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6
votes
0answers
274 views

Aside from coordination, subordination, and clause-chaining, how else do natural languages create multi-clause sentences?

Most of us know that sentences and clauses can be coordinated, and that subordinating clauses can modify nouns (see restrictive relative clauses), modify verbs (see adverbial clauses) and serve as ...
6
votes
1answer
118 views

Is audio understanding in bad conditions (e.g. at a noisy market) different between languages?

I consider myself almost fluent in English, but have trouble understanding when the words are blended together. This includes for example noisy places, song lyrics, or accents. In Czech, I have no ...
6
votes
1answer
288 views

Reference request: ways of indicating disagreement

There are lots of ways to indicate you disagree with some aspect of an utterance. I'm thinking here of the spectrum that includes "No, not-X," "Well, not-X," "Hey, wait a minute! Not-X!" "Yes, you're ...
6
votes
1answer
208 views

Are there languages that wouldn't use present tense to describe what is in a picture?

Since "present tense" might not be meaningful for some languages, the question could better be phrased as "Are there languages that wouldn't describe the actions in a picture with the same tenses or ...
6
votes
2answers
329 views

Arabic word stress in the presence of an elided hamza (“hamzat al-waSl”)

Word stress in MSA follows a precise set of rules, which are described consistently in various Arabic grammar textbooks, e.g. Ryding's "A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic" (2005). ...
5
votes
1answer
107 views

Merger of perfect and aorist in Italic and Celtic

One of the common features of the Italic and Celtic branches is the merger of perfect and aorist. So, in the surviving "perfect" forms we find a mixture of old aorist stems and old perfect ...
5
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0answers
70 views

How diachronically stable is release type?

Are there examples of languages completely shifting from (vocalic) release of all coda stops to, say, nasal release? I imagine substrate effects could account for some of these cases (cf. unreleased ...
5
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0answers
50 views

Have there been any reconstructive efforts of proto-languages, where aspects of historic culture have been inferred for languages other than PIE?

I'm not sure if this is the right SE to ask this question (possibly History SE?), but here goes! Similar to the source material for this video, have there been any efforts to infer aspects of culture ...
5
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0answers
171 views

I read that Julius Caesar read silently in front of his men and this amazed them — was Caesar's ability rare?

It seems to me that at this time, written words were basically instructions for reading out loud. I would guess that while Caesar was exceptionally educated for his time and that indeed the men who ...
5
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0answers
60 views

In Armenian, which parts of each letter are intrinsic and must be demarcated from joining up strokes in joined-up handwriting?

My question [1] is about handwritten Armenian [2], but to illustrate what I am asking I will first say something about English and Russian, languages which are likely to be known by larger proportions ...
5
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0answers
96 views

What kind of syntax diagrams are these, found in a book on legal writing?

These don't look like syntax trees in undergrad linguistics syntax textbooks. Do linguists use these diagrams? What are they called? Page 343.     Diagrams for grammatical analysis are visual aids to ...
5
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0answers
78 views

Is there a word for “mouth transitions” which describes the movement of a mouth which is saying one word, but preparing for the next?

I think I can produce every individual phoneme in standard-ish spoken Mandarin. However, if I want to speak fluently I have to watch videos of people speaking and closely watch their mouths, because ...
5
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0answers
80 views

How did “murder of crows”, “pride of lions” and similar collective classifiers in English come to be used?

Classifiers come in many varieties.[1] Many languages have them. Chinese has words like "本" (ben) used for books and similar nouns, 條 (tiao) for long, skinny things, etc. Vietnamese has ...
5
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0answers
158 views

Why do I speak in a lower (deeper) voice in foreign languages compared to my mother tongue

I'm a native German speaker. I myself and friends have noticed, that when I speak in English, my voice becomes lower (deeper) and if I speak in Finnish, even lower than in English. If I concentrate I ...
5
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0answers
101 views

Degree of animacy and time-travelling cats

I recently saw this tweet by 3blue1brown, and it got me thinking about how English phrases of the form "[noun] from [year]" work. The distinction described in the tweet seems to reduce to ...
5
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0answers
115 views

Is there evidence that English speakers associate black with bad and/or white with good

Prompted by the recent move towards replacing the terms "blacklist" and "whitelist", I wonder if there is research around the topic of how people feel about the words "black&...
5
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0answers
105 views

Which writing systems have the highest/lowest stroke-to-sound ratios?

Preemptive note: This question is about sound-based writing systems, excluding logographic systems like Chinese. Transitional systems like Egyptian hieroglyphs, Maya script or Man’yōgana are also ...
5
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0answers
84 views

Is there a natural language in which grammatical number is used to denote “all” of something (as distinct from simply “many” of something?)

I am working on a constructed language, and this is a feature I have been considering. My conlang has singular, dual, and plural numbers that function as one would expect. This "omnic" ...
5
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0answers
69 views

What is the historical-linguistic origin of the high variety of the Burmese language?

In Myanmar (Burma), a state of diglossia exists. How did the high (formal) variety originate historically? Did it use to have native speakers at some point in the historical development of the ...
5
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0answers
67 views

How was excession expressed in Proto-Germanic?

The state of excession (of an adjective) is indicated differently accross Germanic languages. West Germanic Languages (E: too long, Du: te lang, G: zu lang) build it by the use of descendants from ...
5
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0answers
77 views

Are there studies which attempt to quantify the information conveyed by written languages - especially Japanese/Chinese?

I'm curious as to whether anyone has attempted to come up with a quantitative measure of information conveyed by written words, symbols or graphs, and particularly curious if anyone has studied ...
5
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0answers
151 views

What happened to the number of english speakers in february 2018?

I recently noticed that English was in front of Mandarin in the Wikipedia list of languages by total number of speakers, so I wondered when it became first. I didn't find any convenient statistics on ...
5
votes
1answer
114 views

Parallel coordination failures

Consider this sentence: You can manipulate lightning, mist, and wind; traffic with air creatures; and are resistant to electricity damage. This looks at first glance like a perfectly normal ...
5
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0answers
112 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 ...
5
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0answers
64 views

How does the Natural Semantic Metalanguage deal with proper names?

The natural semantic metalanguage gives definitions of common words in terms of semantic primes, as can be found here. I am curious, however, as to how the NSM deals with proper names (or does it?) ...
5
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0answers
128 views

Do we have to revise what we know about Thracian?

I have been reading the latest paper on Thracian by C. Brixhe (on the latest Handbook of Comparative and Historical Indo-European Linguistics) and I am really baffled by the conclusion. In the 6th ...
5
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0answers
554 views

Whats the average duration of English phonemes?

I found this paper on phoneme length in the Polish language, but I can't see to find anything like this for English. Polish Phoneme Length Paper: http://www.dsp.agh.edu.pl/_media/pl:ltc-001-ziolko....
5
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0answers
90 views

List of Hungarian toponyms by interior/surface case

Hungarian toponyms can be grouped grammatically according to whether they take the "interior" cases (inessive, illative, and elative) or the "surface" cases (superessive, sublative, and delative) to ...
5
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0answers
131 views

Are there any languages where the first person cannot be an object?

In some languages, nouns low on the animacy hierarchy, particularly inanimates cannot surface as A, and if a situation arises where they are underlyingly A, some reparative strategy such as a passive ...
5
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0answers
114 views

Research on development of language of modality in children 8-12?

Let me quickly introduce myself to provide a context for my questions. My PhD research focuses on ways that we can teach primary school children (9-12) ways of handling complex, contradictory and ...
5
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0answers
242 views

Similar diminutive name construction in Turkish and Armenian

In Armenian diminutive for personal names are formed by adding 'o' for some short part of the name (I'm intentionally not calling this short form "root" cause it's not necessarily a root), so some ...
5
votes
0answers
128 views

What historical change(s) shortened vowels in Old and Middle English?

In a 1968 paper by Kiparsky ("Linguistic universals and linguistic change"), a historical-change argument is made for the brace notation of SPE, based on the history of vowel shortening. The premise ...
5
votes
0answers
55 views

Which method measures the degree of disagreement in online comments?

I am researching Fake News as a topic at my university. Right now, I am searching for some literature in which a method for measuring the degree of disagreement in an online comment setting (Facebook, ...
5
votes
0answers
57 views

What to reference for grammatical features being more reliable than lexical features for diachronic research?

I often hear people mention in passing that grammatical features are more reliable than lexical features in diachronic research, specifically when detecting pseudepigraphs, because it is relatively ...
5
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0answers
51 views

Combinatory Categorial Grammar for inflected languages?

Can combinatory categorial grammars be used for inflected languages like Slavic and Baltic languages? I am aware only of this thesis https://pwmarcz.pl/pm-thesis-final.pdf As far as I have ...
5
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0answers
146 views

Genitive forms (German)

Do you know any rule how I can decide (formally), wheter a German sentence contains a Genitivus subjectivus or a Genitivus objectivus? Example: "der Besuch des Botschafters". Here, the ambassador ...
5
votes
0answers
221 views

Do puns necessarily involve referring to two (or more) extant words?

What exactly constitutes a pun? Do the words in the pun have to both be extant, or can one be a nonce/nonsense word? — Over the years, I've heard numerous usages of "puns" where one word in the ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Adverbs as NP pre-modifiers

I would like to ask about the syntactic analysis of adverbs as what is called "peripheral noun modifiers" in The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, p436, which is illustrated in the following ...
5
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0answers
290 views

OCR program for IPA?

Is there a program that can convert a scan/image of IPA into any digital encoding? UTF-8 Unicode preferred, and low-cost preferred (open source would be especially nice).
5
votes
0answers
291 views

Did Chomsky originate the term “rewrite rule”?

The earliest mention of the term "rewrite rule" that I am able to find - in the context of phrase structure grammars - is in Chomsky's "Syntactic Structures" (1957). Did he originate the term?
5
votes
0answers
551 views

Are there any recordings of Emil Krebs?

The German polyglot Emil Krebs allegedly mastered 68 languages. Which, frankly, I find unbelievable. I cannot find any reliable source that is well documented, but perhaps recordings of Emil Krebs ...
5
votes
0answers
509 views

Why did English change so rapidly between the late 1600s and the early 1700s?

I am currently reading the King James Version of the Bible and am slowly getting used to the text-—English is my second language. I then wondered with what ease would I be able to understand the ...
5
votes
0answers
540 views

Do we know how common it is for ethnic Chinese and Tamils in Malaysia to speak each others language?

Here in Malaysia there are three main ethnicities, Malay, Chinese, Tamil, and most people speak more than one language. There are four main language groupings: Malay - national language and language ...
5
votes
0answers
161 views

Does [t] become [g] due to anticipatory assimilation?

In this particular rule [t] -> [g]/_ V [+velar] (because of anticipatory assimilation) I'm unsure of how to actually write this in the most efficient way. I want to know that if [t] changes to [g] ...
5
votes
0answers
151 views

Are L. arvix and L. aries cognates?

arvix sacrificial ram aries From a Proto-Indo-European root meaning "jump, spring," cognate with Old High German irah (“ram”), Old Irish heirp (“kid”), Ancient Greek ἔριφος, Armienian ...
5
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0answers
1k views

What is the universal set of constraints in Optimality Theory?

According to Diana Archangeli (1997) there is a universal set of constraints (CON) that is part of our innate knowledge of language. These constraints are used in Optimality Theory, such as NOCODA: '...
5
votes
0answers
424 views

Cellar door and Indo-European languages

Where I grew up (UK) there was a pub called The Drysalters. I always liked this name without having any idea what a drysalter was, or having any association or emotional connection to the pub itself. ...
5
votes
0answers
77 views

Is there a way to measure culture's impact on a language?

I was wondering if there were any current models that measured the effect of cultural shifts in a given language. Specifically, is there consistent/model-able lag between major cultural events and how ...
5
votes
0answers
89 views

Is there a term for a mental prototype changing?

Years ago, if I heard the word bird I thought about a sparrow since I live in western Pennsylvania and there are sparrows everywhere. But now, if I hear the word bird I picture a blue, two-dimensional ...
5
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0answers
186 views

Do some languages have significantly more or fewer idioms than others?

Among the well-attested languages for which large corpora have been gathered, does the number of idiomatic expressions per language vary significantly? Are there fewer idioms in some languages than ...

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