Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 9, 2021

Beyond universals and particulars in language

Balthasar Bickel
From the journal Theoretical Linguistics

Corresponding author: Balthasar Bickel, Department of Comparative Language Science and Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Evolution (ISLE), University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland, E-mail:
Writing this comment was supported by the NCCR Evolving Language, Swiss NSF Agreement Nr. 51NF40_180888. My thanks go to Sabine Stoll for helpful clarification requests.


Bickel, Balthasar. 2007. Typology in the 21st century: Major current developments. Linguistic Typology 11. 239–251. Search in Google Scholar

Bickel, Balthasar. 2010. Capturing particulars and universals in clause linkage: A multivariate analysis. In I. Bril (ed.), Clause-hierarchy and clause-linking: The syntax and pragmatics interface, 51–101. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Search in Google Scholar

Bickel, Balthasar. 2011. Multivariate typology and field linguistics: A case study on detransitivization in Kiranti (Sino-Tibetan). In P. K. Austin, O. Bond, D. Nathan & L. Marten (eds.), Proc. conf. language documentation and linguistic theory 3, 3–13. SOAS. Search in Google Scholar

Bickel, Balthasar. 2015. Distributional typology: Statistical inquiries into the dynamics of linguistic diversity. In B. Heine & H. Narrog (eds.), The Oxford handbook of linguistic analysis, 2nd edn., 901–923: OUP. Search in Google Scholar

Bickel, Balthasar & Johanna Nichols. 2002. Autotypologizing databases and their use in fieldwork. In P. K. Austin, H. Dry & P. Wittenburg (eds.), Proceedings of the International LREC Workshop on Resources and Tools in Field Linguistics, Las Palmas, 26–27 May 2002. Search in Google Scholar

Blasi, Damián E., Steven Moran, Steven R. Moisik, Paul Widmer, Dan Dediu & Balthasar Bickel. 2019. Human sound systems are shaped by post-neolithic changes in bite configuration. Science 363(6432), Search in Google Scholar

Bornkessel, Ina & Matthias Schlesewsky. 2006. Generalized semantic roles and syntactic templates: A new framework for language comprehension. In I. Bornkessel, M. Schlesewsky, B. Comrie & A. D. Friederici (eds.), Semantic role universals and argument linking: theoretical, typological and psycholinguistic perspectives, 327–353. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Search in Google Scholar

Chomsky, Noam. 1975. The logical structure of linguistic theory. New York: Plenum Press. Search in Google Scholar

Dahl, Östen. 2016. Thoughts on language-specific and cross-linguistic entities. Linguistic Typology 20. 427–437. Search in Google Scholar

Dediu, Dan & Robert D. Ladd. 2007. Linguistic tone is related to the population frequency of the adaptive haplogroups of two brain size genes, ASPM and microcephalin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 104. 10944–10949. Search in Google Scholar

Dryer, Matthew S. 2013. Order of subject, object and verb. In M. S. Dryer & M. Haspelmath (eds.), The World atlas of language structures online. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. Search in Google Scholar

Embick, David & David Poeppel. 2015. Towards a computational(ist) neurobiology of language: Correlational, integrated and explanatory neurolinguistics. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience 30. 357–366. Search in Google Scholar

Everett, Caleb, Damián E. Blasi & Seán G. Roberts. 2015. Climate, vocal folds, and tonal languages: Connecting the physiological and geographic dots. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Search in Google Scholar

Everett, Caleb & Sihan Chen. 2021. Speech adapts to differences in dentition within and across populations. Scientific Reports 11. 1066, Search in Google Scholar

Forker, Diana. 2016. Conceptualization in current approaches of language typology. Acta Linguistica Hafniensia 48. 70–84. Search in Google Scholar

Hauser, Marc D., Noam Chomsky & W. Tecumseh Fitch. 2002. The faculty of language: What it is, who has it, and how did it evolve? Science 298. 1569–1579. Search in Google Scholar

Himmelmann, Nikolaus P. 2021. Against trivializing language description (and comparison). Studies in Language, Search in Google Scholar

Hockett, Charles F. 1985. Distinguished lecture: F. American Anthropologist 87. 263–281. Search in Google Scholar

Mansfield, John, Sabine Stoll & Balthasar Bickel. 2020. Category clustering: A probabilistic bias in the morphology of argument marking. Language 96. 255–293. Search in Google Scholar

McCloy, Daniel R. & Adrian K. C. Lee. 2019. Investigating the fit between phonological feature systems and brain responses to speech using EEG. Language, Cognition and Neuroscience 34. 662–676. Search in Google Scholar

Mithun, Marianne. 2016. Typology, documentation, description, and typology. Linguistic Typology 20. 467–472. Search in Google Scholar

Moran, Steven & Balthasar Bickel. 2020. Rejoinder to Huijbregts’ “Biting into evolution of language”. Journal of Language Evolution 5. 184–187. Search in Google Scholar

Newmeyer, Frederick J. 2010. On comparative concepts and descriptive categories: A reply to Haspelmath. Language 86. 688–695. Search in Google Scholar

Roberts, Seán G. 2018. Robust, causal, and incremental approaches to investigating linguistic adaptation. Frontiers in Psychology 9, Search in Google Scholar

Round, Erich R. & Greville G. Corbett. 2020. Comparability and measurement in typological science: The bright future for linguistics. Linguistic Typology 24. 489–525. Search in Google Scholar

Tomasello, Michael. 2003. Constructing a language: A usage-based theory of language acquisition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Search in Google Scholar

Townsend, Simon W., Sabrina Engesser, Sabine Stoll, Klaus Zuberbühler & Balthasar Bickel. 2018. Compositionality in animals and humans. PLoS Biology 16. e2006425. Search in Google Scholar

Witzlack-Makarevich, Alena, Johanna Nichols, Kristine Hildebrandt, Taras Zakharko & Balthasar Bickel. 2021. Managing AUTOTYP data: Design principles and implementation. In A. Berez-Kroeker, B. McDonnell, E. Koller & L. Collister (eds.), Open Handbook of Linguistic Data Management. MIT Press (in press) preprint at: Search in Google Scholar

Wong, Patrick C. M., Xin Kang, H. Y. Kay, Wong Hon-Cheong So, Kwong Wai Choy & Xiujuan Geng. 2020. ASPM-lexical tone association in speakers of a tone language: Direct evidence for the genetic-biasing hypothesis of language evolution. Science Advances 6(22), Search in Google Scholar

Zeman Daniel, et al.. 2020. Universal dependencies 2.7. (digital library at the Institute of Formal and Applied Linguistics (ÚFAL), Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, Charles University). Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2021-01-21
Accepted: 2021-02-11
Published Online: 2021-09-09
Published in Print: 2021-06-25

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston