Questions relating to the scientific study of language.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

0
votes
0answers
23 views

What is the grammatical category for You, when meaning a person [on hold]

What is this grammatical category? Specificity, Definiteness ? ( You / A person / We / One ) should never drink beer. A general statement effecting everybody. You just drank a beer. A ...
1
vote
2answers
60 views

What is a syntactic construction?

Okay, I'm not quite sure if i'm allowed to post this here. I had a look at the linguistics SE, but it seems that questions there have to be research-level, and this is extremely elementary however I ...
0
votes
1answer
57 views

I'm not sure how to mark the clause boundaries

I'm trying to mark clause boundaries (main, subordinate & embedded clause); I can't play my own devil's advocate anymore, would be so grateful if anyone could weigh in on this: Sentence: With ...
5
votes
4answers
156 views

Is there a term for using one language's syntax with another's words?

I'm trying to remember a word the Mac OS X Word of the Day screensaver showed me a few days ago. It's something along the lines of "using one language's words with another's syntax or grammar". This ...
2
votes
1answer
193 views

Substitution or Ellipsis? (Linguistics)

I want to ask a question which is not clear for me. In an exam, we were given such a question that it says which of the following dialogues doesnt have ellipsis. Two most possible answers are these ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

I am trying to decide if I can consider myself a native English speaker [duplicate]

I was born in Amsterdam, Holland. I learnt Dutch from my parents and in school. Around the age of 5-6 I started learning English. I watched English television and had English conversations with my ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

How to identify a complex verbal group?

In this instance, does 'as' function as a conjunction or as an adverb? (1) 'Their circumstances are not nearly the same as those of the people feeling their homelands.' Would you classify 'fulfill ...
1
vote
4answers
241 views

What's the name for when a word changes its pronunciation because of how people read?

With greater literacy in the past 100 years, most English speakers are also proficient at writing. Sometimes due to the great divide between English spellings and the true pronunciation, people will ...
58
votes
8answers
5k views

“kinda”, “sorta”, “coulda”, “shoulda”, “lotta”, “oughta”, “betcha”, “tseasy” etc. What are these?

In linguistics, is there a term describing this phenomenon, i.e., when the syllables of two words are slurred together in the spoken language? They are not contractions. While contractions are ...
9
votes
6answers
1k views

What is the name of the phoneme produced in an upper-class Briton's pronunciation of the word “Duke”? What's different in the articulation?

When someone with a Received Pronunciation accent pronounces the word duke, as in The Duke of York, he doesn't pronounce it with a "hard" 'd', as one might pronounce the word duh, but a softer type ...
6
votes
3answers
798 views

Explanation and rules for adding and subtracting 'r's in British pronunciation?

For example, the sentence, "The Premier of China drank vodka and beer in his car with Obama." A BBC presenter would pronounce it like: The Premieh of Chiner drank vodker and bee'h in his ca' with ...
13
votes
1answer
5k views

Is there a maximum number of suffixes that can be added to an English word?

You can add various derivational and inflectional suffixes on to most English words to create new longer words (or forms of words). But is there a definite or theoretical maximum that can be added in ...
4
votes
2answers
457 views

Term for when a negative word is used positively?

Many years ago I heard a linguistics professor use a term to describe when negative words evolve to express positive opinions. For example, African Americans began in the 1970s to say "bad" when ...
3
votes
1answer
65 views

Theoretical Phonemes [closed]

I have been looking at IPA recently and I was wondering if there are any sounds that can theoretically be created by humans but do not exist or have not existed in any known languages. Or maybe a ...
0
votes
0answers
42 views

Is Lana's “Yup!” a triphthong?

At some point in the Archer series, Lana starts saying very emphatic Yup!s. I was recently wondering about triphthongs and whether they occur in English, and found the Wikipedia entry had only a few ...
1
vote
0answers
31 views

A term for “combining of related phrases”

Sometimes two related phrases are reached for simultaneously. I recently heard a newscaster combine "standpoint" and "point of view," so that his sentence began "from a football standpoint of view..." ...
7
votes
4answers
183 views

Ambiguous syntax tree and phrase structure rules

I’m studying for a final for my English Linguistics class and going through example sentences that we should be able to draw syntax trees for. The sentence He looked at the dog with one eye was marked ...
5
votes
1answer
142 views

Can the word “group” function as a determiner?

Here are some example sentences that show my thought process: Some cats are playing with each other. Okay, it seems obvious that "some" is a determiner. A number of cats are playing with ...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

What do you call an interfix that has semantic meaning?

At university I was introduced to various affixes; prefix, suffix, interfix. The latter, I was told, could be created by putting an adjective in the middle of a word, thus interrupting it; ...
0
votes
0answers
15 views

What adjectives would you use to describe a sound that is Sharp, Rough, Tonal, Fluctuating? [closed]

The describing words can be single words or phrases. For example one can say a sharp sound is piercing !
2
votes
0answers
36 views

Meaningless “Do” And the supposed relationship between English and the Celtic languages [duplicate]

The verb "do" often serves a meaningless purpose in questions. John McWhorter argues in his book "Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue" that this is a direct influence of the Celtic languages. In all of my ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

John ate vs John is too stubborn to talk to

I was intrigued by an observation made by Noam Chomsky in this video, namely that if we take the sentence John ate an apple and drop an apple to get John ate John ate an apple. John ate. we ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

What does the term 'De Facto' mean?

After stumbling across this term, and looking up it's corresponding definition, I find myself very dissatisfied with how it's defined. For example, the official definition is this: 'in fact, whether ...
3
votes
1answer
66 views

For words that can be a noun or not a noun, why does the noun have the emphasis at the start?

There are some pairs of words that can act as a noun or not a noun (a verb or an adjective. For instance: rebel present compact Why is it that the noun version of these words have their emphasis ...
0
votes
1answer
30 views

What is the linguistic name for sentence with “even though”? [closed]

What is the specific name for a sentence that contains the words "even though"?
0
votes
0answers
23 views

In phonetic transcription of Australian English, is the schwa (ə) ever nasalised?

In linguistics we've been looking at phonetic transcriptions. In words that have been reduced in conversation (i.e. /ænd/ has become [ən]) is the schwa nasalised? I know that in Australian English ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

What is the opposite of “intensifier?”

Adverbs, adverbial phrases, or devices of any sort that are used to add force or emphasis to the meaning are called "intensifiers." I wonder if there is a name for phrases that caste some doubt on the ...
1
vote
2answers
72 views

What word describes the act of converting a phrase into its opposite?

Turning a phrase negative (e.g. good → not good, and a question → not a question) is called negation. One can say "I negated the phrase". What is the act of turning a phrase into its opposite (e.g. ...
0
votes
0answers
30 views

infinitive vs present participle in subject control sentence

Over three consecutive sessions, Oscar averaged 80% independence identifying the letter "A". Over three consecutive sessions, Oscar averaged 80% independence to identify the letter "A". I believe ...
0
votes
1answer
85 views

Is “apps” a concatenation?

I am aware that "apps" is commonly used as a plural form of "app" in this time and age, which in itself is an abbreviation of "application". But if I assume that "apps" is actually formed from ...
0
votes
4answers
96 views

Is this statement nonsensical?

The experience of transition1 requires negotiation between sacrifice and opportunity I asked this on philosophy.SE a while ago. Most agreed that the statement is nonsensical: You cannot ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Arrangement of Words and Omission of “of”s

Could you list the difference between the terms "set functionality", "set of functionality", "functionality set" and "functionality of a set"? For example, the terminology is used here: And ...
-1
votes
4answers
219 views

What is a gender neutral word to describe an individual? [duplicate]

Before I begin, I'd like to point out that my primary interests aren't actually in literature/linguistics, but within the domain of music. However, I have come accross a problem I feel is of much ...
2
votes
1answer
494 views

Why do we say 'year 1993' as “nineteen ninety three” instead of “one thousand nine hundred ninety three”?

Why do we read some calendar years by their two-digit place value and not according on their numerical place value like: 1500s as fifteen hundreds and not one thousand five hundreds 1895 as ...
7
votes
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
530 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
votes
2answers
108 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 ...
12
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
votes
0answers
68 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
votes
1answer
52 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
votes
1answer
69 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
141 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
137 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
699 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
140 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
378 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, ...
2
votes
1answer
179 views

Is there a linguistic term for “word pairs” where the masculine term is positive but its feminine equivalent is not?

The feminine form usually has a neutral to negative range of meanings. e.g. master (“a man who controls things”) x mistress (“a woman who is having sex with a married man”) governor (“the chief ...
8
votes
1answer
193 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
161 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 ...
21
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...