Person, place, thing…

May 22, 2012 by

Many school grammar books definite a “noun” as a category that denotes “a person, place or thing”. While many objections can be raised to such a definition, it provides a useful three-way distinction of nouns...

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Making my case

Dec 26, 2011 by

In the last couple of posts, I’ve discussed the issue of grammatical complexity and have shown that even if an objective measure of such complexity is absent, languages clearly differ as to which grammatical distinctions they...

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Parametric theory of word order, language acquisition and historical c...

Oct 21, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I outlined an alternative theory that treats the order of major sentential constituents — subject, object and verb — not as a primitive, but as a result of several binary factors (called...

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Why Some Languages Sound So Fast, or do they?

Sep 19, 2011 by

As a long-time reader of this blog would already know, I am typically skeptical of “linguistic” studies that calculate an average this and multiply it by an average that and supposedly produce results that are relevant for...

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Javanese influence on Japanese

May 9, 2011 by

In the previous posting, I discussed the issue of the (pre)historic Japanese homeland. Scholars of Japanese prehistory typically distinguish two cultures that merged to create the Japanese culture as we know it: the earlier Jōmon...

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