Typological studies based on original texts

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Mon Apr 3 11:46:07 UTC 2006

Dear Colleagues,
I think both Nick and Greville have addressed a very important point, 
which is also decisive for the design of descriptive grammars. If I am 
not totally wrong, usage-based analyses (hopefully) gain more and more 
ground in Typology. As a matter of fact, descriptive grammars should be 
much more usage-based than they appear today. Naturally, that's not 
always easy to do. Especially for 'smaller' languages without a written 
tradition, it is difficult do establish a corpus of sufficient 
significance. For instance, in the descriptive grammar of Udi (East 
Caucasian) I am currently writing I work with a corpus of roughly 
200.000 words (from native narratives, other types of text, conversation 
etc.), a little bit of nothing in the light of corpora usually referred 
to in corpus linguistics. Still, even such a small corpus allows 
retrieving important information on the actual significance and dynamics 
of grammatical issues in the given language, and - as a consequence - 
reconstructing the linguistic knowledge base and linguistic practice of 
its speakers. Often enough, the corpus-based data go against what one 
has elaborated with the help of more or less openly elicited data. So, 
it seems that Bernhard's 'wish' perhaps comes a little bit too early. 
What we need first are more comprehensive descriptive grammars based on 
corpus analyses (together with the standard illustrative and analytic 
sections). Here, typologists should start to address analogous questions 
in order to make the corpus-based data of the individual grammars 
comparable. In a second step, cross-linguistic surveys could emerge 
based on the type of data Bernhard has called for.
Best wishes,

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze
Institut für Allgemeine und Typologische Sprachwissenschaft  (IATS)
[General Linguistics and Language Typology]
Department für Kommunikation und Sprachen / F 13.14
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
D-80539 München
Tel.:     ++49-(0)89-2180 2486 (secretary)
             ++49-(0)89-2180 5343 (office)
Fax:     ++49-(0)89-2180 5345
E-mail: W.Schulze at lrz.uni-muenchen.de
Web: http://www.ats.lmu.de/index.php
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20060403/ae7c2709/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list