Dangerous questions about morphology

A recent short paper by Laurie Bauer ask 6 questions about the morphology of English. Bauer shows that each of them carries unhelpful presuppositions that are ultimately not likely lead to a sustainable theoretical position. 1 What is the plural of mouse? Grammars of English generally say that the plural form of mouse is mice.…… Continue reading Dangerous questions about morphology

When ‘irrelevant’ cannot replace ‘not relevant’

A recent short post on Language Log pointed drew attention to sentence (1): ‘The patch is irrelevant, but the events that follow are.’ (1) Language Log » When “irrelevant” is not “not relevant” (upenn.edu) Although the post didn’t say so explicitly, sentence (1) is clearly odd in some way. The title of the Language Log…… Continue reading When ‘irrelevant’ cannot replace ‘not relevant’

ULEZ, uljez, izlaz

London has just extended the boundary of its Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Drivers of motor vehicles causing heavy emissions must pay to drive in the ULEZ. The word ULEZ has the shape and feel of some Croatian words. The common prefix u- means ‘in’ or ‘into’ and is derived from the preposition u. (In other…… Continue reading ULEZ, uljez, izlaz

Sequential voicing (rendaku) in Japanese

In Japanese, the second component of a compound word undergoes a process called known as rendaku (sequential voicing). Tsujimura (1996) summarises the main principles of rendaku: If an independent word starts with an unvoiced consonant, that initial consonant becomes voiced if the word is the 2nd component of a compound word.nevertheless, if the 2nd component…… Continue reading Sequential voicing (rendaku) in Japanese

Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian

I have just read a paper describing 16 differences between Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin, and Serbian. The description was in a paper that looked for the border between language varieties separated by each difference. The paper also looked at whether those borders match national borders and how close the varieties are to each other. The authors…… Continue reading Bosnian, Croatian, Montenegrin and Serbian

Words showing their history

Some Japanese words are compounds of a verb and a noun. The noun is typically one that undergoes the action denoted by verb—the object of a transitive verb or the ‘patient’ of an intransitive verb. Japanese components Some of these compounds have native Japanese components elements. In these cases the compound contains the noun followed…… Continue reading Words showing their history

Scandinavian language challenge day 37

Today I worked through the last chapter (chapter 12) of Danish in three months, covering: more verbs ending in sverbs used as adjectives and as nounsword formationother words The chapter also comments briefly on punctuation and on writing letters (ie correpondence) in Danish. More verbs ending in s Some verbs occur only in the passive -s…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 37

Scandinavian language challenge day 35

Today I worked through chapter 11 of Swedish in three months, covering: transitive and intransitive verbscreating verbs from adjectivepast participle as adjective passiveother words Transitive and intransitive verbs Pairs of related transitive and intransitive verbs: Transitivebränna (2) (burn)dränka (2) (drown)röka (2) (smoke)väcka (2) (wake)lämna (1) (leave)kyla (2) (chilll)ställa (2) (put, stand)lägga (4) (put, lay) Intransitivebrinna (4)…… Continue reading Scandinavian language challenge day 35