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26 votes
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Are there languages with no first person?

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 ...
Yellow Sky's user avatar
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15 votes

Are there languages with no first person?

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 ...
curiousdannii's user avatar
  • 6,209
7 votes

Word meaning as function of the composition of its phonemes

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. ...
David Vogt's user avatar
7 votes
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Selective fluency - is it a thing?

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 ...
mango's user avatar
  • 252
7 votes

When you think one word, but write another, similar sounding word?

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 ...
Natalie Clarius's user avatar
6 votes

How would a trained linguist describe this hypothesis of Symbolic Leverage

"Be brief" is the 3rd Gricean manner maxim of conversation. See Gricean maxims.
Greg Lee's user avatar
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6 votes

Are there languages with no first person?

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", ...
tum_'s user avatar
  • 340
6 votes

How can we use the same word in multiple different ways and distinguish the senses so easily?

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 ...
Luke Sawczak's user avatar
  • 2,442
6 votes

Why is there pressure to change seemingly neutral words that some consider 'offensive' to their more 'neutral' synonyms?

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 ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
6 votes

Does grammar condition our conclusions and opinions?

Unsatisfying answer: it depends what you mean by "affect". Different versions of this theory have been known as the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, or just the Whorf hypothesis, or linguistic ...
Draconis's user avatar
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5 votes

Word meaning as function of the composition of its phonemes

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 ...
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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What's the difference between 'concept' and 'meaning'?

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, "...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

Experiment of creating an artificial language by cycles of memorizing errors

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'.
Jeremy Needle's user avatar
5 votes

How and when do French children learn to select between masculine and feminine forms of words when referring to themselves?

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 ...
Adam Bittlingmayer's user avatar
5 votes

Are there languages with no first person?

Vietnamese comes pretty close. Pronouns in conversation are almost all words for family members. The pronoun used depends on relative age. Speaking to a slightly older woman, for example, I would call ...
mango's user avatar
  • 252
4 votes

Linguistic theory of "signs"

(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 ...
Draconis's user avatar
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4 votes

Does capitalizing nouns improve readability?

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. ...
Natalie Clarius's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

What do the terms "External" and "Internal" language refer to?

You are probably referring to the I-language vs. E-language distinction, terminology promulgated by Chomsky in 1986 Knowledge of language. I-language refers to the internal psychological state of an ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
4 votes

How did Proto-Indo-Europeans view the world?

[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: ...
Colin Fine's user avatar
  • 7,464
4 votes

Why is research on grammatical gender important?

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 ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
4 votes

Is there a Grammar blindness?

There are language disorders of different kind (inherited or acquired, e.g., by a stroke or a brain injury) and there are several types of Aphasia. These language disorders come most close to the ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
4 votes

Is there research on which diphthongs are perceived by English speakers as single sounds?

The only definition of "single sound" that exists in phonology is "single segment", which is different from the phonetic view (whereby "church" has a bisegmental ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
3 votes

What language has the longest word for 'no' and 'yes'?

I just wanted to point out that "no" in Swahili is hapana, not hakuna. Both are structurally identical, differing only in the class of the subject prefix. Class 16, with pa- generally refers ...
Imralu's user avatar
  • 135
3 votes

A distance on words

What you remember is quite vague, but I think this is related to word vectors. Word vectors are internal representations of words learned by a neural network, and they live in a high dimensional ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
3 votes

What is the difference between neurolinguistics and similar fields of study?

Alex has explained well each concept, but to be easier to understand, when we talk about neurolinguistics in contrast to pyscholinguistics, we are talking about studying language processing in the ...
Ana Carolina Gomes's user avatar
3 votes

Are there different "kinds" of meaningless sentences?

Yes, there are indeed different kind of semantically meaningless or anomalous sentences, and those different types can be distinguished in psycholinguistical experiments, e.g., by using the EEG ...
Sir Cornflakes's user avatar
3 votes

Does grammar condition our conclusions and opinions?

Nothing at all absolutely and automatically forces a person to be biased, but interpreting your "make" to mean "influence", grammar can easily influence an individual, especially ...
user6726's user avatar
  • 83.1k
3 votes

How good are humans at anaphora?

The claim that "all languages are equivalent in their expressive capability" is true yet doesn't mean what you think it means. It only means that every proposition can be somehow expressed ...
user6726's user avatar
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