14

In the realm of natural language, the "ideas a language can be used to express" are basically "any": all languages are capable of expressing any idea, so there's only one category of expressive type. Languages do differ in the way that they express a given idea. Assume a language Gwambomambo which lacks the word "recursion". That very word could be ...


9

In computer science, one essential property of all Turing-complete languages is that they are able to describe, "in their own way", how they themselves work. For example, you can use a Turing machine to express how a Turing machine works. Similarly, you can write, for example, a Prolog program that can interpret Prolog programs. In the ...


4

Linguists have some methods to measure the complexities of the grammar of a language. Methods to measure the complexities of different aspects, absolutely. What are the best methods to measure the complexity of the grammar of a language ? That's the problem: there is no best method. It's like asking "which cultures on earth are the most complex?" ...


4

I haven't the slightest idea what the answer to you question might be. I think you're wasting your time with such speculations. Basically, I guess, you think the difficulty of a language must be somehow proportional to the length of a grammar book written for that language. I don't think so. Details of vocabulary are a great labor for dictionary makers ...


3

I have had the same thought before and this is what I have found. There are two main concerns. Semantic completeness and grammatical completeness. Semantics: A language needs a minimum set of meanings, but the lack of some random arbitrary noun representing an abstract or concrete thing does not make the language incomplete in terms of thought. If the ...


3

A complementizer converts some phrase (usually an S) into a complement. In the form of a phrase structure rule, Complement -> Complementizer S In your example, the complementizer "that" converts the S "a student asked whether the eclipse would occur" into the complement "that a student asked whether the eclipse would occur", and the complementizer "...


3

Yes and no. There are a number of well-known algorithms for determining a text's complexity. There are several generations of these and most of them are tied to educational attainment such as years of education, education level studied or age. They are very much replicable across populations but they do not do a very good job for determining suitability to ...


2

a) What you exemplify is an inductive argument, you have seen or heard of people who have a hard time learning the grammar, and you assume it were the grammars fault. Native speakers might think quite differently, though. What you are looking for is either a reductive (rule based) argument, which would lead to a kind of Universal Grammar base line type ...


2

It seems Pirahã may qualify (my stress): Since we do not find unambiguous relative clauses in the corpus, we cannot use them to conclude that Pirahã has recursive embedding. As Pirahã isn't a pidgin, this could be taken as a tentative evidence that such full-blown languages may exist PS. ...the lack of relative clauses might be possible if a ...


2

Just keep spamming 的-clauses. To use your example: 我认识一个[有狗的]人。 我认识一个[有[向猫吠的]狗的]人。 我认识一个[有[向[在屋子里的]猫吠的]狗的]人。 我认识一个[有[向[在[[...的]城市的]屋子里的]猫吠的]狗的]人。 My own judgement is that the longer sentences don't sound natural in Chinese (because of a well known phenomenon where centre-embedding is difficult to process) whereas the first sentence you provide sounds ...


1

[updated here] READ THIS ARTICLE: Entropy Rate Estimates for Natural Language—A New Extrapolation of Compressed Large-Scale Corpora One can try to evaluate complexity of a written word by calculating its Shannon entropy. This type of complexity is related to Kolmogorov complexity, they might be equivalent. One approximate way of doing it is by compressing ...


1

No, anaphora is always involved in a relative clause construction, because relative clauses have relative pronouns (not necessarily explicit), and relative pronouns are anaphoric. The "which" of your example The building land is the plot in relation to which the building permit has been issued. is coreferential with the definite NP in the main clause: ...


1

There are many kinds of dependent clause. The example you provided is a content clause and not a relative clause. In Riffian, depending on the dependent clause used, this one can be introduced by a subordinator or not. There is a subordinator "i" for the relative clauses. But nothing is used for the content clauses.


1

This sort of behavior certainly occurs in some languages. Here's an example from Meskwaki where a relative clause is interspersed with the matrix clause: iiniyeeka [peeminehkawaatshiki ashaahaki ihkweewani] those.abs chase 3p-3'/part.3p Sioux.pl woman.obv those who they chased her the Sioux the woman "Those Sioux who were chasing the woman" ...


1

Yes, they are adjuncts, they are just topicalized. Alternative word order is orthogonal to what categories phrases have.


1

I have a reply for your third example, "Frankly, this whole paragraph needs work." "Frankly" here is a manner adverb which modifies a root sentence (which is a non-embedded sentence, in the sense of Joseph Emonds, who introduced the category of root sentence into syntactic analysis). Semantically, root sentences represent the performance of speech acts, so ...


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