Ramblings & ephemera

Language & grammar types: inflected, agglutinative, & analytic

From Tim Bray’s “On Search: Squirmy Words” (29 June 2003):

Of course, the way that words twist and turn around is highly language-dependent. English is what’s called an “inflected” language, which is to say words change their form depending on their grammatical role: verb conjugation, singular/plural, and so on. (Interestingly, “inflection” has a common variant spelling: “inflexion”.) Other languages (for example Turkish and Finnish) are “agglutinative”, where words are formed by combining “morphemes.” The third most common category of languages is “analytic” or “isolating”, where words do not change and grammatical roles are established by sequences of words. The best-known example is written Chinese.

Comments are closed.