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Historical Linguistics / Re: Romance languages not descended from Latin.
« Last post by Daniel on February 05, 2019, 08:46:52 PM »
The argument that Romance languages cannot be derived from Latin because they have a different typology does not hold much water. The history of many languages shows a drift from, say, synthetic to analytic.
If true, the argument would mean that languages can't change, which is, obviously, nonsense, as is the rest of the 'theory'.
Historical Linguistics / Re: Romance languages not descended from Latin.
« Last post by Forbes on February 05, 2019, 05:43:26 PM »
I have not read the French article but had a look at the review on Rational Wiki which seems to have done a good debunking job.

I speed read the Spanish article but have not watched the video. The author seems to set up some Aunt Sallies and make some dubious observations. The argument that Romance languages cannot be derived from Latin because they have a different typology does not hold much water. The history of many languages shows a drift from, say, synthetic to analytic.

No one has ever argued that any Romance language is a direct descendant of the language of Cicero. The emphasis has always been on descent from Vulgar Latin. The Romans did not conquer the whole of their empire in one go and different stages of Vulgar Latin would have been introduced at different times. Insisting that anything different from Classical Latin is not Latin is no more than an argument about precise labelling. Saying that Romance languages come from "Old Italian" is just to give Vulgar Latin another name. However, as touched on above, the possibility cannot be ruled out that some of the modern languages of Italy classified as Romance are to some degree descended from or influenced by non-Latin Italic langauges.
Historical Linguistics / Re: Romance languages not descended from Latin.
« Last post by plukasz on February 03, 2019, 04:29:00 PM »
A bit earlier than Huertas, was French architect Yves Cortez who wrote:
Le français ne vient pas du latin (French does not come from Latin), 2007.
His book is well reviewed on Rational Wiki
Here is a blog and youtube recording:
Semantics and Pragmatics / Re: "No, I wouldn't do it!" - is No illogical
« Last post by Daniel on February 02, 2019, 09:42:20 AM »
First off, linguists don't use the terms "right" and "wrong" like that. We don't tell you how you should speak (prescriptivism), but instead just describe how people actually do speak (descriptivism). By the way, this is especially relevant in the case of dialectal (or just individual) variation, and it should be obvious why assuming there is a single way everyone "should" speak doesn't actually work out in understanding how language works in the real world. And also, language just doesn't follow "logic", especially not if imposed on how language "should" work without fully understanding it at a technical level. (For example, "double negatives" aren't actually double negatives at all, just agreeing forms like "I can't see nothing" where "nothing" agrees with "can't" for the speakers who use this form. It's not illogical, actually perfectly logical, under the logic of their grammars, though not the grammars of other dialects.)

In this case, you're finding that yes/no can refer to different aspects of the original question (or statement, in this case). A proposition is essentially a linguistic claim, e.g., a statement of fact. Here one proposition is the husband reporting that the daughter said something, and another proposition is what the daughter said. One is embedded in the other, but we can still consider them separately, which is what the "no" was doing in the original response.

The flexibility results in ambiguity, where we aren't sure exactly what "yes" or "no" means in a context, and sometimes this can lead to genuine confusion or lack of success in communication. But it doesn't stop us from doing it.

An interesting example of this is the fairly common American response "yeah, no!", roughly meaning "I agree with you about the concept behind what you are saying or your assumption that it would be weird for me to say yes, and the specific point does not apply." For example, "You didn't spend all of our money buying french fries, did you!?" -- "Yeah, no!"

In the end, all that can be said is that context matters and if it isn't clear enough in context, clarification might be needed. The original example isn't even as complex as the one I just gave, because there are two obvious distinct claims (propositions) in the original statement, so it shouldn't be too surprising you can choose to respond to either one.
I first think it would help if you don't try to define roots, and instead try to identify roots. In linguistics education, there is too much emphasis on arbitrary top-down stipulation and deduction, and not enough on bottom-up induction from the facts. So what is the method that we use to identify a root?

Having told you to not worry about definitions, I will point out a definitional type fact: any morphologically complex structure has a root (one root, unless it is a compound), and anything else is an affix. The method for identifying any morpheme is to look at the forms within a paradigm and find those parts of the word that consistently correlate with a particular function. If you look at плакати and know it means "to cry", you don't know enough. Adding плакав "cried(m.)"  and плакала "cried(f.)" we can now identify some suffixes, which are therefore not part of the root. What is the root – is it плака, or it is плак, or something else? Eventually, given examples like плачемо and плач, we figure out that -а is not part of the root, it too is a suffix (a grammatical suffix), there are rules that change к to ч (we need to figure those rules out), and the root is плак.

Especially when you are dealing with canned problem sets of the Olympiad variety, the correct analysis may only be evident if you look at and correctly analyze a single form. For example, if you don't have the right analysis of плач (and related forms), you will not have any reason to think that the root is плак rather than плака. The point of these exercises is to teach the reasoning skills involved at converting a mass of data into an analysis, not to tap into your specific knowledge of a language. The distraction is that sometimes (a peculiar way of saying "usually") there are multiple possible analyses consistent with the data. For example, I could have assumed the root плака and claimed there is a process deleting the final а. I could have claimed the root is плач and claimed that ч→к. Those claims are against conventional wisdom, but just how bad are these claims in the face of the language data that you are given? Would an infinitive like бачити be a problem for that analysis?

I would say that the key is to give a complete, explicit and reasoned analysis of the data – don't rely on emotional reactions. Don't say "That seems too complicated / confusing / counterintuitive / strange". Instead, understand how each datum logically relates to the overall grammar. Explicitly discuss questions like "What happens if we assume /ч/? What happens if we assume /к/."

When I solve the linguistic problems I can't understand how to define roots in language that I don't know. Because I have seen many answers where I thought the root was  -exere- but it was -exer-   (this is a random word, just for an example) I wish you understood my question, and could help! Sorry for my English I am 15 yo ukrainian,so..
Semantics and Pragmatics / "No, I wouldn't do it!" - is No illogical
« Last post by vanilla on February 01, 2019, 07:01:01 AM »
Here is our dialog:
Husband: Our daughter said you ate the whole pizza.
Wife: No, I would never do that.
Husband: You can't say "No".  It is illogical and incorrect to dispute the fact that she said that.

We are married 20 years and live in the US, he is american, I am not.
I always use, "No, I didn't do it. or No, I wouldn't do it. or No, I wouldn't have done it etc
Obviously, i am not denying the fact that she said that.( "No" refers to my position/statement that i would never eat whole pizza.)
Am i wrong using No in this case?
Historical Linguistics / Re: Romance languages not descended from Latin.
« Last post by plukasz on January 31, 2019, 02:10:26 PM »
Dear linguists,
No venimos del latín by Carme Jiménez Huertas, 2013 and 2016
The book is in Spanish. Here you can find a Youtube video with Hueras with English subtitles:, and here is her article, also in Spanish, titled "No venimos del latín. Los romances derivan de una lengua madre de carácter aglutinante"
Best regards,

Language Acquisition / Re: Teaching the Subjunctive
« Last post by Forbes on January 30, 2019, 04:48:04 PM »
I am probably not the best person to comment as I do not know Greek and tend to be averse to complex diagrams. I do though know Spanish which makes significant use of the subjunctive. Assuming (as appears to be the case from a quick Google) that the Greek subjunctive covers much the same ground as the Spanish, I am not sure that diagrams are the best way of elucidating it.

The subjunctive is very much foreign territory for native English speakers since it barely exists as either form or function in English. English does not generally require you to express how you feel about something when some hypothetical aspect is involved, but leaves it to be implied or, when the speaker feels it is required, expresses it some way other than through the form of the verb. I am inclined to think that the best way to proceed is with a purely verbal explanation backed up with plenty of examples. I do not think that the pupil is going to "think subjunctively" overnight, but rather get there by practice.
Phonetics and Phonology / Re: IPA pronunciation and mouth/tongue shape
« Last post by Matt Longhorn on January 20, 2019, 10:56:01 AM »
awesome, thanks Daniel. Trying to flip pronunciations from Erasmian to a reconstructed version of the Koine and struggling! Figured that having something to help show the position of the tongue etc would help, given that I know what the IPA symbols are meant to be
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