Linguistics thread

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Car » 2020-01-10, 11:09

I'm definitely not the best person to answer this, but anyway.

Synalepha wrote:
The fact that Lithuania was one of the last European nations to be Christianised made a difference in terms of how much other languages could influence it.


Could you elaborate on that?

Christianisation lead to an influx of lots of loan words in many languages at least.

Standard German is considerably more conservative than spoken Upper German dialects, which mark only two cases on nouns (N/A and dative) and express both the past tense and subjunctive mood of verbs periphrastically. Moreover, the Second Consonant Shift and diphthongisation both begin (and go further) in the Upper German area.


But this is today or has it always been like this? (Ok, not literally "always" but ever since Standard German has been a thing)


It's much older than that. Keep in mind that the standardisation project only really started with Luther. The shift started in the 6th century.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Synalepha » 2020-01-18, 14:22

Can some linguist on here make some speculations as to how Ladin acquired an interrogative particle (pa)? I don't know of any other Romance language which has it. Is it once again a German influx? The pa particle is used especially in WH questions:

Where are you? - Olà este* pa?
What does he want? - Che vélel* pa?
Which one is it? - Colun él* pa?

(*In questions, the personal pronoun becomes a clitic that attaches to the verb: tu t'es - este?/esto?, el vel - vélel?, el é - él?)

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Car » 2020-01-18, 17:48

Synalepha wrote:Can some linguist on here make some speculations as to how Ladin acquired an interrogative particle (pa)? I don't know of any other Romance language which has it. Is it once again a German influx? The pa particle is used especially in WH questions:


At least some Austrian dialects do have them apparently, so it is possible:
https://www.volkswoerterbuch.at/wort/19684
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Dormouse559 » 2020-01-18, 17:53

Synalepha wrote:Can some linguist on here make some speculations as to how Ladin acquired an interrogative particle (pa)? I don't know of any other Romance language which has it.

I found a thesis from last year that says at least some variants of the particle come from Latin post. The potential, at least, to develop a content-question particle does exist elsewhere in the Romance family. In French and Arpitan, you can reinforce a question by throwing in donc "so, therefore". From there, it just has to become obligatory.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Synalepha » 2020-01-20, 8:32

Dormouse559 wrote:
Synalepha wrote:Can some linguist on here make some speculations as to how Ladin acquired an interrogative particle (pa)? I don't know of any other Romance language which has it.

I found a thesis


Wow that's super cool. :shock:

► Show Spoiler

The potential, at least, to develop a content-question particle does exist elsewhere in the Romance family. In French and Arpitan, you can reinforce a question by throwing in donc "so, therefore". From there, it just has to become obligatory.


Yes, Italian too has the potential to develop an interrogative particle, namely ma at the beginning of the question, but Ladin is one step ahead in that the particle is obligatory AFAIK.

► Show Spoiler

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Saim » 2020-01-20, 10:31

Catalan (or at least Central Catalan) has a similar phenomenon, namely interrogative que (not to be confused with què, which is pronounced differently) although that’s at the beginning of the sentence.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Synalepha » 2020-01-20, 11:02

Saim wrote:Catalan (or at least Central Catalan) has a similar phenomenon, namely interrogative que (not to be confused with què, which is pronounced differently) although that’s at the beginning of the sentence.


Italian has it too in certain instances.

Ence l talian à cie te vèlch cajo.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Synalepha » 2020-01-22, 11:13

Does anybody know of a language where there is a strong semantic distinction between normatively right/wrong and descriptively right/wrong?

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Ser » 2020-03-05, 23:17

It appears that I never remembered to post this. dEhiN is gone now, but I might as well do it...

On 2015-10-23, at the begining of the Random language thread 4, linguoboy posted:

linguoboy wrote:I don't know why it never occurred to me before that Latin casus is derived from cadere "to fall", despite the fact that German Fall has many of the same senses (e.g. auf jeden Fall = in any case). Apparently the Latin usage is calqued on the Ancient Greek πτῶσις, which also has the literal sense of "fall".

What prompted me to realise this is that the Irish word for "case" in the grammatical sense is tuiseal, which literally means "fall, stumble".

dEhiN wrote:What's the connection here in concept between "fall, stumble" and "case" (both in the grammatical and non-grammatical sense)?

linguoboy wrote:Ask the Greeks.

The reason is that as early as Dionysius Thrax's grammar in the 2nd century BC, cases were talked about in terms of a metaphor of the equilibrium of an object.

The nominative (ὁ ὀνομαστική 'the one related to naming', from ὀνομάζω 'to name sth') was first placed at a 90-degree angle, due to being the most prominent case as it was what came out when saying the name of an object. The metaphor was to place it in the balanced position of equilibrium, the normal way for things to rest. Then the other cases were thought of as changes to the equilibrium, so they were considered "fallings" of the object resting at 90 degrees. That is, the "fallings" were what happened when the noun at rest was tipped over.

Because the nominative was at that angle, it was also called the "right" case (ὁ ὀρθός 'the straight/correct/right-angled one', or ἡ εὐθεῖα 'the straight line'), and it was opposed to the other cases which were called the "oblique" ones (αἱ πτώσεις πλάγιαι 'the slanting/oblique-angled fallings').

Over time, the term "falling" (πτῶσις) was also applied to the nominative case as well, so they all became "fallings". These terms were then carried over to Latin, where nōminātīvus 'the one related to naming' (from nōmināre 'to name sth') was used to calque ὀνομαστική, rēctus 'straight' to calque ὀρθός and ἡ εὐθεῖα, and cāsūs oblīquī 'slanting fallings' was used to calque πτώσεις πλάγιαι.

I don't know why the Latin phrase cāsus rēctus is usually translated as "the direct case" in English (as opposed to "the right case"), but I suspect it may be an influence of the phrase "direct object", besides, perhaps, some confusion with the actual meanings of dīrēctus. I also find it interesting that in French scholarship on Old French and Old Occitan, the direct case and oblique case of those two languages are traditionally called cas sujet 'case of the subject' and cas régime 'case of what is ruled', even though French linguistics does use the terms cas direct and cas oblique elsewhere.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Saim » 2020-03-06, 6:45

Interesting! So that’s why in Hindi-Urdu and Punjabi there is an “oblique” case...

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby linguoboy » 2020-03-06, 15:20

Thanks for the explanation, Ser. Oddly, I always found the "direct" vs "oblique" distinction somewhat intuitive despite not understanding the underlying metaphor. I suppose because "oblique" can also mean "off to the side" and I think of these cases as somehow "out of the way".
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Car » 2020-03-06, 20:51

Wow, that was interesting.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby mizuz » 2020-08-07, 21:54

There's an aspect of Italian which has been bugging me for quite some time. AFAIK the grammatical convention says that the subject pronoun lui should be used for masculine words and lei for feminine words, so only the grammatical gender should be taken into account. On the other hand I sometimes think that personal pronouns in Italian should be analyzed in this way:

-lui: for male humans/animals
-lei: for female humans/animals
-zero morpheme: for inanimate objects

To me using lui or lei for inanimate object sounds wrong, not just undesirable but pretty much ungrammatical.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby md0 » 2020-08-08, 6:37

That's life with a formal gender system though. In 97% of the cases, real-world gender doesn't matter.
Do other speakers of Italian also agree with your ungrammaticality judgement there? Could it lead to reanalysis down the line?
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby mizuz » 2020-08-08, 7:46

md0 wrote:Do other speakers of Italian also agree with your ungrammaticality judgement there? Could it lead to reanalysis down the line?


I don't know :lol: all that I said should be taken with more than a grain of salt since it's just my speculation based on my intuition as a native speaker, I really haven't consulted other native speakers, moreover I'm just a random amateur on the internet.

But anyway, this is exactly what has been bugging me, for me this is a gray area between 100% grammatical and 100% ungrammatical which is hard to pin down. When I say that it sounds ungrammatical I don't mean the same level of ungrammaticality as, say, getting the gender suffixes wrong as in *il tavolo rossa.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Saim » 2020-08-08, 9:15

Cosa ne pensi di questo esempio del Wiktionary inglese?

Cercai il mio portafogli dentro lo zaino, ma era sparito anche lui e tutti i soldi che c’erano dentro.

Mi pare che non sia possibile prescindere dal pronome soggetto in questo caso, per la presenza di anche.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby mizuz » 2020-08-08, 10:14

Saim wrote:Cosa ne pensi di questo esempio del Wiktionary inglese?

Cercai il mio portafogli dentro lo zaino, ma era sparito anche lui e tutti i soldi che c’erano dentro.

Mi pare che non sia possibile prescindere dal pronome soggetto in questo caso, per la presenza di anche.


I'd rather say era sparito anche quello.

Era sparito anche lui makes me picture a wallet growing legs and walking away, but maybe my judgment is compromised because I've been thinking too much about this :lol:

That's the other thing though, when you can't have a zero morpheme because the sentence would be incomprehesible, for inanimate objects I'd use questo/a or quello/a rather than lui/lei. Maybe someone will be able to come up with a counterexample.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby dstern841 » 2020-08-17, 19:50

I've heard that younger women English speakers in North America (especially where I live, the Pacific Northwest) tend to use creaky voice a lot more than any other demographic. I noticed for awhile I would quite frequently, but I haven't noticed lately. But then again, I haven't been paying any attention lately to see if I do it or not, so I don't know how consistent I am with it.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby dEhiN » 2020-09-05, 1:43

mizuz wrote:There's an aspect of Italian which has been bugging me for quite some time. AFAIK the grammatical convention says that the subject pronoun lui should be used for masculine words and lei for feminine words, so only the grammatical gender should be taken into account. On the other hand I sometimes think that personal pronouns in Italian should be analyzed in this way:

-lui: for male humans/animals
-lei: for female humans/animals
-zero morpheme: for inanimate objects

To me using lui or lei for inanimate object sounds wrong, not just undesirable but pretty much ungrammatical.

I've often wondered if languages that use the term "gender" for grammatical noun categorization would have less trouble if the categorization system was called something else? By less trouble, I mean with respect to both speakers of languages that don't categorize nouns learning a gendered language, and with respect to native speakers having issues with the gender of certain words. I don't know for sure, but I could imagine that in languages where the noun categorization system isn't a gendered one, there'd be less questioning of the specific categorization of inanimate objects.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Linguaphile » 2020-09-05, 3:29

dEhiN wrote:
mizuz wrote:There's an aspect of Italian which has been bugging me for quite some time. AFAIK the grammatical convention says that the subject pronoun lui should be used for masculine words and lei for feminine words, so only the grammatical gender should be taken into account. On the other hand I sometimes think that personal pronouns in Italian should be analyzed in this way:

-lui: for male humans/animals
-lei: for female humans/animals
-zero morpheme: for inanimate objects

To me using lui or lei for inanimate object sounds wrong, not just undesirable but pretty much ungrammatical.

I've often wondered if languages that use the term "gender" for grammatical noun categorization would have less trouble if the categorization system was called something else? By less trouble, I mean with respect to both speakers of languages that don't categorize nouns learning a gendered language, and with respect to native speakers having issues with the gender of certain words. I don't know for sure, but I could imagine that in languages where the noun categorization system isn't a gendered one, there'd be less questioning of the specific categorization of inanimate objects.

Definitely. For example, English speakers encountering genders in Spanish for the first time tend to ask "why?" ("Why is libro masculine? Why is silla feminine? Why is....?") If I just say "there are two groups of words, those that use the article la and -a endings, and those that use the article el and -o endings" people don't ask "why" and just accept it as "okay, Spanish has two classes of words." Really. I've experimented with this. :D Of course eventually you have to tell them they are called grammatical genders because every other Spanish-learning situation is going to call them that and you can only refer to them as "el-words" and "la-words" for so long. :mrgreen:


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