Questions relating to the scientific study of language.

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8
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2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
11answers
583 views

Is there a phrase for someone being ashamed of, or self-conscious about their accent when moving to another region?

I was reading a book about accents at a local library and there was a chapter where the author says "some varieties of a language are more aesthetically pleasing than others". Some accents are ...
0
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2answers
127 views

Verbal analogy: sweet _ness_ is to suffix as boat _swain_ is to … In other words, what is the term for the _swain_ morpheme?

At some point in the past I encountered the following verbal analogy: SWEET NESS : SUFFIX :: BOAT SWAIN : ? In my view, the question is asking what one would term the "swain" morpheme in ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Why did “insofar” become a word, not “insofaras”?

So I'm thinking about how "insofar" became a word. This slightly unfair comparison shows that it happened relatively recently. Now, whenever I've seen it written, "insofar" is followed by "as". So ...
0
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0answers
78 views

What phenomena of English syntax can be used to support Universal Grammar?

As the title suggests, I would like some examples of syntactic phenomena in English that strongly suggests the existence of Universal Grammar. An example of this is recursion in English, since the ...
0
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1answer
62 views

Can “ were known” be considered as a copular verb?

I have to analyze the valency pattern of this clause "These glorious full colour prints that resulted were known as brocade pictures". Can I consider "were known" as a copular verb followed by the ...
0
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1answer
73 views

What is a postpositional enclitic? [closed]

What is a post positional enclitic? I don't know anything about it, but I think it is a part of english grammar.
4
votes
1answer
167 views

What is the need of an invisible affix?

When nothing means something: In morpheme-based morphology, a null morpheme is a morpheme that is realized by a phonologically null affix (an empty string of phonological segments). In simpler ...
3
votes
1answer
168 views

Did English “borrow” or “inherit” from Proto-Germanic (PGmc)? [closed]

I wanted to see a cage match on this question, which started in the comments to this answer. We were left with these opposing assertions: PGmc was never homogeneous. Most English expressions ...
8
votes
8answers
796 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
149 views

Can “masters” (plural) be used to refer to a single entity?

I was perusing the forums of a video game I play. I began reading a thread about the lore of the game, because a few things lore-wise are left pretty vague. Two individuals got into an argument about ...
3
votes
3answers
433 views

Words that are synonyms for multiple meanings?

A lot of words obviously have multiple meanings. Also, a lot of words have synonyms. Are there groups of words that are synonyms for multiple meanings? For instance, say word A has Definition A1, ...
8
votes
1answer
224 views

What is the term for replacing a name or brand with a funny pejorative / sardonicism?

What is the term for when one replaces a well-known name [(Proper) noun, company, brand, etc.] with one that tries to be funny yet pejoratively descriptive, different but similar enough that one's ...
-2
votes
1answer
179 views

Specifically, what makes some words harder to spell, pronounce, and remember?

Edit: I apologize if my question lacks research effort, and is neither clear nor useful. Perhaps if you could tell me why this is in conjunction with your downvote, the quality of my post might be ...
23
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7answers
5k views

Is it true that iambic pentameter is “natural” to English? If so, why?

When I first read Dante's Divine Comedy in high school, I remember once being puzzled at what I thought were strained rhymes in the translation, and mentioned it to my English teacher. In reply, she ...
1
vote
1answer
151 views

Term for greetings that are also valedictions

Is there a specialized term in linguistics for those words that, in a given language, can be used to say both hello and goodbye? For instance, I've heard tell that in Hawaii the word "aloha" is used ...
-1
votes
1answer
229 views

A dataset of equivalent English phrases?

There is a similarity or even equality between many sentences in English language such as: I happened to come across the scientific definitions while reading. I came across the scientific ...
0
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3answers
70 views

Is there a specific linguistic term for words like “Carolingian”, “Ricardian” and so on?

I'm talking about words used for the followers and eras of kings and queens. They have a Latin origin. Is "Latinisation" enough, or is there something more precise? I've done a search, and haven't ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do we say 'commentator' instead of 'commenter'?

Another thread addresses the Englishness of the words. My question is different and a lot more convoluted: I hope I can make it plain and simple. I. There are straightforward nouns of action and ...
2
votes
0answers
759 views

I need help with english grammar/conversation? [closed]

I'm a pretty good user of the English language, I can read, write, and converse rather well in english. But I'm not very good with grammar, consequently I began searching for resources on the subject. ...
7
votes
1answer
426 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". Why did "thou" become obsolete?
0
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2answers
199 views

The future tense (will / going to )? [closed]

Could anyone answer this then explain correctly? Choose : Be careful, you ..... your hand with that knife . will cut / are going to cut /are cutting
2
votes
1answer
138 views

What is the linguistic perception phenomenon when a person can read a word whose inner letters are rearranged?

What is this linguistic perception phenomenon called? Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht ...
0
votes
2answers
882 views

What's the difference between respected and respectable? [closed]

He is highly [respected/respectable] owing to his good manners and gratefulness. I know the difference but I can't decide which one to choose, either he is respected (the passive form)or he is ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Etymology of “binky” — three questions

Definition 2 of binky at wiktionary is "(rabbit behavior) A high hop that a rabbit may perform when happy." This definition is consistent with that at rabbitspeak, and not inconsistent with "A kind ...
16
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5answers
118k views

What are “coherence” and “cohesion” in text linguistics?

I am still learning English. My English language professor has given me an assignment on coherence and cohesion. But it seems difficult to me. I've consulted my friend and he told me: Cohesion and ...
21
votes
3answers
2k views

Old English instead of Latin in early Britain

For almost 400 years, Britain was a Roman province. During that period, naturally, Latin was an important language in the region. When the Germanic tribes invaded the British Isles (around the 5th ...
0
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3answers
237 views

Or, Ore, Awe and Oar [closed]

Does everyone pronounce these the same way? (I mean all 4 words - not American vs. English)
3
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1answer
6k views

One-letter words in English language

The original question that came to my mind was "How many one-letter words are there in English language?". But of course, I did some research and found out there are three: A – an indefinite ...
3
votes
0answers
391 views

What's the linguistic term for when you use an object in place of a person who uses or is associated with that object? [duplicate]

For example, a common one is calling someone who helps out a hired-hand. Another example is gumshoe for a detective, or a private eye. Sometimes the association might be metaphorical, like whips in ...
4
votes
1answer
131 views

True meaning of these 'adverbials'

Recently I had a discussion with someone and the following examples were brought up. I was told that I was wrong, but as a native speaker I don't think any of my explanations of the meaning were ...
1
vote
3answers
957 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
329 views

Why does English have a word for pink? [closed]

We have a word for light red (pink), but not light blue. Why is this? Russian, for example, has specific words for light and dark blue.
9
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1answer
463 views

Is there a well-known term for the synonym or near-synonym “telescoping” words?

This has been rattling around in the back of my mind for many years (way before Stack Exchange came into existence), so it's a relief to finally ask the question. There are words that can be ...
185
votes
9answers
40k views

Is there a word or phrase for the feeling you get after looking at a word for too long?

Sometimes after looking at a word for a while, I become convinced that it can't possibly be spelled correctly. Even after looking it up, sounding it out, and realizing that there's simply no other ...
12
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2answers
3k views

Is the history of h-dropping in English in any way related to the silent h of French?

I was reading up on Richard the III, and his exploits just now in Wikipedia — as is the nature of Wiki, that further me led to stumble to Stafford, Duke of Buckingham's page, where I learned ...
14
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5answers
545 views

Regarding the “i” in “think” vs “bit”

This is a phonetics question. I am teaching English as a Second Language. In phonetics, we all know the "i" in "think" is a "short i" sound. Additionally, the "i" in "bit" is a "short i" sound. ...
1
vote
2answers
2k 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
votes
1answer
107 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 > ...
2
votes
1answer
3k 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?
32
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3answers
68k views

Meaning of “native speaker of English”

Who is considered a native speaker of English? I am a little confused by the various answers found online.
3
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2answers
179 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
1k 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
334 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' ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
130 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
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1answer
1k 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 ...
0
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0answers
90 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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1answer
398 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?
1
vote
1answer
130 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? ...