20

In languages that have no category of person, like Manju or Malay, there are dozens of politeness-specific words meaning "I" and "you", most of them being actually nouns. In such languages the same word can mean both "I" and "you" depending on who says it to whom, e.g. in Manju, when you talk to the Emperor, the word you must use for "you" is han (noun, ...


13

I is one of the Semantic Primes of the Natural Semantic Metalanguage. Though NSM researchers have not considered every language in existence, they have studied languages from every large family (and if a language truly did not have this prime it would be one of the more obvious ones,) so I'd consider this decent evidence that this is something every language ...


10

Let's start at the end. It is impossible to talk about original theories in this context. There was actually no cohesive formulation of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. That is a label assigned later to a set of assumptions about language relativity formulated by Whorf who was inspired by his teacher Sapir. Neither can you talk about Chomsky's original theory ...


8

This phenomenon has been studied a lot over the years. People do not refer to it as animal foreign languages but sometimes the word dialect is used. You will find plenty of descriptions in books on animal communication. Just be careful in your search because a lot of books with this title are about 'speaking' to animals. Most intros to linguistics also have ...


7

One of my MA instructors, Alex Ho-Cheung Leung, has researched this question with regard to phonology. He says that speakers of 'heritage languages' (e.g. spoken within the family but in the wider enviornment of a different language) may develop less robust phonology because they only hear a limited number of variants of each sound. That makes them less ...


6

I can think of two main factors which would motivate such a decision. Social Prestige A diglossia is any situation where two dialects (or languages) exist along side each other in a single region/community. The most obvious example of this would be the co-occurrence in many parts of China of a local Chinese dialect (Cantonese, Hakka, Hokkien, etc.) with ...


6

There has definitely been a tremendous amount of study on different whale species and their songs. A Science Daily article from 2011 outlines the findings of some researchers regarding regional "codas". Caribbean and Pacific whales have different repertoires of codas, like a regional dialect, but the "Five Regular" call -- a pattern of five evenly spaced ...


6

"Be brief" is the 3rd Gricean manner maxim of conversation. See Gricean maxims.


6

The simplest answer is that context is stronger and contains more clues than you think. Have you seen IBM's Watson play Jeopardy? Check out, for example, this video around 45 seconds in. The prompt is this: Kathleen Kenyon's excavation of this city mentioned in Joshua showed the walls had been repaired 17 times Watson correctly answers "Jericho", but ...


6

This is probably not the kind of answer you are looking for, but I guess the following two points would have to be considered as strong indications that meaning is not computed from phonology. Polysemy (wood: the stuff a tree is made of as well as a collection of trees growing together) and homophony (pear, pair). This implies g is not a function. Also I ...


6

The reason is not about etymology, it is about individual reactions to words. Plainly put, a word is offensive if, when used, a person finds it offensive. If a particular demographic selection of a society finds a word offensive, then you know that if you use that word, you are giving offense. So you adjust your behavior, or don't adjust, depending on how ...


5

1) It is possible to lose proficiency in any language if not used. This may take many forms from total loss to reduced vocabulary or just decreased fluency. 2) & 5) There's no hard limit to the number of languages one can acquire. For example, many historians will learn 4 or 5 languages at quite high level to be able to read sources. For conversation, ...


5

A term I know from psycholinguistics is "phonologically based lexical selection error". That means, when looking up the words you need in your mental lexicon, you already have the almost appropriate phonetic form in mind, but then accidently choose a word instead that is phonetically very similar (i.e. differing in one sound, as in your example), but ...


5

Learning the correct gender (and number) for referring to oneself is a very minute and relatively easy part of learning genders or noun classes (and number) generally. As such, it follows the same process, for French, English and every other language with genders or noun classes. Why easy? Generally the first and second person are among the nouns ...


5

This sounds like one of the series of papers by Kirby and/or Smith; e.g., Smith, Kirby, Brighton 2003. They just call it 'iterated learning'.


5

I've found the question interesting and re-read a couple of books today searching for the answer. The books are full of similar examples - languages with only 2 tenses, languages "with no grammar", etc. There were NO mentioning of a language without first person. In fact, the closest fact (to the topic) that I've found there was about the Korean, where ...


5

It depends on how you define "concept" and "meaning". Which is to say, neither term is uncontroversially and unambiguously defined, even limiting the discussion to technical linguistic usage. (Or, "especially if you limit the inquiry to technical linguistic usage"). The most difficult part is figuring out what a "concept" is. We clearly have to avoid the ...


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 ...


4

The key point is the definition of meaning. This definition is probably not limited to linguistic. In fact many applications learn what we could call the meaning of things in completely different ways and for completely different objectives. In purely linguistic approaches the followings come to my mind: Clique detection in synonymy graph. Defining a word ...


4

You have actually asked a few related but different questions here. Does learning ancestral languages enrich a subsequent language? Learning any language may enrich your native language(s): By learning the grammar rules of another language you may become more aware of grammar in your native language(s) by contrast Related languages may reintroduce you ...


4

I haven't read any empirical studies myself, but Wikipedia refers to three resources that seem to support this claim, so you might want to consult those studies if you are interested in the details. From a theoretical point of view, I find it not implausibel that capitalisation, as long as it happens in a systematic way, improves readability in introducing ...


4

(First, an apology: I don't speak Spanish, and ran your question through Google Translate to understand it. So I may be misinterpreting things.) If I understand right, what you're asking is: "is there any neurological evidence to support Saussure's theory of the signifier and the signified?" In other words, is there neurological support for the idea that we ...


4

Interestingly, it is so self-evident that the arbitrariness claim is true that nobody has experimentally verified the claim. But it would not be hard to do, if you have access to a captive subject pool. There are many procedures that could be followed, but the basic idea is to take recordings of actual words from various languages, present them (one at a ...


4

[This is only a bit of an answer, so I just mentioned it in a comment] but Draconis suggested I post it as an answer] From David W Anthony, The Horse, the Wheel, and Language, beginning of Chapter 8: At the beginning of time there were two brothers, twins, one named Man (*Manu, in Proto-Indo-European) and the other Twin (*Yemo). They traveled through ...


4

There are a few million answers (32, if I'm not mistaken), here is one. Bantu languages have a complex system of grammatical gender where nouns have some gender, and things that agree with nouns agree in gender (we call them "classes"). The marker that you get depends on a lexical property of the noun, but also on whether it is singular or plural. ...


3

Yep, these are called circumlocutions. Someone who is frequently unable to remember the right words could be diagnosed with anomic aphasia.


3

I think it would not help at all, and could potentially harm your understanding of your primary language. This is because languages are always changing. If you tried to improve your primary language vocabulary through learning one of those ancestral languages you would very frequently be tricked by these phenomena: false friends: words that look similar ...


3

Bird dialects within a species were reported in a Scientific American article I recall from a few years ago. Perhaps also dolphin dialects have been investigated. Google will probably get you some references.


3

L2 acquisition is studied, and there are many theories which attempt to explain how the L2 is acquired. If this question is for a class you would have to consider what the material is saying to properly answer the question. Otherwise, the basic way that L2 acquisition differs from L1 acquisition is that L2 acquisition is a generally conscious process (using ...


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