[Lingtyp] A list of 50 basic sentences

Hartmut Haberland hartmut at ruc.dk
Sat May 8 17:16:19 UTC 2021

Dear Ian,
I have a few comments.
I was wondering about




Is it a good idea to use ‘genitive’? Would ‘possessive’ not be better?
Also I wonder about languages like Finnish which express contrast between definiteness and indefiniteness by word order:
Auto on kadulla. ‘The car is in the street.’
Kadulla on auto. ‘There is a car in the street.’ (-ulla is inessive case.)
Also think of Italian
La macchina è rotta.
È rotta la machina.
both ‘The car is broken’, but are answers to different questions (Where is your car?, Why are you late?, resp.); same (SV vs. VS) in Greek. How would you get these results?
Best, Hartmut

Fra: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> På vegne af JOO, Ian [Student]
Sendt: 8. maj 2021 15:08
Til: LINGTYP <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Emne: [Lingtyp] A list of 50 basic sentences

Dear all,

I am trying to make a list of 50 basic sentential meanings.
The goal is to make parallel corpora of different languages based on this list of sentences.
Each sentence on the list serves to check whether a language has a given grammatical feature, and if so, in what form the language expresses it.
When creating each sentence, I tried to limit its vocabulary to basic words that are found in most languages, avoiding culture-specific words.
I would appreciate it if you could have a look at the attached file and advise what I should add/remove/modify.

From Hong Kong,


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