33

As @YellowSky pointed, a very large number of languages make this distinction. The Wiktionary lists don’t even scratch the surface, since most languages are not in Wiktionary, and the real number will be in the high hundreds at least, probably thousands. See the Wikipedia page on kinship terminology for an introduction. Note that out of the 6 types of ...


25

In Korean, 오른쪽 wolunccwok "right (direction)" comes from 옳- wolh- "correct" + -은 -un (Attributive) + 쪽 ccwok "direction", literally meaning "the correct direction". Another word for "right side", 바른편 palunphyen, literally means "The correct side" as well. Similarly, 왼쪽 oynccwok "left (direction)" comes from 외- oy- "crooked" + -ㄴ -n (Attributive) + 쪽 ccwok "...


19

A web search on "metaphor low pitch" yields, among others, these references: The Metaphor of "High" and "Low" in Pitch ... Greek music theorists of antiquity spoke not of "high" and "low" but of "sharpness" and "heaviness"; in Bali and Java pitches are not "high" and "low" but "small" and "large"; and among the Suyá of the Amazon basin, pitches are not "...


17

Another concrete example to extend upon these already excellent answers is the Swedish language. Here, the terms are "farbror" for a paternal uncle (literally: "father-brother") and "morbror" for a maternal uncle ("mother-brother"). This principle extends to many other family relations, however; the terms for paternal ...


15

It exists in semitic languages. "ymn" has directional right as its radical sense in the Ethiopian semitic languages but is also commonly used for good news, e.g., Yemane is a common name there, like Yaman in arabic languages. (I had always assumed the country name Yemen drew from the same root but Wikipedia claims that is just folk etymology: "One etymology ...


13

In the Western variety of the Ukrainian language, maternal uncle is вуйко (vujko) [ˈʋui̯kɔ], and paternal uncle is стрий / стрийко (stryj / stryjko) [strɪi̯] / [ˈstrɪi̯kɔ]. Also, by analogy, maternal aunt is вуйна (vujna) [ˈʋui̯na], and paternal aunt is стрийна (stryjna) [ˈstrɪi̯na]. The Standard Ukrainian which is based on Central Ukrainian dialects doesn't ...


13

No, you do not have a point, because (good) science does use words accurately and unambiguously. But it is probably true that they don't use the words that you would prefer, or assign the definitions that you would prefer. I suspect that you would not get it if I tried to teach you about phonology, because I use a number of special words and specially-...


12

Nán (南) is "south" in Chinese. Addendum: the Middle Chinese form assumed by Sagert & Baxter is nom. The reconstructions from their book are available here.


11

I'll speak for the research tradition I work in, namely Construction Grammar. In CxG you have something called constructions which are symbolic units that directly link form and meaning. A construction can the be a word, say tree, but it also can be an idiom kick the bucket, or a semifixed construction [the mother of all X] or [what is X doing Y] (what is ...


11

Edit to clarify that I used the full declaration and not only the article 1 The way to answer your question is to have a sample of the same long text translated in many languages. The only example I know is the universal declaration of human right, which has 380 reasonably complete translations hosted at http://www.unicode.org/udhr/. Then one just has to ...


11

Their presence across all known world languages constitutes a linguistic universal according to research from Allan and Burridge (1991) Refer to this article here. And to this paper, here As @Wilson interestingly points out, it's not easy to say, "There exists one", also because, where do you draw a line and say this particular saying is not a Euphemism for ...


10

Latin vir, Sanskrit vīra-, Avestan vīra-, Old Irish fer, Lithuanian výras, Gothic wair, all mean “man” and all derive from Indo-European *wīro- (or *uiH-ro).


10

I feel like this is more of a cultural question than a linguistic one. Euphemisms do not require the currently spoken language to accommodate them. Euphemisms rely on a person's understanding that A is a less extreme version of B, regardless of the language of the words that are being spoken. The only way you could have a language where a particular ...


9

See and look are Sense Verbs. They are, in fact, the two distinct English sense verbs for vision. There are three varieties of English sense verbs, following the pattern of hear, listen, sound (only sense verbs of hearing have three distinct forms; sight has two, and the others one apiece) (Non-Volitional verb) I heard the song I saw the painting I tasted ...


9

First, just to note, *kweþaną didn't completely die out: English "quoth" is archaic but still recognizable, and Icelandic kveða is still in active use. But you're absolutely right about the general trend that killed off most descendants of *kweþaną. It's now quite rare across the Germanic languages, when it used to be widespread. It's hard to say why ...


9

For your specific example the rough outline is straightforward even if the exact details are largely unrecoverable: Mycenaean palaces were ruled by a wanax (Linear B 𐀷𐀙𐀏 wa-na-ka), and local chieftains called 𐀣𐀯𐀩𐀄 qa-si-re-u (/gʷasiléus/; Classical βασιλεύς) answered to him. With the Bronze Age collapse, the palaces disappeared and the figure of the ...


9

As melissa_boiko and Yellow Sky have already mentioned, the number of languages with this distinction is likely to be in the thousands. Here are some concrete examples from the Indian subcontinent. Most languages spoken in South Asia make the distinction between MBro and FBro. Some further distinguish between FBros who are younger than one's father, and ...


8

This is what they recommend at Oxford as introductory textbooks to students starting a Masters' in Linguistics. Background and reference: Macaulay, Monica. (2006) Surviving Linguistics: A Guide for Graduate Students. Cascadilla Press. *Matthews, P. H. (2007) Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford University Press. Pinker, Steven. (2000) The ...


8

This is of course highly debated, but some linguists would answer yes, there is a small set of words/concepts common to all natural human languages. The major theory currently representing this view is the Natural Semantic Metalanguage, which posits that there are around 66 core 'semantic primes' which are both irreducible and universal. These primes are ...


8

Anna Wierzbicka wrote a chapter in her 1996 text Semantics: Primes and Universals on the semantics of colour terms. In this chapter she presents a theory where colours are understood according to their similarity to exemplars (a type of prototype theory). For example, here are two explications for the English colour terms red and yellow: X is red. = ...


8

It's hard to answer a question with a definite negative, since that leaves the possibility open for someone to come along later and say, "I know an example which disproves your position". But I think that naturally occurring human languages are all going to have euphemisms, since humans seem to like that. The only languages I know which do not have ...


8

The grammatical sense of the word "transitive" comes from the Latin transitivus, which as you imply the idea of going (itus) across (trans). This is calqued from Hellenistic Greek μεταβατικός. The most well known early use comes from the late Roman grammarian Priscian, who wrote the "Institutes of Grammar" (Institutiones Grammaticae) in the 6th century CE. ...


8

Although anecdotally the answer to the question is a confident "yes", there is a big complication: the many concepts of economic value that are bundled into the Western European concept of "money". This of course is a question for historical economics and anthropology, more than linguistics. A related question would be the question of the origins of the ...


8

I can't see the sense in reducing everything in a language to either an "e" or a "t". Maybe this is a good place to start. Type theory (more accurately: so-called simple type theory with e and t as atomic types, which is what most linguists mean when they say "type theory") doesn't reduce everything to either e or t: It reduces ...


8

A. Mary inherited vintage jewelry from her grandmother. B. Mary has an antique diamond ring. Neither proposition entails the other. Both are consistent with the same set of facts, but each one contains information that is not logically deducible from the other. (A) says nothing, for instance, about what kind of jewelry was inherited, and (B) says nothing ...


8

Southern Sami (Finno-Ugric) has several words for distinguishing maternal and paternal uncles by relative age and blood relation: jyöne, maternal uncle jiekie, paternal uncle, but only when he's older than your father. tjietsie, paternal uncle when he's younger. maake, the man married to your father's sister (any age) or your your mother's older sister. ...


7

The number of the symbols a written language uses is inversely proportional to the length of the text in that language, the more symbols a language has, the shorter texts are. This is true for any notation system, not only human languages. For example, our decimal numeral system uses 10 different symbols (0 to 9), and the binary numeral system uses 5 times ...


7

I really depends on what you are after. Here is a list of my favorite text books, together with some short annotations. Heim & Kratzer 1998: one of the best intro to semantics if you are interested in the interface between syntax and semantics and working a generative grammar background for syntax. Intentionally a bit light on the logical background, ...


7

When the frequency is expressed in Hertz the number is actually lower for lower pitch sounds. Higher pitched tones have a higher number. For example middle C is 261Hz and bass C is 130Hz. Bass C is lower than middle C because the number of oscillations per second (Hertz) is lower than middle C. This may not speak to the history of the use of "low" and "...


7

Turkish language uses "Thick" for low frequency pitches and "Thin" for high frequency pitches. Turkish reserves "low" and "high" for amplitude of the sound instead. Like: The sound of the thunder was too thick yet too high (in proper English, that sentence actually says the sound was low in frequency but its amplitude was too high).


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