19 votes

Is there a list of word meanings that are universally represented in all languages?

The Natural Semantic Metalanguage is a project that aims to identify the universal building blocks of human language, or "semantic primes". After four decades of empirical research they have ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
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17 votes
Accepted

Is there a list of word meanings that are universally represented in all languages?

No, there may not be any universal meanings. Here is an example. In most (maybe all) Bantu languages, there is no word for "hand" and no word for "arm", because there is a word ...
user6726's user avatar
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6 votes
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What script is this, and what does it mean?

This is the Medieval (Latinized) Futhark runic alphabet, written scriptio continua, but the text is English: THE BRAVE MAY LIVE FOREVER
Jeff Zeitlin's user avatar
6 votes

What languages like Chinese are composed out of a limited set of syllables?

All languages are built from a limited set of syllables, more specifically, no language allows an unbounded set of phonemes in a single syllable. To that we can add the fact that words of languages ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes
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How do other cultures categorize phonemes?

The discovery of the distinction vowel vs. consonant is lost in ancient unrecorded history. Over 3,000 years ago, a set of Indian rituals was canonicalized into the Vedas, where exact performance was ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes

How do other cultures categorize phonemes?

This could be tackled from many points of view, but since you seem to be thinking mainly of the phonetic (as opposed to phonological) one, I'll first mention that fricatives and approximants like /z/, ...
LjL's user avatar
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4 votes

About phrasal verbs, separable verb and verbs with adverbs

Well, separable verbs and phrasal verbs are different things because they work differently. Ich muss die Tür auf-machen. *I need to up-bring it. The particle part of an English phrasal verb never ...
Draconis's user avatar
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3 votes

What language has the longest word for 'no' and 'yes'?

I just wanted to point out that "no" in Swahili is hapana, not hakuna. Both are structurally identical, differing only in the class of the subject prefix. Class 16, with pa- generally refers ...
Imralu's user avatar
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3 votes
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Why don't currently spoken languages have words for everything they encounter?

The lack of a native word for "shrimp" in Amharic can be predicted on geographical grounds, that shrimp don't live 400 miles inland, 8,000 ft up in the mountains. The English borrowing ሽሪምፕ ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes

List of phoneme per language

I discover this question nearly ten years later, but seeing both it and its responses relate to things that somebody once paid me to spend a considerable amount of time upon, i feel i have to add some ...
Robert M's user avatar
2 votes

Why don't currently spoken languages have words for everything they encounter?

Given that the turkey is native to North America, it's pretty unlikely that people in Ethiopia were discussing them before very recent times. Conversely, English-speakers weren't having many ...
Draconis's user avatar
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2 votes

What are examples covering the spectrum of possibilities of inflection types across languages?

You are using the word "inflection" in an unusual way since güpgüzel in Turkish is an example of "derivation", so I presume you don't mean the old-fashoned derivation / inflection ...
user6726's user avatar
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1 vote

Most and least common places of articulation across world's languages

Using the IPA classification, the most common place of articulation is the dental-alveolar-postalveolar (lingual) column. Hawaiian has a phoneme whose realization ranges between lingual and velar in ...
user6726's user avatar
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1 vote

About phrasal verbs, separable verb and verbs with adverbs

German separable verbs and English phrasal verbs are considered basically the same thing --"particle verbs"-- but the grammatical differences between German and English lead to different ...
Alazon's user avatar
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1 vote

Frequency of phonemes in Indian languages

There is no practical currently-implementable method. For a moment, consider English phoneme frequency. One attempt at coming up with such a list is described here: get raw word frequencies from some ...
user6726's user avatar
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1 vote

Are there any languages where the genitive case changes according to its object?

Folks have listed examples of genitive constructions that agree with the gender or number of the possessum, and have mentioned Suffixaufnahme in the comments. I can think of one non-suffixaufnahme ...
Greg Nisbet's user avatar
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