Unanswered Questions

1,217 questions with no upvoted or accepted answers
10
votes
0answers
128 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
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
2answers
581 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
375 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
125 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
109 views

Are there any rankings of languages' rates of change?

This question involves the commonest languages still used in 2015. Prof. John McWhorter and this answer argue different rates of language change, e.g. the language change from Old Norse to ...
8
votes
0answers
223 views

What has the study of second language acquisition brought to foreign language teachers?

Learning a second language, either by immersing yourself into the culture that speaks it or by being formally taught by a fluent speaker, is an old practice in history. But the scientific study of ...
7
votes
0answers
106 views

How to synthesize French vowels

I am trying to synthesize the French vowels [o] and [ɔ] for running a perception experiment. I have been using the Praat Vocal Toolkit and got pretty nice results with the following formant values: F1(...
7
votes
1answer
181 views

Are any of the Old Chinese reconstructions for「能」plausible descendants of Proto-Sino-Tibetan /*dɣwjəm/?

(Apologies if this is off-topic.) The Chinese character「能」was originally a picture of a kind of bear. The character was once used to represent a word meaning bear, but this word doesn't appear to ...
7
votes
0answers
91 views

How do I gloss a Semitic verb?

"Standard" glossing (following the Leipzig rules) uses a linear model of breaking down words into morphemes. In other words, it assumes you can draw lines between all the morphemes to separate them. ...
7
votes
0answers
111 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
70 views

How can you test whether a word is being used as a conjunction?

It's been a couple years since I've taken a syntax class, and I've forgotten - what tests can you use to check whether a speaker uses a word as a conjunction? I seem to remember something about ...
7
votes
0answers
120 views

Selective fluency - is it a thing?

I speak 4 languages, and I have the least exposure to my native language, since I never lived in the region where it's spoken. My only exposure to it is speaking to my parents, and some TV. I grew up ...
7
votes
0answers
128 views

When did countries other than Russia adopt new Latin-letterform-style Cyrillic?

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 ...
7
votes
0answers
75 views

How to determine the direction of conversion?

Recently I have been researching the topic of nominalizations. I learned that such structures might be created by means of morphological derivation (be it affixes, clitics, light verbs) or zero-...

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