New Challenges in Typology: Transcending the Borders and Refining the Distinctions

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Patience Epps, Alexandre Arkhipov
Walter de Gruyter, 2009 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 428 pages

The volume brings together seventeen chapters by typologists and typologically oriented field linguists who have recently completed their Ph.D. theses. Through their case studies of selected theoretically relevant issues the authors highlight the mutual importance of language description, on the one hand, and of cross-linguistically informed theory, on the other. Faced with new data from previously unknown languages and even from lesser-studied varieties of European languages, linguists constantly have to deal with the inadequacy of established concepts and typologies, being pushed to further refine their classifications and to question the accepted borderlines between different categories, types, and levels of linguistic description.

The scope of the individual contributions to the volume varies from worldwide typological samples to family-internal typology to in-depth studies of single languages. The range of linguistic domains addressed include tonology, morphology, syntax, and lexical classes. Among the phenomena scrutinized are clitics, tones, case, agreement/indexation, localization, pluractionality, desideratives, lability, comitative constructions, raising, verb formation, nominal classification, parts of speech, and predicates of change. More general theoretical and methodological issues addressed include such topics as markedness, grammaticalization, lexicalization, and the integration of linguistic data and description.

The book is of interest to typologists and field linguists, as well as to any linguists interested in theoretical issues in different subfields of linguistics. A particular contribution of the volume is to present a synthesis of typological and descriptive approaches to the study of language, and to highlight the fact that broader typological study and the focused investigation of particular languages are interdependent ventures that necessarily inform each other.


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Evidence from mixed clitic systems
A holistic typological approach
The example of Emerillon Teko
Evidence from Hup
Challenges for markedness theory
Evidence from East Caucasian languages
Trends in the grammaticalization of periphrastic pasts
Comitative as a crosslinguistically valid category
Lability vs derivation
A functional approach
Historical pathways in Northern Paiute verb formation
Reference and predication in Movima
Predicates of change in Lowland Chontal of Oaxaca
Multidimensional typology and Miraña class markers
Steps toward a grammar embedded in data

Individuallevel meanings in the semantic domain of pluractionality
A case study of desideratives

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About the author (2009)

Patience Epps, University of Texas at Austin, USA; Alexandre Arkhipov, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia.

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