[Lingtyp] To write or not to write the examples

JOO, Ian [Student] ian.joo at connect.polyu.hk
Thu Feb 25 15:05:20 UTC 2021

Dear typologists,

For my doctoral thesis, I am planning to investigate 50+ linguistic features in 50+ East Asian languages.
Approximately a third of the features are morphosyntactic features (others being phonological or semantic).
For the morphosyntactic features, I am wondering whether it would be desirable to write the example that illustrates the feature of each language.
Suppose that I want to illustrate the basic word order feature of the sample East Asian languages.
There are two options:

Option 1. Write the examples and the citation information.
Mandarin: SVO.
(1) Example sentence. (Wang 2001:100)
Korean: SOV.
(2) Example sentence. (Kim 2002:200)

Option 2. Only write the citation information.
Mandarin: SVO. (Wang 2001:100)
Korean: SOV. (Kim 2002:200)

The advantage of Option 1 would be that the reader has a clearer view into the feature of each language. The disadvantage is that my thesis will be very long, likely more than 100,000 words, since there are 50+ sample languages, thus hundreds of example sentences.
The advantage of Option 2 will be that my thesis will be more concise, foregoing a long list of examples. The disadvantage is that the reader will have to consult the cited literature in order to actually see how that feature is realized in each language.
As a reader, which of the two options would you find most helpful? I would like to hear your opinion.

From Hong Kong,


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