Dominik Lukes
  • Member for 8 years, 8 months
  • Last seen more than 1 year ago
Do unschooled people use cases correctly, e.g. in Germany and in Russia?
27 votes

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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Does majority of linguists accept universal grammar?
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18 votes

The Wikipedia claim that 'the majority of linguists accept universal grammar' is highly unlikely to be true. I would posit an alternative hypothesis: The majority of linguists do not care about ...

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How old is linguistics as a discipline?
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17 votes

This is a great question. Not that it matters all that much, but it's always good to periodically revisit the directions one's discipline has taken. First, the problem is that there's linguistics and ...

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Why do European languages use a similar alphabet, but South East Asian languages do not?
14 votes

The answer to this question is fairly straightforward along the lines of historical developments and cultural influences and goes pretty much along the lines offered by jamesqf's answer. However, a ...

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Can you give some examples of counter-intuitive phenomena discovered by linguists?
14 votes

Almost everything a linguist will know about language will be counterintuitive to many native speakers. I've spent years teaching grammar to native speakers of English as well as intro to linguistics ...

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Is it possible to become fluent in any language simply by reading books in that language?
14 votes

I think you're combining three questions. 1. Can you learn to speak fluently without speaking? The answer to this is obviously NO. You need to practice what you want to do. You can learn to read ...

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Is Language infinite?
13 votes

The headline question: Is language infinite? should perhaps invite more scrutiny than it's generally given these days. It was posited by Chomsky in the context of a particular view of language: "A ...

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Why are Native American names translated?
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13 votes

The answer to the question about modern practice is 'convention'. In general awareness Native American names have the form of 'Epithet Object/Animal' such as 'Red Cloud' or 'Crazy Horse'. Therefore ...

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Is music a language?
12 votes

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 ...

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Why don't any languages have strictly one character for every single phonetic sound?
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12 votes

There seem to be several common confusions in your question: Phonetic vs. phonemic Phoneme is a collection of sounds that serve the same function. For example, English phoneme /p/ sounds like [p] ...

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Are there any words understood by speakers of any language in the world?
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12 votes

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,...

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Why can't these English sentences passivize?
12 votes

There are several problems with the question: Issue 1: The question assumes that passivization is actually a process that exists in language. It's carried over from the transformational heyday and ...

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How is it that such varied sounds (in major European Languages) came to be represented by the same letter "j"?
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12 votes

This is a question that probably has a quite straightforward answer: historical development. Various European languages adopted the Latin alphabet through different routes and mapped it differently ...

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A list of parts of speech
11 votes

The problem with this question is that parts of speech are just a construct used for the description of language - not necessarily a real thing in a language. You can see that across languages only ...

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What quantity-level of mutual intelligible words are needed for claiming dialects to be languages?
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11 votes

There are many measures of lexical similarity or linguistic distances but neither can tell you whether something is a dialect or a language outside a very constrained context. It is easy to come up ...

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Is spoken English more efficient than other languages?
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11 votes

As a translator, I can assure you that English is no more efficient than other languages. First, subtitles often miss out whole bits of dialogue and definitely leave out swathes of meaning. Second, ...

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Sapir-Whorf vs. Chomsky
10 votes

Let's start at the end. It is impossible to talk about original theories in this context. There was actually no cohesive formulation of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. That is a label assigned later to a ...

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Why is constituency needed, since dependency gets the job done more easily and economically?
10 votes

As a proponent of construction grammar, I am perhaps the wrong person to answer this. But I can see at least two non-computational advantages of a constituency parsing: It lets you directly encode ...

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What are the exact relations between Slovak and Slovene?
10 votes

Bluntly, Slovak and Slovenian have nothing in common other than being both Slavic languages. No more than Slovak or Serbian or Slovak and Ukrainian. This is a question driven by superficial similarity ...

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How come I cannot get my "oral" English to a native speaker level after 25 years of trying?
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9 votes

It is not clear why some people acquire native-like competence in the spoken aspects of a second language (pronunciation, word boundary identification, etc.). Age has been suggested as a determining ...

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Is there a term for errors by native speakers?
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9 votes

There is no universally accepted term. How you describe such a thing depends on context. For instance, in second language acquisition people differentiate between error and mistake the first being a ...

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Do animals have foreign languages?
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8 votes

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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Why aren't there any Czech dictionaries that report the gender of nouns?
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8 votes

The best learner dictionary by far is the one by Josef Fronek. It not only has the gender but also references all the declension models making it easy to find and generate any forms for both nouns and ...

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Why do many languages tend to use plural forms to impart formality or deference?
8 votes

As always, 'why' questions are a really bad idea in linguistics. You can reasonably ask these three types of questions: Historical developments within a language Areal / contact impact between ...

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Conversational English corpus for download
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8 votes

There are many spoken English corpora available. But generally, you need to ask more questions than 'plain text' before you find the right one. Length, level of annotation, format of annotation, type ...

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How is "Writer/reader-responsible language" correlated with synthetic/analytic languages?
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8 votes

As the blog post itself concludes, reader/writer responsibility is really a property of the culture, rather than language. This is right in that the idea is simply a rephrasing of Geert Hofstede's ...

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Any difference between natural and programming languages?
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8 votes

All three of your assumptions about natural languages are questionable. They describe models used by linguists very many of which have been inspired by computer-like algorithms not language itself: ...

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Does structural linguistics still have relevance today?
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8 votes

The Wikipedia entry is both right and wrong on this account. Here are some perspectives. Few linguists would call themselves structuralists, today (although some still would admit that heritage when ...

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Convert audio recording of word to IPA representation
8 votes

The other thing to keep in mind is that not only is IPA language-dependent, it's also convention dependent http://phonetic-blog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/false-alarm.html. It's really just a tool to help ...

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Do all languages have sentences?
7 votes

I think even a better question would be do any languages have sentences? Sentence is an artifact of writing and punctuation. You can see how this study found it hard to compare sentence length in ...

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