16 votes

Is it possible to have a word-based language completely without word inflection?

The problem is, things like "word-based" vs "character-based" as you put it (the standard words are alphabetic vs logographic) apply to writing systems, not languages. Languages, both historically and ...
Draconis's user avatar
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Is there any language where verb inflection takes place word-initially?

Look into the Bantu languages, such as Swahili. Tense, aspect, and subject agreement are all marked at the beginning of the verb.
Draconis's user avatar
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Are there any languages which inflect the noun for morphosyntactic categories normally reserved for verbs (e.g. tense, aspect, etc.)?

Here is a relevant Wikipedia article: Nominal TAM There is a fair amount of literature that mentions the existence of languages that mark tense on nouns; the first result I found on Google was this ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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13 votes

Is there any language where verb inflection takes place word-initially?

Since Bantu has been mentioned, I won't mention it again, much. I'll mention Athabaskan, Ket (not Athabaskan but probably related), Semitic, Berber, Coptic, Bongo, Krongo, Nilotic, Nyulnyul, ...
user6726's user avatar
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11 votes

Is it possible to have a word-based language completely without word inflection?

There is no such categorization of languages as "word-based" vs. "character-based". Not all Chinese speakers are literate. Standard Chinese has certainly been affected by the character-based writing ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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11 votes
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Are there languages that inflect adverbs for gender

Although adverb agreement in gender/noun class is far from ubiquitous, there seem to be (apparent) examples of this kind of agreement in a fair number of languages. I am most familiar with examples of ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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Are there languages with verb tenses, but no conjugation?

There are plenty of languages that do what you are looking for. In linguistic typology, languages that encode grammatical functions (such as tense) as separate words are called "isolating" (...
matan-matika's user avatar
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10 votes

difference between Isolating (analytics) vs inflected (fusional) vs agglutinative languages

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) ...
jlawler's user avatar
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10 votes
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Languages preserving loanword inflections

A great number of loanwords from Ancient Greek have been integrated into Czech with great attention to the original forms. For instance, many Ancient Greek nouns from the third (athematic) declension ...
Svatoslav Komínek's user avatar
10 votes
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Noun inflection in which IE language is close to PIE noun inflection?

A simply approach to the question is to find which language (if any one language can be determined) has the most similar noun paradigm to PIE. The phonology of the suffixes can also be concidered. ...
Fummy's user avatar
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9 votes
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Are the inflectional endings in English known to have evolved from separate words or do they go too far back into PIE to know?

English is generally regarded as having the following 7 inflectional suffixes. All of them have been suffixes since Proto-Indoeuropean, but most have followed a rather circuitous path along the way. ...
Mark Beadles's user avatar
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9 votes

Do modal auxiliaries in English never change their forms?

Are "can, could" different forms of the same modal auxiliary? Are "may, might" also? Historically yes, but they had some semantic differentiation. The same for pairs shall : ...
Arfrever's user avatar
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8 votes

How do linguists distinguish between case endings and postpositions, especially in languages which have both and/or have no traditional grammar?

This is a fundamental question in morphology that has consequences going far beyond the simple distinction between case endings and postpositions (which, by itself, is effectively quite thorny in many ...
Artemij Keidan's user avatar
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Does plural count as a grammatical gender?

To some extent, this is just a question of terminology. In some languages, it is conventional to speak of "genders"; in others, "noun classes"; in some languages, the plural is considered to be one of ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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8 votes
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Were/are there any languages that decline(d) articles but not nouns?

I think French is very close to what you are looking for. Most nouns are pronounced identically in the singular and plural (though the plural is mostly still written with a silent “s”), but number and ...
fdb's user avatar
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7 votes

difference between Isolating (analytics) vs inflected (fusional) vs agglutinative languages

@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 ...
Be Brave Be Like Ukraine's user avatar
7 votes

Is there any language where verb inflection takes place word-initially?

The Tupi family of languages does person and number agreement with bound verbal prefixes. Major Tupian languages include Guaraní, spoken in Paraguay; Nheengatu, spoken by a minority of Amazonian ...
melissa_boiko's user avatar
7 votes
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How did Latin drop noun declension?

It differs from language to language but in general, it is attributed to the case forms becoming too similar to maintain the distinction due to various sound changes. E.g. in Old French, this is ...
Eleshar's user avatar
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7 votes

Are inflectional morphemes considered affixes in English?

Wikipedia captures the usual understanding of the term: Affixes may be derivational, like English -ness and pre-, or inflectional, like English plural -s and past tense -ed. In this terminology also ...
Keelan's user avatar
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6 votes

Why did English evolve to have so little inflection?

There is a trend for languages, in general, to lose inflection of a certain type, and Indo-European languages manifest that trend. Particular facts of English have encouraged that development, and ...
user6726's user avatar
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6 votes

Does word order really not matter in Latin?

Short answer: of course, word order matters in Latin but differently from languages like English. Technical answer: rather than being vaguely classified as a free word order language, Latin is often ...
Mitomino's user avatar
6 votes

How is the the adjective in a definite noun phrase different from a nondefinite one in Germanic and Balto-Slavic languages?

The adjective systems in Balto-Slavic and German languages are similar only from a very broad typological and historical point of view. Most Slavic languages — I can speak about Russian, but it must ...
Artemij Keidan's user avatar
6 votes

Languages preserving loanword inflections

This is more likely to happen when the original language is fairly well known amongst the community of writers–speakers of the adopting language. Latin often does it for Greek words. That is, one ...
Cerberus's user avatar
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6 votes

Are fusional languages easier to learn than isolating languages?

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 ...
user6726's user avatar
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6 votes

What's the difference between nominative and absolutive case?

Because they behave differently, and contrast with different things. In a language like Hittite, some nouns have one case that's used any time it's the subject of a verb, and one case that's used any ...
Draconis's user avatar
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6 votes

Do modal auxiliaries in English never change their forms?

Yes, modal auxiliary verbs do not inflect, hence they never change their form. may, shall, will, and can are formed from present stems might, should, would, could, and must are formed from past stems ...
jlawler's user avatar
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6 votes

Does there exist a pair of words with the same parts of speech, same base form, but different inflections?

I don't know of an example in Russian, but in English, we have "lie" (be untruthful, past tense is "lied") and "lie" (recline, past tense is "laid" or "lay&...
Draconis's user avatar
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6 votes
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Does there exist a pair of words with the same parts of speech, same base form, but different inflections?

Russian: граф - graph(math), граф - graf (duke). First is inanimate, second is animate, so, in accusative has ending -а: увидел граф versus увидел графа. график - the same, either plot or drawing ...
Anixx's user avatar
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5 votes

Is there any language where verb inflection takes place word-initially?

Hebrew has verb inflections at the beginning, middle, and ends of verbs. For a simple example, first person simple future tense prepends an aleph at the beginning of the verb, while past tense has a ...
arp's user avatar
  • 169
5 votes
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Is there any declension in Hebrew?

As a general rule, Hebrew employs what is known as the Definite Direct Object Marker (or DDOM), which is the untranslatable את (et). So long as the object of the verb is a direct object and so long as ...
Shimon bM's user avatar
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