8 votes
Accepted

What is the “Chomsky hierarchy”?

In the 50's, Chomsky set out to devise a mathematical theory of language, which resulted in classifying kinds of production rules. For example, if all rules in a grammar are of the form A → a A, or A →...
user6726's user avatar
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5 votes

Phonemes vs. Distinctive Feature Theories

The trick lies in the disconnect between phones and phonemes. Phones have some physical reality—we can measure acoustic properties of the sound, or articulatory properties of the vocal tract, and ...
Draconis's user avatar
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4 votes

What is the “Chomsky hierarchy”?

I’m still learning, but I can give it a stab. These ideas probably originate from Chomsky’s work in the late 1950’s to mid 1960’s. I do not know how it precipitated, but it appears Chomsky’s teacher ...
Julius Hamilton's user avatar
4 votes

What is "o'clock" in English?

Alas, it is an adverb. Your objection to garbage-categoriality is noted, but that problem stems from the ancient bad habit of thinking of a word of some part of speech being defined as modifying ...
user6726's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

Phonemes vs. Distinctive Feature Theories

I have come to believe that the one most important thing to understand about linguistic theories is that our explanations are only ever models—models that can be more or less helpful for a given ...
John Frazer's user avatar
3 votes

What are the target and source domain of this metaphor

TARGET DOMAIN = arrows SOURCE DOMAIN = a (terminating) showering liquid arrows are a showering liquid: "the shower of arrows (was over)" - the past participle and termination here are in ...
DJ Harrington's user avatar
3 votes
Accepted

What contemporary theories attempt to explain why languages have phonotactic restrictions instead of permitting any phonemic combinations?

Step 1 is to say what theories there are of the nature of so-called phonotactic constraints. Phase 1 was Morpheme Structure Rules, which held that lexical items could be partially specified for ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes

What does it mean to say that a component of grammar is "interpretive"?

The distinction is made in mainstream generative grammar, whereby only syntax "generates" and everything else "interprets". There are alternative theories, most notably Generative ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes

What is the reason for learning vocabulary without understanding the concept behind it

You cannot learn what something "actually" means, until you know what "it" is – the word. I take it that your interlocutors have some higher standard of subject matter knowledge in ...
user6726's user avatar
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2 votes
Accepted

Looking for a more general model/theory of pronunciation similar to the IPA chart for vowel sound

It is unclear what you what a more general model of (it's not clear to me whether you understand what the IPA is a model of, and what it would mean to make it more general). My best bet is that you ...
user6726's user avatar
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1 vote

Are there any languages that either effectively don't have verbs or that somehow get around using a "standard" verb system?

There are no natlangs I'm aware of that have been conclusively shown to entirely lack a lexical distinction between nouns and verbs although some come close (e.g. Salishan languages). However, it is ...
Imralu's user avatar
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