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Lv 7
Lôn asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 8 months ago

What is an inflected language? Can you give examples of what an inflexion is? Are French, Portuguese, Welsh, English, Russian, Italian?

3 Answers

  • Pontus
    Lv 7
    8 months ago
    Favourite answer

    Inflection is one type of synthetic grammar. Synthetic grammars do not use word order to indicate function.

    Inflection uses affixes (prefixes, infixes, suffixes, etc), other changes to words, or entirely new words to indicate function.

    (Agglutination is the other type of synthetic grammar. Not important for this discussion).

    Analytic grammars rely on word order to indicate function.

    Few languages use purely one grammar type. But usually one or two types dominate.

    Inflection can reflect things like tense, aspect, mood, voice, person, number (for verbs), grammatical gender, case, number, definiteness, etc (for nouns), person, number, gr. gender or physical sex, case, etc for pronouns. Adjectives or other parts of speech may match the nouns they describe in gender, number, case, etc.

    Inflections can also be a productive means of producing new vocabulary.

    Inflections often convey more than one piece of information at time (but not always), and there is often more than one pattern within the same word class (but not always).

    Of the languages you listed:

    Russian is highly inflected. Many parts of speech take many different forms, for various reasons. Word order is far less important than in English.

    Italian, French, and Portuguese (all sister languages - having descended from Latin - which was highly inflected) are moderately inflected. They also use a fair amount of analytic grammar (but to a lesser degree than English). Nouns do not express grammatical case, but they do express grammatical gender and number. Verbs have dozens of inflected forms expressing a number of different concepts, and there are a few different regular patterns as well as irregular ones. Adjectives and sometimes some verb forms match in gender and number with nouns they describe.

    Welsh definitely has both inflectional and analytic grammars, but I could find no info on how much for each type or how it compares to other languages. Hopefully one of the Welsh speakers will comment for us.

    English is very mildly inflected and heavily analytic.

    English examples of inflection:

    am, is, are, was, were, being, been -- are all inflections of the verb BE.

    listens, listened, listening - are inflected forms of listen.

    -s or -es on nouns is an inflection indicating plural forms: the boxes, the cats. But there are irregular inflections as well (children, people, etc).

    's or s' is an inflection on nouns indicating the possessive case (without that suffix, the noun is in the common case).

    Personal pronouns often show remnants of a different case system: he/him; she/her; they/them, I/me, we/us etc. But some don't inflect, like it or you. (between subjective and objective cases). There are also possessive forms like its, your, yours, my, mine, etc.

    Many English words borrowed from Old French or Latin or Greek often have inflections. incredible, for example is made from the Latin root cred (believe), the in- prefix (not), and the -ible suffix (ability), for not able to be believed. The English root believe can also be used with similar affixes to form: unbelievable.

    Many verb expressions, though, require helping verbs (which may or may not be inflected themselves), which is a form of analytic grammar. The future tense in English is not inflectional, but instead uses the helping verb "will" and the dictionary form of the verb. (Some wrongly say that English has no future tense. It has no synthetic future tense, but it has a periphrastic one).

    The cat saw the dog. If I change the word order, meaning changes: The dog saw the cat. The - has to go in front of the noun phrases it describes. That's analytic.

    However, saw - is an inflected form of see.

    He sees them. They see him. -- All I did was change the object and subject like I did with cat and dog (and no words changed form because of that), but now each word changed form. That's inflectional grammar.

    English is mildly inflected. It could be a lot worse. Many inflections indicate one piece of information (which is somewhat unusual for inflections), and there is often one regular pattern. There may or may not be irregular patterns as well.

    The two patterns in English for expressing comparative and superlative degrees of adjectives and adverbs demonstrates the difference between analytic and inflectional grammar:

    happy, happier, happiest - inflection

    good, better, best - inflection

    difficult, more difficult, most difficult - analytic (although you can argue that most is an inflectional form of more).

    Lastly, in your question, the following are inflections:

    is (present tense, indicative mood, third person, singular of BE)

    -ed of inflected (indicated the past participle)

    -age, a suffix often indicating that a noun was formed from another word.

    -s of examples (plural).

    -ion, of inflection (not - inflexion), a suffix of indicating a noun was formed from a verb (inflect).

    French (irregular inflection of France)

    Portuguese (somewhat regular inflection of Portugal)

    Welsh (from Wales)

    English, (from Engle)

    Russian (from Russia)

    Italian (from Italy).

    German is moderately inflected compared to Latin, Russian, or Greek, but more inflected than Italian, French, or Portuguese.

    Source(s): studied linguistics; taught French; intermediate Italian, German, and Japanese (heavily agglutinated, moderately inflected - for very different reasons)
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    • Pontus
      Lv 7
      8 months agoReport

      Yes on gender. Mutations - depends on the reason. If it expresses some sort of grammatical function, then yes. If it's just for how it sounds and doesn't add or change meaning, then no.

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  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    8 months ago

    As far as I understand, an inflected language is one in which the words change shape depending on things like "case" (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, etc) and grammatical gender.

    English has lost most of its inflection in the aftermath of 1066, and replaced it with a more fixed word-order. Toki Pona doesn't have inflection.

    Examples of "fully inflected" languages are Latin, German and Russian.


  • 8 months ago

    An inflected language is a language which when translated from the original language to Latin and back again, the only resulting words are the following : Demtri; Mother. Jasecarr; Latin word for a Warm beverage.

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