Questions relating to the scientific study of language.

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4
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0answers
209 views

What's the use of Grammar? [migrated]

There's a question that bothered me for a long time when I am learning another language. English is not my first language, so when I was being taught, they told me all these grammars like like the ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

Grammatical term for words like “yesterday”, “today”, “tomorrow”

We class words like "he", "she" and "they" as pronouns. Is there a category of words that "yesterday", "today" and "tomorrow" fall into?
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2answers
47 views

What is it called when a language sounds strange to a speaker of another language?

Is there a linguistic term for, for example, certain Russian words sounding strange to the ears of a native English speaker? Thanks
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2answers
54 views

A question on anaphoric and cataphoric references

Is it 'this' or 'that' that conveys an anaphoric reference? I want to refer back to "that I wrote critical and analytical essays". It is true that I wrote critical and analytical essays on a ...
0
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4answers
94 views

Is Noam Chomsky correct when he says the rules of a language are made up? [closed]

In this video, Chomsky says that the rules of a language are pretty much artificial. How correct is he in regard to English? If what he says is correct, doesn't that undermine nearly every 'correct' ...
0
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1answer
44 views

Morphological analysis of 'unlawfulness'

How would you give the internal structure of the word 'unlawfulness'? My attempt: un - law - ful - ness prefix - noun - suffix - suffix Internal structure: law + ful > Adjective un + law + ful > ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

Why did “thou” become obsolete?

In the Elizabethan era, "thou" was universally used as well as "you". "Thou" represents intimacy. In French, "tu" is still used. The same for German "du". I wonder why "thou" became obsolete.
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0answers
37 views

What are the terms for same meaning phrases that only differ in having a preposition?

I don't know sentence structure terminology much, however, provided with these two sample phrases, that mean the same thing. Refrigeration of Food Food Refrigeration My questions are, in the ...
3
votes
1answer
159 views

Are there any mutually unintelligible English dialects?

Are there any mutually unintelligible English dialects? So far I've only been able to learn is that English is highly intelligible among its different dialects, but no actual statement that all ...
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2answers
158 views

What are “crutch words”?

Please tell me what crutch words are. I think they are used to fill spaces between sentences like a filler word, but I am not sure.
0
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0answers
61 views

Linking confusion

I just want to ask a quick question that is confused to me, in the verb phrase: "picked out". When I link these words together, I say "pick tout". However, my English teacher told me that is not ...
0
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0answers
31 views

parts of the sentence(syntax) [duplicate]

could you be so kind and tell me which and where parts of sentence are in sentences like this? (by parts of sentence i mean attribute, subject, predicate, object, etc) It was a bright room and I ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

What is the word “spirituality” derived from? [closed]

What is the word spirtuality or spirit derived from? Is it's origin based on the Christian idea of the Holy Ghost, or perhaps something earlier, like how the Greeks and Romans believed in spirits? ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

The practice of identifying authors from their writings

Is there an English word for the practice of analysing texts to determine their authors? For example, comparing three texts A, B and C and realising that the choice of words, grammar and style of ...
0
votes
5answers
173 views

Which grammatical features does English lack, which it is expressively poorer for? [closed]

Which grammatical features does English lack, which it is expressively poorer for? These could be features found in other languages – living, extinct or invented – or even be completely new ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Much and not much

Why is it that much doesn't fit in many of the places not much does? Compare "Have you got any food in the house?" "Not much." "Would you like this old box?" "That's not much use to me." with ...
4
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2answers
489 views

Is there such a thing as an unvoiced vowel?

I can't think of any and google has not been helpful.
2
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3answers
188 views

Ambiguous transitive verb whose meaning is determined by its subject

I am looking for an example of a transitive verb with an ambiguous meaning that is determined by its subject. To explain what I mean, here is an example of a transitive verb whose meaning is ...
3
votes
2answers
265 views

Are “I scream” and “Ice cream” homophones, or do we have another term here?

When two phrases are pronounced alike but have different spelling and meaning, can they be called homophones? e.g. "ice-cream" and "I scream", "nitrate" and "night rate", "that's tough" and "that ...
1
vote
1answer
179 views

Two types of sound for letter L?

Consider two words, for example, lot and all. The phonetic symbol of l in the two words are the same, which makes me wonder why the sound of l in the first is considered to be the same as in the ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Which does English “l” and “r” sound come under, an allophone or different phonemes?

I was very much embarrassed when I was pointed out by ELU Senpai that I made a great mistake by misspelling ‘Mod election’ as ‘Mod erection’ during ELU chat. We Japanese often make a silly mistake of ...
6
votes
6answers
905 views

Why does the following phrase sound old fashioned?

"We went swimming later in the afternoon, Jack and I." I am trying to describe what is happening here by breaking the sentence down into it's basic components, but I am having difficulty doing this. ...
2
votes
2answers
178 views

Term for using “thingy-esque” phrases rather than a common word

{This question came to mind because of the recent question .. What do you call the interconnecting bits of a puzzle piece in English? } In my opinion, in English, it's reasonably common ...
3
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1answer
107 views

Complements and adjuncts

Paul Austen’s novel sold immediately to the author’s eager readers. In the above sentence, which part is the complement and which is the adjunct? I am confused as to whether the adjunct should be ...
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3answers
144 views

Term for phonological elements of a dialect

A dialect encompasses various traits of a group, including vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation (phonology). Is there a common term specifically for the phonological elements of a dialect? I’d like ...
3
votes
1answer
239 views

How much of the English language comes from each of its influences?

I was watching a video linked in this answer and it made the following claim: [...] like most words in English is derived from German. That got me thinking. While I know that Germanic languages ...
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1answer
113 views

I've been betrayed by the Jedi Order, but I don't wish “for” them to all die [closed]

Does the presumably nonstandard construction "(verb) for someone/something to (verb)" instead of "(verb) (someone/something) to (verb)" have any currency in modern day colloquial AE speech and "not so ...
3
votes
3answers
456 views

Pure verbal nouns/deverbal nouns vs. gerunds

This is a follow-up to a previous question which I am still trying to understand. I think I'm making progress in my understanding, but I would appreciate feedback to help me refine my thinking. Here ...
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11answers
1k views

Language Gibberish

Sometimes, in humor (or an attempt thereof), people will make up gibberish in a certain language in an attempt to poke fun at a language or its speakers. Made-up French, German, Italian, Chinese, most ...
58
votes
5answers
19k views

If the letter J is only 400–500 years old, was there a J sound that preceded the design of the letter?

I understand that the letter "J" is relatively new — perhaps 400–500 years old. But since there has long been important names that begin with J, such as Jesus, Joshua, Justinian, etc., and which ...
1
vote
2answers
530 views

Subject-verb inversion / verb-subject-object — is this correct?

I recently read the following in a schoolbook: Wrote the researchers, "[...]" I wonder if this is correct English. I have seen it a couple of more times. Is this just a matter of preference? ...
2
votes
1answer
126 views

“None” and “Any” [closed]

Can anyone tell me more about the relationship between the words none and any I'm specifically interested in their grammatical overlap, when they share a similar grammatical function in a sentence, ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

What does it mean that two languages are genetically unrelated? [closed]

I would like to know what does it mean that two languages are genetically unrelated? I have seen answer in this topic Genetic Relatives what does it mean that languages are genetically realted but ...
2
votes
1answer
115 views

What patterns will flash in the native-speaker's brain when using English? [closed]

I think it is a common puzzle for ESL,especially for Chinese,since English is more abstract than Chinese, using which we can feel some specific patterns flashing in our brain. For example, when I see ...
5
votes
1answer
577 views

Flexibility of English: Always so?

The other day I read a question about nouns being used as verbs. An answer informed that in English any word can be used as a verb, but that it is not so in other languages. Beyond verbs, English is a ...
1
vote
1answer
95 views

How do you parse the sentence “He had Elizabeth read the letter aloud.”?

The Stanford parser gave the following output. I think the word "read" should be tagged with VBN (past participle). (ROOT (S (NP (PRP He)) (VP (VBD had) (S (NP (NNP ...
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votes
1answer
284 views

A theory or concept related to language use by elite or the higher classes

I'm an English teacher, and I'm looking for a theoretical model that suggests language is used differently by different classes. I am aware of Bernstein's Elaborated code, which refers to an elite ...
-5
votes
1answer
335 views

Swear words and fricatives/plosives [duplicate]

I've noticed that pretty much all swear words or profane language contains one or more fricatives, and sometimes plosives. Without listing words, if you can think of the first ten swear words that ...
0
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1answer
179 views

What is accidental metaplasm & metathesis across words? [duplicate]

What is accidental metaplasm & metathesis across words? Such as... grammar teacher --> trammar greacher Does this have a name?
3
votes
2answers
254 views

What is the term in linguistics when a word comes to have a new meaning over time, e.g 'wicked' is commonly used to demonstrate this

I'm not sure what to add here. I think the title says it all. I just need to know and would like to try this service because I believe it's really useful.
3
votes
1answer
143 views

Term for changing a word to fit another word inside it

Ska does this all the time. The Skatalites Eskanol (spanish ska) Skatastrophic I can't seem to think of a single other example, but I know I've seen it other places.
5
votes
1answer
575 views

What are words similar in spelling but differing in meaning called?

I frequently encounter "vs" words like: prodigal vs prodigious ingenuous vs ingenious affluent vs effluent These words are very similar but not identical in spelling, and have different meanings. ...
1
vote
2answers
151 views

Who is the authority — scientists, or linguists — on the definitions of everyday words referring to types of animals? [closed]

For instance, biologists these days like to say that the word "dinosaur" is inclusive of modern birds, since birds are descended from dinosaurs. This is consistant with biologists' tendency to ...
2
votes
2answers
291 views

Which of these phrases are equivalent, if any, and why

Some say the following two phrases are equivalent because of Raising (linguistics)! Example 1 He doesn't believe that bigfoot exists He believes that bigfoot doesn't exist Are those two ...
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0answers
34 views

Does there exist an EBNF-like description of English? [duplicate]

In programming, languages are often specified by what's called an EBNF grammar, a recursive way of specifying the language's structure. For example, all super simple arithmetic operations using the ...
7
votes
2answers
331 views

Are there names for consonant-shifts when suffixes are added?

I saw a spelling mistake on an SO question: submittion. That got me wondering, is there a name for the shift of ‑mit‑ to ‑miss‑ in submission, permission, admission and so on? Are there other patterns ...
7
votes
1answer
984 views

Is the [ʊ] sound pronounced with lip rounding?

This [ʊ] sound is the vowel sound for words like hook, pull, and good. When I began to learn English a bit more seriously two decades ago, I used a book that taught me to pronounce it shorter and ...
2
votes
0answers
443 views

Syntax, contrastive analysis [closed]

Could anyone help me with this question? What are the main types of contrast involved in contrastive analysis of syntax? Give examples. I tried to find answer, but unfortunately I find nothing.
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Retroflex approximants in AE dialects

While looking up the best way to describe the aboriginal pronunciation of Uluru (/uluɻu/), I stumbled across retroflex approximants. The linked Wikipedia page states: The retroflex approximant ...
4
votes
1answer
73 views

Is there a term for ambiguity coming from a modifier modifying multiple parts of a sentence?

Given the sentence Before starting the machine, mount the machine with the battery installed on the harness. This could be taken to mean that 1) the battery is installed on the harness and the ...