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How to distinguish a polysynthetic language from other languages? When is something a word?

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 ...
Natalie Clarius's user avatar
10 votes
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What are some of the most prefixing languages?

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. ...
user6726's user avatar
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7 votes
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Are the hebrew prefix letters (משה וכלב) considered a form of agglutination?

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 ...
TKR's user avatar
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6 votes

How to distinguish a polysynthetic language from other languages? When is something a word?

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 ...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes
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What factors determine the numeral coming to numbers such as -1, 0, 0.5, 100% in a language which has and only has contrast in singular and plural?

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 ...
abarnert's user avatar
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5 votes
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Grammatical case vs semantic case

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)...
Draconis's user avatar
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4 votes
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Why is Hungarian considered a mostly agglutinative language?

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 + ...
user54748's user avatar
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3 votes

Is the idea of "simultaneity" in sign language as opposed to "linearity" in spoken language really tenable?

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) ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
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3 votes

Is the idea of "simultaneity" in sign language as opposed to "linearity" in spoken language really tenable?

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 ...
Stephen F's user avatar
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3 votes
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Are there languages in which adverbs inflect?

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 ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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3 votes

Is there any language that has different morphology for individual-level and stage-level adjectives?

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 ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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2 votes

Head-marked possessive with gender agreement

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 ...
brass tacks's user avatar
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2 votes

Why is Hungarian considered a mostly agglutinative language?

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&...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes

What factors determine the numeral coming to numbers such as -1, 0, 0.5, 100% in a language which has and only has contrast in singular and plural?

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 ...
Nicolas Bouvrette's user avatar
2 votes

What are some of the most prefixing languages?

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 ...
Ingasha's user avatar
  • 51
2 votes

Metric For Morphological Richness Across Languages

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, ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes

Possible connection between PIE Ablaut and Semitic vowel alternation

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 ...
Knut Holt's user avatar
  • 105
1 vote

How would you classify a verb that denotes a close temporal relation to another verb?

I am not sure this answer responds to your question, but attempting an answer seemed better than prolonging a question-and-answer dialog through the comments. The closest parallel I can think of to ...
Vegawatcher's user avatar
1 vote

How to distinguish a polysynthetic language from other languages? When is something a word?

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-...
Atamiri's user avatar
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1 vote

What sort of morpheme is this suffix meaning ‘about'?

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 ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar

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