All Questions

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
7
votes
1answer
615 views

What diagnostics distinguish demonstratives from definite articles?

Historically, definite articles are often related to demonstratives. How might one characterize whether a word in a language is a definite article or a demonstrative?
4
votes
4answers
207 views

Is there any language that observe root changes in response to the addition of affixes?

If yes, what are the examples? What change patterns are exhibited? *modified from Area51
16
votes
1answer
1k views

How much is known about verb regularization rates?

According to this abstract, published in 2007, "the half-life of an irregular verb scales as the square root of its usage frequency: a verb that is 100 times less frequent regularizes 10 times as fast....
12
votes
3answers
35k views

What's the 'official' term for when a word is at the tip of your tongue?

If I remember correctly from the half year I studied linguistics, there is a sort of official name for the situation or state your brain (or your speech center) is in when a word is at the tip of your ...
9
votes
2answers
396 views

Is there a term in linguistics for underdeveloped number systems?

I had trouble phrasing a recent question because I couldn't find simple wording to convey the difference between languages like English where all kinds of numbers are expressible, such as "nineteen ...
5
votes
3answers
601 views

Are there languages with indefinite articles but for which the word for "one" is not related etymologically to any of the indefinite articles?

This is part of a set of three related questions but note they are each specific and distinct, they are not duplicates. In all the languages I'm familiar with that have an indefinite article, the ...
5
votes
2answers
459 views

Are there languages which lack a full number system but which have an indefinite article?

Most languages have a fully developed concept of numbers but many do not, for instance most Australian Aboriginal languages lack numbers and counting beyond a few such as 1, 2, and 3. Many languages ...
14
votes
2answers
284 views

How do linguists determine whether a language has an indefinite article?

Given: For those languages which have it, the indefinite article mostly if not always is derived from the numeral for "one". Most languages have numbers but many lack articles. How do linguists ...
17
votes
2answers
7k views

How did Italian manage to stay (mostly) phonetically spelled despite its long written tradition?

Italian is commonly cited as an example of a phonetically spelled language. It is easy to guess how an Italian word is pronounced based on the way it is written, because each written symbol highly ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

What's the term for correspondence between the written and the spoken form of a language?

Not all languages have the same degree of correspondence between the spoken and the written form. Saying correspondence, I'm referring to the equivalence between what we write in a certain language ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Are there examples of pidgins or creoles in sign languages? If so, which are the major ones?

The other day I was wondering, are there occurrences of pidgins or creoles in the world of Sign languages? So I made a quick search but there doesn't seem to be much. For example, I found the Hawaii ...
6
votes
1answer
292 views

Where did the semantic categories of C. D. Buck's dictionary of synonyms come from?

The 22 categories of words used in Carl Darling Buck's "A Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages" (1949) are quite different from for instance the categories in Roget'...
6
votes
2answers
844 views

What are some examples of well-known agglutinatve languages moving toward inflecting morphology?

We've had questions about inflected languages moving towards analytic morphology and about isolating languages moving to agglutinating morphology but we haven't yet investigated the third case. In ...
14
votes
2answers
511 views

How do computational linguists abstractly represent a language?

When building models of the evolution of languages or similar phenomena where many different languages are involved and change over time, how do computational linguists abstractly model a language? ...
26
votes
9answers
11k views

The relationship between "orange" the colour and "orange" the fruit

This is something that bugged me before I studied linguists, and it still does - why is the word "orange" so often used for both the colour and the fruit cross-linguistically? Every language I've ...
2
votes
1answer
76 views

How to characterise set/assign-from/to

If I want to talk about moving information, I can use verbs "set" or "assign" in combination with nouns referring to source and target information containers, right? My intuition/instinct is to ...
37
votes
5answers
3k views

Why does speech speed seem to vary between different languages?

I feel that French and Spanish speakers speak their languages faster than English speakers do. Is this difference real, or is it just a mistake in my observation (note: I am much less familiar with ...
6
votes
5answers
6k views

Is etymology considered part of linguistics or a separate field outside the scope of linguistics?

Etymology is the study of the origins and history or development of words and phrases. Is it considered though to be part of the study of linguistics or is it considered to a separate field like we ...
7
votes
3answers
835 views

Examples of physical signs adding content to conversation?

I love constructed languages, especially in fiction where I get a taste of constructed culture to go with it. One interesting idea that has popped up a few times in what I've been reading is the idea ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

What's the etymology of the Albanian word for hello, "tungjatjeta"? [closed]

In Albanian the usual greeting is "tungjatjeta", what is it derived or descended from? What are its origins?
4
votes
1answer
124 views

Case reassignment without change in number of cases

Most languages with cases seem to be either gaining or losing them diachronically (The Indo-European languages are an example of the latter, and the Uralic languages of the former). Manchu and Xibe (a ...
12
votes
2answers
623 views

Bar-Hillel's critique of machine translation 50 years later

More than fifty years ago, philosopher Yehoshua Bar-Hillel wrote wrote an influential paper about computerized translation entitled: A Demonstration of the Nonfeasibility of Fully Automatic High ...
10
votes
1answer
280 views

What statistical methods are used to test whether a corpus of symbols is linguistic?

In their 2009 paper on the Indus Script, Rao et al. describe a test for deciding whether a corpus of symbols is in fact a collection of texts in some language. Over-simplifying a bit, the approach ...
8
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is the definite article in Balkan languages always called a suffix when it really seems to be part of the inflection?

The Scandinavian languages have a suffix definite article which is pretty straightforwardly tacked on to to the ends of nouns: -en, -et. But in languages of the Balkan Sprachbund, Romanian, Bulgarian,...
15
votes
3answers
908 views

What languages are expected to "die off" in the near future and why?

I am curious about what languages are projected to "die off" in the near future, say within 10, 50, or 100 years from now. My questions in particular: What and where are these languages exactly? ...
29
votes
5answers
1k views

Lists of linguistic resources

In the interest of cultivating a professional, academic community, I posted this question on Meta. One comment was to open a community-wiki question inviting others to contribute to a list of academic ...
15
votes
3answers
5k views

What are the criteria that distinguish clitics/particles from affixes?

This question inspired me to finally ask a question that has been bothering me for years: how does one distinguish clitics and/or particles from affixes, especially when those clitics are ...
11
votes
6answers
6k views

Languages with stricter and less strict word order?

I'm sure most people here know, but for completeness, let's define what syntax is: The arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language. [NOAD] N.B. It can also refer to ...
4
votes
3answers
740 views

Are there minimal pairs for "l" vs "ll" in Albanian?

I'd like to ask some Albanian speakers to say pairs of words which come as close to possible as differing only by one of each pair having "l" and the other having "ll". I'm trying to hear and ...
24
votes
5answers
2k views

Animals’ names change when we eat them: is that universal?

I rebound off a question asked on French Language & Usage: in many languages, some designations for animal meats (in its raw, uncooked and uncured form) differ from the live animal's name itself. ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Which languages other than Chinese have apical vowels?

Which languages other than some Chinese languages have apical vowels? The "apical vowels" are the i in zi, ci, si (in IPA: z̩ (also seen as ɿ)) and ʐ̩ (also seen as ʅ). They are basically buzzed ...
11
votes
1answer
311 views

Are there creoles of three languages?

Are there examples of creole languages that have had three or more other languages as parents without intermediate two-language creoles? If they exist, then how high is the 'or more', i.e. what is the ...
20
votes
2answers
4k views

Why do parents refer to themselves in third person?

Why do parents refer to themselves in third person, when talking to small kids? I've seen this happening in German, English and Russian and I do this myself (even though I try not to, because I think, ...
9
votes
2answers
367 views

Simultaneity in natural languages?

Is there any known natural language in which it is possible to express grammatically—i.e., not through emotional tone or other secondary traits—multiple parallel channels of meaning? Parallel ...
23
votes
9answers
1k views

Are there grammatical analyses of languages that are extremely different from IE grammar?

It's a fact that the grammar core of most European languages (not only IE ones) can be analysed in a relatively precise common framework. Of course I do not know much of these languages, but the basic ...
5
votes
1answer
315 views

Is there a reference for the parameters of the world's languages?

The principles and parameters paradigm says that most languages in the world have their individual structure (grammatical meta-rules) set (and easily learnable) by a small set of principles and ...
16
votes
1answer
926 views

Is it possible to analyse Māori grammar without contrasting nouns and verbs?

In order to prepare myself for a glorious sports event this weekend, I've bought and read a book about Māori. If my sources are to be believed, Māori is relatively close to other Polynesian languages, ...
9
votes
3answers
913 views

How can a speaker tell whether their idiolect has "dark l"?

I believe my variety of English, General Australian, has "dark l", but I'm not sure. I can't tell if I have it in my own idiolect or not. It's pretty well accepted (I think) that it's hard to ...
22
votes
9answers
7k views

What is the origin of non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages?

Non-natural grammatical genders in Indo-European languages: What is their origin (assuming that there is a single origin, if there are many origins)? Or what are the origins? How and for what ...
2
votes
1answer
453 views

Which kinds of participle does Albanian have?

There are many kinds of participles. English has two kinds, past participles (eaten) and present participles (eating). The Wikipedia article on the Albanian language doesn't cover as much as many ...
10
votes
1answer
196 views

Linguistic research on translation evaluation

I have a background in natural language processing and machine translation, and recently I've been interested in automatic evaluation of translations. I've read a lot of literature from the machine ...
7
votes
1answer
595 views

How do you determine the phonemes in small phonemic inventories?

Languages with small phoneme inventories such as Pirahã often encourage different constructions of the phoneme system. In the case of Pirahã, it either lacks phonemic velars or phonemic nasals. Are ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Are there any languages that mark nouns as mass?

Nouns like water, mud, furniture in English are odd with plural morphology (adding -s, as in furnitures), with numerals (three furniture(s)), and seem to have their own quantifier (much water but not ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How exactly are noun classes different to classifiers?

Before the beta I would've thought questions like this one would be such basic concepts that most contributors would be familiar with them. But after a few questions on gender and animacy it seems ...
19
votes
10answers
9k views

What makes a non-native English speaker sound foreign?

I'm not a native speaker. However, I have tried a lot during last 10 years to learn English at a high level of proficiency and to become fluent in conversation. However, when I talk to some of my ...
5
votes
0answers
232 views

Translation of electrical connection gender names into non-Indo-European languages [closed]

The "male/female" terminology used to identify the two halves of many, if not all, connectors and fasteners seems universal in the Western Indo-European speaking world. Do other language families ...
8
votes
1answer
883 views

Are there purely isolating/analytic languages with grammatical gender?

It seems that all the things which reflect grammatical gender in languages have to do with inflectional (presumably also agglutinative) morphology, such as agreement. But is that just coincidence, it ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it possible to predict language changes?

The comparative method is used to reconstruct unattested languages from the attested ones. By comparing different sounds for the same words in various sister languages, it is possible to infer some ...
10
votes
2answers
811 views

What is the evidence of the typological cycle theory?

There is a theory that languages move from one morphological typology (isolating, inflected, agglutinating) to the next in a usual, predictable cycle. What evidence is proposed to support this ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

French conjugation, spoken vs written

French verbs are conjugated depending on the subject's person and number (ex. je parle, tu parles, il parle, etc.) However in spoken language most of these sound the same anyway because the end part ...

15 30 50 per page