(L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

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Salmoneus
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus »

Dormouse559 wrote:
06 May 2020 04:02
Salmoneus wrote:
06 May 2020 01:34
"Than" actually started as an adverb, back in Old English. But I suspect it very quickly merged with "tha", which was used in comparisons exactly as "than" is now, and perhaps with "thone", the accusative form of 'the', which came to be used as a relative pronoun.
I left this out, but as I understand it, "than" comes from Old English þonne, which is the etymon of both "than" and "then". "Þonne" had both adverb and conjunction meanings, and the two senses were eventually split off onto different variants.
Yes, but the adverbial meaning is older, hence the adverbial form of the word (the -ne ending).

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý »

I have heard that in Chinese clause like: [man] [eat] [fish] can be interpreted either 'The man ate a fish.' or 'The man was eaten by a fish.'
Is it so?

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ser »

Omzinesý wrote:
08 May 2020 12:37
I have heard that in Chinese clause like: [man] [eat] [fish] can be interpreted either 'The man ate a fish.' or 'The man was eaten by a fish.'
Is it so?
No. "Man eat fish" can only mean "the man/men eat fish" (or "are eating", "were eating"... could also be either multiple fish or one fish).

What you were told is a badly mangled form of a classic example in Chinese linguistics of the topic-comment construction, and how it creates ambiguities in interpretation, namely:

魚還沒吃啊。
yú hái méi chī a
fish still not.PAST eat SFP
'The fish haven't eaten yet.'
'The fish haven't been eaten yet.'

In the first interpretation, 魚 yú is syntactically either a topic or subject, and either way it is also the subject of 吃 chī 'to eat', so the fish haven't eaten any of their food. Meanwhile, in the second interpretation, 魚 yú is a topic, and also the object of 吃 chī, so it says that the unstated subject of the verb (Mandarin is a pro-drop language) has not eaten the fish yet.

(SFP here is "sentence final particle". 啊 can add many kinds of meanings depending on context, softening the statement, or expressing agreement with a similar previous statement, or adding a good mood to the statement, or a surprised tone, or depending on how it is said maybe a lazy tone... You see why I simply gloss it as "SFP"?)
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Vlürch »

sangi39 wrote:
04 May 2020 19:15
That's about the best I've managed, but I'm really not sure about any of it.
qwed117 wrote:
04 May 2020 21:21
This wordreference thread appears to indicate that it came from an Middle Eastern wanderwort that came into Arabic and was borrowed into Persian
Thanks, good to know that it's actually uncertain haha! It's always interesting to learn when words have uncertain etymologies with more than one possibility.

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý »

Ser wrote:
08 May 2020 19:50
Omzinesý wrote:
08 May 2020 12:37
I have heard that in Chinese clause like: [man] [eat] [fish] can be interpreted either 'The man ate a fish.' or 'The man was eaten by a fish.'
Is it so?
No. "Man eat fish" can only mean "the man/men eat fish" (or "are eating", "were eating"... could also be either multiple fish or one fish).

What you were told is a badly mangled form of a classic example in Chinese linguistics of the topic-comment construction, and how it creates ambiguities in interpretation, namely:

魚還沒吃啊。
yú hái méi chī a
fish still not.PAST eat SFP
'The fish haven't eaten yet.'
'The fish haven't been eaten yet.'

In the first interpretation, 魚 yú is syntactically either a topic or subject, and either way it is also the subject of 吃 chī 'to eat', so the fish haven't eaten any of their food. Meanwhile, in the second interpretation, 魚 yú is a topic, and also the object of 吃 chī, so it says that the unstated subject of the verb (Mandarin is a pro-drop language) has not eaten the fish yet.

(SFP here is "sentence final particle". 啊 can add many kinds of meanings depending on context, softening the statement, or expressing agreement with a similar previous statement, or adding a good mood to the statement, or a surprised tone, or depending on how it is said maybe a lazy tone... You see why I simply gloss it as "SFP"?)
Thank you!

I cannot question the understanding of the one who said that. Maybe I just remember wrong. Or maybe they spoke about some "dialect".

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ser »

Omzinesý wrote:
12 May 2020 13:22
I cannot question the understanding of the one who said that. Maybe I just remember wrong. Or maybe they spoke about some "dialect".
By "classic example" I meant that it's a common example when the topic of topicalization comes up. Like how in English linguistics "the man that I saw yesterday's (hat)" is a common example about 's scope, or in French linguistics, "une tasse de/à thé" for purpose à, or in Arabic linguistics "Muhammad's house" when talking about the various strategies for possession... I don't think there's any Chinese dialect that allows OVS sentences so I think someone here is misremembering something. Image
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Ser »

Salmoneus wrote:
28 Apr 2020 21:31
All4Ɇn wrote:
28 Apr 2020 19:33
KaiTheHomoSapien wrote:
28 Apr 2020 18:44
There are a lot of instances of reduplication in English where the first element contains /ɪ/ and the second contains some other vowel (often /æ/ or /ɑ/), so-called "ablaut reduplication".

For example: wishy-washy, mish-mash, bric-a-brac, pitter-patter, flip-flop, chit-chat, hip-hop, etc.

Is there any "explanation" for why the pattern is high vowel first/low vowel second?
Not only does this distinction involve high vowel/low vowel but also front-central-back. There are several terms in English where instead of it being 2 words with the pattern /ɪ~i æ~ɑ/, it's 3 words with the pattern /ɪ~i æ~ɑ u~ʌ~o/ such as tic-tac-toe or Big Bad Wolf (which even goes against the typical English rules for adjective order).
I don't see the relevance of the second one - 'big bad wolf' is just some ordinary words in a story. If you pick any three words from a fairy time, eventually you'll get the pattern you want. ("Once upon a time" and "happily ever after" don't follow any obvious pattern!). And how does it go against the typical rules? Size adjectives typically precede other adjectives - hence the opening song of Reservoir Dogs has someone singing about a "little green bag", not a "green little bag". Cf little red riding hood. It's true that adjectives of estimation can come first ("nice little place you have here!"), but often not ("There's a small bad apple in the barrel", not *bad small apple). And 'big bad' has the same order as similar phrases like 'big horrible...', 'big scary...', 'big ugly...', etc Come to think of it, is it just 'little' that can violate this rule?
Well, the way this rule is usually taught to learners, "opinion/evaluative" adjectives like "bad" go first. See this page from dictionary.cambridge.org, for example. So that makes "big bad wolf" slightly surprising, although I agree that size often sounds alright in first place anyway, including before an opinion adjective.

Regardless of the validity of that ESL rule, I think ee-ah-oh is a real phonaesthetic pattern though. I think the metaphor is a high/strident beginning (ee), crescendo (ah) and conclusion (oh/oo). There may be some childish connotation to it too. Further examples beyond Big Bad Wolf and Tic-Tac-Toe would be:

Eeeny-meeny miny moe.

I am the Great Mighty Poo,
And I'm going to throw my sh*t at you.
(From the song of a silly boss battle in the Nintendo 64 videogame Conker's Bad Fur Day, by Rareware)

Somewhere out there,
If love can see us through,
Then we'll be together
Somewhere out there,
Out where dreams come true.
(Somewhere Out There, from the soundtrack of the Universal children's animated movie An American Tail)

You may reasonably argue I've just looked for examples here, and that tons of other songs may much more easily found that don't have this, but subjectively, psychologically the pattern feels so right and sensical to me...
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa »

"Bad apple" is not an opinionative adjective..... it means the apple is spoiled, something everyone will agree on. Other than that I agree with your post .... in fact I was looking for this thread earlier. Those rules may explain why brave new world sounded so wrong to me when I was a kid, but now I wouldn't say it any other way.

One other pair I thought of .... great big idea vs big great idea ... as in, "Okaaaaay.... so what's this big GREAT IDEA of yours that's going to solve our wiring problems? " but I'm not satisfied, because great big is a tightly bound phrase and is not usually used as a sum of parts.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý »

Are Greek compounds head final or head initial?

It seems to me that δημοκρατία (demokratía) is head final (people's power) while φιλοσοφία (philosophía) is head initial (love of knowledge).

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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Pabappa »

Yeah, Ive never understood that myself. Head-final is clearly the dominant pattern, as with most of IE, but those philo- words defy the trend. The same pattern exists with miso-, "hater of", though its possible a lot of the coinages with that prefix are modern. Its possible that the Greek -o- is just more flexible than other IE languages' compound joiners .... I remember reading that at least in Modern Greek, there are Japanese-style compounds like "man and wife" using -o-, for which the proper term is apparently "dvandva", suggesting Sanskrit also had them.

https://lisatravis2012.wordpress.com/20 ... ern-greek/
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Post by Pabappa »

Looking over it again, the Cambridge site really only is helpful for inanimates. It doesnt tell us, for example, how to order the adjectives if you wanted to say something like "a short happy boy". Which led me to realize it doesnt always work for inanimates either, because we personify things, and because adjectives can also be attributive. Which is proper, "a sad short story" or "a short sad story"? I say both, with slightly different connotations. And since "short story" can be parsed as an atomic unit, i could also swap in "a sad short movie" ~ "a short sad movie". I'd lean towards the second here, but the first wouldnt be wrong if I wanted to emphasize that the movie made me feel sad.
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Re: (L&N) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Omzinesý »

How does resources thread work nowadays.

Anyways, does anybody know interesting materials on linguistic history of Iranian languages?
Preferably from PIE to modern languages, because my understanding of Proto-Indo-Iranian is very scattered too.

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