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    #1

    What language is it they're speaking

    In OALD online:

    speak verb

    example sentence:
    What language is it they're speaking?
    -----

    Hello, everyone.

    In this example sentence, I don't know why it is followed by they're speaking.

    How can the example sentence add they're speaking to What language is it?

    There is no conjunction between them, is it?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by kadioguy; 28-May-2017 at 03:41.
    I am not a teacher. If there is anything ungrammatical in my post, please correct it. I am grateful for your help.

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    #2

    Re: What language is it they're speaking

    The conjunction that is understood.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: What language is it they're speaking

    So, it would be:
    What language is it that they're speaking?
    or
    What language is that they're speaking?

    In the affirmative sentence:
    It is the language that they're speaking.
    or
    That they're speaking is the language.

    Is my understanding correct? Thanks.
    I am not a teacher. If there is anything ungrammatical in my post, please correct it. I am grateful for your help.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What language is it they're speaking

    What language is it that they're speaking? Yes
    or
    What language is that they're speaking? No


    It is the language that they're speaking. Yes
    or
    That they're speaking is the language. No

    I would call 'that' a relative pronoun.

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    #5

    Re: What language is it they're speaking

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    What language is it that they're speaking? Yes
    or
    What language is that they're speaking? No


    It is the language that they're speaking. Yes
    or
    That they're speaking is the language. No

    I would call 'that' a relative pronoun.
    I would think 'that' here is a conjunction, and is used to introduce a noun clause.
    I am not a teacher. If there is anything ungrammatical in my post, please correct it. I am grateful for your help.

  6. Piscean's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: What language is it they're speaking

    The antecedent of the relative pronoun 'that' is 'language'. It is possible (though not very elegant) to use 'which' in place of 'that'.
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 28-May-2017 at 09:44. Reason: Fixed typos

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    #7

    Re: What language is it they're speaking

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    The antecedent of the relative pronoun 'that' is 'language'. It is possible (though not very elegant) to use 'which' in place of 'that'.
    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    What language is that they're speaking? No

    That they're speaking is the language. No

    I would call 'that' a relative pronoun.
    What language is the language that they're speaking?

    What they're speaking is that language.

    Is my understanding correct? Thanks.
    I am not a teacher. If there is anything ungrammatical in my post, please correct it. I am grateful for your help.

  8. tzfujimino's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: What language is it they're speaking

    It is English (that) they're speaking.
    What language is it (that) they're speaking?

    The "It is ... that ..." construction is used here, basically:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/le...rnitv149.shtml

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/gram...we-got-married

    I hope my response will be of some help to you.

    Last edited by tzfujimino; 28-May-2017 at 05:23.

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    #9

    Re: What language is it they're speaking

    Quote Originally Posted by kadioguy View Post
    In OALD online:

    speak verb

    example sentence:
    What language is it they're speaking?
    The OALD online would have done us all a favour if the example sentence had been

    'What language are they speaking?'

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