On categorization: Stick to the facts of the languages

Randy J. LaPolla 1
  • 1 Division of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies, Nanyang Technological University, HSS-03-45, 14 Nanyang Drive, Singapore 637332, Singapore
Randy J. LaPolla


This paper argues that in doing both description and comparison we should work inductively, staying true to the facts of the languages as manifested in natural data, and not resort to abstractions that lead to classifying languages or constructions in a way that ignores the actual facts of the languages. A non-Structuralist alternative view of communication and typological description is also presented.

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Linguistic Typology publishes research on linguistic diversity and unity. It welcomes articles that report empirical findings about crosslinguistic variation, advance our understanding of the patterns of diversity, or refine typological methodology.