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1 Introduction Descriptive linguistics, in the sense of Himmelmann (1998) , has primarily relied on traditional elicitation and the analysis of collected texts. However, it is not difficult to find cases where basic descriptive problems cannot be resolved through these methods alone. For example, whether nasal-obstruent onsets in a language constitute prenasalized consonants or consonant clusters. In such circumstances, experimental techniques can be a great asset to the task of language description. A recent survey by Whalen and McDonough (2015) examines the

Language description and linguistic typology Fernando Zúñiga 1. Introduction The past decade has seen not only a renewed interest in field linguistics and the description of lesser-known and endangered languages, but also the appearance of the more comprehensive undertaking of language documen- tation as a research field in its own right. Parallel to this, the study of lin- guistic diversity has noticeably evolved, turning into a complex and sophis- ticated field. The development of these two intellectual endeavors is mainly due to an increasing awareness of

Using ‘Ontolinguistics’ for language description Scott Farrar 1. Introduction: The knowledge sort problem An aim of descriptive linguistics is to provide an account of the observable facts concerning individual languages. As such, descriptive linguistics is pri- marily concerned with data that bring out notable characteristics of particular languages. But in descriptive accounts, as well as those of a more theoreti- cal nature, it is often a problematic endeavor to determine the difference be- tween language and what language is about. The difficulty is often Barbara Sonnenhauser Relativisation strategies in Slovene: Diachrony between language use and language description Abstract: The Slovene relativisation markers ki and kateri, which contribute to the very individual nature of Contemporary Standard Slovene among the Slavonic languages, constitute a prime example for the complex processes underlying dia- chronic syntactic change. Their formal and functional development as evinced in historical data and analysed in linguistic descriptions shows a multitude of factors

ion (whose centra l component i s the theory of grammar). However, the question is not j u s t a theoretical one. Answers to it have to be inspired empirically by actual l anguage descr ipt ions . In fact , the genera l problem of a language description i s at least a s much one of genera l comparative l inguist ics a s it i s one of the theory of l inguist ic descript ion. In what follows, the position will be advocated that the elaboration of a model of l inguistic descript ion is bound up with the elaboration of a genera l comparative grammar. The

A contribution to ‘two-dimensional’ language description: the Typological Database of Intensifiers and Reflexives Volker Gast 1. Introduction The relationship between language description and linguistic typology is often regarded as an asymmetrical one: even though such criticism is hardly ever articulated explicitly – perhaps because many language specialists are also typologists – there is a tendency to regard typology as being ‘parasitic’ on descriptive linguistics: typologists are seen as drawing their material from grammars, extracting

Pre-established categories don’t exist: Consequences for language description and typology MARTIN HASPELMATH Linguistic Typology 11 (2007), 119–132 1430–0532/2007/011-0119 DOI 10.1515/LINGTY.2007.011 ©Walter de Gruyter 1. Introduction Structural categories of grammar (such as clitic, affix, compound, adjective, pronoun, dative, subject, passive, diphthong, coronal) have to be posited by linguists and by children during acquisition. This would be easier if they sim- ply had to choose from a list of pre-established categories. However, existing proposals for what


I argue that the distinction between comparative concepts and descriptive categories helps language describers and typologists to benefit from each other because describers are free to set up their own categories, typologists are free to define their own concepts, comparison need not involve complete systems, and interlinear translation can be either based on comparative concepts or descriptive categories. A similar distinction also exists in other disciplines that deal with cultural concepts.

Stavros Skopeteas (Potsdam) Preface Abstract Aim of this issue is to bring together studies in Greek phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics that share a typological perspective on language description. Cross-linguistic comparison expands the range of data that linguistic generalizations account for and is expected to contribute to our knowledge about the grammar of the object language in testing hypotheses that cannot be proved in a data set from a single language. The articles discuss several facets of the relation between differences within grammars and