Questions relating to the scientific study of language.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
0answers
8 views

How can a global English (or Pidgin) be encouraged without extinguishing linguistic diversity?

Decades of teaching international English have led me to a conundrum: what is the global future of communication? Even though the Chinese outnumber us, they seem to embrace English (Thank God - 3000 ...
8
votes
5answers
781 views

What do you call it when you “extend” a word?

On a programming site, I noticed http://stackoverflow.com/questions/37460404/unexplained-increasement-of-variable a beautiful word use, "increasement." Is there a term for, or how would you refer ...
1
vote
2answers
24 views

Where do I put this phrase in a phrase structure tree?

I am not sure where to put the AdvP in this sentence when drawing a phrase structure tree. This is the sentence I would like to create the tree for: "The car Sam bought last week won the big race." ...
2
votes
1answer
270 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
39 views

morphosyntax meaning

I know that "Morphosyntax is the study of the interaction of morphology and syntax" but by this defination am not getting the meaning so please can anyone tell me what is morphosyntax with examples?
1
vote
0answers
18 views

Terminology: Philosophy tests with “thought experiments.” Linguistics tests with what?

What is the term, if any, for the type of test done in linguistics to check if a proposed description of a language “rule” is actually valid? An example of this type of test is done by Geoffrey ...
0
votes
1answer
35 views

How can we distinguish between statives and gerunds in English?

If the "-ing" suffix is not used in stative verbs then why do we use the "-ing" suffix with stative verbs in gerunds? For example: loving, believing, knowing, hating etc.; with these verbs why do we ...
1
vote
0answers
20 views

Is there a word for words being lost and rediscovered in different time periods?

In this thread, it became clear that a verb, 'to bug', seems to have been current in the 1950s and 60s, then dropped out of favour entirely, then re-appeared in the Internet age. However, the new ...
1
vote
1answer
193 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
0answers
57 views

Diagramming simple wh- “to be” sentences

I have read a syntax book cover to cover and it seems to stubbornly avoid diagramming sentences with "to be" (or other auxilliary verbs) functioning as the principal verb. For example: That dog is ...
3
votes
2answers
83 views

A linguistic term [closed]

I have come across the term ablaut. I have searched many dictionaries, however, I haven't been able to understand its meaning. Can you tell me whether the term is the same as vowel change or not. ...
1
vote
2answers
123 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
2answers
85 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is it “ladies and gentlemen” instead of “gentlemen and ladies”? [duplicate]

Is there a specific reason for this? After all, it is "boys and girls", rather than "girls and boys". If the boy (male) comes first here, why doesn't it come first in "ladies and gentlemen"?
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Linguistics term for word choice

I was taught a word once by a linguist. I can't remember it, but it would be very useful for a Google search I am trying to do to solve another question on a different StackExchange. It was a similar ...
3
votes
1answer
232 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
64 views

Why is it half and not second?

5th is fifth, 4th is fourth, 3rd is third, 2nd is second. People in races come fifth, fourth, third, and second. Divisions are one fifth, one fourth, one third, and one half? Why is it one half and ...
3
votes
1answer
70 views

Word for a situation where you must make a different choice than another person

I'm trying to describe a situation that you face when both you and another person must make a choice, but the outcome of both choices depends on the other person's choices, leading you and the other ...
1
vote
2answers
54 views

Not quite a sentence [duplicate]

What word or phrase adequately describes a series of words which may have a distinct meaning, but fail to adhere to normal grammatical rules? In particular, they might not have any finite verb or even ...
7
votes
6answers
416 views

Word meaning “its meaning stands alone”

This is a linguistic term I came across recently, but I can't quite remember it - and searching for it is downright impossible! The word implies that context is not required for a particular word. ...
6
votes
1answer
1k 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. ...
-6
votes
1answer
115 views

How many words are there in English if we don’t count duplicates? [closed]

How many words are there in English if: we don't count plurals: 'dogs' doesn't count; only 'dog' counts. we don't count different conjugations or different tenses: 'walks', 'walked' and 'walking' ...
0
votes
2answers
48 views

Relationships between Grammar and Phonetics

When I look at some grammar rules such as: With (He, she and it) we add (es) to verbs ending with (sh, o, ch and ss) in present simple, and so on. I wonder if there is a link between grammar and ...
6
votes
4answers
240 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 ...
59
votes
8answers
6k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
88 views

Is there an online site or API that provides definitive, uncensored translations of internet slang words?

I am a computer scientist studying on sentiment analysis. I need to retrieve uncensored translations of internet slang words such as wtf, lmfao. There are some websites that provide translations for ...
1
vote
1answer
70 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
4answers
324 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
2k 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
840 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
6k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
69 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
43 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
37 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
397 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
157 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
130 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
25 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
69 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
143 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
80 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
33 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
31 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
111 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
89 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
33 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
88 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
104 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 ...