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60

The World Atlas of Language Structures Online Chapter 49 lists 84 languages with at least 6 distinct cases (24 of them with at least 10 cases). A number of them are spoken in remote areas of Australia or South America where schooling is limited, if it happens at all. As far as I know, speakers of these languages have no problem using the case system in an ...


55

It is because of the typewriter. A Swiss typewriter needs to support three languages: German, French, and Italian. Therefore on the Swiss typewriter, there was no ß key. It also has only lowercase umlauts ä, ö, and ü. A picture of a Swiss typewriter can be seen here. The lack of that key has led to a subsequent deprecation of the ß overall.


50

The short answer is that Yiddish is a Germanic language, just one with a significant Hebrew/Aramaic adstrate. Despite many Hebrew borrowings, the majority of Yiddish vocabulary is Germanic, and in fact fairly similar to modern German (since they both derive in large part from Old High German). That's where it got these weekday names from. The weekdays are ...


40

From the perspective of linguistics, the question is meaningless though well-intentioned. "Word" is not a well-defined technical concept in linguistics (or, some people may have concocted a definition of "word" for their purposes, but there isn't even a widely-believed definition). The best definition is "a maximal string of letters ...


39

Though as some other posters have noted, some Russians may use dialect case forms, anyone who is out of diapers uses the full case system. Case is a core concept of the language. The very idea that using cases is a burden is alien to Russian. If you hear someone speaking Russian while ignoring case and gender, he isn't uneducated, he is a foreigner. He ...


38

The question has been well answered for specifics. I'd only want to add that a little thought would have answered it in general: most of language learning happens before a learner ever goes to school, so level of schooling cannot possibly be relevant. Furthermore, for most of human history, most people have been unschooled, unlettered, and illiterate, and in ...


30

The Swiss government has an explanation on p. 18. One contributing factor is typography, namely the rise of use of the Antiqua font, which was claimed to not include ß. I have no evaluation of the truthiness of that claim, for the relevant historical period, i.e. prior to 1901. It is certainly the case that its shape in Antique was not uniform. The rules ...


27

Morphological complexity as such as is not related to the level of schooling. Some of the most morphologically complex languages are spoken by people without any education. So, all Russian and German speakers (including those with no formal schooling) use the morphological cases in their respective languages. So did speakers of Vulgar Latin which was really ...


26

"The loss and weakening of unstressed syllables at the ends of words..... had disastrous effects on the inflectional system, since many endings now became identical." — (Barber, 1993: 157) There is no simple answer to the question, why exactly English has lost the majority of its inflections. Here's just one idea: The articulatory stress began to fell on ...


24

All people use cases in Russian. Uneducated people may make some typical mistakes however, so use cases and other things wrongly, but the number of such possible characteristic mistakes is limited. For instance. Standard speech requires use of indeclinable possessive pronoun "их" "their". But uneducated people may decline it, adding the ending "ихний", "...


22

New High German (NHG) Auge and English eye are believed to descend from Proto-Germanic *augan- and Proto-Indo-European *ōkū-. NHG Ei and English egg are from PG *ajjam- and PIE *ōiom. These words are not related. The homophony of modern English eye with modern German Ei is accidental. There is no “weird flipping".


19

I live in Poland, and my first language is Polish, a slavic language somewhat related to Russian, with a quite complicated case system. From my experience, I can confirm what others have written: Every one who normally learned Polish in his or her childhood is able to use the case system with only occasional minor mistakes, usually involving one of several ...


18

Cases are properly used by pre-school children Any kid who can speak the language can use the cases properly. There may be edge cases where "the prescribed way to say this is X, don't use Y" - which refers to prescriptive vs descriptive language principles, and perhaps has some parallels to things like British 'acquired pronounciation'. The full case ...


17

People who natively speak a language that has grammatical cases do generally use them commonly and consistently. Like all language features, case systems do also evolve, and it's quite common for there to be variation in case use between different dialects of a language, or e.g. between literary and colloquial language, but (at least from a descriptive ...


15

In German, noun phrases that are used to describe a separate entity other than their individual nouns are written without spaces. Thus, the example of Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung may indeed be considered as a "bunch of words" in the sense you have described. In Turkish however, this is not true. The example in Turkish you have provided ...


14

“Originally” is a problematic concept. The letter “ä” was not used in Old and Middle High German. The plural of gast is gesti in OHG and geste in MHG. In early New High German the letters ä, ö and ü (or rather: a, o, u with a small superscript “e”, but I cannot find these in Unicode) were used to indicate the umlauted forms of a, o and u, but the distinction ...


13

Umlaut itself—as in the process, not the dots—was a sort of vowel harmony that was productive for a long time in Germanic. The thing you're asking about specifically is called i-umlaut; there was also a-umlaut and u-umlaut. The way it's generally understood (in Proto-Germanic), when there was a back vowel in one syllable, and an */i/ or */j/ in the next ...


12

In linguistics, “why” is usually a bad question. Actually, in several Indo-European languages the old present tense has died out completely and been replaced by the present participle plus copula. This has happened in Hindi and other North Indian languages. There are similar things in other language families, e.g. in Aramaic. English seems to have gone ...


12

Notice the consistent phonetic correspondence between the English -(e)y- and the German -(i)g- or -(i)ch-: honey - Honig, yester(day) - gestern, day - Tag, eye - Auge, etc. The reason for this is the palatalization of -g- in certain Germanic dialects, like English. The same English -y- is also the equivalent of the German -j- or -ie- (as in year - Jahr,...


11

Everything that is designated with the word German somehow concerns the continental Germanic dialect continuum. This designates a region from southern Denmark in the North to South Tyrol (Alto Adige) in the South and from the Belgian coast in the West to somewhere around the Neiße river in the East where ‘descendents of the continental Germic language(s)’ ...


11

First of all, a warning: all these etymologies are to some extent hypothetical. Especially when it gets back to Proto-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European, there's no actual proof of how the language worked; it's all reconstructed by linguists. But these reconstructions are generally quite informative, even if we can never be 100% sure they're right. ...


11

Ananas is not from Hebrew. It is from a South American language, Old Tupi, from the same area where the fruit is native – the Amazon rainforest, not the Middle East. Tupi natives called the fruit naná, and made a fermented drink from it, naná’y. The European invaders took the fruit to the rest of the world and borrowed the word as ananas, as described by ...


10

I think your question has a presupposition that is already wrong: It is not the language, and even less a language's grammar that makes orthography rules. Orthography is a set of prescriptive, more or less static and sometimes seemingly arbibitrary rules that are about how to transform language into graphemes, but not an inherent part of a language ...


10

You have a few different correspondences here; I'll go through them individually. day ~ dag ~ dag ~ Tag This is part of the second German consonant shift (or the High German consonant shift). Among other things, voiced plosives at the start of words turned voiceless in German. think ~ tenke ~ denken ~ denken This is due to Germanic dental fricative loss. ...


9

The mainstream hypothesis is that the vowel found in words like white was pronounced as something like [iː] (a long close front vowel, like that in Modern German bieten) in Common Germanic, and then it diphthongized to [aɪ] in both English and German after the two languages had already split from each other. In English, the diphthongization is often ...


8

Well, maybe because Standard German is an artificial construct based on the Middle High German language of the Bible and many Germans learn it as sort of a second language (after their native dialect). So it's deemed to be pretty conservative. English speakers, on the other hand, seem to adopt language changes into their literary language faster than ...


8

I agree with czypsu that the two roots are probably not identical (though there is a theory that Proto-Germanic *staljan is not cognate with Greek stellō, but derives from *st(e)h₂- with the suffix *-dhlo-, in which case the Germanic and Slavic roots would in fact be related). However this may be, the prefixed forms in Czech are evidently calqued on the ...


8

The words utrom, morgen, mañana don't all derive from the same word in Proto-Indo-european, so that is why they are pronounced differently. As to why "morning" and "tomorrow" are sufficiently similar in semantics that they can be the same word, this is a reasonably common fact across languages (very common in Bantu, for example). If you're going to develop ...


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