[Lingtyp] Question about helpful design of a comparative, multilectal grammar

Martin Haspelmath haspelmath at shh.mpg.de
Fri Jun 15 15:32:05 UTC 2018

A "pan-dialectal" grammar written by a prominent author (former ALT 
president) that you may want to have a look at is:

Evans, Nicholas D. 2003. /Bininj Gun-wok: A pan-dialectal grammar of 
Mayali, Kunwinjku and Kune. 2 vols/. (Pacific Linguistics, 541). 
Canberra: Australian National University.

I have no particular recommendation, but personally, I like the idea of 
colour coding -- I think it's used much less than it could in technical 
texts (probably for reasons of typographic conservatism, not because 
there are serious functional considerations that speak against it).


On 15.06.18 15:02, Rasmus Bernander wrote:
> Dear members of the Lingtyp list,
> I'm currently involved in a project called "Linguistic Variation as an 
> Indicator of Historical Relations and Language Contact: A Comparative 
> grammar of four Mara Bantu languages (Tanzania)". The project is 
> funded by Koneen Säätiö and led by Dr. Lotta Aunio, Department of 
> Languages, University of Helsinki. As implied in the title, the 
> project aims at offering a linguistic description of four closely 
> related (yet structurally versatile) Bantu varieties, Ikoma, Nata, 
> Isenye and Ngoreme (known collectively as the Western Serengeti 
> languages).More information about the project can be found at this 
> homepage: https://blogs.helsinki.fi/mara-project/
> We are struggling a bit with the question about the ideal way of 
> designing the linguistic description. We would like to ask you "Humans 
> who read grammars", i.e. you researchers who make typological (and/or 
> comparative and/or specific theoretical) work and thus have great 
> experience in reading grammars as well as extracting information from 
> grammars: What would you consider being the most helpful and 
> straightforward way to organize the structure of a multilectal grammar 
> of this kind?We would prefer to find a way to systemize the data in a 
> manner where we don't have to prioritize one variety over the others 
> and where we can also present the subsystems of the non-main varieties 
> in a coherent way.It seems that some grammars use color/symbol coding 
> for different varieties. Do you consider that helpful? Or do you have 
> other, similar ideas on how one would succeed in creating a really 
> clear and comprehensible comparative grammar?
> Many thanks in advance!
> /Rasmus Bernander
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