[Lingtyp] To write or not to write the examples

Sebastian Nordhoff sebastian.nordhoff at glottotopia.de
Thu Feb 25 15:09:47 UTC 2021

Dear Ian,
take a reader-centric perspective. Will an example help the reader in
getting your point? As for word order, I would trust that most linguists
are able to make sense of SOV/SVO without additional illustrations. This
might be different for more arcane features.
Best wishes

On 2/25/21 4:05 PM, JOO, Ian [Student] wrote:
> 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,
> Ian
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