Questions relating to the scientific study of language.

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3
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3answers
420 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
219 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
176 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
143 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 ...
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 ...
2
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0answers
751 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. ...
1
vote
2answers
147 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 ...
0
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2answers
192 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
137 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
840 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 ...
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1answer
220 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
230 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
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0answers
366 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
124 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 ...
2
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1answer
323 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
votes
1answer
456 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 ...
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?
3
votes
2answers
177 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
1
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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
319 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
votes
1answer
105 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 > ...
7
votes
1answer
419 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?
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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
votes
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 ...
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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
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0answers
89 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
127 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
80 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
601 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
148 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
3k 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
567 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
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2answers
1k 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
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1answer
1k 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
2k 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
1k 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. ...
8
votes
8answers
776 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
votes
1answer
129 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
213 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 ...
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 ...
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1answer
139 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
992 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 ...
17
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11answers
2k 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 ...
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5answers
55k 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
3answers
940 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
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1answer
2k 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, ...
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vote
1answer
419 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
170 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
1k 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 ...