8

Just to clarify matters a bit, the OQ seems to have a confusing presupposition, viz Isolating (analytic) vs inflecting (fusional) vs agglutinating languages (it's inflected, btw, not inflexed) All three are not on the same level of abstraction. Instead of a three-way opposition, there are two dyadic oppositions, with one subordinate to the other: ...


7

@Eleshar's answer sums it up very well: “Good luck with separating some of the forms into morphemes”. Still, there's one important difference that makes it impossible to draw a straight parallel between classifiers (of isolating languages) and morphemes of inflexed languages. This is because in fusional languages, the modifier morphemes conjugate as well! ...


7

Your analysis is correct - the typical criterion is whether or not the affix/particle seems to act as part of the word it attaches to. When nice phonological demonstrations like vowel harmony aren't available, prosody is the next recourse. If prosody isn't helpful, you're pretty much left with an open question - you have to reason from the rest of the ...


6

L1 difficulty It is not at all obvious that it even means anything to say that one language is harder to learn (as L1) than another. If some language were really so hard that children simply didn't learn it, then they wouldn't have learned it and it would have died out eons ago. You might imagine that a test of difficulty of learning could be quantified as ...


6

"A word is taken and many different words are glued to it" — that's wrong for both agglutinative and polysynthetic languages. In agglutinative languages, a string of affixes is "glued" to a root, each affix with its own grammatical meaning, an affix doesn't combine several grammatical meanings, like in Latin 'pueris' (from boys) the affix '-is' means plural ...


6

Just for a beginning: ancient Greek and Latin did not indicate word boundaries. All the letters are evenly spaced. Sanskrit separates only at the end of a verse.


6

The answer depends on what you mean by "learning" the language. It's a common misconception that all linguists are fluent in a great number of languages, in the sense of being able to read or speak with native-like proficiency. While some linguists can speak five languages fluently, many others can't, and some highly-respected linguists speak only a single ...


5

If you're curious about agglutination, look at English derivation. For example, suppose you'd never heard the word "unapproachable" before. You could quite easily break it down into un-approach-able. In other words, it describes something that you can't approach. Agglutinating languages do the same thing, but for purposes that we'd relegate to syntax. ...


5

Agglutination is a form of inflection. So is fusion (aka amalgamation). The major difference is that agglutinative paradigms are one-dimensional, while fusional paradigms are multi-dimensional. Consequently one fusional inflection can refer to many categories (e.g, Latin -tis '2nd person plural subject of verb in present tense, active voice, indicative mood),...


5

I think one of the first major studies was Bybee (1985). Bybee, J.L. 1985. Morphology: A study of the relation between meaning and form. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. She proposed the hierarchy Justin Olbranz refers to: verb-valence-voice-aspect-tense-mood-modality-person-number Another prominent study that argues along the same line is ...


5

You've hit upon one of the key insights in modern linguistic theory! :D You are partially right in your observations. Humboldt actually made the opposite observation, that an isolating language is the more 'primitive' form, and languages tend to become morphologically complex afterwards (i.e. become agglutinative), and finally the morphological boundaries ...


4

In addition to the criteria in Sjiveru's answer, syntactic criteria are also important for distinguishing affixes from adpositions (or determiners, or any other syntactic class whose function might be equivalent to that of affixes; but I'll focus on adpositions here). Affixes attach at the word level, while adpositions attach at the phrase level. If what ...


4

To be honest, this classification comes from 19th century and it is based mostly on verb, occasionally nominal inflections as the primary criterion of comparing languages (and subsequently, also establishing which one is better, more evolved, more reflecting the overall more advanced national spirit of its speakers etc.). This corollary aside, the principle ...


4

I would love someone else to answer this more fully, but one thing I would like to point out is the assumption in this question that more inflection implies greater complexity in language. The reality is much more complex than that; languages like English (and in fact, many of the modern Indo-European languages) have exchanged complex inflectional systems (...


4

The terminology gets in the way a bit, because agglutinative, analytic, fusional etc. are not really crisp and well-defined states for languages to be in, rather, the re is a continuum from 1-to-1 form/function correspondence to many-to-many relations, and a continuum of using morphological vs. syntactic means of expressing things. There is a tendency for ...


4

In English we might say "They walked onto the dry, green grass in the middle of the day.". It is a bunch of words stringed together. In an agglutinative language, This example will not tell us much. Plenty of agglutinative languages will have roughly the same set of words for this sentence as English has. For example, in Turkish it will be "...


3

In my experience, it is not common for professional linguists to study languages in the sense of general language acquisition study (as opposed to focused technical research). By "study" I mean "study with some diligence" equivalent to let's say equivalent to 75 classroom hours, as opposed to "show up for a couple of weeks and give up". By "professional ...


3

The main difference according to my understanding is that in inflective languages, one usually declines, or change morphemes (which are closely integrated into the word) to inflect meaning of the word. In agglutinative languages, one append prefixes/suffixes to add meaning to a word - the word's stem is largely untouched. In analytic languages, those ...


3

Elamite is agglutinative and (mainly) right-branching, though quotative phrases are left branching. https://archive.org/stream/TheElamiteLanguage1969/Reiner1969TheElamiteLanguagetext#page/n15/mode/2up


2

Not to refute tendencies in morpheme ordering, but for a different take on your question, this paper discusses how ordering can be compositionally driven by scope, based on data from a very agglutinating polysynthetic language Adyghe (Northwest Caucasian). Adyghe affixes are often described in templatic terms, but the authors show it's not universally true ...


2

I find that question interesting. I've noticed that in some (?) analytic languages a phrase which consists of -let's say- a preposition, an article and a noun can be just one phonological word. The string 'for the lake' is listed as one. If we followed different conventions these morphological words could have been written as one. In Modern Greek (which is ...


2

This is a common issue in Austronesian linguistics where the notion of precategorial (=functionally unspecified) roots is often employed to explain the fact that roots don't have a POS category until they're employed in an utterance, and then the same root can be used in many different POS categories. This may match the situation you describe, where the root ...


2

Yes, some linguists consider this possible. Here are some such concepts/authors: "roots": Pesetsky, David. 1995.Zero syntax: Experiencers and cascades (CurrentStudies in Linguistics 27). Cambridge: The MIT Press. "listemes": Borer, Hagit. 2005. Structuring Sense Volume I. Online:http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199263905.001.0001. ...


2

Your hypothesis is true, partially. Tamil employs agglutinative grammar. Suffixes may be used to mark noun class, number, case, verb tense and other grammatical categories. Wikipedia has a great example of agglutination in Tamil. The only place where I would differ from your hypothesis is that all words by themselves would belong to some 'category' as you ...


2

Curta’s hypothesis sounds a little far-fetched but there’s a more plausible theory that a form of Slavic spread very rapidly — maybe with the Avars — across the Balkans, effectively smoothing out much of the dialectal differences that must have existed at that time. This theory assumes that Slavic was indeed used as a lingua franca but had been adopted ...


1

If you actually try to speak a very long Turkish word, for example Afyonkarahisarlılaştırabildiklerimizdenmişsinizcesine, is it recognised? Today's speech recognition is end-to-end, that is, the input in training is just the audio and the transcript. There is ideally nothing language-specific in that part. It can be done, for example, with seq2seq ...


1

I'm unsure by what we even mean by "mainly" or "mostly" right- or left-branching in a comparative context. I mean, sure, I can see how Japanese is mainly left-branching; but if by "left-branching" we mean OV + postpositions, and "right-branching" is VO + prepositions, then WALS would like to remind us that some languages have OV + prepositions (including ...


1

Originally polysynthesis only meant that an average word had a high content of morphems or meaning elements, without any clear definition how high it should be to call a language polysynthetic. Later on one tends to call languages that are head marking for at least subject and object as polysynthetic, and one will often add the criterium of noun ...


1

I won't answer this directly but rather give resources that I think can answer it. The WALS (World Atlas of Language Structures) has three chapters and accompanying maps on inflection types, 20, 21, and 22. They have a broad inventory of languages. They do not use the same terminology as the classes agglutinative, isolating, etc. but do start from analytic ...


1

I think the problem lies in the "on any practical definition" part. After decades in the field, I still don't know what the difference between agglutinative and polysynthetic is. Imbabura Quechua is an "agglutinative" language with a small morphology, and Sanskrit is an analytic language with a big morphology. Counting morphemes doesn't help, you have to ...


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