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Questions tagged [words]

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

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1answer
60 views

Can the Hebrew word translated “made” in Genesis 1 be translated as prepared or used? [closed]

Some people say it can be, which very much changes the meaning of the chapter.
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1answer
27 views

Are alternative pronunciations (with or without alternative spellings) different word forms from each other?

On another question a linguist told me that linguists define word forms by their phoneme sequence rather than their grapheme sequence. This makes me wonder: Are the spoken words going and goin' the ...
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3answers
109 views

Is a word form defined solely by its grapheme sequence? Can two lexemes have a shared word form?

If one lexeme has a word form "goes", and another lexeme has a word form "goes", are those two word forms considered by linguists to be the same? In other words, is a word form defined solely by its ...
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2answers
68 views

Complex example of a language with a word that is a complete English sentence

More specifically, I'm wondering if languages can put into 1 word what in English takes multiple words. For example, in English you can say "Speak!" to say basically "You speak!". In Spanish you can ...
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1answer
107 views

Genocide vs. genticide [closed]

I was interested in understanding the origin and meaning of the word "genocide" and went to the Online Etymology Dictionary where it says that "The proper formation would be genticide." Why would the ...
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0answers
20 views

Find theme or topic by a set of words

Is there a way to find a common topic given a set of words? For example, by giving the words: blue, red, green, the common theme would be color, or from beef, hamburger, salad, sandwich I would get ...
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0answers
69 views

How do we identify “words” in Chinese?

Chinese, when written in Han characters, does not have "word boundaries". Because Han script is a morphosyllabic script where under most circumstances each character correspond to a morpheme, it is ...
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3answers
127 views

Is there a name for the phenomenon of some words being more deeply embedded in a language than others?

I'm wondering if there's a name for a phenomenon that I think of in the following way: Some words are far more deeply embedded within a language than others. I'm contrasting the words "do" and "...
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2answers
121 views

'm' in the words meaning first person

I have read in a book about the theory that explains why in many languages pronouns meaning first person contain letter 'm' (e.g. me, moi, меня, mich) and pronouns describing second person contain ...
4
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1answer
77 views

What does '# of Cs' mean?

The symbol # refers to the word boundary, which is the beginning and the ending of a word. So does the phrase # of Cs mean that a consonant is the first or last letter in a word? The whole ...
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2answers
164 views

Why isn't a cat called a meow?

Presumably, before the development of a proper spoken language, humans referred to a cat as a "meow", the sound it makes. That is just the natural candidate for what to call an animal. This is what ...
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1answer
28 views

What is a study trying to synthesise different meanings of a root (synchronically) called?

A relatively straightforward research question in the study of dead languages is of the form: "We have root XYZ that means A in context P and B in context Q. How can we generalise A and B to arrive at ...
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0answers
65 views

What's the infinitive stem?

What's the infinitive stem? Can you explain it giving examples please? And is there something that called "resulting stem"?
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2answers
162 views

Verb pairs similar to “buy” and “sell”?

"buy" and "sell" that are basically the same action/event, but reverse arguments (subject of one, the object of the other): X sold his car to Y. Y bought a car from X. Is there a any special name ...
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1answer
2k views

What is the difference between type and token?

My understanding of this is quite vague. Token I understand to be the total number of words in a given text, but type I am not so sure about. If I have a variety of inflected forms (e.g eat, eats, ...
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9answers
2k views

House vs. home in other languages

In American English, one's house refers to his or her physical dwelling, while one's home is so much more. A home is a building, a city, even a country where one feels he or she belongs most. It's a ...
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1answer
39 views

What's the best approach to creating word-embeddings?

I would like to obtain word embeddings (vector representation of words). Do you think it is better to try to directly obtain a word embedding using some neural network approach or is it better to ...
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0answers
147 views

How many words can be considered “core words”?

First of all I apologize but my English skills are by far below the complexity of the question I need to ask. I am not a specialist and my question is not related to a single language. I would like to ...
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1answer
69 views

Origins of a mystery name/word “Bossyi”

I hope this is the right place for this question. A friend of mine came across the word "bossyi" twice whilst digging through his family records. I've trawled around the internet looking for word ...
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3answers
126 views

Animal Species discrimination in languages

Making my own language, primitive, so I'm trying to figure out how much did primitive languages discriminate different species in the same families of animals. For example; Dog vs Wolf, Lion vs ...
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2answers
140 views

Word classification and labeling

I got myself in a controversial discussion on word classification. To my knowledge words can be classified as a) inherited from a parent language, b) inherited substrate words, c) a result of ...
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0answers
63 views

Words that are used in the same contexts across different languages

I am looking for a list of words that, albeit not being [obviously] morphologically related, can be used in different contexts and they have the same meaning in those contexts across different ...
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2answers
80 views

What explanatory value does a prosodic word have?

I understand that it is a prosodic word that dominates feet in a classic hierarchy -- but why do we need to refer to a prosodic word rather than just a word? I know they are different units, but what'...
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1answer
67 views

Is [ǀ], or ⟨tsk!⟩ a word in English?

When an English speaker uses a dental click [ǀ] to express shame or pity (or in Spanish as a sign of confusion), is that a word? What is the linguistic term for it? PS: I wondered about this after ...
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0answers
88 views

Where can I find a list of English words that contain a rare combination of phonemes

I am looking for a wake up word for a digital product that would be easily detected with a voice recognition engine. This calls for a word that has a rare combination of phonemes so the product is ...
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2answers
131 views

Why do native English speakers analyze “a lot” as one word?

At least in the US, many, maybe most, native English speakers spell "a lot" as one word until taught otherwise. Why is this such a common phenomenon? There are several pieces of (non-written based) ...
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3answers
1k views

How to distinguish a polysynthetic language from other languages? When is something a word?

For example, the probably most quoted sentence in a polysynthetic langauge (from Yupik): tuntussuqatarniksaitengqiggtuq: tuntu- ssur- qatar- ni- ksaite- ngqiggte- uq reindeer- hunt- FUT- ...
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0answers
315 views

Analyses of English word formation processes?

I'm looking for analyses of the word stock of English which look at which word formation process accounts for what percentage of the word stock. When I say "word formation," I would include here ...
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4answers
118 views

Parsing a frequently used phrase as a word: Is there a name for that?

Is there a name for the phenomenon in which a phrase consisting of several words is mentally parsed as a word? Two examples are when General Patton used as the plural of "son of a bitch" the phrase "...
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1answer
45 views

Having trouble with assigning stress degrees to a long compound

I need to give the stress degrees for each component in "compressed air powered fence post driver". If I want to argue that "compressed air powered fence post driver" is a compound, what are the ...
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2answers
70 views

Do Word Formation Rules have to do only with polymorphemic words? [closed]

Word Formation Rules are responsible for the existence of well formed words. Are simple words (single, free morphemes) the result of word formation rules?
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1answer
685 views

Are all complex words polymorphemic?

Complex words contain whether a bound and a free morpheme (eg unhappy) or two bound morphemes (eg intervene). In the first case (eg unhappy) the complex word is polymorphemic because it includes a ...
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3answers
4k views

What is the difference between Greek zōē and bios?

Ancient Greek has two words that are translated as life in English: zōē and bios. What is the difference between them? What are their cognates in other Indo-European languages?
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1answer
74 views

How is “complexity” calculated on thesaurus.com?

On thesaurus.com, you can filter synonyms by their "complexity." Does anyone know the criteria they use to determine a word's complexity?
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0answers
34 views

What's the origin of the word “Wizard” in software terms? [closed]

I've been thinking about this for a while. In software you have bugs. From what I know this naming is used because someone had a problem once getting hardware to work due to an actual living bug in ...
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2answers
235 views

How can I find which words don't exist in a language?

This answer got me thinking about words that exist in many languages but don't exist in a few. It states that there was no word for and in PIE. I had previously read that Some languages do not answer ...
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0answers
55 views

Is there a list of multilingual rhymes?

I'm searching for multilingual rhymes like: Star - far / Stern - fern (German) Unfortunately I only have this one so far.
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2answers
132 views

Is it possible to determine the number of words in a language?

Recently I got into a discussion with my friend concerning sizes of lexicons of different languages. He stated something about Japanese having considerably more words than English. (The exact ...
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2answers
2k views

Most commonly used words across languages?

I'm doing my own (very small) corpus analysis, including a word frequency list and would like to compare the top, say, 30 words with other such lists. I know that there are things like the GSL/NGSL, ...
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1answer
63 views

When and why did 'another' start being used as one word?

I assume the word came from a meshing together of 'other' with its indefinite article'. When (and why) did English speakers begin to use this version, instead of 'an other'? And why is it still ...
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1answer
94 views

Can a word have zero characters in it? [closed]

Is it possible for a word, especially a person's name, to have zero characters in it? No letters, no numbers, no punctuation, just totally empty? I'm aware of some people not having a surname, or not ...
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1answer
67 views

Learning new words

What theories do linguists have with regard to the best methods for learning new words for a seconds language? Previously I have used mnemonics which I think are ok but when I learn new words in ...
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2answers
790 views

Universal Words

I posted this in the wrong place https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/234744/universal-words?noredirect=1#comment505372_234744, and it generated some good discussion. Years ago I found in the ...
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2answers
298 views

Is music a language?

I am a musician. I read an article in the NY Times that suggested both words and musical melodies follow Zipf's Law. I had never really thought about it before, but I started wondering do linguists ...
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6answers
1k views

Are there any words understood by speakers of any language in the world?

Are there any words probably understood by “everyone” in the world? I understand that this question needs multiple clarifications, including the following: By a 'word' I mean a word used in the ...
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2answers
611 views

Looking for word to lemma free database

I want to write a simple program in Java, which being fed with English texts will be able to generate word usage statisitcs (e.g. topmost frequently used words in English). For that purpose I need a ...
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2answers
7k views

What is the difference between assertive and non-assertive words?

What is the difference between assertive and non-assertive words? I haven't been able to find an answer in my online linguistics sources such as the SIL Glossary of Linguistics Terms. The only ...
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2answers
226 views

Word and/or syllable frequency data for Lao

I've returned my language focus to Lao now that my travels through Asia have finished and I'm back home. There are not as many or as high quality resources available for Lao as for many other ...