Questions relating to the scientific study of language.

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1answer
81 views

Why does English have a word for pink?

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.
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0answers
9 views

Who are some linguists who have an “essentialist” view? [migrated]

I have to write an essay which looks at the way the study of gendered differences in language changes over time but I'm struggling to find any linguists who write with the view that language is ...
7
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1answer
100 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 ...
141
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9answers
22k 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 ...
6
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2answers
272 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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2answers
2k 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 ...
13
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5answers
445 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. ...
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2answers
207 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.
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1answer
66 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
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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
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1answer
85 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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3answers
41k 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.
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2answers
56 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
68 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
105 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
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3answers
472 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 ...
4
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1answer
158 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
46 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
214 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
189 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 ...
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0answers
63 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
32 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 ...
0
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1answer
191 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
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1answer
47 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
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1answer
53 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 ...
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5answers
190 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
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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 ...
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1answer
1k 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 ...
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2answers
303 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 ...
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2answers
579 views
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3answers
226 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 ...
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1answer
200 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
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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 ...
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6answers
929 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. ...
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2answers
546 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? ...
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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 ...
3
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1answer
108 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
147 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

British upper-class pronunciation of words like “what” and “when”

More from the BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Bleak House. I've noticed in these sort of movies, when some very upper-class speakers talk, like the lawyer in the series, Mr. Tulkinghorn, they have ...
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1answer
116 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 ...
5
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1answer
616 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 ...
59
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5answers
21k 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 ...
2
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1answer
145 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
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1answer
179 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 ...
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3answers
2k views

What is the origin of the “-th” suffix? What is the linguistic term for the meaning it adds to words?

I was teaching my young nephew some math the other day, and from discussing the typical sort of word problems he's encountering in class, I noticed that the "-th" suffix adds a distinct meaning to ...
4
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1answer
289 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 ...
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1answer
3k 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 ...
2
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1answer
117 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 ...
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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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1answer
358 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 ...