Languages considered in typologcial research

KOUWENBERG,Silvia silvia.kouwenberg at UWIMONA.EDU.JM
Sun Dec 4 00:25:51 UTC 2011

I disagree. I have recently argued that the systematic absence of so-called contact languages - except for a token here and there - from typological databases such as WALS detracts from the goals and achievements of linguistic typology. See my 2010 columns on this topic in JPCL.

Silvia Kouwenberg
Department of Language, Linguistics & Philosophy
University of the West Indies
Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica

From: Discussion List for ALT [mailto:LINGTYP at] On Behalf Of Joseph T. Farquharson
Sent: Saturday, December 03, 2011 7:14 PM
Subject: Re: Languages considered in typologcial research

The World Atlas of Language Structures (WALS)  is making this increasingly possible.

However, it should be noted that absence from WALS might just mean that the typologist could not access the sources, or the language has the feature but it just has not been noticed or described yet.

I suspect that for a very long time to come presence in typological work will be more informative than absence.

On 3 December 2011 19:27, Colin Masica <dacotah at<mailto:dacotah at>> wrote:
I am surprised this hasn't been done.

Colin Masica

On Dec 3, 2011, at 12:08 PM, E. Bashir wrote:

Not a silly question at all, I think.  Such statistics would be very interesting.
Elena Bashir

From: Wolfgang Schulze <W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE<mailto:W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE>>
Sent: Saturday, December 3, 2011 11:42 AM
Subject: Languages considered in typologcial research
Dear friends,
just a short (and maybe silly?) question: Is anybody aware of some kind of statistics that considers to which extent the individual languages of the world are dealt with in the typological literature? It would be interesting to see where (and why !) there are both lacunae and statistic 'peaks'. The issue could be refined if one includes the classical linguistics domains such as phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics etc. Such a "World Atlas of Linguistics Data" (just to give it a name) would not only help motivating researchers to fill up lacunae, but also help understanding what the reasons may be for certain preferences...
Best wishes,

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze
Institut für Allgemeine & Typologische Sprachwissenschaft
Dept. II / F 13
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
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D-80539 München
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Joseph T. Farquharson
Department of Liberal Arts
The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine
Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies

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