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Type-ology or typ-ology?

  • Jeffrey Heath EMAIL logo
From the journal Linguistic Typology


Typology based on codable traits has its heyday early in the development of any biological science. In mature disciplines it has long since given way to diachronic models of how complex structures evolve in shifting environments. Linguistic typology is no different. It also faces existential crises from recognition that its categories are dubiously universal and that global samples conceal macroareal biases. To avoid irrelevance, typology should blend into the linguistic landscape. It should defragment by refocusing on interdomain interactions (e.g., between mood and anaphora), and rediscover extreme languages and Sapirean types. Simultaneously, it must decentralize operationally into more manageable and illuminating family-level synchronic-diachronic microtypology.


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Received: 2016-3-20
Revised: 2016-9-22
Published Online: 2016-12-23
Published in Print: 2016-12-1

©2016 by De Gruyter Mouton

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