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2 - Linguistic typology

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 January 2010

Kees Hengeveld
Affiliation:
Professor of Theoretical Linguistics, University of Amsterdam
Ricardo Mairal
Affiliation:
Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
Juana Gil
Affiliation:
Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
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Summary

Introduction

This chapter discusses the contribution of linguistic typology to the study of language universals. Language universals research and linguistic typology are closely related fields, and are often not distinguished very clearly. Yet the difference between them can be characterized in the following way (Comrie, 1989): language universals define the restrictions on cross-linguistic variation; linguistic typology studies the restrictions on cross-linguistic variation; so typological research can be seen as the primary method used in uncovering language universals.

After a brief description of the way in which language samples are selected in cross-linguistic research in Section 2, the basic concepts and the methodology used in linguistic typology are introduced in Section 3, in which the notion of implicational hierarchy is taken as the point of departure. The implicational hierarchies uncovered through typological research are generally assumed to reflect true language universals, which means that they may be expected to show up in other linguistic domains as well, such as the historical development of languages, the process of language acquisition, language contact phenomena, and the distribution of linguistic phenomena within a single language. Section 4 of this chapter is dedicated to this issue. Conclusions are presented in Section 5. Wherever possible, the examples I present are taken from my own work, since this allows me direct access to the primary data.

Language sampling

Typological investigations make use of representative samples of the approximately 6,000 languages of the world.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2006

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  • Linguistic typology
    • By Kees Hengeveld, Professor of Theoretical Linguistics, University of Amsterdam
  • Edited by Ricardo Mairal, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Juana Gil, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
  • Book: Linguistic Universals
  • Online publication: 08 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618215.003
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  • Linguistic typology
    • By Kees Hengeveld, Professor of Theoretical Linguistics, University of Amsterdam
  • Edited by Ricardo Mairal, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Juana Gil, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
  • Book: Linguistic Universals
  • Online publication: 08 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618215.003
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Linguistic typology
    • By Kees Hengeveld, Professor of Theoretical Linguistics, University of Amsterdam
  • Edited by Ricardo Mairal, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Juana Gil, Universidad National de Educación a Distancia, Madrid
  • Book: Linguistic Universals
  • Online publication: 08 January 2010
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511618215.003
Available formats
×