8

In 2005, Martin Haspelmath published a paper called "Against Markedness (and what to replace it with)" which defines twelve different senses of marked, markedness and arguing that this polysemy obfuscates rather than helping and should be eliminated. Unfortunately, he seems to have been a voice crying in the wilderness so far. The twelve senses: ...


8

Yes, there are such languages. Here's an excerpt from the annotation to Heidi Newell's „A Consideration Of Feminine Default Gender“ (2005): Languages with gender assignment must also deal with ambiguous and unknown gender. The gender used for an unknown or ambiguous gender is the default gender. In some languages all nouns must be assigned a gender. ...


5

First, it is important to be clear on what "most basic form" as described above covers. One notion is "structurally simplest", that is, "having the fewest added things". The other is "phonologically best for predicting other variants". Mixtec seems to qualify as an example of the future being "most basic" because (a) the future has no prefixes or suffixes, (...


4

This originates in linguistics with Trubetzkoy, who spoke of distinctive "marks" (in the sense of "indication"). -s is a "mark" of plurality, also d has a "mark" of voicing. You may be interested in the recent volume Beyond Markedness in Formal Phonology. Subsequent developments of the theory equated "unmarked" with "common, natural", and thereby expanded ...


4

In the vast majority of (if not all) languages that have a grammatical gender assignment with the Masculine/Feminine distinction, the masculine is the unmarked gender. But the system of markedness is going to be much more complex as genders proliferate. For instance, in Czech verbal agreement masculine is the unmarked gender with respect to feminine and ...


3

Perhaps markedness is best explained in terms of surprisal. Frequency alone is not a very good estimator for surprisal because it ignores all kind of context and uses a unigram language model. More refined language models and external knowledge (e.g., script knowledge) give more precise number for surprisal. Surprisal is correlated to processing difficulty ...


3

A complete list or fraction will be subjective, because each case has nuances - for one thing even languages with definite articles use them differently - and because it is always subjective what should count as a separate language. Roughly speaking, among the languages of Eurasia and the Western world, essentially Slavic, Ural-Altaic (regardless of the ...


3

The question concerns why certain semantic features seem to be 'unmarked'. As an example, we can consider the fact that, at least in certain (especially older) varieties of English, the masculine pronoun he/him is used as the 'default'. Consider a scenario where a class consisting of both male and female students have finished their homework, (1) is ...


3

Your definition of "marked phoneme" is wrong. Marked phonemes are those that are cross-linguistically relatively uncommon, and are prone to disappear during sound changes. This doesn't necessarily have anything much to do with how "hard" the sounds are to articulate. It's true that sounds with complicated articulations are often simplified (e.g. the Proto-...


3

There is a forthcoming volume edited by B. Samuels entitled Beyond markedness in formal phonology which addresses the question. Basically, this is a case where the term is taken to be primary, and the referent is taken to be "open to discovery" – which is a nice way to say that it doesn't have a fixed meaning, and depending on school of thought, it refers to ...


2

There are also languages without an obvious present tense, e.g. future/non-future and past/non-past languages. For such languages, the present can be marked on the non-future or non-past tense with aspectual morphology (e.g. continuous aspect).


2

Probably this confusion is familiar within Indo-European linguistics. If we use the concept 'root' instead of 'base' we will understand this issue more accurately. In Indo-European languages, as far as I know, there is this notion of a root as a lexical entity: Root{reason}, can form: reasoning, reasonable, etc. In other languages with non-concatenative ...


1

This can be disposed of with a contrast-enhancement constraints, which makes the output of /p/ vs. /b/ more perceptually salient (there being more phonetic cues to identify the distinction when voiceless stops are aspirated). Here is one of hundreds of ways to integrate contrast-enhancement. The claim that aspirated stops are mark is itself a highly ...


1

You could say that in Proto-indoeuropean this might have been the case and there are indications of this in some later languages like Ancient Greek, however this is definitely debatable given the complex morphology and non-trivial rules of ablaut in PIE verbs, so take it more like "it is possible", rather than "PIE did this in a consistent manner". We ...


1

In Irish: a pheann / his pen a peann / her pen So peann is lenited when demonstrating male ownership. In Scottish Gaelic: When addressing a person: a Mhórag! / Morag! a Dhòmhnaill! / Donald! Female names are lenited, while male names are lenited and slenderised with Dòmhnall becoming Dhòmhnaill.


1

(Modern Eastern) Armenian has only periphrastic present tense, for example tesa I saw vs. tesnum em I see. In the present tense there are more morphemes - the ending of the participle and the clitical auxiliary. There is a synthetic future tense, too, but it has an additional morpheme (ktesnem I will see).


1

Maybe, depending... the main issue is distinguishing marking of aspect vs. temporal reference, and what you mean by "tense". The differences in Classical Arabic between faʕalū and yafʕalūna is sometimes called present / past (tense) and sometimes perfect / imperfect (aspect). In Anii, there is an unmarked form, and with eventive verbs, it has a past ...


1

In classical Arabic the present tense takes a prefix and a suffix, while the past tense takes only a suffix: ya-fʻal-ūna “they do” faʻal-ū “they did” Similarly in Persian: mī-rav-and “they go” raft-and “they went”.


1

I agree with P Elliott and his explanation that this is a question of markedness. His examples are from English, which has natural, but not grammatical gender. It might be interesting to see how this works in a language that has grammatical gender, and where grammatical gender usually trumps natural gender. In German, all nouns are marked for gender (= ...


1

I'm sure I've read the following idea written by a linguist somewhere. I didn't manage to find the reference and I'd love to have serious references for that. The following is mainly a first person description of my native language's grammar, on an aspect which is not taught at school, but seems obvious in retrospect. Such an indigenous language is my ...


1

Kawesqar is an example of such a language. In fact, quite a few languages have tenses that tend to be used in myths, stories, fairy tales, etc.


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