Questions tagged [linguistics]

Questions relating to the scientific study of language.

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39 views

What is the term for a noun or phrase that is used in place of a longer list of nouns?

For example, I could refer to 'the big five', instead of listing the five animals considered dangerous to hunt. I've replaced the list of animals with the noun phrase 'the big five'. I know this could ...
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2answers
257 views

Am I imagining the Warshington (Washington) accent?

So my wife grew up around Vancouver, Washington, USA. Every once in a while she will say words in peculiar ways that I have jokingly taken to call her "Warshington accent" because it makes the ...
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33 views

How does structuralism linguistics play an important role in defining word categories in the book CGEL?

I read the older work of Rodney Huddleston (co-writer of CGEL) in which he implemented structural linguistics in defining the word categories in a language: he said "The fundamental principle of ...
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29 views

How and why were different inflections applied to third-person singular verbs in the Early Modern period?

I can't get my head around why and how inflections were used in Early Modern English. I know that they were used to mark person, number and tense and so on but how and why exactly?
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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 ...
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Is there a general rule for word order in Geographical Places? [duplicate]

Just wondering, is there a rule that dictates when you put the name before/after the place? For example, is it Garda Lake or Lake Garda?
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Word Order with Geographical Places [duplicate]

I can't find a general textbook or a thread on internet with grammar rules for word order regarding the names of Geographical places, for example: Mount Everest vs Rocky Mount River Nile vs Colorado ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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11answers
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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 ...
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1answer
71 views

What are words and phrases called collectively?

Is there a term for simply "a unit of language"?
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160 views

Origin of stating indirect object by sentence structure and no pronoun

Background Consider the following from The Punisher season 2, with names replaced to avoid spoilers: ― Where is Donna, Jim? You tell me where she is, maybe I can pull your ass out of the fire with ...
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“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 ...
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Dead as a doorknob: idiom changes due to misuse

Most (if not all) of us have likely heard the phrase "dead as a door-nail." However, I have noticed that a large portion (ok, all) of my American university students of the last 5 years ...
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The spelling "ui" and the pronunciation /uː/ in juice, fruit, bruise, cruise, sluice, suit, nuisance, recruit, bruit

The words juice, fruit, bruise, cruise, sluice, suit, pursuit, suitcase, lawsuit, nuisance, recruit, bruit are spelled with ui and pronounced with the IPA phoneme /uː/. Full pronunciations from OED: ...
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Are there any collections of "autological cycles"? (e.g. calque -> loanword) [closed]

I am interested in a natural generalization of autological words: cycles of words that each describe their successor (but not themselves). e.g. an autological 3-cycle is a set of of words "A"...
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3answers
129 views

What's the synonym of "Module"? [closed]

I want to know the synonym of the word "module" in the context of university. What is another way to call a module of a university course? can I call it a subject ?
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1answer
114 views

What is the correct linguistic term for names that are statements?

What is the linguistic term for names, that are actually statements? examples for this type of names are ancient egyptian names such as Neferkare, meaning Perfect is the Ka of Ra, or Indigeneous ...
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35 views

What do you call it when people say 'like' a lot? [duplicate]

So like, I like, have like, a like, question, like, you know! Like, is there a, like, term, for, like, when someone, like, talks, like, like this, you know? PS: I'm also curious to know what other ...
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19 views

Is “disregard for semantics” an apt description of this?

If a person uses perfect grammar while speaking but doesn’t make sense to anyone but themselves, are they disregarding semantics? If not, what exactly are they disregarding? I want to stress that what ...
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1answer
46 views

What is morphological analysis of words to estimate their meaning called?

Is there a word for this? I'll use an example to show what I mean: Let's say you don't know what sepsis means, which is bacterial infection of blood. So, you start thinking. You break the word up into ...
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2answers
3k 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; abso-...
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1answer
34 views

How long has the word "site" been used as a noun in English? [closed]

I am writing a book that takes place in the fictional past, so I'm trying to make sure the language used in my writing doesn't draw the reader back to the present because of it not fitting well with ...
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Significance of "prepost" in the word Preposterous? [closed]

What does the chunk "prepost" mean in the context of the word preposterous?
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Does anyone know what "involution" means? [closed]

It's a word frequently used in China now. Quote from an article: "Originally used by anthropologists to describe self-perpetuating processes that keep agrarian societies from progressing, ...
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3answers
135 views

What's the grammatical or linguistic term for general, non-specific words? [closed]

What's the term for general, non-specific words, like: and, is, the, of, in, on, or, this, that... I mean the words which don't specify the content subject-matter of a sentence, but which rather ...
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2answers
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Why is the L silent in "walk" but not in "bulk"?

TL;DR Why is the letter L silent in walk, talk, calm, folk, half, chalk etc but not silent in bulk, hulk, milk, silk, bold, bald? Explanation of the question and Research: The letter L seems to be ...
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1answer
54 views

How can I divide this clause? [closed]

How can I divide this clause from spoken text, in order to analyse the theme and type of the clauses? Announcer: Welcome back everyone, so doctors are warning people to not take pain relievers like ...
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2answers
148 views

What will happen if I attach the suffixes "-ize" and "-ify" to a word that end in /ŋ/? Will they make it [ŋg]?

This question is related to my previous question: Why does “singer” have /ŋ/ and “longer” have /ŋg/? but not a duplicate. From Herrison's answer, I learned that the -er in both "singer" and &...
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34 views

"a" and "an" - What is the name for adding characters for better pronunciation?

We say "a while" but "an hour". The n seems to be added for better pronunciation. What is the name for this linguistic construct (adding characters to improve pronunciation)? In ...
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2answers
122 views

Can the word is be a noun?

So I got bored in geography class and decided to make a sentence that makes no sense and goes along the lines of "Is Muss isthmus? If Muss was isthmus, must he muss an if, if is, is thus?" The only ...
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146 views

What function does the comma serve in the salutation of a letter, and when did it come about?

In a letter, we say "Dear Alexthecampbell," before starting the body. We then capitalize the first letter of the next sentence. Since the salutation functions like a header and isn't part ...
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1answer
55 views

Need help deciphering the meaning behind a phrase spoken in 1893

While trying to find a word that describes someone as having a fondness/interest in microbes, I stumbled across this Nature news article in 1893 that utilized the word, "bacillophil" seen ...
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What is the name of the category that describes all the ways a number can be read?

Written numbers can be read aloud in multiple different ways: Nominal numbers can be read by pronouncing each digit individually: "My phone number is 123456" read as "one, two, three......
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1answer
2k views

What is the term in linguistics when a word comes to have a new meaning over time, e.g 'wicked' is commonly used to demonstrate this

I'm not sure what to add here. I think the title says it all. I just need to know and would like to try this service because I believe it's really useful.
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Is there a linguistic difference between state-of-affairs and action-occurring phrases

Compare Alice married Bob on Labor day. with Alice and Bob are married. The former relates to an action occurring at a time and place with a resulting change in the state of the world. The ...
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1answer
36 views

where are the descriptive grammar and prescriptive grammar used? [closed]

I understand the difference between these two approaches(prescriptive and descriptive?), but I need to know where or how do we use each them? When is prescriptive is better to use?
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2answers
271 views

Verb + Suffix ‘Ion’ as noun [closed]

I've been wondering on the usage of the suffix -ion and what it means if put at the end of a verb. I notice that oftentimes it means the process/ action of the verb. Examples: Transformation, ...
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50 views

How did these two sentences "I am looking for a responsible man" and "I am looking for the man responsible" come to take on different meanings?

The first sentence "I am looking for a responsible man" means that I am looking for someone who can be trusted whereas the second sentence "I am looking for the man responsible" ...
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Is it possible to have a "noun or noun phrase" as object/subject complement in "Depictive or Resultative" construction?

A sentence containing ditransitive verb can have two objects. In the ditransitive verbs a subcategory, as it is described in some of the articles, usually called "Attributive ditransitive verbs&...
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1answer
241 views

Was the Shark frightening to 16th / 17th-century English speakers?

Undoubtedly, in our Modern-mind-set, for many the mere utterance of the word "Shark" (more so when in the ocean, swimming) brings a sort of dread or at the least, undesirability to the ...
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1answer
869 views

Meaning of “linguistic phenomenon” [closed]

A corpus (pl. corpora) is a collection of spoken or written texts to be used for linguistic analysis and based on a specific set of design criteria influenced by its purpose and scope. There are ...
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3answers
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What is a good synonym for "sememe" that sounds less like academia jargon?

What is a good synonym for "sememe" that sounds less like academia jargon? We're using this term to mean, a "unit of meaning" that a UI element of an iOS app should try to ...
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34 views

Why does a sentence make no sense without a finite verb?

I understand that a finite verb serves as a 'direct link' between a subject and a predicate. I also understand the grammatical aspect of why a finite verb makes a sentence complete. For instance, ...
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1answer
56 views

What is the difference between "appreciation" and "gratitude"? [closed]

Should I be appreciative of, or be grateful to, what my parents do for me, when they both mean "thankful"? Is there a difference in between? How is the difference identified? Any efforts ...
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1answer
264 views

Might "worm" in Psalms 22.3 refer to "wyrm"/"wurm"? [closed]

I was re-reading my favorite piece of scripture, Psalms 22, from a copy of the Geneva translation, and found myself interpreting the English translation of 22.6 with some distinct difference after ...
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1answer
99 views

In a case of hyponymy, mention which word is the hyponym; in a case of antonymy, tell what kind of antonymy it is [closed]

Is the relation between "night" and "day" 1/ a hyponymy? 2/ an antonymy? If antonymy, what kind of antonyms are they? I need quick help.
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1answer
998 views

Why is the sound 'air' in words like 'chair', 'pear' and 'where' considered a phoneme? Should it not be considered a blend of the sound? [closed]

We know that phonemes are the smallest unit of sound in speech, and that in the IPA, each character represents only one sound. Wouldn't 'air' be considered two sounds - the combination of the sound /...
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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 ...
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1answer
37 views

Qur'anic Studies: Meaning of the word "tooth" [closed]

In the meantime, Luxenberg has made two proposals that relate to the question of how the text was first written. First, he argues that the “Ur-Qur’an” sometimes used a single “tooth” as mater ...
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1answer
74 views

To be+ past simple verb [duplicate]

What is the point in using the structure "To be + past simple verb"? Example: "For the first time in connection with the plagues, God specifically noted the discrimination to be made—...

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