Comparative Siouan Grammar project

Prof. Dr. Johannes Helmbrecht johannes.helmbrecht at
Mon Jul 7 08:47:35 UTC 2008

Dear Cathrine, dear Siouanists,

I would like to add a few remarks that may clarify my own position with regard to the invisible things we are 
discussing right now. It is a popular misconception to think that typologists don't like abstract structures or 
ignore them largely. This is not the case. All depends on the evidence for them. If there is distributional 
evidence for a certain structure of a noun phrase then this is a fact of a specific language and no longer 
invisible. What typologists do not believe is that these abstract syntactic structures can be presupposed as 
the universal framework of the grammar of a specific language. On the contrary, it is one of the goals (in my 
view) of such a project to find out for instance the structure of the noun phrase in the individual SLs and 
perhaps the variationof these structures among them. The same holds for the relative clause and all the 
other parts of syntax. 
I would hence strongly agree with Cathrine to aim at a basically descriptive and theory-neutral (as much as 
this is possible) treatment of SL in this project. This is of course a bottom-up approach, but not blind for 
abstract structures and categories. 

All the best,

Datum:   	Fri, 04 Jul 2008 13:00:54 -0500
Antwort an:     	siouan at lists.Colorado.EDU
Von:            	"Catherine Rudin" <carudin1 at>
An:             	<siouan at lists.Colorado.EDU>
Betreff:        	Re: Comparative Siouan Grammar project

> Rory wrote:
> >Gee, it's been so long since we had a good argument on the list! 
> :-)
> I really didn't mean to fight -- apparently I said something that
> sounded pugnacious,
> but it was entirely unintentional.  I was actually AGREEING with Bob
> and others that
> this project should be basically descriptive and theory-neutral, even
> for those of us
> who do have strong theoretical leanings.  Ah, communication!!
> Anyhow --
> I'm still not sure what topic I signed up for.  Was it coordination? 
> Does anyone have
> the complete list compiled in Billings (John? Linda?)  
> Peace, love, harmony, and best wishes to all -  Catherine


Prof. Dr. Johannes Helmbrecht
Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft
Universität Regensburg
Philosophische Fakultät IV 
Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft
Universitätsstr. 31
93053 Regensburg

Tel: ++49(0)941 943-3388
        ++49(0)941 943-3387 (Sekretariat)
Fax: ++49(0)941 943-2429
E-Mail:    johannes.helmbrecht at

More information about the Siouan mailing list