case that indicates separation, or moving away from something. It is used alone or with certain
prepositions. For example, if English had a fully
productive case system that included the ablative case, then in the phrase came from the city, either "the city" or "from the city" would likely be in the ablative. In some languages, such as Latin, this case has acquired many other uses and does not strictly indicate separation anymore.
Proto-Indo-European, or any of its descendants (the
Indo-European languages), a system of vowel alternation in which the vowels that are used in various parts of the word can change depending on meaning. The system is used for purposes of
inflection and word derivation. In the Germanic languages, it forms the basis of the
Slavic languages, a verb of motion whose motion is multidirectional (as opposed to unidirectional) or indirect, or whose action is repeated or in a series (
iterative). Also called an
indeterminate verb. The opposite type of verb, which expresses a single, completed action, is termed a
concrete verb (or a
determinate verb). Motion verbs in the
Slavic languages come in abstract/concrete lexical pairs, e.g. Russianходи́ть(xodítʹ, “to
go (abstract)”) vs. идти́(idtí, “to
go (concrete)”), бе́гать(bégatʹ, “to run (abstract)”) vs. бежа́ть(bežátʹ, “to run (concrete)”), носи́ть(nosítʹ, “to carry (abstract)”) vs. нести́(nestí, “to carry (concrete)”). English does not make this distinction. For example, "I went to the post office" could be abstract (if I went there and came back, i.e. multidirectional) or concrete (if I am there now, i.e. unidirectional), and different Russian verbs would be used to translate "went" in these two circumstances. In Polish coming back does not cause abstract verbs to be used, only doing something many times (Chodzę do biura. 'I go to the office (every day).' vs. Idę do biura 'I am going to the office (now).') or moving without target (Chodzą po pokoju 'I am walking around the room.' vs. Idę przez pokój. 'I am walking across the room.') does. Abstract verbs are always
imperfective in aspect, even with prefixes that are normally associated with the
perfective aspect (e.g. Polish przybiegać).
Either transitive or intransitive. For instance, eat and read optionally take a direct object: "I eat daily", "She likes to read" (both intransitive), "Read this book", "I do not eat meat" (both transitive). Note: Although
ergative verbs are ambitransitive, a single definition could only refer to an unergative verb.
A consonant sound produced by restricting the air flow through the mouth only slightly, resulting in a smooth sound. In English, the approximants are /l/, /ɹ/, /w/, /j/ (as in the initial sounds of loo, rue, woo and you). Approximants are distinguished from
fricatives, in which the air is constricted enough to cause a rough, hissing or buzzing sound, and
plosives, in which the air is blocked completely for a short period of time.
No longer in general use, but still found in some contemporary texts that aim for an antique style, like historical novels or Bible translations. For example, thee and thou are archaic pronouns, having been completely superseded by you. Archaic is a stronger term than dated, but not as strong as obsolete. See
Wiktionary:Obsolete and archaic terms.
A type of
determiner that is used as a grammatical indicator in some languages, and is usually central to the grammar and syntax of that language. In English, the articles are the
definite article the, and the
indefinite articles a and an. Some languages may have more articles, such as the French
partitive articles du, de la and des, while many languages lack articles altogether.
A noun or adjective (or phrase), that names a real object with the attributes of another real object. This is in contrast to an
substantive noun or adjective, which names a real object that is the actual substance named by the noun or adjective. Often used specifically to refer to nouns modifying other nouns, such as wagon in wagon wheel or chicken in chicken soup. Some languages, e.g. the
Slavic languages, have special adjectives that serve this function, having the meaning "related to X" for a noun X. An example of this type of adjective is кури́ный(kurínyj, “related to
chickens”), used for example in кури́ныйбульо́н(kurínyj bulʹón, “chicken soup”). Generally, adjectives of this sort cannot be qualified by more, less or very.