Thursday, November 2, 2017

Linguistics on Quora

Can a language lose a whole word permanently through sound changes, for example, if a word consists of only a single sound and that sound is lost?

Hans-Georg Lundahl
I speak two langs, Latin and Germanic. In a few dialects.
Answered just now
If a word consists of only a vowel, the vowel will not be lost.

Even if the vowel is lost in other positions, it will not be lost in that one.

Other examples, more realistic, can a language by sound changes lose distinctions between two words and the answer is yes.

In the Latin of Gaul - what is now known as French - solum (the soil) and solem (the sun) were losing the distinctions between last syllables, both would become “sol”, if continuing.

Now, “sol” is only used for solum, the soil, while solem is replaced with the modern equivalent if soliculum “the little sun”.

Of the soil and the sun, the sun is (to the naked eye, without reference to astronomy) the smaller of the two. Hence this preservation of a useful distinction by intelligent design countering the language devolution.

Can bilinguals think in their less dominant language?

Same user and credential
Answered just now
Yes, otherwise they would not be truly bilinguals.

Do bilingual people dream in their first language or their second language?

Same user and credential
Answered 11m ago
In the one they use most often, or the ones they use most often.

How do you think in a foreign language?

Same user and credential
Answered 50m ago
Like I speak or write or read in it : by getting used to it.

How can one tell the difference between a grammatical case and some other kind of morpheme? In some languages the difference isn't always very clear?

Same user and credential
Answered 46m ago
Case is clearly one of the grammatical categories of morphemes.

In some languages the case morpheme fuses with the singular or plural morpheme, so that for instance -um is accusative singular and -os is accusative plural for some Latin words.

This does not mean the difference is not clear, but that the same morpheme has two purposes in one, both case and number.

Case is the morpheme which decides how a word is used in a sentence, which of course means that in some languages (including even Latin) the number of prepositions is a minimal estimate of microcases, and in some (notably English, but in some cases! Latin) word order functions as a case morpheme.

If only one language was spoken around the world (different languages wouldn't have emerged) would there be a positive or negative result?

Same user and credential
Answered 17m ago
Since Nimrod’s time, the result would have been evil.

That is why God made the first 70 or 72 languages other than Hebrew emerge.

Language facilitates collaboration, and collaboration over the whole globe can be a very totalitarian thing.

Is Persian (aka Farsi) an up-to-date language? Can someone use Persian and discuss medical and technological subjects easily?

Same user and credential
Answered 1h ago
Any language can be so with a little notice.

As Farsi is not loangiving language for modern terminology, it has somewhat less problems than Latin, which sometimes has conflicting meanings between a word in Latin per se and its use as a loan in modern contexts.

Discriminare is for instance not “discriminate” in the PC connection, but more like a cook needs to be “discriminating” in his raw materials and hence to do the act of discriminare.

In Latin, the basic idea would be “iniustum discrimen facere”.

Farsi only needs to adapt “discriminate” to Farsi sound system.

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