13 votes

Is the study of proper names really a branch of linguistics?

Proper names are nouns, albeit with specific characteristics, so they play the roles other nouns play in syntax (subject, object, etc). They also partake in morphology; if a language has genders, it ...
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9 votes

Use of the definite article in "the Ukraine"

This question has been discussed in various fora more than it probably even deserved, may the gods of linguistics forgive me for contributing to that. Quite simply the Anglophone world had no direct ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Pronunciation of Fermat in Gascon/Occitan

Fermat was fluent in multiple languages, including French and Occitan. Though he was born and raised in Beaumont-de-Lomagne (Occitania), his paternal family was originally from Catalonia: In the ...
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  • 2,944
6 votes
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On the etymology of Balearic Catalan personal articles "en/na"

The 1999 Routledge grammar Catalan: A Comprehensive Grammar describes four variations in in Catalan with respect to the personal article: i) En, Na, N' ii) en, na, n' iii) en, la, l' ...
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  • 5,503
6 votes

How do languages distinguish proper nouns from common nouns?

Bantu languages typically treat names distinctly from common nouns. In Logoori and Kerewe, nouns have an initial vowel which is part of class agreement (omitted in certain contexts): names do not ...
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  • 66.5k
5 votes
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connection between Castor (one of the Διόσκουροι) and the animal (beaver)?

The currently favoured view is that (late) Sanskrit kastūrī- is a loan from Greek, not the other way around. There is no consensus about the origin of κάστωρ “beaver” or its relationship with the name ...
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  • 22.6k
5 votes

Is the study of proper names really a branch of linguistics?

Onomastics¹ has a big overlap with linguistics, specially with historical linguistics (derivation and meaning of names, sound shifts, etc.). Some valuable historical linguistic information is only ...
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5 votes
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Why does the name for Germany vary so much between languages?

The primary reason is because there were many Germanic tribes with which the other nations came into contact with directly. This may actually be because of the position in Central Europe - i.e. the ...
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  • 2,273
4 votes

How do languages distinguish proper nouns from common nouns?

Korean lacks articles, or any grammatical/orthographic feature to distinguish proper nouns (e.g., capital letters). On the other hand, most Korean names do not coincide with common words, so there's ...
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  • 1,080
4 votes

In the context of proper nouns, are there any examples in French where they are used as appellatives?

Yes, it's possible in French too. Il y a trois Caroline dans ma classe. In French, proper nouns never take a plural mark. The noun Caroline in that sentence is plural, but it is invariable. (This ...
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4 votes
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Why is "h" of "-ham" dropped in English place names?

It is simply a reduction of the common, unstressed element: the vowel is centralised, and the initial /h/ is lost. (Note that there are few English words with /h/ after a consonant, and apart from ...
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  • 6,279
4 votes

Sources for etymologies of Ancient Greek proper names and placenames?

Pape–Benseler's 1911 dictionary of proper names is old, and its etymologies maybe disproportionately rely on the etymological guesses of Byzantine lexicographers; but it is comprehensive, and always a ...
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3 votes
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Sources for etymologies of Ancient Greek proper names and placenames?

Babiniotis "Ετυμολογικό Λεξικό τής Νέας Ελληνικής Γλώσσας" is definetely a good source for personal and place names. The title refers to the modern Greek language, but includes etymologies on ...
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  • 2,544
3 votes

Is the study of proper names really a branch of linguistics?

Proper names are created in many languages, often by taking an interpretable phrase and using it (e.g. the Shona names Chipo "gift", Farai "be happy (pl)!"), the name of the Tanzanian author ...
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  • 66.5k
3 votes

How do languages distinguish proper nouns from common nouns?

Spanish has what is known as the a personal, or "personal a". When a person is the direct object of most verbs, it takes an 'a' preposition (which normally translates as 'to' in English). This is a ...
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3 votes

Use of the definite article in "the Ukraine"

Apart from use in "regions" (the Sahara, the Middle East, the South...), definite articles are often used with certain countries: Ukraine, Bahamas, Netherlands, Philippines, Congo, Comoros, Maldives, ...
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  • 66.5k
3 votes

Do people know more words or proper nouns?

Words, definitely. A 2016 study suggests that your average 20-year-old knows over 42,000 lemmata ("basic" words, like run, as opposed to running and runs). Multiply that by three if you want to ...
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  • 50.9k
3 votes

Languages with overt determiners AND pronouns/proper nouns

Lots of languages precede proper names with a definite article. The phenomenon is called the 'preproprial definite article'. You can find an article with a quick survey of languages and some ...
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2 votes
Accepted

Do more languages treat "sun" and "moon" as proper or common nouns?

Like the majority of the Slavic languages, Russian has no articles. In Russian, Луна (Luna) is ‘Moon’. It's a proper noun when you talk about it astronomically, like the Apollo missions to the Moon, ...
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  • 15.4k
1 vote

Are there any comparative studies on the distribution and case-marking of proper nouns across languages?

A distinction between common and proper nouns is a semantic one, not grammatical. There is nothing special in a morphology of proper nouns, as any common noun can become a proper noun. In fact most ...
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  • 189
1 vote
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Do all languages use Proper Nouns?

I think it would be possible, if cumbersome, for a hypothetical language to avoid proper nouns. Writing the aliens' dialogue in a book might not be fun, but it might work for an occasional detail. ...
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  • 2,208
1 vote

Do all languages use Proper Nouns?

Welcome to Linguistics SE. The answer to your question would be yes ( is what I think ), since all cultures/languages have names and all names are proper nouns. Now, that is just one case, but it ...
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  • 1,225
1 vote

Use of the definite article in "the Ukraine"

In this special case, English usage might be influenced by German usage. For the German language, there are the following rules By default, countries are neuter singular and without definite article ...
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1 vote

Why does the name for Germany vary so much between languages?

We can build a model for this if we consider many words or country names specifically. The respective names for certain concepts vary little, they spread very fast or through some bottleneck. ...
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1 vote

connection between Castor (one of the Διόσκουροι) and the animal (beaver)?

I am simply quoting etymonline.com which has the following under "castor": "It has been assumed that the hero's name was given to the animal because he was a noted healer and the odorous reddish-...
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  • 119
1 vote

Why does this pronomial not refer?

A case where a pronoun cannot be substituted by any definite description that may be recovered from the context is discussed by Walter Edelberg in his paper ‘A New Puzzle about Intentional Identity’ (...
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