New Challenges in Typology
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.