Linguistics thread

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby kevin » 2018-11-22, 10:09

md0 wrote:I think that the third definition of Case is case as described by Indo-European philologists after all. Which doesn't mean much when you are discussing syntax.

Which makes a lot of sense if you don't consider it a syntactical category in the first place. I mean, gender doesn't mean much either when you are discussing syntax, and it's not a problem, because it's not meant to describe syntax.

I probably just fail yet to see the reason why the definition of a case based on syntax is useful, but the only reason I could think of to do this is if you wanted to postulate for some reason that case is univseral.

md0 wrote:So yeah, the answer is, as far as I can tell, that yes, under this model Nominative and Accusative are present in all languages that have thematic roles (which as far as we know, that's all human languages).

Okay, with that explanation, I see why you would be surprised if a language had a genitive, but not an accusative. :P

Only nominative, accusative and ergative. My understating is that this is an important distinction for the theoretical syntacticians: syntactic case (Nom, Acc, Erg) and idiosyncratic case (eg genitive, dative, locative etc) behave differently in various circumstances.

That feels rather inconsistent, though. Why don't you keep case and syntactic role separate instead of postulating that case is universal and making only some of them special just so you can use (abuse?) them for discussing syntax? Doesn't that overload one term with multiple separate meanings?

dEhiN wrote:My understanding and everything I've read up to now basically uses case in only a morphological sense for languages that have inflection and use those inflected (case) forms to denote syntactic function more so than sentence word order.

I don't think you can go far if you try to map 1:1 a morphological form and a syntactic function. In the simplest scenario it's one-to-many, but it's often many-to-many.

I wouldn't understand "denote" as a 1:1 mapping. But maybe it's more precise to say that the syntactic function influences the morphological forms, and therefore you can often infer the syntactical function from the case of the form.

I would be interesting to say if there are morphological accusatives that are not assigned by verbs to their objects. Because if I understand the arguments of the theoreticians well, that's the thing: syntactic case is only assigned by a verb (accusative to its complement, nominative to its specifier, in a simple configuration). Idiosyncratic case can be assigned by other words (a certain proposition might assign dative, nouns can assign genitive and so on).

But prepositions can certainly assign the accusative as well?

And the first thing I actually thought of for some reason was the Accusativus Graecus in Ancient Greek, which means something like "regarding ..." iirc.

tl;dr: linguistics and philology share many words, but have different definitions for them. I think for Ipse's question, the syntactic definition makes more sense, because he was wondering if there's a dependency between cases and there's already a parametric approach to syntax. A more philological definition of case that relies on form cannot be used to see if there's a dependency relation, because the same form of a noun might be used in many different environments.

I didn't understand Ipse's question to be about this syntactic thing, but that's something for him to clarify.

But that the same form of a noun might be used in many different environments doesn't mean that it's impossible to say that a language is more likely to have a dative than only an instrumental, for example. Though if by "dependency relation" you mean that "if A, then definitely also B", we just interpreted the question differently.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-22, 16:48

kevin wrote:Though if by "dependency relation" you mean that "if A, then definitely also B", we just interpreted the question differently.

That's how I interpreted "dependency relation"; how did you?
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby kevin » 2018-11-22, 17:29

That's how I would normally interpret "dependency relation", too. But then this isn't what I think Ipse asked for, which I understood to be more about correlation and likelihood than absolute if-then rules:

IpseDixit wrote:Is the set of the grammatical cases of a language a completely random happenstance or is there any reason to believe that if in a language, case X arises, then case Y will very likely also arise?


So I wanted to make sure that I didn't just misunderstand what "dependency relation" really means. My knowledge about linguistics and the terms used in it is rather superficial, so I always expect that I could be misunderstanding things.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby IpseDixit » 2018-11-22, 17:47

Sorry guys, I didn't have the time to follow too closesly the debate that has ensued from my question, among other things because it contains many notions that go beyond my knowledge of linguistics so I think I need some time to look up a few things.

Anyways I'm more interested in causation rather than just statistical correlation. Although correlation on its own can be interesting too.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-22, 22:52

IpseDixit wrote:Sorry guys, I didn't have the time to follow too closesly the debate that has ensued from my question, among other things because it contains many notions that go beyond my knowledge of linguistics so I think I need some time to look up a few things.

Anyways I'm more interested in causation rather than just statistical correlation. Although correlation on its own can be interesting too.

There is a Wikipedia article entitled Case hierarchy which, while not answering questions of causation per se, does answer in a correlational way what you originally asked about if case X arises, then case Y will also arise. I know it's not exactly what you're looking for, but hopefully it helps.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Osias » 2018-11-22, 23:02

I can't imagine how a case system 'arises' in a language. In my personal experience that's too alien. I can't imagine the average Brazilian suddenly starting to speak a genitive ou dative. "Yes, father, we are all talking like that now, you put 'ite' at the end of the words".
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-23, 2:38

Osias wrote:I can't imagine how a case system 'arises' in a language. In my personal experience that's too alien. I can't imagine the average Brazilian suddenly starting to speak a genitive ou dative. "Yes, father, we are all talking like that now, you put 'ite' at the end of the words".

If I recall correctly, the process can happen over time through things like postpositions and the idea of a free morpheme becoming a bound morpheme.

For example, imagine a postposition is used as a free morpheme to indicate genitive. After some time, that free morpheme changes into a bound morpheme and essentially becomes a suffix. Now you have a suffix that indicates case.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Osias » 2018-11-23, 10:49

"Yes, father, we must now let our free morphemes to become suffixes, to be understood".
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Naava » 2018-11-23, 11:48

Osias wrote:"Yes, father, we must now let our free morphemes to become suffixes, to be understood".

Estonians did that.

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Osias » 2018-11-23, 12:02

:shock: :shock:
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Vlürch » 2018-11-23, 16:37

Osias wrote:"Yes, father, we must now let our free morphemes to become suffixes, to be understood".

:biglol:

This is the funniest thing I've read today by far. Seriously, though, I also can't really imagine how it happens... probably more likely in languages spoken by small pre-literate communities isolated amidst mountains or an island than ones spoken by millions of people spread over large swaths of flat terrain with long traditions of classic literature that had an industrial boom and developed a unified national identity, though?

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Luís » 2018-11-23, 17:04

Osias wrote: :shock: :shock:


Have you ever stopped to think that in Portuguese the future conjugation is nothing more than the infinitive form of the verb with the present form of haver stuck at the end ?

serei = ser + hei (= hei de ser)
cantará = cantar + há (= há de cantar)
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby linguoboy » 2018-11-23, 17:23

Vlürch wrote:probably more likely in languages spoken by small pre-literate communities isolated amidst mountains or an island than ones spoken by millions of people spread over large swaths of flat terrain with long traditions of classic literature that had an industrial boom and developed a unified national identity, though?

We don't have enough data to answer that question yet. Industrialisation isn't even 200 years old yet and the transition from analytic morphology to synthetic probably takes much longer than that.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Vlürch » 2018-11-23, 18:54

linguoboy wrote:
Vlürch wrote:probably more likely in languages spoken by small pre-literate communities isolated amidst mountains or an island than ones spoken by millions of people spread over large swaths of flat terrain with long traditions of classic literature that had an industrial boom and developed a unified national identity, though?

We don't have enough data to answer that question yet. Industrialisation isn't even 200 years old yet and the transition from analytic morphology to synthetic probably takes much longer than that.

Mmmh, but it'd seem logical. Of course, languages don't always develop logically... and it could also make sense for industrialisation to speed up the processes that lead to change, including languages being more influenced by other languages as they come in contact with more than they would if they were spoken in some mountain pass at an altitude of 3000 metres or an island with 3000 kilometres to the nearest neighbours... so... hmm...

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby kevin » 2018-11-24, 0:05

Vlürch wrote:Seriously, though, I also can't really imagine how it happens... probably more likely in languages spoken by small pre-literate communities isolated amidst mountains or an island than ones spoken by millions of people spread over large swaths of flat terrain with long traditions of classic literature that had an industrial boom and developed a unified national identity, though?

Actually, I remembered a post by Saaropean where he suggested that German was in a process of developing a new conjugation from contractions of verbs and pronouns, and I managed to find the thread: viewtopic.php?p=823018#p823018

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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby Osias » 2018-11-24, 15:35

Vlürch wrote:
Osias wrote:"Yes, father, we must now let our free morphemes to become suffixes, to be understood".

:biglol:

This is the funniest thing I've read today by far.


Yay! :D

Luís wrote:Have you ever stopped to think that in Portuguese the future conjugation is nothing more than the infinitive form of the verb with the present form of haver stuck at the end ?

Oh, well, current day Brazilians wouldn't conduct/perform/do such language changes. Actually, current day Brazilians don't even use the future of the present.

The only language change I see they doing is lexica creating and semantic shifting. And God they do that a lot.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby dEhiN » 2018-11-24, 21:24

Vlürch wrote:Mmmh, but it'd seem logical. Of course, languages don't always develop logically... and it could also make sense for industrialisation to speed up the processes that lead to change, including languages being more influenced by other languages as they come in contact with more than they would if they were spoken in some mountain pass at an altitude of 3000 metres or an island with 3000 kilometres to the nearest neighbours... so... hmm...

How does it seem (more) logical though? I could easily see an industrialized language (i.e., one spoken by those millions of people you mentioned) undergoing the same sort of thing. While redundancy exists in language, people also find ways, at least in speech, to shorten what they have to say. These forms could then become common due to the millions of people in contact with each other, which then transfer to the written language, eventually becoming codified as the standard grammar. In fact, in one sense, it's happening in English through contraction. What used to be a free morpheme - not - has been changing to a bound morpheme (that I suppose would be classified as a clitic??) - n't. While currently both forms exist in the spoken and written standards of the language, it's conceivable that one day the free morpheme will fall completely out of use and only the bound one will remain.
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby aaakknu » 2018-11-25, 1:42

Just a short question:
Is there a program which could automatically compile a list of all sententes in passive voice from a book?
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby md0 » 2018-11-25, 6:00

That would depend on the language I think.
You will need a regular expression to look for a specific conjugation of a verb or an auxiliary construction, and then return the string that contains it (perhaps detecting where a sentence starts and ends by looking for full stops left and right of the verb).

I used this tool last time I needed to do something substantial with regular expressions, it's very painful to do it without real time feedback.

PS. I found this ready thing online, for English passives
https://www.regextester.com/99978

Code: Select all

/\b((be(en)?)|(w(as|ere))|(is)|(a(er|m)))(.+(en|ed))([\s]|\.)/g
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Re: Linguistics thread

Postby aaakknu » 2018-11-25, 21:10

Thank you very much!
I need it for English, so it's suitable.
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