Approaches to Language Typology

Approaches to Language Typology

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What do all languages have in common, and what gives each language its individuality? Language typology, which has developed in response to these fundamental questions, is concerned with the construction of theoretical frameworks capable of delimiting the range of possible human languages and of capturing constraints on cross-linguistic variation. Language typology is a major concern of all contemporary schools of linguistics, yet a coherent image of the field is
difficult to form because of the diversity of theoretical orientations and practical methodologies.

This collection brings together for the first time original contributions from major schools of typological research, from the Prague School to the Generative Grammar tradition. Leading scholars offer first-hand accounts of the theoretical foundations and substantive findings of their particular school of thought, clarifying basic assumptions which are often not explicitly stated in the literature. The collection as a whole provices both a survey of the place of individual typological schools
in the historiography of the subject and a comprehensive account of the present state of language typology in an international context. It gives an overview of both the underlying unity of and the differences in the methods employed in the field.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 396 pages
  • 156 x 233 x 21mm | 572g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • 0198238665
  • 9780198238669
  • 2,828,969

Table of contents

1. Approaches to Language Typology: A Conspectus ; 2. Typological Comparison: Towards a Historical Perspective ; 3. Prague School Typology ; 4. Modern Syntactic Typology ; 5. The Diachronic Typological Approach to Language ; 6. Typological Research on Actancy: The Paris RIVALC Group ; 7. The St Petersburg/Leningrad Typology Group ; 8. Cognitive-Conceptual Structure and Linguistic Encoding: Language Universals and Typology in the UNITYP Framework ; 9. The Principles-and-Parameters Approach: A Comparative Syntax of Engish and Japanese
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Review quote

This volume is essential reading for anyone who wishes to gain a comprehensive view of what language typology is all about ... This volume is designed to provide the reader with a representative and reasonably comprehensive view of this extensive and variegated field so that readers can see for themselves what distinguishes the various approaches, as well as grasp what unifies them ... this volume should be found on the bookshelf of all serious students of typology.
Not only do the papers themselves address substantive issues and make generally significant contributions to this domain, the reference section found at the end of each paper potentially open a whole world to the interested. * Eugene Casad, Notes on Linguistics 2.4 (1999) *
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About Masayoshi Shibatani

Masayoshi Shibatani is Professor of Linguistics at Kobe University, and co-editor of the journal Pragmatics. He is author of The Languages of Japan (1990) and editor of several collections of typological interest including Grammatical Constructions (1996), Passive and Voice (1988), and The Grammar of Causative Constructions (1976).

Theodora Bynon is Professor of Historical Linguistics (now part-time) at the University of London. She is the author of Historical Linguistics (1977) and of numerous papers on topics in historical linguistics, the history of linguistics, and typology.
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