By Felix K. Ameka, Alan Dench, Nicholas Evans
Descriptive grammars are our major car for documenting and analysing the linguistic constitution of the world's 6,000 languages. they convey jointly, in a single position, a coherent remedy of ways the total language works, and for this reason shape the first resource of knowledge on a given language, consulted through a variety of clients: areal experts, typologists, theoreticians of any a part of language (syntax, morphology, phonology, old linguistics etc.), and individuals of the speech groups involved. The writing of a descriptive grammar is an immense highbrow problem, that calls at the grammarian to stability a appreciate for the language's specific genius with an understanding of ways different languages paintings, to mix rigour with clarity, to depict structural regularities whereas respecting a corpus of actual fabric, and to symbolize anything of the local speaker's competence whereas recognising the adaptation inherent in any speech neighborhood. regardless of a contemporary surge of expertise of the necessity to rfile little-known languages, there is not any publication that focusses at the manifold concerns that face the writer of a descriptive grammar. This quantity brings jointly individuals who strategy the matter from more than a few angles. so much have written descriptive grammars themselves, yet others symbolize kinds of reader. one of the themes they deal with are: total problems with grammar layout, the complementary roles of outsider and local speaker grammarians, the stability among grammar and lexicon, cross-linguistic comparison, the position of rationalization in grammatical description, the interaction of thought and a number of fieldwork equipment in language description, the demanding situations of describing languages of their cultural and ancient context, and the tensions among linguistic particularity, validated perform of specific colleges of linguistic description and the necessity for a universally commensurable analytic framework. This ebook will renew the sphere of grammaticography, addressing a a number of readership of descriptive linguists, typologists, and formal linguists, by way of bringing jointly quite a number extraordinary practitioners from around the globe to handle those questions.
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Additional info for Catching Language: The Standing Challenge of Grammar Writing
566– 588. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lucy, John 1997 Linguistic relativity. Annual Review of Anthropology 26: 291–312. Matthewson, Lisa 2004 On the methodology of semantic fieldwork. International Journal of American Linguistics 70: 369–415. Mithun, Marianne 2001 Who shapes the record: the speaker and the linguist. ), 34–54. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Morphy, Frances 1977 Language and moiety: sociolectal variation in a Yu:lngu language of North-East Arnhem Land. 1: 51–60.
In general, the grammar can be organized in two directions as the units of grammatical analysis and description can be arranged in an ascending or descending order by either starting with the sound system and then moving to increasingly complex units (word, phrase, clause, sentence) or by starting from the sentence (or an even higher unit) and then moving down to smaller units. The ascending model (phonology > morphology > syntax), which probably has its origin in Priscian’s Latin grammar (Hertz 1855– 1859), seems to be preferred by most grammarians.
The language used for description can either be the native or a foreign language; 3. prescriptive vs. descriptive grammars; 4. active vs. e. grammars which take the perspective of the speaker and explain how words and phrases are used to express oneself in the language vs. grammars which from the hearer’s perspective give an analysis of sentences and help the user to understand the grammatical categories and constructions. 5. grammars for language specialists like linguists, or teachers and nonspecialists with no training in linguistics; 6.