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Q&A

Posts tagged historical-linguistics

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Q&A Why "me too" and not "I too"?

I've been studying German lately, and came across something that sparked my curiosity: The way to say "me too" in German is "ich auch" - that is, "I too". A shallow glance at other Germanic languag...

1 answer  ·  posted 5mo ago by Moshi‭  ·  last activity 5mo ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A Has there ever been a situation of perfect bilingualism, without falling in diglossia?

In many places around the world there are different languages that coexist: some people speak one, some the other, and many can speak both. There are as many cases as situations: some of the langu...

0 answers  ·  posted 6mo ago by fedorqui‭  ·  edited 6mo ago by Moshi‭

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Q&A Where, here, and there: What is the origin, and can it be generalized?

I recently stumbled upon this wikipedia page and it got me thinking. Take a look at the following table (terms are lifted from the Wikipedia page) W (interrogative) H (proximal) T (medial)...

0 answers  ·  posted 6mo ago by Moshi‭

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Q&A Why didn't the same one (ancestor) language preponderate over China, Japan, Korea?

Don't hesitate to revise my post, particularly if you want to add maps. I'm basically extending this question on Reddit to Chinese. Unquestionably China, Korea, Japan are much closer to each other...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by TextKit‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A What sound did the letter ℵ encode in ancient Hebrew, and why did it morph into the greek vowel Α?

Here are two claims I've often heard or read: The Hebrew language originally did not write down vowels. The Greek (and subsequently the Latin) alphabet developed from the Hebrew alphabet....

2 answers  ·  posted 1y ago by celtschk‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A What is the origin of the missing "to be" in sentences like "the car needs washed"?

I grew up in western Pennsylvania (US), where constructs like "the car needs washed" are common. I was taught (yes, in schools in that region) that correct formal grammar requires "to be" in this ...

1 answer  ·  posted 1y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 1y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A What drives the complexity of a language?

Looking at English, its complexity seems to have been in constant decrease. For example, in the past, there were conjugations and a separate informal form of “you” (”thou”); all in all, the languag...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by celtschk‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A Is Swedish more conservative than Danish and Norwegians?

I have read somewhere that Swedish is more conservative than the other continental North Germanic languages, Norwegian and Danish. Clearly Icelandic is more conservative then these all. But is the ...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by tommi‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A Why is linguistics limited in how much it can look back in time?

I've often seen that "we can only look back in time a short distance in linguistics". What prevents linguistics from deducing information far in the past? Is this limit something that can be pushed...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by user53100‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A Has Japanese always had the polite "masu" form?

Japanese has what is known as the "polite form"/"masu form" and the "plain form". Notably, the two forms have completely different conjugations despite having the same meaning, differing only in po...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Moshi‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by Jirka Hanika‭

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Q&A How do linguists determine historical pronunciation?

There were two recent questions (here and here) about historical pronunications. I know that languages evolve in sound over time, but how do linguists determine what the original phonology was seve...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Sigma‭  ·  edited 2y ago by Moshi‭

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Q&A How do I pronounce historical French correctly from times when the language was in transition?

I sing in a choir that performs medieval and renaissance music in several languages I don't otherwise speak. When we are unclear about pronunciation, we look for recordings from reputable performe...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by user8078‭

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Q&A How were ת & ט pronounced historically?

In Sephardi or Israeli Hebrew today, ט and ת are pronounced the same, at least to my non-native ear, something like /t/. In Ashkenazi Hebrew, on the other hand, sometimes ת is pronounced like ס (...

1 answer  ·  posted 2y ago by Monica Cellio‭  ·  last activity 2y ago by msh210‭

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