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 ...
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15 votes
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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.
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14 votes
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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 ...
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  • 16.6k
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, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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10 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 ...
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9 votes

Why are there inflections?

The basic answer is "because there are". Languages work the way languages work: we can explain how something has come about in a language, but why questions are nearly always unanswerable. Your ...
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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. ...
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9 votes
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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" (...
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  • 2,324
8 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) ...
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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 ...
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7 votes

Why are there inflections?

I'm surprised nobody mentioned the concept of grammaticalization in this context. Asking why in linguistics is almost never a good question. But grammaticalization can certainly help explain how. (See ...
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7 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 8,530
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 ...
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7 votes
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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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 2,273
6 votes
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Does word order really not matter in Latin?

1) "Young" in your sentence will be in the nominative case agreeing with the nominative case of "man", but both "friend" and "dog" will be in the accusative, which excludes "young" modifying "friend" ...
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6 votes

Are there any languages besides Japanese which are both inflecting/agglutinating and do not indicate word boundaries in writing?

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.
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  • 22.6k
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 ...
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6 votes

Is there some intrinsic relationship between the nominative plural and genitive singular?

I am not sure about “intrinsic”. It is, however, main-stream Indo-Europeanist theory that the suffix * -es marks both the genitive singular and the nominative plural m/f in proto-Indo-European. Though ...
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6 votes

What really makes adverbs different from adjectives?

If we step off linguistic terminology to some philosophy, everything becomes more straightforward. Adjectives define properties of "things"; Adverbs define properties of "relations". TL;DR Human ...
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  • 8,530
6 votes

The suffix -er in English: Why is this derivational?

-er a derivational suffix because it changes the word class to which the entire expression belongs. That is what defines derivational affixes. bake is a verb, but bak-er is a noun. (I assume the ...
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  • 1,404
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 ...
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  • 67.7k
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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 7,838
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 ...
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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 ...
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