15

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 even nowadays, are spoken more often than they're written—you can find people who speak English, or Chinese, or almost any language, perfectly well, even ...


14

Look into the Bantu languages, such as Swahili. Tense, aspect, and subject agreement are all marked at the beginning of the verb.


14

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 paper by Judith Tonhauser, "Towards an Understanding of the Meaning of Nominal Tense" (2005), about Paraguayan Guaraní. Depending on the language, the meaning of ...


13

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, Gooniyandi, Tiwi, Lenakel, Camsá, Cayuvava, Seri, Nahuatl, Lakota. You can get more examples here. That said, if you mean "only prefixing, with no suffixing at all", ...


11

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 system, and this affects how people speak, but linguists generally don't consider the paucity of inflection in Chinese to rely heavily on the existence of ...


10

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 preserve their stem consonants when declined in Czech. Consider the proper name Paris (the Greek mythological prince). In the table given on the linked page, ...


10

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. The PIE noun paradigm inflects nouns based on case, number, and gender. Case: There is some disagreement over how many noun cases exactly PIE had, but it ...


10

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 gender-agreeing adverbs from Indo-European, since that is a large and well-studied family containing many languages with gender systems. But there do seem to ...


9

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 question is about two different things: the kinds of grammatical distinction made in a language (such as plural, or objective case) and the mechanism by which these ...


9

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. This is rough outline: plural -s: < AS -as 'masc. a-stem nom.-acc. pl.' < PGmc -anz 'acc. pl.' < PIE -(o)ns 'acc. pl.' third person singular -s: &...


9

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" (one mnemonic that I use is "they isolate the different meanings into different words"). Those separate words are frequently referred to as "...


8

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) All three are not on the same level of abstraction. Instead of a three-way opposition, there are two dyadic oppositions, with one subordinate to the other: ...


8

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 case are indicated audibly by articles. Thus: singular: le garçon plural: les garçon(s) possessive singular: les main(s) du garçon possessive plural: les ...


7

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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammaticalization). The process through which words become morphemes is described as the following cline: content word → ...


7

irregular inflection a phonetically similar/same base German die Herz 'heart' nom.sg. - des Herzens gen.sg., cf. das Ohr 'ear' nom.sg. - des Ohr(e)s gen.sg. (Wurzel 1990 :210) English ox - oxen or mouse-mice (Bauer, Lieber and Plag 2013: 22) suppletion Phonetically different bases (historically these forms belonged to different lexemes) German gut '...


7

Loan words in Arabic are generally borrowed in something approaching their original form, but they are often perceived as being built around a three or four-letter root, from which purely Arabic derivatives can be formed. E.g. Greek philosophos was borrowed into classical Arabic as faylasūf, then reanalysed as f-l-s-f, with the regular Arabic plural falāsifa,...


7

@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 between classifiers (of isolating languages) and morphemes of inflexed languages. This is because in fusional languages, the modifier morphemes conjugate as well! ...


7

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 Brazilians; a number of endangered native Brazilian languages, and Old Tupi which is a substrate language of Brazilian Portuguese. Old Tupi examples follow. I'll ...


7

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 the genders/noun classes, while in others, it isn't. In general, though, my impression is that linguists tend not to consider plural to be a distinct ...


7

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 typically explained as a result of the Germanic invasion in Gallia. The Germanic languages of the day are estimated to have had a dynamic accentuation, meaning that ...


6

Agglutinating languages tend to have many cases and tend not to meld the case affix with any gender or number affix so most would probably suit your needs. The ones most often discussed would be Turkish, Finnish, and Hungarian. More people talk about Turkish being easy to learn while you often hear the other two described as very difficult to learn. Here's ...


6

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 languages). I would say that it pertains to the problem of defining such notions as grammatical category, paradigm and fusional/flective typology in general. ...


6

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 I would concede that this does not really answer your question but merely projects it back to a hypothetical proto-language.


6

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 logic operates with two fundamental categories, "things" and "relations". Things are linguistically represented with nouns, pronouns, and noun-like entities like ...


6

-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 stem bak because the final letter e is not pronounced.) Productivity is not a sufficient criterion for the distinction of inflection and derivation. English ...


6

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" or "dog", since only adjectives in the accusative can modify them in your sentence. Actually, the free word order in those languages that allow it, functions ...


6

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 referred to as a "discourse configurational language". Latin word order is strongly driven by so-called "information structure" (involving notions like "old ...


6

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.


6

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 different facts of Indic or Greek encouraged similar developments. The main fact about Indo-European morphology (or, late versions if its morphology) that presages ...


6

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 not be too different elsewhere — have a special morphological paradigm (i.e. a set of endings) for the adjectives when they stand in the modifier position with ...


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