Synthetic Language

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Related to Synthetic languages: Analytic language

synthetic language

[sin′thed·ik ′laŋ·gwij]
(computer science)
A pseudocode or symbolic language; fabricated language.

Synthetic Language


a member of a typological class of languages in which grammatical meanings are predominantly expressed by synthetic forms. Synthetic languages are in contradistinction to analytic languages, in which grammatical meanings are expressed by means of auxiliary words, and to polysynthetic languages, in which several nominal and verbal lexical meanings are combined within an indivisible complex that outwardly resembles a word.

The basis for the division of languages into synthetic, analytic, and polysynthetic languages is, in fact, syntactic; the division therefore intersects but does not coincide with the morphological classification of languages. The classification of languages according to synthetic and analytic features was proposed by A. von Schlegel (only for inflected languages); A. Schleicher expanded the classification to include agglutinative languages.

The morphemes making up a word in a synthetic language may be combined according to the principles of agglutination or fusion, or they may undergo positional alternations, for example, vowel harmony in Turkish. Synthetic forms occur in a significant number of the world’s languages. Since languages are not, in principle, typologically homogeneous, the term “synthetic language” is applied to languages that exhibit a sufficiently high degree of synthesis. Such languages include the Turkic, Finno-Ugric, most Hamito-Semitic, ancient Indo-European, Mongolian, Manchu-Tungus, some African (such as Bantu), Caucasian, Paleo-Asiatic, and American Indian languages.


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References in periodicals archive ?
As for synthetic languages (most Slavic languages, Baltic, most Caucasian and other languages) with their looser dependence on the word order, the meaning of a sentence is not so strongly influenced by the word order, but the allegedly flexible word order implies undercurrents of subtle deviations in the meanings of sentences owing to the seemingly insignificant syntactic changes.
As is known, analytic languages tend to rely heavily on context and pragmatic considerations for the interpretation of sentences, since they don't specify as much as synthetic languages in terms of agreement and cross-reference between different parts of the sentence.
However, when translating into synthetic languages, automatic substitution of roots without endings or affixes seems to hamper the work very much, not to mention the variant when nouns in the nominative case substitute the same nouns in the other five cases-correction of affixes and endings seems to take more time than printing the whole words.