62 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

The World Atlas of Language Structures Online Chapter 49 lists 84 languages with at least 6 distinct cases (24 of them with at least 10 cases). A number of them are spoken in remote areas of Australia ...
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  • 1,144
42 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

Though as some other posters have noted, some Russians may use dialect case forms, anyone who is out of diapers uses the full case system. Case is a core concept of the language. The very idea that ...
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  • 599
41 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

The question has been well answered for specifics. I'd only want to add that a little thought would have answered it in general: most of language learning happens before a learner ever goes to school, ...
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27 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

Morphological complexity as such as is not related to the level of schooling. Some of the most morphologically complex languages are spoken by people without any education. So, all Russian and German ...
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25 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

All people use cases in Russian. Uneducated people may make some typical mistakes however, so use cases and other things wrongly, but the number of such possible characteristic mistakes is limited. ...
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22 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

I live in Poland, and my first language is Polish, a slavic language somewhat related to Russian, with a quite complicated case system. From my experience, I can confirm what others have written: ...
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21 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

People who natively speak a language that has grammatical cases do generally use them commonly and consistently. Like all language features, case systems do also evolve, and it's quite common for ...
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19 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

Cases are properly used by pre-school children Any kid who can speak the language can use the cases properly. There may be edge cases where "the prescribed way to say this is X, don't use Y" - which ...
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  • 424
19 votes

At what point does a language become its descendant?

This is a difficult question. Greek is perceived as one language despite the fact that Classical Greek is no longer intelligible for a native speaker of Modern Greek without exposure to the classical ...
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17 votes

How does ghetto talk work in tonal languages?

Yes, your assumption on a correlation between pitch variance and vocabulary size is wrong. The use of pitch you speak of is called "prosody" in linguistics; different speaking groups in society may ...
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15 votes
Accepted

How does ghetto talk work in tonal languages?

Lexical tones and prosody peacefully co-exist in these languages. The speakers intuitively use only those pitch contours that do not overlap with the lexical tones. Even more, sometimes an exaggerated ...
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  • 8,501
14 votes

Do any languages mark social distinctions other than gender and status?

One interesting marker of social distinctions is an avoidance register, a special way of speaking to certain family members. You might also hear this called mother-in-law language or hlonipha/...
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  • 50.9k
13 votes

Why did England not maintain French as a spoken language?

The Norman conquest was hardly a case of 'French' colonization. France barely existed at the time. The Normans were fervently not French in their self-identity and can't even really be said to have ...
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  • 139
11 votes
Accepted

Are there languages with no euphemisms?

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 ...
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  • 1,225
11 votes

Do any languages mark social distinctions other than gender and status?

Niger-Congo languages tend to have a system of noun classes, somewhat similar to gender in Indo-European languages (in terms of adjectives having to agree with nouns, for instance), but consisting of ...
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  • 1,696
10 votes

Is this natural: gender concord of direct objects with the past participle in French?

It is normal that you find this rule1 "unnatural". It is entirely artificial and has no logic. It is considered artificial by most grammarians of the French language nowadays (including ...
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  • 392
10 votes

Why did the pronunciation of the rhotic phoneme /r/ change after the 2ndWW in public speech?

The short answer to your question for both English and German is early twentieth century stage pronunciation, an artificial, overarticulated accent designed to project to the back rows of a theater ...
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10 votes

Are there languages with no euphemisms?

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 ...
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  • 241
9 votes

Rejecting writing down a language for various reasons

You may have heard this about Turoyo, though the situation is slightly different from what you describe. Turoyo is a Neo-Aramaic language, mostly spoken by Syriac-Orthodox Christians. In the 1970s, ...
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  • 3,078
9 votes
Accepted

Is there a tendency to name money after other things?

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". ...
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  • 5,503
9 votes

Do any languages mark social distinctions other than gender and status?

Analogous to the word "maestro" in Western classical music to refer to conductors, Hindustani Classical music has "ustad" and "pandit" to address virtuoso performers. While either of them can be ...
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  • 3,487
9 votes

Do any languages mark social distinctions other than gender and status?

English "honorifics" can denote marital status (for women only) - Mrs. vs Miss. (The newer Ms. marks the addressee as a woman without specifying marital status. All men are Mr. regardless of marital ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Do animals have foreign languages?

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 ...
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8 votes

Are there languages with no euphemisms?

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 ...
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  • 4,348
7 votes
Accepted

Plural form as respect form - based on what?

Wikipedia has a good summary of the T-V distinction & the various strategies used across different languages. The singular-plural distinction is just one strategy, and not the most common one. ...
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  • 6,754
7 votes

Charles Hockett - 'F' article?

Here's the citation: Hockett, C. F. (1985). Distinguished lecture: F. American Anthropologist, 87(2), 263-281. The link is here, but it's also behind a paywall. Google Scholar profiles, personal ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Difference between dialect levelling and pidgin formation?

In the process of dialect levelling, the grammatical system of the dialects (tense, nominal case systems, other complex features) usually stays intact. The dialects undergoing dialect levelling are ...
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6 votes

Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?

German (it seems quite analytic so not too dependent on case for expressing meaning? This is true only to a certain extent: it is quite frequently possible to choose between alternative constructions ...
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6 votes

why did the Franco-Provençal language decline in Switzerland?

The marginalisation of Franco-Provençal in favour of Standard French predates the modern French state. Franco-Provençal was coextensive with the Duchy of Savoy, and the Duchy adopted Standard French ...
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6 votes

Do animals have foreign languages?

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"...
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