Linguistics thread

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby kevin » 2017-02-25, 17:12

The citation form for Irish verbs is the imperative (2nd singular). But for regular verbs, the past form is the same, except for the initial mutation (past forms are lenited).

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-02-25, 19:12

No, in modern works it's the imperative (2S), which most closely approximates the root. (In earlier works, it was the present (1S) on the model of Latin.) But the differences between the past 3S and imperative 2S are minor for most regular verbs. (In the case of rith, they are identical.)
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Koko » 2017-02-26, 4:06

vijayjohn wrote:Yes, absolutely. This is how lots of creoles work (IIRC, the majority of creoles): If a verb is not accompanied by any other morphology (or any indication that the tense is something other than past), then the default interpretation is that it is in past tense, so e.g. mi go in Atlantic English-based creoles would be interpreted as 'I went' by default.

Huh that's interesting o.o I wonder how that occurs, since they're taking the present form of an English verb and giving a past meaning to it. (Well, i guess it's the infinitive they're using? Still interesting.)

In Modern Standard Arabic, forming the past tense form of a verb is about as straightforward as it is in Persian. Forming the present or future tense forms, on the other hand, must be a nightmare because there is apparently no way to predict which vowels to use in these forms.

I think i even noticed this when i was looking up verb forms in Arabic sometime last year.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-02-26, 4:13

Koko wrote:
vijayjohn wrote:Yes, absolutely. This is how lots of creoles work (IIRC, the majority of creoles): If a verb is not accompanied by any other morphology (or any indication that the tense is something other than past), then the default interpretation is that it is in past tense, so e.g. mi go in Atlantic English-based creoles would be interpreted as 'I went' by default.

Huh that's interesting o.o I wonder how that occurs, since they're taking the present form of an English verb and giving a past meaning to it. (Well, i guess it's the infinitive they're using? Still interesting.)

It's the default/unmarked form. I'm afraid I don't recall what the motivation for this default interpretation in creoles was, though.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby razlem » 2017-02-27, 21:16

One thing I always found confusing is the claim that words that are used often are the ones most subject to change over time (so you wind up with irregular forms for verbs used a lot, for example). But at the same time you have words like numbers, which have appeared to change so little from PIE.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-02-27, 21:23

razlem wrote:One thing I always found confusing is the claim that words that are used often are the ones most subject to change over time (so you wind up with irregular forms for verbs used a lot, for example). But at the same time you have words like numbers, which have appeared to change so little from PIE.

mi, erk’u, erekh, čorkh, hing, vech, evthn, uth, inn, t’asn
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby razlem » 2017-02-27, 23:10

linguoboy wrote:
razlem wrote:One thing I always found confusing is the claim that words that are used often are the ones most subject to change over time (so you wind up with irregular forms for verbs used a lot, for example). But at the same time you have words like numbers, which have appeared to change so little from PIE.

mi, erk’u, erekh, čorkh, hing, vech, evthn, uth, inn, t’asn

Armenian is kinda of an extreme counterexample. But compared to other IE languages' words for 1,2,3, wouldn't you say that there's a great deal of stability?
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Dormouse559 » 2017-02-27, 23:30

The way I understand it, all words are equally susceptible to sound changes, but common words are less likely to lose any irregularities introduced by sound change. Similar number words aren't a counterexample to that (unless perhaps you can show they experienced unexpectedly strong analogy). If they haven't diverged much to begin with, that's just the vagaries of sound change.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-02-28, 3:59

razlem wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
razlem wrote:One thing I always found confusing is the claim that words that are used often are the ones most subject to change over time (so you wind up with irregular forms for verbs used a lot, for example). But at the same time you have words like numbers, which have appeared to change so little from PIE.

mi, erk’u, erekh, čorkh, hing, vech, evthn, uth, inn, t’asn

Armenian is kinda of an extreme counterexample. But compared to other IE languages' words for 1,2,3, wouldn't you say that there's a great deal of stability?

[wʌn] [tʰʉʊ̯] [θɾiɪ̯]
[ae̯ns] [ʦvae̯] [dʁae̯]

Impressively stable.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby razlem » 2017-02-28, 21:47

Dormouse559 wrote:The way I understand it, all words are equally susceptible to sound changes, but common words are less likely to lose any irregularities introduced by sound change. Similar number words aren't a counterexample to that (unless perhaps you can show they experienced unexpectedly strong analogy). If they haven't diverged much to begin with, that's just the vagaries of sound change.

Well the main frame of reference I'm using is the verb(s) for "to be" in IE languages. There seems to be so much variation in both the phonology and morphology, yet with things like numbers, while there is certainly sound variation, it doesn't seem to be nearly to the extent of this verb paradigm. The explanation previously given to me was that 'to be' is used so often that it is subject to a great deal of change. But then you have words like numbers which, even on the Indian subcontinent, still readily resemble European forms.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-02-28, 21:52

razlem wrote:Well the main frame of reference I'm using is the verb(s) for "to be" in IE languages. There seems to be so much variation in both the phonology and morphology, yet with things like numbers, while there is certainly sound variation, it doesn't seem to be nearly to the extent of this verb paradigm. The explanation previously given to me was that 'to be' is used so often that it is subject to a great deal of change. But then you have words like numbers which, even on the Indian subcontinent, still readily resemble European forms.

You can check the frequency of use yourself, but forms of be are used far more frequently than numbers. For instance, take the paragraph you just wrote:

Forms of be: 9
Numbers: 0[*]

[*] Or 1, if you're willing to count forms of the indefinite article. (And it is worth noting that numbers get increasingly less common as they increase in size and by far the most variation in the set of numbers inherited from PIE is seen in the reflexes of "one".)
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby razlem » 2017-02-28, 21:57

Ah, I see. I guess I didn't consider how much more the forms were used. I wonder if there's a critical mass then of rate of use/rate of change, or if the nature of the word (i.e. nouns vs verbs) affect the rate of phonological change.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby PfifltriggPi » 2017-03-01, 1:10

I think that there is something of a critical middle ground of rate of use for a word to change a lot. Uncommon words tend to become more regular as their quirks simply get forgoten or regularised: see for example JRR Tolkein's whole thing about how dwarf should have an irregular plural for etymological reasons. More common words often tend to retain their irregularities, like to be in English. Common words like that, however, tend to become "slang-ified" and thus change that way. The number one is an interesting case as it also became an indefinite article and sometimes split into two words for those two functions.

What is the prevailing thoughts about articles in PIE? I think it did not have any, but that is just my, rather ignorant, opinion.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-01, 1:29

PfifltriggPi wrote:What is the prevailing thoughts about articles in PIE? I think it did not have any, but that is just my, rather ignorant, opinion.

It's an opinion that would seem to make sense, though, since many of its descendants never developed articles (especially definite articles), and the Romance languages at least developed them from pronouns and the word for 'one' in Latin AFAIR.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby linguoboy » 2017-03-01, 5:07

PfifltriggPi wrote:Common words like that, however, tend to become "slang-ified" and thus change that way.

Could you elabourate? I have no idea what you mean by this statement.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-01, 5:43

linguoboy wrote:
PfifltriggPi wrote:Common words like that, however, tend to become "slang-ified" and thus change that way.

Could you elabourate? I have no idea what you mean by this statement.

I think he might just mean word reduction (or even more generally just words being altered by sound changes). I've noticed a lot of non-native speakers of English IRL using the term "slang" to refer to all sorts of things as long as it's not formal written language. (For example, a Russian lady I used to know once told me молодец was a "slang" term).

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Saim » 2017-03-01, 6:16

vijayjohn wrote: I've noticed a lot of non-native speakers of English IRL using the term "slang" to refer to all sorts of things as long as it's not formal written language


Yeah, I've seen lots of Arabs translate عامية and دارجة (both words mean something like vernacular, dialect or spoken language) as "slang". As in "Lebanese/Moroccan/Egyptian/whatever is just a (sic) slang".

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby PfifltriggPi » 2017-03-01, 13:50

vijayjohn wrote:
linguoboy wrote:
PfifltriggPi wrote:Common words like that, however, tend to become "slang-ified" and thus change that way.

Could you elabourate? I have no idea what you mean by this statement.

I think he might just mean word reduction (or even more generally just words being altered by sound changes). I've noticed a lot of non-native speakers of English IRL using the term "slang" to refer to all sorts of things as long as it's not formal written language. (For example, a Russian lady I used to know once told me молодец was a "slang" term).


Pretty much. I was thinking of things like how "going to" has been contracted into "gonna" and similar phenomena.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby dEhiN » 2017-03-06, 5:37

I responded on the Random Language thread here about historical linguistics. I was going to add more, but decided to post it in this thread, since it's a specifically linguistics question.

Historical linguistics fascinated me early on when I first became interested in linguistics (so probably around the mid-late 1990s, early 2000s). I even wished the university I went to had a historical linguistics class. Since then I've tried to read stuff on historical linguistics, but I've never really been able to find anything resembling a university intro text: a book that introduces the concepts and methodologies used. Sure, I've found plenty of texts you would use in a linguistics 101 class, and also texts going a little beyond that - phonology/morphology/syntax/semiotics 101. Unfortunately, apart from one linguistics 101 class I took in uni, I don't have the prereqs to go to the local uni which has a historical linguistics class and be like "so I'd like to audit this course for general interest".

So, can any of the linguists on here recommend or share the texts they perhaps used in a historical linguistics class?

The closest books I have are: William O'Grady & John Archibald - Contemporary Linguistic Analysis: An Introduction, 5th Edition, William Labov - Principles of Linguistic Change: Internal Factors, and Robert S.P. Beekes - Comparative Indo-European Linguistics: An Introduction. To be honest, I haven't read any of them since I bought them, though I did start to read the Beekes book.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby vijayjohn » 2017-03-06, 6:48

Historical Linguistics: An Introduction by Lyle Campbell (I believe I used the second edition)


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