Leon Stassen's questions

Alan R. King mccay at REDESTB.ES
Sat May 15 07:40:30 UTC 1999

I apologise to Elisa Roma for having misread, through haste, the direction
in which she was arguing.  How embarrassing!  And I believe she is right
about the practical complexities involved in achieving a classification.
This is the reality of nitty-gritty typology, and I personally believe that
typology will only get us anywhere if it is prepared to come down to just
such nitty-gritty levels.  Otherwise, it will end up producing grand
generalizations based less on exact data than on thin air.

I also think that much of what Stassen and others have just said about the
actual relativism of typological parameters is à propos and something that
typologists should be worried about.  I further agree that we should
nonetheless both avoid unnecessary trivialization of interesting issues and
do what we can to salvage "the gentle art of doing typology".

It only occurs to me, additionally, that the definition of what constitutes
an "issue" often depends at least partly on the perceiver's vantage point.
English, _pace_ David Gil, is systematically non-pro-drop and only allows
pro-drop by exception or as a special stylistic feature of limited
application.  And I wonder whether, if linguistics were not a Euro-oriented
science, the feature "pro-drop" would have been noticed so quickly.  Sorry
if this is too much repetition of an idea in my first post on the subject.

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