10

The important feature is that in a polysynthetic language, a single word may contain more than one lexical root. This means that e.g., to choose the most frequent example, a complex verb may not only contain the verbal root, but also an incorporated noun, which (as opposed to compounding) remains referentially autonomous (In compounds, transparency often ...


10

Athabaskan languages would be the "most prefixing", in (a) being almost or in fact exclusively prefixing and (b) allowing many prefixes (11 positions). Papers on Navaho include this, as well as J. Kari Navajo Verb Prefix Phonology and Young & Morgan The Navajo Language. One can check information from the related language Sekani, and it seems that the ...


8

As the blog post itself concludes, reader/writer responsibility is really a property of the culture, rather than language. This is right in that the idea is simply a rephrasing of Geert Hofstede's high/low context cultures. This in itself is problematic because all language and culture requires context. Languages and cultures simply differ in what context ...


7

These morphemes (ve "and", kshe "when", etc.) are in linguistic terms actually not prefixes, but proclitics. You can read more about the distinction between affixes and clitics here. Agglutination generally refers to affixes, not clitics, so most linguists would probably not speak of agglutination in this case. (That said, the distinction between affixes and ...


6

"A word is taken and many different words are glued to it" — that's wrong for both agglutinative and polysynthetic languages. In agglutinative languages, a string of affixes is "glued" to a root, each affix with its own grammatical meaning, an affix doesn't combine several grammatical meanings, like in Latin 'pueris' (from boys) the affix '-is' means plural ...


5

Agglutination is a form of inflection. So is fusion (aka amalgamation). The major difference is that agglutinative paradigms are one-dimensional, while fusional paradigms are multi-dimensional. Consequently one fusional inflection can refer to many categories (e.g, Latin -tis '2nd person plural subject of verb in present tense, active voice, indicative mood),...


5

As pointed out by Michaelyus in a comment, this is covered for two languages (English and French) in the 2003 paper On the Semantic Range of the Plural by Wayne P. Lawrence. Briefly, English and French have different rules: English plural (despite prescriptive rules to the contrary) means "not 1", while French plural means "2 or more". However, Lawrence ...


5

As you recognize, you have two distinct questions, one about word status and one about polysynthesis. The "one word or two" question is notoriously difficult to answer, and has no general solution (so people apply ad hoc criteria in deciding for a given language). The polysynthesis question depends on distinguishing word sequences from morphologically ...


5

That's pretty much it. Languages do some idiosyncratic stuff with their grammatical cases: I remember you (obj). (English) Meminī tuī (gen). (Latin) Ich errinere an dich (acc). (Northern German) Sometimes, sentences with the same semantic meaning even use different grammatical cases, like in Ancient Greek (transliterated): Mnēmoneúō sé (with ...


3

Russian is such a language, although this feature is not followed by speakers as consistently as, for example, in Spanish. The majority of the Russian qualitative adjectives have two forms, short and full, the short one being the oldest, Proto-Slavic had only short adjectives, and the full adjectives were formed from the short ones, by adding article-like ...


3

It seems to me that your argument about the simultaneity of articulatory gestures in speech is mostly irrelevant, because the hearer does not perceive these various gestures, but the (single) resulting auditory stream. It is true that in general each such gesture will have an effect on the stream (though in some cases barely detectable) but there is no ...


3

Simultaneity just means producing two or three signs simultaneously. It is common in British Sign Language, of which I have a very incomplete knowledge. All you have to do is pick two one-handed signs and add a facial expression (many facial expressions are signs in themselves), and you can easily produce three signs simultaneously, which is like saying ...


3

The morpheme would probably be best described as a case suffix. In natural languages the oblique case often has the meaning of concerning/regarding, but it also has other meanings. If you wanted a label purely for this meaning I think you'll need to make one up. One option would be regardive. I'd wonder though if you're really being tied too much to the ...


3

Yes, there are supposed to be some languages that have adverbs that show inflectional agreement with the head verb. I don't know enough to give an overview, but one example seems to be Maori, where adverbs modifying a passive verb take passive marking, and those midifying a nominalized verb take nominalizing marking ("Formal Property Inheritance and ...


2

I would vote for Swahili (the fact that it's the only language there that I am intimately familiar with notwithstanding), I can confidently say that almost every word can be conjugated by adding as many different prefixes and suffixes as necessary to convey a particular meaning. Especially when it comes to verbs, the prefixes can be especially many since ...


2

No, but as contrasted with the related notion of morphological complexity, it seems at least a bit more possible to define and count it. When people say a language has a "rich" morphological system, that usually means that there are very many non-lexical morphemes. It might also mean that there is the possibility of combining affixes, but I don't think that ...


2

The Indoeuropean apophony was fully grammaticalized already at the earliest stage of the family that one caqn reconstruct. It seems like it originated as sound changes, but one does not really know when these chages occured. They must therefore have occured in a much earlier stage, and that stage could have been an earlier proto-language that also other ...


2

The Unicode Consortium has spent some time documenting some of the most common plural rules for over 200 languages: http://www.unicode.org/cldr/charts/latest/supplemental/language_plural_rules.html More information on how rules are defined: https://www.unicode.org/reports/tr35/tr35-numbers.html#Language_Plural_Rules Of course, this does not cover all ...


2

You're completely correct that Hungarian verb conjugation is quite fusional, but even there it's at most on par with IE languages. You mention Spanish, which does have a relatively neat TAM marker + personal ending system, but there are still three sets of endings and numerous classes of stem alternations. Classical IE languages can be a lot worse; Ancient ...


2

Oneida seems to attach different possessive prefixes to the head noun based on the gender of the possessor. The following forms are found in a portion of the table "Possessive prefixes" on page 152 of "Oneida Teaching Grammar", by Clifford Abbott: English a-stems c-stems o/u stems i-stems his lao- lao- lao- lao her ao- ao- ao- ao her ...


1

This raises a factual question, namely whether Hungarian is often used as the prototypical example of a heavily agglutinative, synthetic language. In my experience, Turkish is the "prototypical" example of an agglutinative language, but I suspect that the prototype depends very much on the literary genre where the concept is invoked. The primary ...


1

In affixal polysynthetic languages such as Inuktitut, Yupik and Greenlandic the criterion is pretty simple, a word is composed of exactly one lexical stem and a number of bound morphemes. Cross-linguistically, words have one (primary) stress which helps reveal boundaries between them - with the exception of clitics. In compositional polysynthetic languages ...


1

For a starter, you may look up the Wikipedia article on Grammatical Tense (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grammatical_tense). Besides past vs non-past you can also find future vs. non-future in a two-tense system, e.g., in Quechua.


1

There are some constructed languages with such a case. In Ithkuil (a constructed language with an excessively large case system) the case is called Referential case. It is also conjectured that such a case exists in Tolkien's language Quenya, and several names are suggested for it including Respective, Dedative, and Relative case.


1

Language is not monolithic: some of its subsystems can be regarded as ‘(more) analytic’ and some ‘(more) synthetic’. Welsh is in this regard not different. There cannot be a linear quantitative scale or spectrum partially because of the this; language isn't made of one piece. If one looks for a simple number (‘Welsh is 0.65 synthetic and 0.35 analytic’) xe ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible