Unanswered Questions

1,398 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
14
votes
6answers
613 views

Have we observed classes changing from open to closed, or vice versa?

Classes of words in languages tend to be either "open" (accepting new members readily) or "closed" (rejecting new members). This distinction is fairly easy to see: compare how readily English accepted ...
13
votes
0answers
203 views

When did other slavic nations adopt the Latin-inspired look of printed Cyrillic pioneered in Russia?

Russian Emperor Peter I famously reformed the Cyrillic script in Russia, where, among other changes, he redesigned the letterforms to more closely resemble the look of the modern Latin script. Here ...
13
votes
0answers
209 views

What are the different schools of PIE reconstruction?

I have read some works on Proto-Indo-European which mention different schools that advocate for different paradigms of reconstruction, such as the Leiden and the Erlangen schools. I'd like to know if ...
11
votes
0answers
227 views

Is linguistic change pushed by humor?

Through "meme culture," young people are inventing all sorts of new linguistic constructions purely because they think they sound funny. The interesting thing is that these jokes don't end at a ...
11
votes
0answers
2k views

Do “only if…” and “if… only then…” have the same LF representation?

I'm currently writing a term paper where I am comparing if... then..., only if..., and if... only then... statements. I've noticed that only if p q and if p, only then q have the same truth ...
10
votes
0answers
227 views

Are nouns ever a closed class?

For pretty much any grammatical category, I can think of a language in which it's a closed class. Japanese has closed classes of verbs and (verb-like) adjectives, for example, while Swahili has a ...
10
votes
2answers
678 views

Do dialects without the meet-meat merger neutralize the distinction in some contexts?

For many dialects of English (including my own) multiple historical lexical sets are merged into one "FLEECE" set (this diaphoneme can be represented with IPA /iː/). I've read about the basics of the ...
8
votes
1answer
525 views

Which languages have zero markers of comparative degree that coexist with non-zero comparative markers?

The zero comparative marker and the non-zero one should be more or less interchangeable. (The etymology of the non-zero marker doesn't matter.) (A message asking to list such languages was originally ...
7
votes
0answers
46 views

Was the “a” glyph ever used for ajV in Hittite?

As fdb mentioned in a comment: The sequence a-a is a scribal convention for ajV [in Akkadian]. Some Assyriologists treat it as a single sign with the “Lautwert” aju, aji, aja In Hittite, ...
7
votes
0answers
84 views

Northumbrian pronunciation of ge-/gi- prefix and -g suffix

I'm working on a musical setting of Cædmon's Hymn, and I'd like to have the primary setting be in the Northumbrian dialect of its earliest written example (the 737 "Moore" Bede manuscript). I'm ...
7
votes
0answers
153 views

Etymology (?) of the “shush” gesture

I'm curious about the origin of and explanation for the place-index-finger-to-closed-lips gesture. All I've found so far is this unattributed assertion that it dates at least to the era of Classical ...
7
votes
1answer
196 views

Origin of -s verbs in Norwegian and Swedish

(Disclaimer: I am not a linguist.) I am learning Norwegian now, and they have some verb form when you attach -s to the end. It is often called passive voice (used in Present tense and in infinitive ...
7
votes
1answer
267 views

What are known PIE stock phrases?

In the wikipedia page for Proto-Indo-European, it said that Proto-Indo-Europeans had "oral heroic poetry or song lyrics that used stock phrases such as imperishable fame and wine-dark sea". What are ...
7
votes
0answers
92 views

Historical pronunciation of Hindi यह and वह

The Hindi 3rd person singular proximal and distal pronouns यह and वह are commonly pronounced [jeː] and [ʋoː], in contrast to the [hyper-correct?] pronunciations [jəɦ(ə)] and [ʋəɦ(ə)] one might expect ...
7
votes
0answers
147 views

Does anyone know if there are plans for a 'successor' to Huddleston and Pullum (CamGEL or CGEL)?

Huddleston and Pullum's The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CamGEL or CGEL) is widely considered a 'successor' to a previous 'great English grammar': Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech, and Svartvik's ...

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