: "to wish, desire; be willing; be used to; be about to" (past tense wolde), from Proto-Germanic *willjan (source also of Old Saxon willian, Old Norse ...
Christopher's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What is the name of the first known word from which the current word is derived?

I'm interested in the name of the concept that defines the word from which another word comes. For example, "Guild" comes from the German "Gilde". What is the name of the word &...
Fedor Pasynkov's user avatar
-4 votes
2 answers
106 views

Why don't currently spoken languages have words for everything they encounter?

I have been getting translations of what I would consider are fairly basic words, into various languages, and have found some don't have translations and they either make up a translation on the spot (...
Lance's user avatar
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2 answers
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What exactly is meant by "part of speech" (POS) in linguistics and NLP?

I am learning about Arabic word morphology, and ChatGPT lead me to this which says: In Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), a complete part-of-speech tag set has over 300,000 tags (whereas English has about ...
Lance's user avatar
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3 votes
0 answers
111 views

How did خشاب become the Persian word for magazine?

In Iran magazine (in a gun) is called خشاب (kheshab). I tried to find a relation to another language but I failed. The only thing I found is that خشب (khashb) means wood in Arabic. In Arabic magazine ...
Snack Exchange's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
3k views

Is there a list of word meanings that are universally represented in all languages?

I am looking for a comprehensive list of words/concepts that are represented in most if not all known languages - presumably the category would include human body parts (hand, foot, mouth, eye), ...
norlesh's user avatar
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-2 votes
2 answers
58 views

All the ways you can describe a relationship outside of nouns/verbs/adjectives across languages (i.e. like with prepositions)? [closed]

Having dug more into prepositions, I learned they are often "function words" (as opposed to "lexical words", i.e. "content words"). However, in at least one paper I read (...
Lance's user avatar
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What are the relationships between bound morpheme and affix?

Anderson's Essentials of Linguistics introduces bound morphemes in A morpheme is the smallest form that has meaning. Some morphemes are free: they can appear in isolation. (This means that some words ...
Tim's user avatar
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Why words are the basic building blocks of language?

I'm asking this both in the sense that for me (as a human) words seem to be the fundamental building blocks of language, and from the perspective of NLP applications, where word-vectors and word-...
Maverick Meerkat's user avatar
0 votes
5 answers
117 views

Do some languages use lexical stress to differentiate words with unrelated meanings?

In English, lexical stress is occasionally used to differentiate words with the same consonant and vowel phonemes and that have related meanings. (Please forgive the incomplete definitions.) re ˈpeat ...
James Grossmann's user avatar
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1 answer
78 views

In agglutinative languages with long "sentence words", how do they conceptualize of these "words" and their parts?

I asked a similar question on languages with "small words": In languages with "small words", how do they conceptualize of these units? How do agglutinative languages with long, &...
Lance's user avatar
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1 answer
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In languages with "small words", how do they conceptualize of these units?

The languages I am thinking of are Vietnamese and Tibetan, but perhaps there are others. And I know that technically these two are classified on the opposite of the spectrum (analytic vs. ...
Lance's user avatar
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2 answers
88 views

Does a sound denote a thing and a word denote that sound or a word denote a thing a sound denote that word?

Recently, I picked up a book on mathematics that highlighted the importance of distinguishing between a word and what it represents. Now, if only words and things that they denote were involved in ...
Harshit Rajput's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
351 views

Ways a word can be used

Does anyone know if there is a name to refer to the way a word is used in a sentence to either stand for its meaning or to refer to the word itself in some manner. For example: Orange I ate an orange....
Vishaal's user avatar
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Corporeal - spelling over time [closed]

Note the English phrase 'Corporal Punishment'. I suspect that it is a spelling corruption of Corporeal. I haven't been able to find any information on this online. Is this just a rule of spelling I'm ...
Joris Potvlieghe's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
101 views

Historically, when was whitespace used versus interpuncts versus no-separation?

The Wikipedia article on whitespace claimed until recently that the use of whitespace as a word separator was rare until its promotion by Alcuin of York in the Carolingian Renaissance. But I've found ...
wlad's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
101 views

Do any languages treat conjunctions as nouns or verbs or such things?

Similar to What other languages can get by in some cases without prepositions or particles like Somali?, I am wondering how we can boil everything down to just nouns and verbs (maybe adjectives, or at ...
Lance's user avatar
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28 votes
9 answers
12k views

Why are "eat" and "drink" different words in languages?

In theory, the words "eat" and "drink" are fundamentally the same action to me: putting something (...edible?) in your mouth. Oftentimes when speaking English, I confuse the words &...
cdknight's user avatar
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1 vote
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Difference between polysemes and senses

As far as I understand, saying that two words are polysemes is saying they're synonymous homonyms, but not synonymous enough to be the same word. Senses on the other hand, are synonymous enough to be ...
user110391's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
119 views

Do any languages do without the word for "this" (or "that"), or treat them somehow as nouns/verbs/adjectives?

A lot of words are defined in terms of "this", such as "here: this place". But "this" can be a pronoun ("is this your bag?") or determiner ("don't listen ...
Lance's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
84 views

When do you go from morpheme to word to sentence in agglutinative languages?

I am working on a cross-language dictionary for fun (i.e. every language), and have been refining this idea of "terms" (as described in that link) for a while. A term is basically anything ...
Lance's user avatar
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0 votes
0 answers
129 views

What are lexeme, word and phrase in HPSG?

In “Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar: The handbook” by Abeillé and Borsley, it says: lexeme, word, and phrase have a complex system of subtypes. The type lexical-sign, its subtypes, and the ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
87 views

Is there a term for

I understand what phrase, clause and sentence mean. But is there a term for a group of words with a clear beginning and end, regardless of whether it's a phrase, clause or sentence?
OldRoboCoder's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
104 views

How do speakers of languages which can form arbitrary long words deal with long words? [closed]

Looking at this long word list and coming from this conlang question, I am wondering how languages which allow for arbitrarily long words (I don't know for sure, but agglutinative languages, or German,...
Lance's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
145 views

How do natural languages prevent word ambiguity in "compound words"?

So for context, I am occasionally working on a sort of conlang, and asked this question just recently: How to create words which will be unambiguously parsable in a conlang? In there I run into the ...
Lance's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
164 views

What is a word?

The way I see it, a word could be conceptualized as different sets. I'll list them below. Word as a singleton set: { to jump } Word as a set of all its inflections: { to jump, jumps, jumped, jumping, ...
A. Kvåle's user avatar
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2 answers
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Do any languages treat "locative" words as more than suffixes or prepositions?

I am working on a conlang and wondering if there is any different way to deal with these "locative" words than either prepositions or prefixes/suffixes. That is, words like "in", &...
Lance's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
68 views

Do any languages provide markers or particles or the like for marking compound terms?

Considering How do you denote compound nouns and verbs in Chinese?, and the linked What is an example of 3 or 4 word compound verbs?, and working on a sort of intermediate language, I am wondering how ...
Lance's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
66 views

How do we shape our language's lexicon?

Society always drops, creates and re-uses words. But how does that happen? When do we get to decide what word to use, dump, or create, and in what method does that occur? Does someone invent a new ...
Jasperrolla's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
297 views

Can someone explain to me the Zipf–Mandelbrot law?

I really can't understand. It's about linguistics and I can't understand anything because there are mathematical formulas in it that I can't understand at all. Can anyone explain this with ...
Sami Bülbül's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
133 views

Longest word in all languages [closed]

https://www.google.com/search?q=longest+word+in+all+languages&sxsrf=AOaemvKcePJS8wsKGqzL_U6e1NC7gQvzAg%3A1631976735337&source=hp&ei=H_1FYe7REZDn-QaKqY6ACQ&oq=longest+word+in+all+la&...
Prashant Akerkar's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is 😂 a word/letter?

Can "😂" (the Face with Tears of Joy emoji) be technically considered a word, from a linguistic point of view? Obviously, emoji are different from "ordinary" words, but: "😂&...
Kellie's user avatar
  • 101
3 votes
2 answers
168 views

Are different inflectional forms of a word different words or the same word?

At some point, I gained the notion that inflections of a word didn't constitute different words, but rather different forms of the same word. This Wikipedia article however, says the process of ...
A. Kvåle's user avatar
  • 215
1 vote
1 answer
83 views

Terms for abbreviations

Is there a specific distinguishing word for abbreviations that have evolved to be spoken words in their own right, like potus or Nato, sometimes even an "abbreviation word" with a clear ...
kib's user avatar
  • 11
1 vote
0 answers
92 views

What are some good books on word formation and semantics? [closed]

I have been trying to find an accessible book for the general reader that focuses particularly on questions like: How words are created? (morphology, etymology, popular PIE roots etc.) How words ...
Tangent's user avatar
  • 79
4 votes
0 answers
47 views

Dataset for distribution of different systems for 'yes' and 'no' cross-linguistically?

The Wikipedia article for 'Yes and no' lists various distinct, common, systems for expressing the affirmative and the negative, ranging from no explicit terms (instead relying on echo responses) to ...
Geza Kerecsenyi's user avatar
1 vote
3 answers
413 views

Is there a word for the opposite of jargon? [closed]

I've noticed this phenomenon in language which I've come to think of as "the opposite of jargon", but which I'm hoping there's a better name for. I don't know anything about linguistics, ...
John Landis's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
272 views

What are the minimum number of words needed to express any complex thought?

Most of the words in English are just quicker ways to express things that otherwise needs many words to describe. So, what is the minimum number of words or smallest dictionary that one can use to ...
AnanthaKrishna K's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
43 views

"Matter" and "What Matters"; "Substance" and "Of Substance"

This thought is directed at those who have an interest in the deeper meaning of language and how it connects to our perspective of reality. Perhaps a bit philosophical. If this is not the proper place,...
Boruch's user avatar
  • 9
-1 votes
1 answer
55 views

In what century did people start using the word "profession"?

I need to find out in what century the word "profession" appeared. My final goal: to understand whether this word could be used in the Middle Ages in everyday communication, in the meaning ...
I'm just learning's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
6k views

Are the longest German and Turkish words really single words?

First, I don't speak/understand any so-called agglutinative languages, like Turkish. I also don't know German. I understand there's no good definition for the concept of "word", which could ...
GA1's user avatar
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0 votes
1 answer
65 views

Is an unambiguous description of left and right side of the body available in some languages

The nautical terms "port and starboard" refer to the left and right side of a vessel when looking from the stern to the bow. At first it seems silly, but, it's actually great to ...
lode's user avatar
  • 175
-2 votes
1 answer
128 views

Is this phrase or clause a clause?

Is "lefty loosey, righty tighty" a clause? Or what is "lefty loosey, righty tighty"? Or what part of speech is "lefty loosey, righty tighty"? Or what part of speech is ...
user6779864's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
96 views

What are the essential words?

Take a dictionary. Each word is defined using other words. Take all the words of the dictionary. The words that appear in their definitions is a subset of words of this dictionary (and not the whole ...
bixiou's user avatar
  • 21
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

Where online can I find a list of all the Hapax Legomena in the Hebrew Bible?

I am looking for a list online of all Hapax Legomena in the Hebrew Bible in text format that I can copy and paste into MS Word for further studies. I need something that's free and is not in a picture ...
Reb Chaim HaQoton's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
134 views

How do novel words form? Do they exist?

How do novel words form? Do they exist? Some ideas about word forming here: https://www.thoughtco.com/where-do-new-words-come-from-1692700 But I was particularly interested, is it possible that one ...
mavavilj's user avatar
  • 159
1 vote
1 answer
320 views

What does the absence of a tonal marking on a word in a tonal language imply?

I'm not a linguist and only studying a linguistic subject as an elective so I hope this makes sense: If I've determined a language is tonal based off the numbers assigned to each word, how am I to ...
Rustang's user avatar
  • 123
1 vote
0 answers
266 views

Think one word but type another word

I'm a writer so I'm typing all the time. Recently I've had instances that when proofreading my work I discover that I typed a totally different word than the one I obviously intend, and that there is ...
Richard Seltzer's user avatar