Thoughts on language-specific and crosslinguistic entities

  • 1 Institutionen för lingvistik, Stockholms universitet, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Östen Dahl

Abstract

This article discusses questions arising in connection with Martin Haspelmath’s proposal to distinguish between “descriptive categories” at the language-specific level and “comparative concepts” at the crosslinguistic level, where the latter cannot be seen as either crosslinguistic categories or category types (). It is argued that comparative concepts may be better subsumed under the notion of “generalizing concept”, which is not tied to any specific level of analysis, and that the distinction between what is language-specific and what is crosslinguistic is not absolute. Further, it is shown that crosslinguistic pattern clusters as identified in what is here called “bottom-up typology” meshes well with the homeostatic property cluster approach to biological species.

  • Bird, Alexander & Emma Tobin. 2016. Natural kinds. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2016 edn.). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2016/entries/natural-kinds/ (accessed on 13 March 2016)

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Boyd, Richard. 1999. Homeostasis, species, and higher taxa. In Robert A. Wilson (ed.), Species: New interdisciplinary essays, 141–185. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Croft, William & Keith T. Poole. 2008. Inferring universals from grammatical variation: Multidimensional scaling for typological analysis. Theoretical Linguistics 34. 1–37.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Dahl, Östen. 1985. Tense and aspect systems. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Dahl, Östen. 2014. The perfect map: Investigating the cross-linguistic distribution of TAME categories in a parallel corpus. In Benedikt Szmrecsanyi & Bernhard Wälchli (eds.), Aggregating dialectology, typology, and register analysis: Linguistic variation in text and speech, 268–289. Berlin: De Gruyter.

  • Dahl, Östen (ed.). 2000. Tense and aspect in the languages of Europe. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

  • Dahl, Östen & Bernhard Wälchli (forthcoming). Perfects and iamitives: Two gram types in one grammatical space. Submitted to Letras de Hoje.

  • Dryer, Matthew S. 2013. Order of subject, object and verb. In Matthew S. Dryer & Martin Haspelmath (eds.), The world atlas of language structures online. Leipzig: Max-Planck-Institut für evolutionäre Anthropologie. http://wals.info/chapter/81

  • Ereshefsky, Marc. 2010. Species. In Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Spring 2010 edn.). http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2010/entries/species/ (accessed 13 March 2016)

  • Haspelmath, Martin. 2010. Comparative concepts and descriptive categories in crosslinguistic studies. Language 86. 663–687.

    • Crossref
    • Export Citation
  • Lander, Yury. 2009. Varieties of genitive. In Malchukov & Spencer (eds.) 2009, 581–592.

  • Malchukov, Andrej & Andrew Spencer (eds.). 2009. The Oxford handbook of case. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Newmeyer, Frederick J. 2007. Linguistic typology requires crosslinguistic formal categories. Linguistic Typology 11. 133–157.

  • Palancar, Enrique. 2009. Varieties of ergative. In Malchukov & Spencer (eds.) 2009, 562–571.

Purchase article
Get instant unlimited access to the article.
$42.00
Log in
Already have access? Please log in.


or
Log in with your institution

Journal + Issues

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.

Search