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On the right of being a comparative concept

On the right of being a comparative concept Abstract We provide a critical review of the distinction between “comparative concepts” and “descriptive categories”, showing that in current typological practice the former are usually dependent on the latter and are often vague, being organized around prototypes rather than having sharp boundaries. We also propose a classification of comparative concepts, arguing that their definitions can be based on similarities between languages or on differences between languages or can also be “blind” to language-particular facts. We conclude that, first, comparative concepts and descriptive categories are ontologically not as distinct as some typologists would like to have it, and, second, that attempts at a “non-aprioristic” approach to linguistic description and language typology are more of an illusion than reality or even a desideratum. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Linguistic Typology de Gruyter

On the right of being a comparative concept

Linguistic Typology , Volume 20 (2) – Oct 1, 2016

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by the
ISSN
1430-0532
eISSN
1613-415X
DOI
10.1515/lingty-2016-0014
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract We provide a critical review of the distinction between “comparative concepts” and “descriptive categories”, showing that in current typological practice the former are usually dependent on the latter and are often vague, being organized around prototypes rather than having sharp boundaries. We also propose a classification of comparative concepts, arguing that their definitions can be based on similarities between languages or on differences between languages or can also be “blind” to language-particular facts. We conclude that, first, comparative concepts and descriptive categories are ontologically not as distinct as some typologists would like to have it, and, second, that attempts at a “non-aprioristic” approach to linguistic description and language typology are more of an illusion than reality or even a desideratum.

Journal

Linguistic Typologyde Gruyter

Published: Oct 1, 2016

References