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40

From the perspective of linguistics, the question is meaningless though well-intentioned. "Word" is not a well-defined technical concept in linguistics (or, some people may have concocted a definition of "word" for their purposes, but there isn't even a widely-believed definition). The best definition is "a maximal string of letters ...


33

First, though you probably already know this, not all languages have different forms for singular and plural nouns. Some don't mark number at all, while others have more fine-grained distinctions, using different forms for "one thing" versus "two things" versus "more than two things", or "a small number" versus "a large number". Many languages also mark ...


15

In German, noun phrases that are used to describe a separate entity other than their individual nouns are written without spaces. Thus, the example of Kraftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung may indeed be considered as a "bunch of words" in the sense you have described. In Turkish however, this is not true. The example in Turkish you have provided ...


12

These two words are actually cognate with each other; they show the differing reflexes in Greek of labiovelar consonants. In the noun ζωή zōē and the corresponding adjective ζωός zōos, the initial ζ developed from a cluster with the semivowel y; the noun βίος bios shows the normal development of PIE *gʷ before the full vowel /i/. The Online Etymology ...


12

This is not a question which can be answered with a yes/no answer. Music is like a natural language in some respects and very much unlike one in others. Here are some suggested similarities and dissimilarities. Music is like (a) language in that: It can be described through a system of rules that operate on a limited vocabulary It combines small building ...


12

No. Plain and simple. But let's break down your question. There are several aspects to the whole idea of 'word in a language' that make the question a lot more difficult to formulate properly. In fact, I'd say that there's two quite distinct questions in here that would require quite different disciplinary approaches. Question 1. Is there a word that (...


12

You could say that English do is more "grammaticalized" than German tun, and German werden is more grammaticalized than English become. Section II of "The Grammaticalization of Aspectual Auxiliary Verbs in Korean", by Hae-Yun Lee reviews the concept of grammaticalization and gives some examples of what is meant by the term.


11

I'm afraid I'm going to have to frame-challenge this one. For example, it seems intuitive that a spoken language cannot hold too many words without having a way to write them down (imagine having to memorize 100000 words without the possibility of saving them for later reference). Perhaps surprisingly, this does not seem to be the case! Writing systems ...


11

There is no way to know without specific information from the source. In some traditions it means "toneless, unstressed". In some traditions, a specific tone is left out – it could be H, L, or Mid. It could mean "the same as what comes before" (the Christaller system, used in some African languages).


11

In corpus lingustics we deal with corpora containing emojis, e.g., twitter corpora or other corpora of computer mediated communication, and thus it is a legitimate question how to treat them. Stand-alone emojis are treated as words (or wordforms) and they are even assigned a special part of speech named "Symbol" in Universal Dependencies (for an ...


10

The important feature is that in a polysynthetic language, a single word may contain more than one lexical root. This means that e.g., to choose the most frequent example, a complex verb may not only contain the verbal root, but also an incorporated noun, which (as opposed to compounding) remains referentially autonomous (In compounds, transparency often ...


9

Tragically, the letter "#" has two meanings. In linguistics, it is used to refer to a word boundary. More generally (i.e. not in the special usage of linguists), it (the number sign) stands for "number". The consequence of shorthand is obscurity. So, the entire sentence should probably read, "the number of consonants is always larger than the number of ...


8

For the specific pronouns that you mention, the explanation is that those languages are Indo-European and have a common historical origin (*me, *tu). This happens to extend to Uralic, and the branches of what might be Altaic (if there is such a family). So there are conjectures that these language groups may also be historically related. This article gives ...


8

There is no derivation in the example you gave. A derivation, in Linguistics, is when a morpheme is added to another morpheme to produce a new meaning. The case you are talking about can be analysed as a case of polysemy. The morphemes Serpent and Snake are polysemic and share synonym semes at the same time. This polysemy is due in your case to a semantic ...


6

It's actually next to impossible to get that information, unless you're doing in-depth personal investigation of the language. You might expect there to be a word for "tree" in every language, unless the language is spoken only in a place that has no trees. Even when there are trees, the boundaries between categories are not universal, and there may not be a ...


6

Yard, bard, computer, paradise are all considered to be English words. You can find each of them listed in an English dictionary, non-italicized, with no usage note saying they are words in another language. The phrasing "inherited word from a Celtic substrate" is weird. "Bard" would just be called a borrowed word, not an inherited word. (...


6

It is worth mentioning the fact that there seems to be some correlation between the numbers which languages may mark, and the numbers which human brains can treat differently. We can subitise small numbers, 1 to approx. 5, and so far as we've observed, languages are completely unable to mark for any number outside this range. This suggests that the ...


5

As you recognize, you have two distinct questions, one about word status and one about polysynthesis. The "one word or two" question is notoriously difficult to answer, and has no general solution (so people apply ad hoc criteria in deciding for a given language). The polysynthesis question depends on distinguishing word sequences from morphologically ...


5

This is a surname which is widespread in Eastern Europe, mainly in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. This word comes from Ukrainian and it is an adjective which means "barefoot, without shoes". In Ukrainian it is spelled Босий ['bɔsɪj], in Russian the surname is spelled Босый ['bɔsɨj] (the Russian word for "barefoot" is босой [bə'sɔj]), and in Belarusian it is ...


5

Many Romance languages have this distinction. In addition to French foyer noted by @Philippe, there are the Romance cognates Spanish hogar, Galician fogar, with the meaning of "home", from Vulgar Latin focarium, ultimately derived from the Latin focus "hearth". These are distinct from casa "house" (< L.) Notably, Portuguese has lar for "home", derived ...


5

First of all, words (and therefore word forms) are not made of graphemes. They're made of phonemes; either the kind of phoneme spoken as sound (as in English) or the kind of phoneme gestured with the hands (as in American sign language). No human infant learns to speak with graphemes; we learn either with sounds, or with gestures. So human languages are ...


5

Snake and serpent mean exactly the same thing. Is that really true? Of course they both denote the same class of animals, but that doesn't mean they mean exactly the same thing. They have slightly different connotations, as well as different word usage patterns. Let's start with the latter, because it's simpler. First, there's a very slight difference in ...


5

This was an important consideration in the design of Lojban, so while I haven't gone through the process of verifying it myself, I'm fairly confident that it is true for most of the language. (Since just one mistake would make it false overall, it's hard to be certain that it's true for all parts of the language: there are a few difficult parts.) It's not ...


5

Here is Quran word for word – every word is written separately, translated, explained grammatically, and recited audio by a professional reciter. If you click a word, you are redirected to a more detailed explanation of the word.


4

Other terms for assertive and non-assertive in this context are realis and irrealis as well as positive and negative polarity. When using some, somebody etc. the existence of the entity in question is asserted. There is somebody hiding behind the box means that the speaker assumes that there is a person hiding there, although they are not aware who it is. ...


4

Thank you for digging up the article. I am afraid I find it really feeble. “Zipf’s law” (named after the American Nazi Zipf) is an application to word frequency of a very common statistical relationship known in mathematics as the power law. It had been observed, long before Zipf, by the economist Pareto with regard to income distribution, and by the ...


4

There are several terms in use that are related to what you've asked, but there's some overlap between them. Multiword Unit (MWU) or Multiword Expression (MWE). I believe this term fits what you are looking for most closely - it indicates 2 or more words that are treated as one in some way. The meaning of the MWU is not strictly determinate based on the ...


4

Either you need to lump things together, or you need to further split things up, or you need to give a reason to point to just these 4 distinctions. Making distinctions at all is arbitrary if it doesn't serve some function. For example, are you talking broadly about the entire history of a language, or are you talking about the status of words right now, in ...


4

In French, the terms "foyer" and "chez soi" express the concept of home with a strong nuance of "one's family' for the first (foyer is originally the fireplace, and by extension the hearth), while the latter is "one's own place" and therefore the place where one feels they belong. In some contexts, the word demeure also shares some of the nuances of the ...


4

In Russian, both house and home are the same, дом [dom], but in Ukrainian (which is closely related to Russian) the same word, дім [dʲim] (gen. sg. дому ['dɔmu]) is usually used to mean home, while house is called by different other words, like хата ['xata], будинок [bu'dɪnɔk], кам’яниця ['kamjanɪtsʲa] (rare), etc. I wrote "usually", because дім [dʲim] is ...


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