Language Typology

Edward L. Keenan and Laura Kalin
Course time: Tuesday/Thursday 3:30-5:20 pm
2306 Mason Hall

See Course Description


This course focuses on syntactic typology. We correlate syntactic types with
genetic and areal groupings of languages and certain morphological patterns. We present five major topics selected on a broad semantic basis. For each topic we present patterns of variation, review or suggest explanations for them and assess how well they can be characterized in current syntactic theory. We close with a formal presentation of how to state language universals over syntactically non-isomorphic languages.

Our topics:

1. Word order types: Verb Final, Verb Initial, Serial Verb Languages
Hixkaryana: ?The odd man out
2. A. Relative Clause Formation
Prenominal, postnominal, resumptive pronouns, finite/non-finite verbs
B. Valency Affecting Operations (VAOs)
Rich Voice Systems (W. Austronesian)
Rich Applicative Systems (Bantu)
Syntactic Role: VAOs feed extraction
3. Anaphora Patterns in the World’s Languages
Reflexives: templatic, affixal, clitics, full arguments
Reciprocals: templatic, affixal, clitics, full arguments
4. Quantification in the World’s Languages
D(eterminer) Quantifiers
A(adverbial) Quantifiers
Linguistic Invariants over non-isomorphic grammars

Pre-requisite for this course: an introductory linguistics course (with at least some basic syntax).

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